2007 Tacoma New Car Test Drive
Compact pickups aren't what they used to be. For one thing, they're no longer compact. They are also more comfortable and more capable than ever before. Most of the major players have been completely re-engineered within the past three years. With so many good trucks available, this is a fine time to be shopping.
If one truck stands out from this generally outstanding pack, it's the Toyota Tacoma. It offers a comfortable cab, a refined ride, responsive handling, proven off-road capability, and quality construction. The Double Cab offers more rear-seat comfort than most of the competition, with enough room to rival a small sedan. Properly equipped V6 models are rated to tow up to 6,500 pounds.
For 2007, Tacoma comes with larger seats for enhanced interior comfort, while chrome-rimmed instruments and all-new audio head units brighten its two-tone instrument panel. Seats on some Access Cab models feature a walk-in memory function. And the optional Vehicle Stability Control now comes with an off switch.
Tacoma offers a wide choice of models, ranging from a $15,000 four-cylinder 2WD work truck to a $30,000 V6 4WD Double Cab Long Bed with all the candy. The base model is among the few regular-cab pickups still available today as the market has moved to extended-cab and crew cab styles. Tacoma PreRunner models may make you feel like Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart getting ready to win another Baja 1000, while the sporty X-Runner may make you feel like Rod Millen preparing to blast up Pike's Peak.
Toyota Tacoma comes in Regular Cab, Access Cab (extended cab) and Double Cab (crew cab) body styles. Regular and Access Cabs come with six-foot beds; Double Cab comes with the choice of a shorter five-foot bed or a standard-size six-footer.
The base engine is a 2.7-liter inline-4 mated to a five-speed manual transmission; a four-speed automatic is optional ($900). A 4.0-liter V6 is standard on Double Cabs and optional ($1555) on 4WD Access Cabs. It is paired with a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic ($880).
The entry-level Tacoma 2WD Regular Cab ($14,080) comes standard with a full-size spare tire, AM/FM/CD four-speaker sound system, tachometer, coolant temperature gauge, digital clock, two powerpoints, fuel warning light, tire-pressure monitor, service reminder indicator, dome lamp and rear mudguards. Air conditioning is optional. The Convenience Package for Regular Cab adds cruise control; a sliding rear window; remote keyless entry; and power windows, door locks and mirrors.
Access Cab ($17,520) and Double Cab ($24,535) models add more standard features, including air conditioning and functional consoles for the floor and ceiling. Double Cabs come with upgraded seat fabric plus power windows, mirrors and door locks. Access and Double Cabs also get upgraded audio systems, and offer an optional Deluxe AM/FM system with in-dash six-CD changer and six speakers ($200); additionally, Double Cabs offer JBL premium audio with seven speakers, including an amplified subwoofer ($560). Both audio upgrades feature steering wheel audio controls.
PreRunner trucks are 2WD models with the high stance and general appearance of a 4WD truck. (Desert racers use this style of truck to scout or pre-run a course before a race.) Regular Cab PreRunners ($14,950) must make do with four-cylinder power; the V6 is optional ($1455) on PreRunner Access Cabs ($18,280) and of course standard on Double Cabs ($22,340). Interestingly, buying a PreRunner is the only way you can get a 2WD Double Cab, as 4WD is standard on base Double Cabs. And all Double Cab PreRunners come with automatic transmission.
X-Runner ($23,845) features unique styling cues and a chassis tuned for on-road performance. Its name refers to the additional X-shaped brace added stiffen its frame against high cornering loads. X-Runner is offered only in the Access Cab style, and only with the V6 and six-speed manual.
Options for the Tacoma include a tow package ($650) for V6 models that includes 130-amp alternator, heavy-duty battery, transmission oil cooler, and a Class IV hitch with seven-pin connector.
The SR5 packages bundle styling and comfort features, including color-keyed overfenders and front bumper, chrome grille surround and chrome rear bumper, bucket seats with center console, intermittent wipers and upgraded interior features and trim.
The TRD Offroad Package ($3045-$3755) starts with SR5 Package 2 equipment and adds or substitutes BF Goodrich P265/70R16 OWL tires, locking rear differential, off-road suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers, engine skidplate, sport seats, overhead console with compass and outside temperature, heavy-duty front tow hook, 115v/400w deck-mounted powerpoint, and unique TRD graphics. TRD Offroad is available only on V6 models, but not on Double Cab Long Beds.
The TRD Sport Package ($3220-$3915) also starts with SR5 Package 2 and adds or substitutes P265/65R17 tires, limited-slip differential, sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers, sport seats, the same overhead console and power point, plus a hood scoop, lots of body-color trim, and its own graphics package. TRD Sport is available on any Tacoma V6.
Safety features that come on all models include anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution and Brake Assist. VSC electronic stability control is optional on all models and includes traction control, an automatic limited-slip differential; models with automatics include Hill-start Assi.
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