2016 Toyota Tacoma debuts at 2015 NAIAS

  • 13-Jan-2015 11:02 EST
2016 Tacoma .jpg

The 2016 Tacoma is inspired by a sleek desert race track, according to Toyota's Bill Fay. "The Tacoma is all about recreational action and athletic agility," said Fay. Four different wheel designs, ranging from 16-in to 18-in, will be offered on the 2016 Tacoma.

It’s been 10 years since an all-new Toyota Tacoma launched in the North American market.

“The 2016 Tacoma has a new Atkinson cycle V6 engine, two new transmissions, a new transfer case, a new rear differential, and a platform change,” Mike Sweers, Tacoma’s Chief Engineer said in an Automotive Engineering interview at the 2015 NAIAS.

Simply put: “This is a big re-do,” Sweers said.

Tacoma will again offer a four-cylinder engine, while a 3.5-L Atkinson cycle V6 with the automaker’s D-4S technology featuring both direct- and port-fuel injection that replaces the current Tacoma’s 4.0-L V6 engine. The new V6 can be mated to a new six-speed manual or a new six-speed automatic transmission. “In both transmissions we changed the bearing surfaces so that we have more efficiency,” Sweers said.

While the current Tacoma’s body shell is made of mild steel, the 2016 Tacoma uses high strength steel (HSS) and ultra HSS. “We have HSS through the whole body to reduce mass, and ultra HSS is in the side outer, A-pillar area, and roof reinforcements,” Sweers said. “We’ve increased our yield strength substantially.” The ultra HSS will be hot stamped in North America, a first for Toyota in North America.

The 2016 Tacoma frame uses HSS in the 440 to 590 range as a way to increase rigidity and overall strength.

Tacoma will be sold in five different grades, each with a unique personality and look. More than 40% of the Tacoma trucks sold are TRD models. The new Tacoma TRD Off-Road will feature a power outlet in the composite truck bed. And like all Tacoma models, a GoPro camera mount—located near the rearview mirror—is standard fare.

The Tacoma TRD also will offer the midsize segment’s first Multi-Terrain Select. Five different settings help address throttle position and braking as a driver-assist for tackling mud, rocks, sand, and other types of terrain.

“We’re also introducing Crawl Control, a technology that provides fully automatic acceleration and braking. All you do is steer. So if you want to climb a rock face or go down a rock face, the truck takes care of all that by itself. You can set the speed between 1 and 5 mph, and it will handle the braking and acceleration,” Sweers said. “The weekend warrior will look like a pro out there.”

The new Tacoma was designed and engineered in Michigan. Said Bill Fay, Toyota Group Vice President and General Manager, “It was tested and tuned at our proving grounds in Arizona and will be manufactured in our future home state of Texas as well as our plant in Baja California (Mexico).”

Tacoma has a more than 60% market share in its segment. “Even at the end of the current generation’s 10-year lifecycle, it manages to outsell its closest competitor 2:1,” said Fay.

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