2016 Toyota Tacoma: What We Don't Like

Toyota Tacoma Limited 22 II

It's clear that Toyota has done a solid job of improving just about every aspect of the midsize 2016 Tacoma when compared to the long-neglected previous generation. In fact, it's been 10 years since this pickup truck has had anything more than a styling refresh. But what motivation did Toyota have? The Tacoma has been the dominant player in an anemic segment, that is until GM took a huge gamble and built a dedicated plant to produce two new midsize pickups. However, even with all the improvements to the new 2016 Tacoma, there are some issues we're surprised still exist.

 

Door-Slam Still Sounds 'Tinny'

Admittedly, this is typical of just about every small vehicle sold on the planet. Thinner body materials in the doors of smaller pickups will not sound as solid as the doors of a bigger, heavier truck. Still, this is the place where the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon stand head and shoulders above Nissan and Toyota. We should note that this "tinny" sound does not necessarily affect crash- or crush-test results.

 

Still Has Drum Brakes

Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road 39 Drum II

Toyota seems entrenched on this one. Several engineers spent a good amount of time explaining how the performance they're getting out of the simpler drum-brake design allowed them to put time, effort and money into other new features that really needed the upgrades. Still, the drum brakes did not look good during the Crawl Control sand exhibition.

 

No TRD Pro Announced Yet

This definitely falls under the category of teasing. Chalk it up to a good marketing strategy to include a strong four-wheel-drive package on an aging platform — that's what we got last year when the TRD Pro (4x4 shocks, springs, wheels, tires, and style) was introduced for the final year of the previous-gen Tacoma. Considering how good the Crawl Control Multi-Terrain System is on the 2016 model, the new TRD Pro better be amazing when it debuts.

 

New V-6 Engine Will Take Getting Used To

Toyota Tacoma SR5 18 II

The power characteristics of the new Atkinson-cycle engine, in combination with the all-new super-smart six-speed transmission, will take some getting used to. Yes, it is quite advanced and will provide power and better fuel economy, but investing in this type of high-performance engine may be exactly the wrong engine for a work-duty load hauler. We'll have to see how the engine handles customer abuse before making our final assessment.

 

Steering Feels Numb and Slow

We know dialing in steering feel and responsiveness is more art than science (and we know Toyota is a company better at science than art), but we were hoping for a better on-center feel from the new truck. Although better on the 4x4 Access Cab model we drove, the Double Cab longbed felt numb during most of our drive on two-lane mountain highways; it also offered a horrible turning circle.

 

Needs Better Tire Choices

Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road 21 II

We have strong praise for the off-roading abilities of both the standard 4x4 setup as well as the conquer-any-mountain Tacoma TRD Off Road trim, but the tire choices — especially for the TRD versions — seem horribly inadequate for dealing with anything serious. We understand that when tire-choice trade-offs need to be made, they'll likely skew toward less aggressive treads and harder compounds, but Toyota certainly could have offered more than several types of all-season tires.

 

Weight Savings Where It Counts

Although there was some discussion about the added use of high-strength steel in the frame and ultra-high-strength steel in body panels, it did not seem like the issue was too important to the engineers. The gross vehicle weight rating is up slightly, and payload and towing capacities are up too, but the Colorado feels, sounds and looks more solid, and both its gas engines provide more power. Being lighter doesn't mean you have to go smaller with your powertrains.

Manufacturer images

 

Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport 41 II

 

Comments

- Drum brakes - agreed.

- Tinny door sounds?
That has more to do with deliberate engineering of the acoustics. Car companies have been known to tune the doors and latches to sound "beefy" or more solid.

- No TRD Pro -
WTF? that is reaching. GM doesn't have the ZR2 out either.

- Steering feels numb and slow. I'll take your word for it on that one.

- Tire choices.
Name a company that puts good tires on their trucks. Raptor and Power Wagon are the only real exceptions. All of the full sizers tend to go with Wrangler SR-A's. Quiet and smooth on the road but are crappy offroad and don't last.

- Weight savings where it counts? is the Tacoma heavier than the Colorado?

I am happy that they upgraded interiors, stiffened the frame, and increased capacity.

I looked at both the 2015 Colorado and 2015 Tacoma and the Colorado definitely looks and feels more modern. The Tacoma did have better back seat ergonomics which is a huge positive for me.
GM's durability reputation versus Toyota's....... hhhhmmmmm.

