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Toyota Tacoma, page #7

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About Toyota Tacoma

Since its introduction more than a decade ago, the Toyota Tacoma has been a mainstay of the compact-pickup segment. Typical advantages to a new or used Tacoma include a variety of body styles to choose from, useful off-road abilities, solid build quality and a better-than-average reputation for reliability and durability.

Downsides are few. Even when modestly appointed, Toyota's compact pickup usually costs more than competing trucks from domestic manufacturers, and taller drivers might find the cabin of the first-generation Tacoma to be somewhat uncomfortable. But overall, the Toyota Tacoma is a very capable pickup and comes recommended for nearly all truck shoppers.

Current Toyota Tacoma
The Toyota Tacoma is a midsize pickup truck available in a variety of body styles and trim levels. There is almost certainly a version that suits your needs. Three cab styles -- regular, extended cab (Toyota calls it an Access Cab) and crew cab (Double Cab) -- are offered on the Tacoma, as well as short or long cargo beds.

Available trim levels include the base, PreRunner and X-Runner versions. The base Tacoma is your basic work truck, with air-conditioning, a composite bedliner, a bed utility rail system, a CD player and not much else. The PreRunner provides the look and suspension of the four-wheel-drive trucks without the actual four-wheel-drive mechanicals, while the X-Runner features modifications that enhance on-street performance without giving up much utility. Of course there's also a true off-road package for 4WD trucks.

Engine choices include a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque and a 4.0-liter V6 that puts out 236 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. Owners planning on frequent hauling or towing will certainly want to choose the V6. Available transmissions for the four-cylinder are either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. V6 buyers can choose between a six-speed manual and a five-speed automatic.

In Toyota Tacoma reviews, our editors have found the truck's roomy interior, powerful V6 option and excellent off-road capability to be its best attributes. Additionally, the Double Cab version is only the compact/midsize crew cab on the market available in both short- and long-bed configurations. Frequently noted dislikes in our consumer reviews include an occasionally rough ride quality, poor seat comfort and the inability to order leather seating as an option.

Used Toyota Tacoma Models
There have been very few changes to the second-generation Tacoma since its 2005 debut. It's important to note that in this first year, the Tacoma featured higher output numbers from its engine -- however, this was due to a change in testing procedure, not actual horsepower. Among notable changes, stability/traction control, front seat side airbags and side curtain airbags were optional items prior to 2009 and may not be present on a used model.

The Tacoma nameplate dates back to 1995. It debuted in that year as a replacement for Toyota's long-running, and more simply named, "Pickup." This first-generation Tacoma is smaller than the one currently on sale but is still very capable and a fine choice for a used truck.

All first-generation Toyota Tacoma trucks came with one of two available four-cylinder engines or a 190-horsepower V6. Just like today, buyers could choose two- or four-wheel drive, along with either a five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic transmission. Tacomas from the 1990s came in either regular-cab or extended-cab (Xtracab) body styles. Unlike some competing trucks of this period, Tacoma Xtracabs lacked a third door to aid in rear-seat access.

This issue was solved for the 2001 model year when Toyota came out with the crew-cab (Double Cab) body style for the Tacoma. The Double Cab had the most interior room in the Tacoma range and four standard-opening doors. In order to keep overall length reasonable for on- and off-road maneuverability, however, Toyota reduced the Double Cab's bed length. This setup proved problematic for certain Tacoma buyers, which is why Toyota added a long-bed option for the second-generation Double Cab.

The Toyota Tacoma's reputation for better-than-average reliability is certainly a big bonus in the used compact truck segment. From a buying perspective, no one year of the first-generation Tacoma stands out. Continual improvements were made throughout its run but none of them were drastic enough to limit the appeal of earlier years. From a safety standpoint, trucks built after 1997 would be preferable, as these will have a passenger-side airbag. In the first-generation truck's last model year, 2004, stability control became available as an option.

Auto blog

2015 Toyota Camry ushers in 'sweeping redesign' [w/poll]

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:27:00 EST

With a dozen years atop the nation's best-selling car charts, you might think that there wouldn't be a lot of incentive for Toyota to rework its Camry, particularly so early in the life of the current model. But despite its unassailable sales totals, the midsize sedan has come in for substantial criticism for its milquetoast dynamics, piecemeal interiors and bland design.
As part of CEO Akio Toyoda's mantra to build more exciting cars, the 2015 Camry has arrived with a fresh new look and content that goes far beyond the Japanese automaker's typically slight mid-cycle redesigns. Featuring some 2,000 new parts, the 2015 Camry casts a 1.8-inch longer shadow and stretches across a widened track (0.4 inches). And it won't be just the widened track that should help deliver a more dynamic performance - Toyota is citing a stiffer chassis thanks to additional spot welds along with a rejiggered suspension, retuned electric power steering and a new two-stage brake booster for improved braking feel.
A new XSE trim promises the sportiest performance yet, including model-specific shock absorbers and springs, stiffer bushings, unique stability control programming and 18-inch wheels to go along with a unique front end treatment featuring mesh grille inserts and a revised fascia.

