So how is it to drive? Just like what it is, a sport truck. It takes the bumps a little hard, the rear is easy to get squirrelly and the steering a bit vague. The strong engine and six-speed keeps driving interesting and the upgraded suspension and tires keep things firmly planted in the corners. That's it in a nutshell.
Underneath it is easy to see the bracing that Toyota calls the ?X-Brace?. Not just a clever name, the X-Brace crisscrosses two braces from the rear leaf springs to the last chassis cross member to create less flex. Toyota states a lateral acceleration of 0.9 Gs. To help in those left-right transitions so the truck doesn?t lean too much the rear stabilizer bar has been beefed up to 30-mm. You have to push the truck hard to get body roll. Underneath you can also see the full-size spare with the same alloy wheel that is used on the X-Runner. Nice.
Firmer bushings hold specially tuned Bilstein shocks that keep the ride firm, but not too firm as to cause complaints from passengers. Work was also performed on the leaf springs to allow for a stiffer ride but allow payload to not upset the ride of the truck. I did not pack the truck up with anything more than a few flats of flowers so I didn?t get to test that claim.
Toyota did add a separate diagonal brace to enhance steering feel from the more pedestrian Tacomas, but the steering wheel still feels disconnected with the road. There isn?t enough feedback to evoke confidence right away with new drivers in the turns. It takes some getting used to. Not a game breaker, but definitely something that Toyota needs to work on.
There are no complaints with the powertrain. The engine feels very competent and works well with the six-speed to keep the power sweet spot. The extra torque allows quick work of launching the truck. The limited slip differential used in the X-Runner is always a welcomed addition for any vehicle where you?re looking for more traction. The exhaust note does intrude into the cabin, but it is tuned more for the street-scene and announces the truck almost as much as the color and body-kit does.
I did get one ?Hey nice truck? in the parking lot yesterday and haven?t run into a Tacoma X-Runner on the road yet. I?ll have to agree that the truck does make a statement. I have one weekend with the truck and will come back on Monday for a wrap-up.