I'd be inclined to buy the Tacoma over the Colorado if I downsized.

I think I know what you're talking about, there is a hollow sound when closing the door. My wife's 12 Highlander Limited has that hollow thud when closing the driver side door. We look closely when we closed it and we could see the door panel vibrate a little. We took it to the dealer for a scheduled maintenance and had them look at it, they said there's nothing wrong with it and sorry this is not a F150 and the Tacoma is much lighter. When I mention the Colorado sounds a lot better and more solid he has nothing to say. There are actual forum posts on this issue.

I think I know what you're talking about, there is a hollow sound when closing the door. My wife's 12 Highlander Limited has that hollow thud when closing the driver side door. We look closely when we closed it and we could see the door panel vibrate a little. We took it to the dealer for a scheduled maintenance and had them look at it, they said there's nothing wrong with it and sorry this is not a F150 and the Tacoma is much lighter. When I mention the Colorado sounds a lot better and more solid he has nothing to say. There are actual forum posts on this issue.

Though I understand you feelings about the engine, I think it's a bit hyperbolic to say "work duty load hauler."

Sure, there are people using it as a work hauler, but the terminex contract Toyota won after the discontinuation of the Ranger isn't exactly "heavy duty."

Tacomas, like the Chevy twins, are lifestyle vehicles and the off-roading is just an extension of that.

The minute we all stop pretending we are using our Tacomas to clean up rock quarries might be the exact instant Toyota starts taking the demands of the American consumer seriously. Until then, they will just nod and make what we need while laughing at the things we say we want.

@Lou,

Is that all you care about is drum brakes?

No wonder the Tacoma was killing the Ranger in sales!

I am more experienced than you when it comes to braking and off-roading but I will say this Tacoma can compete against the larger and heavier disc brakes and hold its own...

Do not underestimate smaller and lighter pickups!

Notice Toyota works on what matters...

A true off-road vehicle has a slight nose higher than rear look to improve approach angles and keep the nose up at speed off-road and not digging or getting that kick from the rear while in the seat feel...

So this Tacoma is a step in the right direction compared to those tanks...

I agree with Lou_BC, why would you expect a TRD version straight away after the Colorado has to sit sometime to get it's Off Road package?

F-off road king - I actually like the Tacoma. You must have missed the part where i said, "I'd be inclined to buy the Tacoma over the Colorado if I downsized."

A TRD Pro in the first model year doesn't happen. We weren't critical of Ford for not having a Raptor right away because it didn't make sense that they would.

The drum brakes are just a budget thing that should have been fixed but it wasn't at the highest priority to Toyota as some other features so they kicked the can down the road.

The tires I will say okay on. The only reason I say okay on that issue is because Toyota made a big deal about the Tundra's TRD Package tires https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdaIKLwoUI8. I'm guessing Mark Williams was expecting the same. Is it a huge deal probably not although I have never tested those Tundra TRD Package tires and he has.

@Lou @PUTC the tire discussion is really easy--it's about money.

If I was selling a house, I would NEVER try to guess what kind of kitchen decor the NEXT owner's wife wants. Let them pick out the decor they want! They are going to change it anyway!

Same with tires.

I can't try to guess which brand or type of tire the buyer wants, but I can calculate the ratio of driving (highway VS off road) that my customers do, and I bet you that Toyota knows that even the guys who buy tricked out trucks with off road packages still do at least 90 percent of their driving on pavement.

So, it's going to be the Wranglers and the Grabber OEM rubber for 90 percent of the trucks on the lot.

"missed the part where i said"


@Lou,

I guess I i missed the part where you're buying a Tacoma. You are not and have no plans to so I don't care about your inclination. You just want to take cheap shots at Tacoma buyers and you still know nothing about braking or real off-roading!

@ papa jim - companies put the tires on their trucks that give them enough life and ride quality to keep the public of their backs but primarily, they go on cost.

@F-off road king - I always keep my eyes on what is out their. The "pretend to be" oxi routine is funny/borderline pathetic.

a bunch of whining about nothing.

@Gomjabber
Haha you just made my day. Exactly what I was thinking.

This website is like Motor Trend magazine, if it ain't American, it can't be good. What a joke......no credibility. These issues they have are nothing more than slandering.

The Colorado will never compete off-road with this Tacoma.

The Colorado is mostly a street pickup, made for town while the Tacoma will get you to your remote destination with ease...

I agree with Oxi.