Toyota retires robots in favor of humans to improve automaking process

Sat, 12 Apr 2014 15:05:00 EST

Mitsuru Kawai is overseeing a return to the old ways at Toyota factories throughout Japan. Having spent 50 years at the Japanese automaker, Kawai remembers when manual skills were prized at the company and "experienced masters used to be called gods, and they could make anything." Company CEO Akio Toyoda personally chose Kawai to develop programs to teach workers metalcraft such as how to forge a crankshaft from scratch, and 100 workstations that formerly housed machines have been set aside for human training.
The idea is that when employees personally understand the fabrication of components, they will understand how to make better machines. Said Kawai, "To be the master of the machine, you have to have the knowledge and the skills to teach the machine." Lessons learned by the newly skilled workers have led to shorter production lines - in one case, 96percent shorter - improved parts production and less scrap.
Taking time to give workers the knowledge to solve problems instead of merely having them "feed parts into a machine and call somebody for help when it breaks down," Kawai's initiative is akin to that of Toyota's Operations Management Consulting Division, where new managers are given a length of time to finish a project but not given any help - they have to learn on their own. It's not a step back from Toyota's quest to build more than ten million cars a year; it's an effort to make sure that this time they don't sacrifice quality while making the effort. Said Kawai, "We need to become more solid and get back to basics."

Watch Congress sample Toyota's i-Road 3-wheeler concept

Fri, 11 Apr 2014 12:45:00 EST

Toyota brought its new i-Road, a three-wheeled, all-electric low-speed vehicle that debuted in 2013 at the Geneva Motor Show, to the Capitol for some of our elected officials to test out. As easy as it is to forget that politicians are people, too, it was refreshing to see a human side to many of them as they zipped about one of the Capitol's many meeting rooms.
We'd say their reactions were surprisingly positive. Of course, some were just down there because Toyota is a big presence in their respective districts, but the bulk of the senators and representatives seemed like they just wanted to zip about the makeshift indoor course on the leaning trike.
Take a look below at the video from Bloomberg.

Toyota unveils two new small displacement engines

Thu, 10 Apr 2014 18:31:00 EST

Toyota introduced a pair of brand-new engines in Japan today, that it says will eventually spawn 14 different variants by 2015. Where these two engines stand out in today's world, is that neither mill boasts direct injection, and both are naturally aspirated.
The larger of the two is a 1.3-liter, while the smaller engine, a 1.0-liter, was developed in collaboration with Daihatsu. What makes these two unique is that they both use the Atkinson cycle. Now, we aren't going to bore you by explaining just what this is - there's Google for that. Suffice it to say, Atkinson engines are highly efficient, but that efficiency comes by sacrificing power. That's why they're so popular in hybrids, which can offset the power losses.
This focus on fuel efficiency extends throughout the new engines, which also benefit from tweaks like a cooled exhaust gas recirculation system and a trick intake port, while the 1.3 employs Toyota's iE variant of variable valve timing. Both engines can be fitted with stop-start tech. According to Toyota, when fitted with stop-start the 1.3 should provide around a 15-percent bump while the 1.0-liter will increase economy around 30 percent, when they arrive on the road.

Watch this cement truck roll into Toyota minivan from driver's point of view

Thu, 10 Apr 2014 12:34:00 EST

If you've been having an easy day and haven't received your daily dose of unmitigated terror, then this video is for you. Dr. Guan Zhu, a Texas A&M professor, caught the above view on his dashcam in College Station, TX, as a cement truck ran a red light, lost control and rolled into his Toyota Sienna minivan.
Although he received only minor injuries, Dr. Zhu says that he blacked out during the accident. The truck driver also avoided serious injuries, and the Sienna took the hit rather well too. Scroll down to watch the footage and report from KBTX. Hopefully, this is as close anyone else ever gets to a terrifying event of this nature.

GM repairing 40,500 Pontiac Vibes as part of Toyota airbag recall

Wed, 09 Apr 2014 15:30:00 EST

General Motors has confirmed to Autoblog that the Pontiac Vibe is included in Toyota's just-announced recall action. The Vibe and the Toyota Matrix share a large number of parts, including the affected cable to the airbag.
"About 40,500 Pontiac Vibes from the 2009-2010 model years are included in the Toyota recall. Toyota designed and engineered the Vibe for Pontiac. GM will service customers with these vehicles when Toyota makes the parts available," said GM recall spokesperson Alan Adler to Autoblog in an email.
The recall covers 1.3 million Toyota units in the US, including 2009-2010 Corolla, Matrix and Tacoma, the 2008-2010 Highlander, the 2006-2008 Rav4 and 2006-2010 Yaris, plus the addition of the 2009-2010 Vibe. The models all have their airbag module attached via a spiral electrical cable. The connections on this cable can be damaged when turning the steering wheel. Once broken, the airbag deactivates and the airbag warning light comes on. Toyota has an improved part, but it's still making preparations to begin repairs. It will begin notifying owners soon.

