2016 Toyota Tacoma Expert Review

4.5 Overall Score
Performance 4.3 Comfort 4.2 Styling 4.0 Value 4.6

Editor's Overview

Half the midsize trucks sold in the U.S. are Tacomas, and it's no wonder why: The Tacoma has a solid reputation based on excellent capability, reliability and an inherent tough-as-nails demeanor. For 2016, the new Tacoma is all of this, plus key features like fuel efficiency, noise levels in the cab, and overall refinement have been improved.

You'll Like The 2016 Toyota Tacoma If...

The Toyota Tacoma is highly versatile, with proven off-road capability and the best payload capacity in its class. Buyers can choose from two engines, two cabs, two bed lengths and 2- or 4-wheel drive, plus the new Tacoma is much easier to park in a garage than a full-size truck.

You May Not Like The 2016 Toyota Tacoma If...

The Tacoma is not the most fuel-efficient truck in its class, nor does it offer the best towing capacity. Also, for those who need to tow more or carry heavy equipment in the truck bed than a midsize can handle, a full-size truck makes more sense.

What's New

Toyota's midsize truck is essentially all new, with new styling, a new V6 engine and transmission, a more refined and quieter interior, more capability, and new features, including Crawl Control to make off-roading even easier.

Interior Features

The Tacoma gets an all-new modern refined interior for 2016, with new, high-quality materials, new seats (and a new seating position) and a bevy of cool available features. Items like push-button start and a moonroof option are segment firsts. There's also a handy multi-information display, where you can look at fuel economy, outside temperature, and even off-road info, such as the trail mode the Tacoma is in and the angle the Tacoma is at when on a steep hill. The new Tacoma also comes with a new version of Entune, the connectivity and entertainment control center, and Qi wireless charging.

Exterior Features

While you can tell this is still a Tacoma, new styling cues like LED daytime running lights and an exterior design inspired by Toyota's off-road race history set it apart from past trucks. There are five trim levels – SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road and Limited – each of which gets different front-end styling. The bed is still composite-lined and contains two useful storage bins, but is now deeper so it can carry more cargo. The tailgate is damped for easier opening and locks for added security. A 3-piece hard tonneau cover is available for the first time.

Driving Impressions

We drove a 2016 Toyota Tacoma V6 Double Cab, backed by the all-new 6-speed automatic transmission. The new drivetrain offers more power while also improving fuel economy. Acceleration is strong and steady, and while mashing the throttle won't snap your head back, there is a clear improvement in power over the 2015 model. Changes to the suspension plus tweaks to the frame make the 2016 Tacoma feel more planted and more stable on-road. Handling feels better, and the ride is comfortable and compliant. The brakes, still discs in front and drums in the rear, feel confident and linear. The cabin is much quieter, and has a fresh new look. However, whether you opt for the SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road or Limited, you will not be getting power seats – they are unavailable. Off-road, the new Tacoma is tough and highly capable, and the optional Crawl Control and Multi-Terrain Select make trail adventures a snap.

Pricing Notes

Pricing for the 2016 Toyota Tacoma starts just over $24,200 for the SR Access Cab with the 4-cylinder engine. For a 4-wheel-drive Limited Double Cab with the V6, the price starts at about $38,800. While the base price is higher than that of the Nissan Frontier, Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, the new Tacoma comes with a lot of impressive standard equipment. Pricing of its higher trim levels falls in line with the price of competitors' trucks. And Toyotas are the gold standard when it comes to resale value.

Notable Equipment

Standard equipment includes a rearview camera, a basic version of Entune connectivity, an automatic limited-slip differential, eight airbags, a lockable tailgate, adjustable tie-down cleats in the bed, 16-inch wheels, and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. All new Tacomas come with rear drum brakes (rear disc brakes are not offered on any trim level) and manually adjusted seats (no Tacoma is available with power seats). One exclusive on all 2016 Tacoma trucks, however, is a mount for a GoPro camera.

Notable Options

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma is available with equipment that adds to the truck's off-road prowess, as well as features that highlight the higher level of refinement of the truck for 2016. On the tough-truck side of the list are Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control, a hard tonneau cover, and helpful items like rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking assist, and blind-spot monitoring. Creature comforts include push-button start with Smart Key, Qi wireless charging, a tilt-and-slide moonroof, leather seats, Entune with a full App suite, a JBL sound system, and heated seats.