I would still be more inclined to buy the Colorado/Canyon because it is a more modern truck, but I could easily live with a Tacoma or Frontier and I really am not into off roading.

The off-road ability of the Taco is overrated by Tacoma fans because they cannot compete on-road.

Here's the global shootout with the Tacoma/Hilux coming in 3rd.

http://special-reports.pickuptrucks.com/2012/08/global-pickup-shootout-off-road-performance.html

If the Toyota Hilux is better then the taco, and the Colorado (and Ranger) beat it off road, then we know who the new off road king is. LOL poor oxy will have to buy a chevy instead of a toyota incase the zombie apocalypse happens LOL!!

Think this update after 10 years is a slap in the face. The GM stuff is nothing special and is still ahead. As far offroad 4runnerer (4 whl disc), jeep (I call them sheep) or solid axled mid to small SUV with equal weight distribution is what I would go with, not a flipping pickup. As far as reliability ford and gm trucks pretty much dominate that list. The one Toyota that made top ten was a 4runner which built toyotas reliability rep. Don't understand toyota fans but I have always like the 4runners.

I disagree with Lou. Why would I buy an inferior Tacoma when I can buy a more updated Colorado at $10,000 off. Toyota's pricing is a slap in the face.

Does anyone know if the tonneau cover was used to get the epa mileage? I'm not sure if it was just speculation, but I would like to know how much of a difference it makes. Rear drums and seating position are the two things I don't like about the Tacoma, but I wouldn't buy any midsized truck anyway.

@CT,

Don't worry. Lou is just joshing you and wouldn't buy one.

He is just using the I would buy a Tacoma line so oxi cannot accuse him of being jealous and biased.

The only great thing about the Taco is the Rear drum brakes and that's it! The GM twins smoke it at every thing else and for a few bucks keeper to boot!

cheaper*

No diesel, no interest! I have my eyes on the Diesel Colorado (maybe ZR2) or the new Diesel Nissan Frontier. Atkinson jokes are not for my taste... I would buy tomorrow this Taco with a diesel engine, in fact I'm one of the few here who likes rear drum brakes. Trust me, I spent on my rear drums less than 10% that I spent on the front disk brakes on my little explorer sport trac (352,000 miles)

Toyota will never be the first with the perfect pickup truck. Impossible due to Toyota's conservative approach in it's commercial vehicle segment. Pay more for less.

Toyota do build good quality vehicles overall, but have also been no better than the other manufacturers with the concealment of significant vehicle issues.

This Taco is the best Toyota could do under the current regime of tariffs and protection offered to the US pickup market. It would of been much more expensive for Toyota to refit for the production of the superior Hilux.

This is a pity when manufacturers can't offer the best possible solutions available due to artificial restraints and barriers.

The Taco is a good vehicle, but I do believe the Colorado/Canyon are still in front. It's all well and good to talk about the off road prowess of these types of vehicles, but most never go off road and the most demanding 4 wheel driving they will see might be to take the kids on the beach or their grand parents farm.

I do know here the Holden Colorado is rated slightly better than the Hilux off road. I don't know if that is the case with the Taco. Remember one of those TRD Taco's are modified to improve it's off road ability. If a Colorado/Canyon had similar work done I'd bet they would just as good or even better.

On road is where people test drive, I have yet to see a car yard allow a person to take a vehicle off road for a test drive.

The Taco will play second fiddle in terms in a comparison to the Colorado/Canyon.

What you guys require is Ford and VW to bring over the Ranger and Amarok and then have Nissan bring over the new Navara/Frontier.

Then maybe a little more competition will allow for new vehicles more often. It seems the global pickups are no just getting refreshs like the US pickups do. A pickup design is now considered old when it's over 10 years.

In the end the Taco will be a good pickup, but not the best, it can't be, not with the little money Toyota invested.

If you are going to write an article about things you don't like, then publish it with the intention of having people read it, please give some reasons behind your opinions.

You don't like the way the door sounds or how the steering feels. That's fine.

You don't like drum brakes for some unspecified reason. Unless the reason is the way they look?

You don't like non-announcements about future products.

You don't like the new engine because it is new. Also you seem to think this truck is a work-duty load hauler for some reason.

You don't like the tires because you think they are inadequate based on no given evidence.

I don't even understand your point about weight. I think you're mad that the payload isn't higher enough because the engine is underpowered.

