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Roseville, Calif. – Toyota enjoys huge sales numbers in the U.S., where reportedly half the midsize trucks sold are Tacoma models. One of the popular choices in the Tacoma lineup is the TRD Off-Road model.

For more than two decades, the Tacoma has been a very popular alternative for shoppers who feel regular full-size trucks are just too big or too expensive. There’s no hard sell necessary when it comes to the 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.

Sporting a new front grille, the 2016 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.

The TRD Off-Road is one of five Tacoma trim levels (SR, SR5, TRD Sport) and the truck includes 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.

Car shoppers looking for some versatility should enjoy the TRD Off-Road. It has a rugged body trim, special 16-inch alloy wheels that will help absorb the bumps over rough pavement and dirt surfaces. The rugged truck comes with Bilstein shock absorbers and is also equipped with an electronic locking rear differential and the Crawl Control system, which supplies cruise control for off-roading between 1-5 mph. The Craw Control system is also available on the Toyota 4Runner and Land Cruiser.

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 (6,800 pounds) has been criticized as lacking, and gas mileage is still an issue for people who expect more appealing numbers.

2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD

  • Performance: 3.5-liter, V6, 278 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 17-24 mpg
  • Price: $34,000 to $37,030
  • 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.

The TRD Off-Road is a 3.5-liter, V6 that has produces 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. The engine fails to deliver strong acceleration, clocked at 8.3 seconds going from 0-60 mph. However, the engine improvement has led to better gas mileage (17-23 mpg), 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. The TRD Off-Road is not for everyone, but can deliver in many ways for people who want a solid truck with some versatility.

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