Reviews

2015 Toyota Tacoma Walk Around

The Tacoma TRD Pro with its big black grille replaces the limited-edition Tacoma Baja, while using its beefed-up chassis and body, with black alloy bead-lock wheels and BF Goodrich LT265/70R16 All-Terrain KO tires. The ride height is raised 1.75 inches in front, using TRD springs with decreased rate for better control over rough terrain. The front suspension adds 0.75 inches of wheel travel, using Bilstein high-performance shocks with 18mm shaft (stock is 12mm), 60 mm pistons (stock is 32mm) and remote reservoirs to increase oil capacity and run cooler. The rear shocks are 46mm-piston Bilsteins (stock 30) also with reservoirs, with TRD springs that add 1.5 inches to wheel travel.

The TRD Pro comes in black, white, or its own color, a burnt orange called Inferno. A TRD cat-back exhaust makes the 4.0-liter V6 growl, and adds 5 to 8 wheel horsepower.

The SR Package is more sporty than rugged. It comes monochrome, with bumpers, grille surround, fender flares, door handles and mirrors all one color, with smoked headlight lenses and black Baja wheels.

The Tacoma is clearly a Toyota truck, looking tough without going over the top like American trucks we might mention. A thick arch over the grille and a big air opening under it, makes the truck look like a menacing fish. Fog lights flare out from the fish mouth.

Length changes everything, when it comes to looking menacing. Access Cab and Double Cab short-bed models are 208.1 inches long on a 127.4-inch wheelbase, while Double Cab long-bed models are 221.3 inches overall on a 140.6-inch wheelbase. All models have 6-foot beds except the Double Cab short-bed with its 5-foot bed.

Access Cabs feature large dual rear auxiliary doors, not good for people but very good for gear. Double Cabs have long, conventionally hinged rear doors that open 80 degrees for ease of entry or loading gear. Double Cabs offer the people-carrying comfort of a sport-utility. Long-bed Double Cabs can carry more stuff but are unwieldy in tight places.

Tacoma comes with a composite inner bed, as durable as steel; it offers two-tier loading and four tie-down cleats on rails, that accept cross bars, a fork-mount bike rack, and other Genuine Toyota Accessories.

Interior

The Toyota Tacoma cabin is comfortable in a familiar kind of way. There’s no guessing where things are, it all makes sense, no distraction from switchgear or controls trying to be clever or cute. The instrument panel and display is simple and clean, including the icons. The information display between the speedo and tach is tidy. The leather-wrapped steering wheel has car-like styling but feels great to grip, although when you turn the wheel sharply, your right elbow might hit the big padded center armrest, where the cupholders live.

The climate and audio controls are in a blacked-out panel (for contrast) in a slightly bulging center stack. Big rotary knobs make it easy to adjust cabin temperature even with gloves on. The radio in the upper center stack is easy to operate. CDs sound good through the JBL speakers. We were totally thrilled with the air conditioning, which blasts real cold real fast.

Models with automatic transmissions come with a foot-operated parking brake, while the manual transmission models use a pull-out handbrake, a blast from the past we could do without.

There’s black trim on the switch bezels and door panels, with carbon touches on the dash in the TRD Pro, which also has its own TRD-badged shift knob and floor mats.

We loved the fit of the seats in the TRD Pro, the same seats in the Sport Package, except the Pro’s are water resistant. Sturdy fabric with excellent bolstering and driver lumbar support. An overhead console includes a compass and outside temperature gauge.

The driver’s seat is height-adjustable, delivering an excellent seating position for women; there’s a good view of the Tacoma’s nose and corners. Big mirrors offer a good view to the rear. Excellent grab handles on both A-pillars make it easy to climb in and out.

On models without sport seats, the front passenger seatback flips down to form a tray table.

The rear seats in the Double Cab are particularly comfortable for the class, offering good leg and shoulder room and decent headroom. The seatback is angled back slightly for comfort. A younger person should be okay to ride across the state in the back seat of a Tacoma Double Cab, and even adults won’t complain too much on short trips. The rear windows go all the way down.

Flip the 60/40 seat bottoms forward and fold the backs down to form a flat cargo bay inside. It takes two hands and you have to first remove the headrests, but at least the space is there. The hard backs of the seats make a sturdy cargo floor, good place for a dog, as long as he can jump to get there.

The Access Cab has kid-sized rear seats, with the access coming only on the passenger side. Our kids are 5′ 0 and 5′ 5 and they were okay for a short ride but said they would rather have ridden in the bed with the dog.

The Standard audio system is AM/FM with single-disc CD and Bluetooth, using a 6.1-inch touch-screen display the view from the optional backup camera is now also displayed, rather than in the rear-view mirror as before.. Toyota’s Entune is standard. . Entune is a media-savvy technology that links with your smart phone and allows you to access its apps through the Tacoma’s audio controls. Entune’s features are operated using the vehicle’s controls or, for some services, by voice recognition. Entune requires no subscription.

Access Cabs and Double Cabs can upgrade to Entune Audio Plus ($680), which adds HD Radio with iTunes tagging, SiriusXM, and HD Traffic and Weather (90 day trial subscription); or to Entune Premium Audio ($730), with navigation plus the Entune App Suite, which includes Bing, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, Pandora, Yelp and Facebook Places; plus real-time traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks.

V6-powered Double Cabs can opt for the Entune Premium setup plus a JBL GreenEdge audio system with seven speakers ($2,330). GreenEdge technology helps reduce fuel consumption by lowering the electric power demand on the vehicle.

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