Please spare us listicles that have no actual content. I can go to buzzfeed for that crap.

@Big Al--Recently I have seen a lot of new Colorados. I saw a white base model a couple of days ago on my street. If I were buying a Colorado I would buy a silver base model because it would meet all of my needs and I prefer a manual transmission. I have not been off road in at least 10 years so off road prowess would be at the bottom of my list. When I lived on a farm I would drive in the fields in my 2 wheel drive Mighty Max that was slightly elevated with extra springs and heavy duty shocks which was in most cases all I needed. In the 14 years I lived on a farm the Mighty Max was what I drove and 200k miles I more than got my money out of it. I would have liked a 4x4 but I got by without one and didn't need one most of the time.

Jeff S,
Apparently the city where a guy (sort of part of the family) I know in NJ works in the public works area (water/sewage) are replacing their old Dakotas with diesel Colorado from what he said. He said the Dakotas are sh!tboxes and have been quite unreliable since they got them in several years ago.

They must have already placed their orders. I do expect many businesses and industries to take up the diesel Colorados.

I've been back from the US now for 3 weeks and I did notice far more Colorados than the aluminium F-150s. I even saw quite a few Canyons. But this is in the NE, not Texas or the Midwest.

Did Toyota finally add side window defrosters in to the dashboard? Kind of getting "Old School" turning the side vents towards the passenger & driver's side windows to clear them once they fog up. Rear disc brakes have to get replaced more often than rear drums because they wear faster.

Geese no rear discs? Even my bicycle has front and rear disc brakes

Have had drums recently on newer vehicles, 2011 Silverado, brake feel was great. My Honda Civic LX has rear drums, they feel ok, not great but work.

Toyota is cocky, when you spend 30-40k for a vehicle it shouldn't have rear drums, how hard/expensive would it have been to pull discs/kit from the 4runner and put it on this truck, total Bullcrap.

Also this engine sounds weird, don't they know how to make a normal v6 with some good low down torque, the GM 3.6 and Chrysler 3.6, which is really a Mercedes Engine are both way better motors than this Akins Diet v6.

The tinny doors is fine as long as they don't rattle/buzz.

Lets see the crash tests too, Toyota has been slacking on this a lot in past few years on the car front.

F-150 2.7-liter EcoBoost has twice the HP, twice the torque and better EPA-estimated mileage than all-new 2016 Toyota Tacoma w/ 2.7L engine.

Scott, If Ford brought the Ranger here to the USA and it had the 2.7 V6 as an option, It would be the number one truck of the class and this coming from a new Colorado owner.

You can't fault them for their opinion and in recent years Toyota has not been doing the best "all new" redesigns with their trucks. I disagree with the tinny door sound. My nissan sounds solid when closing the doors. I noticed a rippling effect when closing the door on most newer cars. The worst being the f150. We had an 09 4runner that was solid. We traded for an 11 4runner and my God what a step back from the previous truck. I am not sure what Toyota is doing but they lost me until they start listening to what customers really want. The compnay that brought the first 8 speed transmission will be the last one to outfit their trucks with them.

I like drum brakes. Especially for parking on an incline with a heavy load. The little drum parking brakes integrated into disc brake setups never hold as well as full-sized drums. Drums also have less drag than disc setups. C'mon, Toyota isn't stupid, for a truck drums make sense. These are not sports cars.

Here's one, the Access (extended) cab has the center brake light that goes back to the 1994 T100/1995 Tacoma instead of the new unit with box lights that goes on the Double cab. Looks like the extended cab is aesthetically the same as before while the double got a slight revision (blacked B-pillar). I'm hoping those are just prototype errors.

The I4 engine carries over with two more gears on the auto and get worse fuel economy than the new V6, according to the reports. This engine should not be in the double cab at all. Four-cylinder engines are extended cab engines.

Also, Nathan and Andre from TFLTruck don't like the TRD Sport hood scoop because it's just decoration. Make it functional.

Those are just my personal nitpicks. Overall I like the Taco.

Tires: Bridgestone Dueler AT, Revo 2. Remarkably good tire for all-round driving both on-road and off. Not necessarily the best choice for either/or, but remarkably good none the less for a daily driver/toy.

