With the mid-size truck segment enjoying a new resurgence driven by consumer confidence, and emerging demand for smaller pickup trucks that fit in a garage; are loaded up with amenities and convenience features; and are both on road refined and off-road capable plus affordable ($20 -$40,000) – the new 2016 Toyota Tacoma line-up is arriving at just the right time.
Toyota introduced us to their tougher and more capable line-up of mid-size Tacoma pickup trucks a couple of weeks back giving us a full day’s drive of their new rugged trail running TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road plus an, all-new, top-of-the-line premium Limited in the hills beneath majestic Mount Rainier in the Northwest.
Going out to Seattle to drive the new Tacoma, we were pretty certain the new Tacoma would be a better trail hauler and rock crawler than ever before, but could they create a version that delivered a more refined approach to roaming the outdoors?
They have and the new Tacoma Limited is it.
2016 Tacoma Limited
The 2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited is available as a Double Cab only and comes with a choice of a 4×2 or a 4×4 drive train. It is well powered by the all-new 3.5L Direct Injection, Atkinson cycle V6 engine which generates 278 horsepower (42 more than prior V6) with 265 lb.-ft. of torque. The new V6 is mated to an also new six-speed Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission with Intelligence (ECT-i) that has been especially calibrated for the new engine. The power train is fuel economy rated (4×4) at 18/23 mpg city/highway with a combined 20 mpg. With its fuel capacity of just over 21 gallons, the Limited 4×4 has a range of around 420 miles.
The Limited is equipped with the short 5-foot cargo bed that is made of a new and stronger sheet-molded composite and fitted with an integrated deck rail utility system with four adjustable tie-down cleats. The deck bed features a 120V/400W power outlet for work or recreational convenience. A new lockable tailgate, stamped with the word “TACOMA”, incorporates an integrated spoiler and features a new rotary damper for easy lowering.
Tacoma Limited runs on stylish 18-inch Polished Alloy Wheels clad with Michelin Defender P265/60R18 LTX M/S2 tires for sure-footed and quiet performance on both highway and country roads.
Some of the styling elements and convenience features for the new Tacoma include Projector Beam Headlights, Daytime Running Lights and Integrated Fog Lights. Other features are 4.2-inch Multi-Informational Color Display in the IP, Qi-compatible wireless device charging, Tire Pressure Monitoring, Rear Parking Assist Monitor, Rear Camera with Integrated Display and Hill Start Assist.
The Limited upgrades (or adds) elements like a Chrome Bezel on the Integrated Fog Lights, a Charcoal Grille with polished finish and Chrome Surround, Chrome Power Outside Mirrors with Turn Signal Indicators, Chrome Handles and Body-Color Keyed Overfenders and Rear Bumper.
Refinement and Convenience in Limited
For driver and passengers, the Limited provides refinement to the drive experience staring with a Powered Tilt/Slide Moonroof standard. The driver and front passenger bucket seating is upgraded with supple Hickory Brown leather trim that is also used very nicely throughout the cabin and combined with soft-wrapped trim and metallic accents for a more refined and polished look.
Climate Control in the Limited is upgraded to Dual Zone with individual settings for driver and passenger. Other features include Smart Key System with Push-Button Start, Heated Front Seats, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Automatic Headlamps.
Also included standard on Limited is the Entune Premium JBL Audio with In-Vehicle Navigation, powered by an 8-channel and 440-Watt Amplifier. It features six-speakers and Subwoofer and a 7-inch high resolution split-screen color display. In addition to the Entune App Suite, the system features AM/FM and HD Radio with HD Traffic and Weather overlay, SirusXM and Siri Eyes Free.
We would be remiss if we did not mention the seriously smooth and quiet ride of the new Tacoma. Toyota engineers made noise and vibration reduction a key focus of the new truck and the Limited delivers with new materials, sound deadening elements and aerodynamic design features.
Our drive test Tacoma Limited was in the (new for 2016) Blazing Blue Pearl. Other exterior colors include Super White, Silver Metallic, Magnetic Gray Metallic Black and Barcelona Red plus two others new for 2016, Inferno and Quicksand.
Limited 4×4 as an Off-Roader
The Tacoma Limited 4×4 is still a very capable off-roader even with the more premium amenities and upgraded convenience features found on it starting with a Part-Time Electronically Controlled Transfer Case and Automatic Limited Slip Differential that enables four wheel driving when needed (or wanted).
For off-road, notably, the Limited 4×4 (and 4×2) has the same 9.4-inch ground clearance for navigating rough terrain as the TRD Off-Road. With Approach, Departure and Breakover angles of 29, 23.5 and 21 degrees respectively, the Limited easily traverses obstacles as it roams backroads and hills off-road. And, for that occasional sharp rock or stump, it is also equipped with the same skid plate protection for engine and front suspension as the TRD Off-Road. Take it just about anywhere you want, it will get you there.
No, the Limited 4×4 or 4×2 is not a rock crawler nor across-country-rover like the TRD-Off-Road with its Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) or Crawl Control (CRAWL), but then it does not need to be for those who prefer a more refined combination of on and off-road performance to just brute rugged trail capability.
The MSRP for the Limited 4×2 is $34,475 with the 4×4 is priced at $37,820. There are no packages for the Limited. It includes as standard nearly all of the package elements from the other models.
Completing your Limited
As we noted, our 2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited 4×4 came complete with everything you need for comfortable and convenient around town driving, going dancing or to Sunday meetings in style and running family and friends to the mountains or beaches for some serious outdoor fun – all for just $38,720 including prep and handling.
There are two optional accessories that we would have added to make our test Limited even better.
For that serious outdoor fun, you may have a couple of watercraft or snowmobiles you want to bring along. No problem for the new Tacoma Limited. Add the V6 Tow Package for $650. The package includes the Class IV receiver hitch, transmission and engine oil coolers, 130-amp alternator, 4 and 7 pin connector with converter and Trailer Sway Control.
To safely and securely stow the extra gear a family or group of friends needs on an outdoor adventure, get the new Tri-Fold Hard Tonneau Cover (lockable) for another $650. With the lockable tailgate, your gear is both dry and safe until you need it.
Adding these two optional items, the price of our test 2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited 4×4 tops out at $40,021.
Now you are set. With the Tacoma Limited (4×4 or 4×2) you get a powerfully capable mid-size truck that easily tackles mud and rock all day and then cleans up to go dancing in the evening – for a lot less money than a comparable full-size truck, plus it fits in the garage.