The Tacoma pickup truck is available in regular cab, Access Cab with rear-hinged half-doors and Double Cab with four front-hinged doors. Toyota redesigned and enlarged its smaller pickup truck for the 2005 model year, giving it a more powerful V-6, a higher towing capacity and a tighter turning radius.
The Tacoma is available in four-cylinder or V-6 form, both with rear- or four-wheel drive. Downhill Assist Control and Hill-start Assist Control are also available, as is a performance-oriented X-Runner model.
Beds range from 5 to 6 feet in length. All Tacomas have bed rails and adjustable tie-down cleats. A 115-volt power outlet for the cargo box is optional. A TRD Sport Package includes a sport suspension, 17-inch wheels and appearance upgrades.
Sitting an inch lower than other models, the X-Runner has 18-inch alloy wheels. Firmer and shorter springs, Bilstein shock absorbers and large-diameter stabilizer bars are used on the X-Runner. A limited-slip differential is standard.
Depending on the model, buyers can choose a front bench seat, bucket seats or sport seating. Access Cab and Double Cab models have tumble-flat rear seats. Standard equipment includes a four-speaker CD stereo and a tachometer. Well-heeled Tacomas include a JBL premium stereo with a six-CD changer, power windows, remote entry and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio controls.
Under the Hood
The Tacoma's base 2.7-liter four-cylinder is rated at 159 horsepower. Borrowed from the 4Runner, the available 4.0-liter V-6 produces 236 hp and 266 pounds-feet of torque. The four-cylinder teams with a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission, while the V-6 works with a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual. When properly equipped, a Tacoma can tow up to 6,500 pounds.
Antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist are standard. An electronic stability system is optional. Side-impact and side curtain airbags are optional in Double Cab models.
Energetic response is a bonus of the Tacoma's V-6 engine when it teams with a five-speed automatic transmission. This engine snarls during hard acceleration, but not in a distressing way.
When equipped with a TRD Sport Package, in particular, a Double Cab Long-Bed Tacoma 4x4 copes well with unpaved roads. The ride is undeniably taut and fairly stiff, though comparable to other small pickups.
Front occupants have ample space. The seats are snug, supportive and well-cushioned.
The performance-focused X-Runner doesn't provide much excitement; it's not very stimulating when the gas pedal is pushed hard. The Tacoma's notchy manual gearbox makes shifting gears more difficult than in some other trucks. In short, the X-Runner is more show than go, and it actually has a lighter steering feel than a regular four-wheel-drive Tacoma.