@Chris Johnny
That Australian review is pretty dated now and in the end it did not test all the vehicles available. Still the Hilux is 3rd top selling vehicle with the Ford Ranger the 3rd best selling Pickup 5th overall.
New Hilux, Ranger, Mazda have not been released as yet. Triton has and the updated Ford not far behind with new Hilux to be released in October

Robert Ryan,
All the review I've read here generally has the Hilux down the bottom of the reviews in the off road department.

One word used by the reviewers quite often is agricultural in relation to the Hilux. It is still good off road, but no more reliable or capable. It just doesn't have as good or as many traction aids.

I do believe the Ranger/BT50 tended to take out the top gong in many of the tests. The Amarok does do okay, but that is mainly from it's on road performance.

It will be interesting to see if Toyota has actually produced a good Hilux. I'd bet Toyota will perform well, but not at the with the same level of capability as the newer utes have.

My guestimates has me believing that Toyota has 5-10 years left at being on top, or less if the new Hilux isn't a leap forward.

Toyota will face the same issue Ford has with it's aluminium wonder truck. Many are expecting more from Toyota and it will not deliver enough. The Hilux will be a good pickup, but not on par with it's competition, similar to this Taco. And Toyota will expect the consumer to pay more for less. This can't last forever.

Really a 30k truck w no height adjustable drivers seat?
And how about an all wheel drive option like the 4 Runner that is mechanically identical to the Taco!
Who cares about rear drum brakes, how about the spongy pedal feel? When my 2009 Taco was new I complained to the dealer 3 times and was told it was normal? Really at 60k when i replaced the brake pads I flushed the fluid w new dot 4 fluid. Surprise!!!
The pedal was firm! Lastly hope you dialed in the ride. An empty Taco is one rough ride. Read the comments of people who road tested the TRD Pro Taco and it's smooth ride,
Come on Toyota get with it and listen to your customers!!!

Pickuptrucks.com = Whining Assholes

@Big Al--True and that is why increased competition is good. Toyota might not have even refreshed the Tacoma without the new Colorado/Canyon. Hopefully Nissan will improve the Frontier. The Tacoma is still a good truck but it would have been better if more significant changes would have been made.

As far as the brakes go, it comes down to stopping distance. What is it empty, what is it with a load in the bed, and what is it with a trailer attached. That's what really matters. On my older GMC Canyon, the drum brakes really affected all three of these.

Here's the key question regarding the whole discussion of drum brakes vs disc--Please tell me the name of a single 2015 sports car, luxury car or desirable SUV, that has drum brakes.

When was the last time you could buy a new BMW or Mercedes or Cadillac with drums? This is pure cheapo on Toyota's part.

My 2009 Silverado has drums and they have been to the shop numerous times to deal with driveability issues.

The discs in front you ask? They have been perfect. Any fool can replace pads on a set of disc brakes but dealing with the drums is like working on a wrist watch. UGH.

I cannot believe the crap I read from Toyota fan boys on this site trying to defend Toyota's lame decision about their newest compact trucks.

For you Chevy Lovers that keep bashing the Tacoma...buy a Chevy, get to know your Service Manager really well...invite him to your wedding and Thanksgiving Dinner.
I'll drive my Tacoma for the next 10-15 years...when I sell it, it will be worth three times what the Chevy is worth and I won't have lost 200 hours of my life sitting in the Service Department having it repaired.

That's funny, I have never spent 200 hours in a service department having my Chevy serviced even though I have had it almost 17 years. I doubt if the equivalent Toyota truck is worth 3 times what my S-10 is worth, maybe 1k but after 17 years most vehicles are not worth a whole lot and the value is based on condition. Anyway it is hard to put a price on any good reliable vehicle that gives you many years of service and that is paid for regardless of brand unless you are a fan boy. I don't have anything against Toyota but I don't think they have a monopoly on quality. The American based brands have for the most part caught up with Toyota and Honda and the South Koreans have the same or better quality that Toyota and Honda has. You cannot rest on a reputation forever which is what Toyota is doing. There is always a competitor that is just a little bit hungrier. Eventually the Chinese will be the leaders in autos, electronics, and etc.

I would rather have disc brakes on the rear but both my trucks have drum brakes. I would not rule out buying a Tacoma on having drum brakes on the rear but I would lien more toward the Colorado/Canyon because both are more modern and I have had good service out of my S-10 and Isuzu. In all honesty if I were buying a new truck I would drive all the midsize trucks before making a final decision and decide which was the best truck for my money.

Jeff S, it is nice to see an objective, mature reply on this forum. Most are fan-boy biased and silly.



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