Favorite Features

OFF-ROAD WIZARDRY

With Crawl Control, with the truck in low range, you set the system's speed, and it manages acceleration and braking. All you need to focus on is steering. Multi-Terrain Select automatically matches the type of ground you want to cover (snow, ruts, etc.) to the proper transmission, throttle and brake settings.

CLEVER STORAGE

Hidden spots underneath the back seats serve as good places to stow small items you'd rather keep out of view. If you want a flat cargo area in the cabin, fold down the rear seats. The seatbacks are flat and covered in plastic, creating a handy shelf.

Under the Hood

The Tacoma comes with either an inline-4 or a V6. The 4-cylinder is the same as it was last year, and is less expensive than the V6, but the V6 has significantly more power (and more towing capacity) while also having fuel economy that's similar to – or in one case, better than – that of the 4-cylinder. You can get either engine with the Access Cab (extended cab) or Double Cab (4-door) models, but if you want a manual transmission, that's only offered in the 4-wheel-drive trucks.

2.7-liter inline-4

159 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm

180 lb-ft of torque @ 3,800 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy (estimated): 19/23 mpg (2-wheel drive automatic), 19/22 mpg (4-wheel drive, automatic), 19/21 mpg (4-wheel drive, manual)

3.5-liter V6

278 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

265 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy (estimated): 19/24 mpg (2-wheel drive automatic), 18/23 mpg (4-wheel drive, automatic), 17/21 mpg (4-wheel drive, manual)

Editors' Notes

Toyota practically owns the midsize truck segment – half the midsize trucks sold in the U.S. are Tacomas. It's no wonder why. The Tacoma has a solid reputation based on excellent capability, reliability and an inherent tough-as-nails demeanor. Yet new rivals have been introduced in this once-stagnant segment, and now the Tacoma faces tough competition from the refined Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, as well as the Nissan Frontier. For 2016, Toyota has built upon what Tacoma fans like about the truck, while improving key features like fuel efficiency, noise levels in the cab, and overall refinement. It all comes to market wrapped in bold, attractive new styling.

Road Test Video Reviews

2016 Toyota Tacoma Owner Reviews

4.63
160 Reviews
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Perfect truck for family, business, and pleasure.

2016 Toyota Tacoma

Number one quality is the Tacoma's reliability. I service the vehicle According to the schedule and I have never had a problem with it. The 2016 is my second Tacoma. I had the 1st one for 10 years with no problems. Updated to the 2016 for the navigation electronics and the extended bed. Also love the folder bed cover and interior light features in the bed. Seating is very comfortable, (I am 5'8") and it is loaded with storage features that come in handy in my line of work. Since I also have to cart kids around, the crew cab with full rear seat is essential. Plenty of room with storage behind and below the seats. I also like the exterior styling and size of the vehicle. I do not have room in my driveway for a full-sized vehicle, so the Tacoma is just right. I do not feel like I had to give anything up with this model truck.

- James P

Hard working, off roading, fun to drive truck.

2016 Toyota Tacoma

2016 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab Off Road edition; an outstanding vehicle. I looked at the full sized trucks and at Jeep products before finally deciding to buy the Tacoma. The only caution I would offer is to be aware of this vehicle's limitations. If you need to load 2500 lbs in the bed and trailer another 8000 this is not the truck for you. If you need spacious seating for more than two people this is not the truck for you. If you want a hard working midsize truck that is fun to drive and will go almost anywhere then you want this truck. Couple all of that to Toyota quality and service and you've got a winner. Bottom line is that I would buy this truck again.

- Doug L

My dream truck. It is a dream to drive and a dream to look at.

2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited

My Toyota Tacoma is a dream to drive. I have never had a truck drive so smoothly. The seats are very comfortable, the heater heats up very fast (which I need this time of year for me because it is -11 degrees outside). I have had my truck for over two years now and I have never had any problems with it at all. When I connect my phone to Bluetooth and have a call come through while I am driving I hear the person with no problems, and they can hear me. Love that I can control anything by just my voice (asking to call someone while driving). Plus it is just a beautiful truck, I always get compliments on it!

- Nikita S

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