Toyota issues multiple recalls for 6.4 million vehicles worldwide

Wed, 09 Apr 2014 09:30:00 EST

It looks like 2014 may go down as the year of recalls. We were already at a record pace, and now it seems Toyota is recalling 6.39 million vehicles worldwide, including about 30 of its models for a variety of problems. None of the faults have caused any injuries or fatalities, but there have been two reports of fires caused by a defective engine starter motor.
Toyota's numbers show 1.772 million vehicles being recalled in the US, but that includes some overlap because the Yaris is being repaired for multiple faults. According to The Detroit News, there are 2.36 million affected models in all of north North America, 1.09 million in Japan and 810,000 in Europe, plus smaller numbers in other regions.
Among the vehicles recalled in the US are 1.3 million units of the 2009-2010 Corolla, Matrix and Tacoma, the 2008-2010 Highlander, the 2006-2008 Rav4 and 2006-2010 Yaris. The problem is that the driver's airbag module is attached via a spiral electrical cable. The connections on the cable can be damaged when the steering wheel is turned, which deactivates the airbag and causes the airbag warning light to come on. Toyota is replacing the cable with an improved part, but it's still making preparations to begin the repair. The company is sending affected owners notifications in the mail. According to The Detroit News, an unspecified number of Pontiac Vibe vehicles are also included in this recall because it shares the part with the Matrix.

Total auto recalls already on record pace in 2014

Tue, 08 Apr 2014 18:30:00 EST

If you've noticed that there have been more recalls than usual this year, you may be on to something. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the US market is on pace to break a record for recalls. In 2013, 22 million cars were recalled. We're only a third of the way through 2014, though, and we've already halved that figure, with 11 million units recalled. That's wild.
Considering the past few months, it shouldn't be a surprise that General Motors is leading the charge, with six million of the 11 million units recalled coming from one of the General's four brands. Between truck recalls, CUV recalls and the ignition switch recall, 2014 hasn't been a great year for GM.
Other recall leaders include Nissan (one million Sentra and Altima sedans), Honda (900,000 Odyssey minivans), Toyota (over one million units in a few recalls), Volkswagen (150,000 Passat sedans), Chrysler (644,000 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs) and most recently, Ford (434,000 units, the bulk of which were early Ford Escape CUVs). So while it's been a bad year for GM so far, its competitors aren't doing too well, either.

Jay Leno gets behind the curtain on the design of the Toyota FT-1 concept

Mon, 07 Apr 2014 19:58:00 EST

Hinting at the future of Toyota performance vehicles, the FT-1 concept was one of the stars of the Detroit Auto Show this year. It even nabbed fourth place in our Editors' Choice list. While he's a few months behind the car's official reveal, Jay Leno managed to get the only existing concept of the sports coupe wheeled into his garage to take a closer look, and he's pretty impressed.
Leno speaks with Alex Shen and William Chergosky, the exterior and interior chief designers of the FT-1 respectively, to get a better idea of the inspirations behind the concept. Jay heaps high praise on it for mixing Italian and Japanese design and says he likes the look even more than the Lexus LFA. The coupe isn't a product of either country, though. It was penned at Toyota's CALTY Design Research center in Newport Beach, CA.
The designers go into the entire history of the FT-1, and Shen even admits that Toyota design lacks an emotional factor at the moment. It's a fascinating interview behind some of the little touches you might miss at first glance. Unfortunately, the model doesn't have the green light for production yet and may never get made. In any case, scroll down to watch Leno swoon over the coupe.

Vote to unionize Toyota Canada plant faces delay

Fri, 04 Apr 2014 16:28:00 EST

Volkswagen isn't the only automaker with high-profile unionization efforts afoot at one of its North American factories. Unifor, Canada's largest private-sector union, is attempting to organize Toyota's factories in Ontario, reports Reuters. A vote was originally set for next week, but Unifor has apparently found more workers eligible to vote, delaying the proceedings. It hasn't rescheduled the ballot yet, but claims there are 7,500 employees with the right to vote, with over 3,000 having already signed union cards.
Toyota is pushing against organizing, saying that workers already have a payment and benefits near the top of the industry, and noting that it has never laid off a permanent employee in Canada. Unifor has reportedly countered by saying that about a quarter of the workforce is operating under a temporary contract, which receives lower benefits.
The automaker has three factories in Ontario - two in Cambridge and one in Woodstock. To form a union, a majority of eligible employees must vote to join Unifor. If successful, they would be the first wholly owned Toyota plants in North America to be organized. Previous attempts to unionize the Japanese automaker's Canadian factories in 2001 and 2008 failed due to lack of support.