$19,755 - $33,000

2016 Toyota Tacoma Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Toyota Tacoma was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 8.3

Most reviewers write that the 2016 Toyota Tacoma delivers agreeable performance, with acceptable ride comfort, strong brakes and plenty of power from its available V6 engine. They also praise the TRD Off-Road model for its ability to tackle tough terrain.

  • "On road, the new Tacoma in any grade is quieter and easier going than previous versions. The ride motions are better controlled, the V-6 significantly more subdued, and the steering better mannered if not particularly communicative. This isn't a sports car and it doesn't pretend to be." -- Car and Driver
  • "We first hopped into a V6-powered TRD Off-Road 4x4 Double Cab with the new six-speed automatic because it just may become the most popular 2016 Tacoma combination. It's a better driver in almost every way." -- Edmunds
  • "Changes to the suspension plus the tweaks to the frame make the 2016 Tacoma feel more planted and more stable on-road. Handling feels better, and the ride is comfortable and compliant." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Now structurally more rigid and better sealed against the elements and noise, the Tacoma conveys a much greater sense of solidity and refinement on the road." -- Motor Trend

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 Tacoma has a standard 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. An optional 3.5-liter V6 produces 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. Four-cylinder models have either a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic, while V6 models get a six-speed manual or automatic. A rear-wheel drive, four-cylinder Tacoma with the automatic transmission returns an EPA-estimated 19/23 mpg city/highway, which bests the rating of the Nissan Frontier but comes up slightly short compared with the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon.

Most auto journalists have only tested V6-powered 2016 Tacomas, and they generally agree that they have ample power. Even though the V6 is more powerful than the Tacoma's previous V6, reviewers disagree on whether the bump in power is noticeable. Some critics say the automatic transmission occasionally has trouble finding the right gear when more power is needed.

  • "Meanwhile, the 2.7-liter four has limped into this program intact. That means 159 rather raucous horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque at 3800 rpm. Four-cylinder engines don't get much respect in this truck class, and adding insult to insult, the only manual transmission available with the four is a five-speed while the V-6 can be had with a new six-speed." -- Car and Driver
  • The V6 is a smooth operator, but it's not going to bowl you over with raw power. The six-speed auto handles shifting duties just fine, but it also tends to 'hunt' for lower gears when you stab the gas." -- Left Lane News
  • "The new V6 is smooth, pulls strongly to redline and sounds much sweeter. Move the cool console shifter over to "sport" and it locks out fifth and sixth gear and really wakes up the trans. We don't have hard acceleration times, but the new Tacoma feels noticeably quicker than the old one." -- AutoWeek
  • The new 3.5-liter V6 feels stout and provides plenty of punch, but the 42-hp bump isn't as noticeable as we expected. Perhaps that's because the torque output hasn't budged. Well, it has changed, but only by 1 lb-ft - and in the wrong direction." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma comes with standard rear-wheel drive or optional four-wheel drive. Most reviewers find that the Tacoma has good ride comfort, but others agree that, as with most trucks, the ride feels unsettled over imperfect pavement. Test drivers write that the brakes provide ample stopping power and the steering is well-weighted.

  • The ride is good on smooth pavement, acceptable on rough pavement, and downright punishing on potholed roads, with little difference noted in 2WD and 4WD models, and Access and Double Cabs." -- Automobile Magazine
  • Regardless of those drums, the truck's braking power felt acceptable on our drive." -- AutoWeek
  • "Body roll is gradual and restrained, and there's an overall coordination that makes the trip to the trailhead enjoyable. Best perhaps is the steering, which offers up a steady sense of direction, with effort that builds up smoothly and returns the wheel to center accurately as we bend in and out of turns." -- Edmunds
  • "Handling feels better, and the ride is comfortable and compliant. The brakes, still discs in front and drums in the rear, use an all-new braking system that has a confident and linear feel." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "On everyday roads the Tacoma rides like a typical truck. Thanks to its separate frame and solid axle rear end, the Tacoma tends to bounce over road surfaces, even ones that appear to be fairly smooth. Your average pickup truck buyer probably won't mind the Tacoma's ride, but someone switching from something like a car-based crossover might be in for a minor shock." -- Left Lane News

Towing and Hauling

When properly equipped, the 2016 Tacoma can tow up to 6,800 pounds and haul up to 1,620 pounds.

Off-Roading

Four-wheel drive TRD Off-Road models come equipped with Bilstein off-road-tuned shock absorbers, and those with an automatic transmission are available with a Multi-Terrain Select system that offers different driving modes for varying types of terrain. Test drivers agree that the Tacoma TRD Off-Road is very capable beyond the pavement, adding that the various off-roading aids such as crawl control and the Multi-Terrain Select system contribute to its off-road prowess.

  • "Cool new optional features, such as Crawl Control, works with the 2-speed transfer case to make for fun forays into the backcountry. With this, you set the speed (always low), and the system controls engine and brake torque at each wheel. You don't touch the throttle or brake; Crawl Control takes care of it for you while you focus on steering. We used it on steep grades, both up- and downhill, and it worked beautifully." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "As you can see, the 2016 Toyota Tacoma proved plenty capable of anything I was able to throw at it, and the Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control system worked as advertised." -- Autoblog
  • "We were able to test out the Tacoma TRD Off-Road's off-road chops across a number of different obstacles and came away thoroughly impressed." -- Left Lane News

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