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Roseville, Calif. – There’s no hard sell necessary when it comes to the Toyota Tacoma. The popular midsize truck has been a big seller for years and there’s no reason to believe that trend won’t continue thanks to the completely redesigned 2016 model.

Toyota enjoys huge sales numbers in the U.S., where reportedly half the midsize trucks sold are Tacoma models. The Tacoma is offered in five trim levels (SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off Road and Limited) and
has two body styles – the crew cab and the extended cab. Only the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Nissan Frontier provide any competition for the Tacoma.

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma arrives with some positive aspects, like improved fuel efficiency, new exterior styling, better V6 engine, several interior changes, plus more available off-road performance.

Despite the sales and high approval levels, the Tacoma has its detractors. The V6 acceleration remains modest, the towing capacity has been criticized as lacking, and gas mileage is still an issue for people who expect more appealing numbers.

2016 Toyota Tacoma

  • Performance: 2.7-liter, four-cylinder, 159 horsepower; 3.5-liter, V6, 278 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 19-23 mpg; 17-24 mpg
  • Price: $23,300 to $37,820
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; corrosion 5 years/unlimited; roadside assistance 2 years/unlimited

Sporting a new front grille, the Tacoma has a little different look this year. The grille incorporated hex cuts in both the lower and upper corners, making it look similar to the Toyota Tundra. There is also a new taillight design with the Tacoma name stamped into the lower area of the tailgate, which has been altered for easier opening and closure.

Although lacking the overall off-road capability of larger trucks, several Tacoma models can successfully go off the beaten track where some fun awaits. The TRD Off-Road model with the automatic transmission now has the same Crawl Control system of the 4Runner and Land Cruiser. In Crawl Control, the system’s speed, acceleration and braking is controlled. All the driver needs to focus on is steering.

All 2016 Tacoma models have 9.4 inches of ground clearance. They also feature an integrated GoPro mount so owners can record their off-road adventures. The four-cylinder Tacoma can tow a maximum of 3,500 pounds and V6 models haul between 6,400 and 6,800 pounds.

The Tacoma returns the base engine, a 2.7-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Most truck owners likely prefer the 3.5-liter, V6 that has 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. Neither engine delivers strong acceleration, going from 0-60 mph. The V6 was locked at 8.5 seconds. However, the engine improvement has led to better gas mileage, plus a smoother and quieter ride than ever before.

Highlights for a revamped interior include better touchscreen interfaces and a lockable tailgate. The interior remains more about durability than luxury, but that’s expected in a truck. The front seats won’t be good for all drivers due to a low mounting position and lack of height adjustment. Headroom is limiting and the backseat in the crew cab will be comfortable for children only. That’s not a problem in the extended cab.

The redesign enhances the appeal for the 2016 Toyota Tacoma, so expect sales to be on the rise for this already desirable midsize truck. The changes should keep the Tacoma at the top for years to come.