The Toyota Tacoma and other mid-size trucks shook up the pickup world last year after the segment had remained dormant for a decade. Now it seems like everyone has a new mid-size pickup. For 2017, there’s no letup at Toyota, where a dynamite new off-roader hits the market this year.
Welcome the 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, the latest model in the Tacoma lineup.
The Tacoma has long been the leader in the mid-size truck segment, which hadn’t changed much at all over the past ten or so years. But last year, everything changed when General Motors started a new mid-size truck war when they introduced the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon.
Toyota quickly countered with the new Tacoma, which will likely keep Toyota as the king-of-the-mountain in the mid-size truck segment. It is a dynamite new truck.
The restyled Toyota Tacoma got a chiseled new look along with new engine choices and a host of new technology. Tacoma shoppers have a choice of either a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine or a powerful 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle V6.
The V6 cranks out 278 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s a whopping 42 horses more than the previous V6. The V6 4X2 with the automatic transmission promises an estimated 19 miles per gallon in city driving and 24 mpg on the highway. The 4x4 gets one mpg less.
The 2.7-liter 4-cylinder produces 159 horsepower and 180 lb.-ft of torque. The 4x2 with the 6-speed automatic is estimated to get 19 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.
When properly equipped, the Tacoma is SAE certified to tow up to 6,800 pounds.
There are minor changes to the Tacoma for 2017, including a revised option package for SR5 models. But the big news is the TRD Pro. Other trim levels for 2017 include the base SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road and the upscale Limited. Every truck in the Tacoma lineup is tough, with rugged styling and bold, angular lines.
The new Tacoma is available in Access Cab and four-door Double Cab models. Each cab is available in 4x4 as well as 4x2 configurations, meaning there is a Tacoma that can fit just about any need.
Toyota has estimated that up to 45 percent of Tacoma buyers plan to take their trucks off-road, and the new TRD Pro model is the granddaddy of Toyota’s mid-size off-roaders, born from the company’s long history of off-road racing. Toyota also offers the TRD Pro models for Tundra and 4Runner.
All Tacoma 4x4 models have 4WDemand part-time 4WD with an electronically controlled transfer case and automatic limited slip differential. The standard transmission is a 6-speed automatic, but the V6 can also be matched to a 6-speed manual transmission. The 4-cylinder has an available 5-speed manual.
There’s no mistaking the new TRD PRO model. It has a cool three-tiered domed hood with a blacked-out scoop, a big “TOYOTA” grille with a color-keyed surround, color-keyed power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators and color-keyed door handles. It got lots of stares and thumbs-up during my test week.
The TRD Pro also gets 16-inch TRD black alloy wheels shod with Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Kevlar®-reinforced tires, TRD-tuned front springs with a 1-inch lift, TRD-tuned rear suspension with off-road leaf springs, FOX 2.5-inch Internal Bypass shocks, a TRD Pro aluminum front skid plate, LED fog lights, projector-beam headlights with black bezels, LED daytime running lights, taillights with black bezels, a standard V6 tow package and lots of TRD Pro badging inside and out.
Back in the bed, the Tacoma tailgate is lockable and damped, and features a prominently stamped Tacoma logo. The Tacoma also gets an interlocking 3-piece rear bumper that will allow more economical repairs when those inevitable “dings” happen. Also available is a deck rail system and a handy 120v power outlet in the bed wall.
2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
278 / 265 lb.-ft.
$42,760 ($45,012 with options & freight)
EPA mileage rating:
18 mpg city / 23 mpg highway/20 mpg combined
Estimated highway range: