The Toyota Tacoma, the best-selling compact pickup truck in North America since 2005, offers two new packages for 2011 based on a concept truck first shown at the 2009 Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) Show. The T|X and T|X Pro packages, available in conjunction with the Off-Road Package, add Toyota Racing Development (TRD) accessories in a unique combination at a special value price.
While other manufacturers are scaling back on or even abandoning the compact pickup segment, Toyota is bolstering its position as the clear leader, adding more value and offering new model variations tailored to the market. Three low-volume models have been discontinued to accommodate the addition of five four-cylinder models in response to a growing focus on fuel economy and cost of operation. All Tacoma grades feature new grille trim.
Select Tacoma models have additional standard equipment for 2011. Air conditioning is now standard on all Regular Cab models. Tacoma’s equipped with the available six-disc CD changer now come with an integrated satellite radio receiver (subscription required). A new Convenience Extra Value Package for Double Cab models adds cruise control, a sliding rear window with privacy glass, remote keyless entry and steering wheel audio controls.
T|X Packages for the Hardcore Pickup Fan
Available on a limited basis, the new T|X and T|X Pro Packages translate a sporty SEMA concept into an option the Tacoma V6 Access Cab or V6 Double Cab can add in conjunction with the TRD Off-Road Package. The extra dose of performance makes it the most capable off-road Tacoma in the Toyota lineup. T|X and T|X Pro Packages will be available on both PreRunner and 4×4 models.
The T|X Package gives the Tacoma a semi-menacing look and additional sportiness with TRD 16-inch black alloy bead-lock wheels and 265/70R16 BF Goodrich Rugged Trail tires. Black tube side steps, a stainless steel exhaust tip and unique exterior graphics provide the T|X the aesthetics of a custom truck, but at a savings compared to the package items if ordered as separate options.
The T|X Pro is the performance oriented package with a TRD cat-back performance exhaust system that gives the V6 a throatier sound and a bit more power. The T|X Pro Package also represents a savings versus the package contents added as separate accessories, especially considering that they are covered under Toyota’s standard three year/36K mile comprehensive vehicle limited warranty and can be financed.
The TRD Off-Road Package underlying both T|X editions provides a carefully tuned balance of off-road performance and on-road handling. Chassis modifications include an electronic locking rear differential, progressive-rate front springs, specially tuned Bilstein shock absorbers, a 28-mm front stabilizer bar and B.F. Goodrich Rugged Trail tires. Fog lamps top off the package for a tough, sporty appearance. Both the TRD Off-Road Package and TRD Sport Package (detailed on page 5) have a 400W/115V powerpoint in the bed; sport seats with adjustable lumbar support and unique fabric; and an overhead console with a compass and outside temperature display. Double Cab and Access Cab models also offer a backup monitor system.
New Four-Cylinder Models
Toyota has added five four-cylinder variants to the Tacoma line for 2011, expanding choices for customers seeking higher value and fuel economy. The five models include: Access Cab 4×2 PreRunner four-speed automatic; Double Cab 4×2 four-speed automatic; Double Cab 4×2 PreRunner four-speed automatic; Regular Cab 4×4 four-speed automatic; and Access Cab 4×4 four-speed automatic.
The 2011 Tacoma line offers two engines: a 2.7-liter Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) four-cylinder that produces 159 horsepower with 180 lb-ft. of torque and a 4.0-liter DOHC V6 that outputs 236 horsepower with 266 lb-ft. of torque. In both engines, variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) provides strong low-end and mid-range torque.
An Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence (ETCS-i) helps optimize performance and fuel economy. The V6 engine can be teamed with either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission. Four-cylinder models offer a choice between a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic transmission. When equipped with a V6 Tow Package Access Cab models boast a maximum tow capacity of 6,500 pounds.
X-Runner: A Unique 0.9-g Sport Truck
The Tacoma X-Runner performance truck, unique in the entire truck category, returns for 2011 and features the 4.0-liter V6 engine with a specially tuned chassis. Available exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission, the X-Runner can accelerate from zero-to-60 mph in less than seven seconds. Just as impressive, the Tacoma X-Runner can achieve lateral acceleration in excess of 0.9-g – comparable with many performance cars. The X-Runner’s Access Cab design incorporates a full body kit, a hood scoop and integrated fog lamps. The color-keyed monochromatic exterior comes in three colors – Barcelona Red, Black Sand Pearl and Speedway Blue.
To take performance even higher, TRD offers a 4.0-liter V6 supercharger kit capable of generating 304 horsepower and 334 lbs.-ft. of torque. (Also available for other Toyota V6 models.) The design uses Eaton Roots-type rotating components in a one-piece supercharger plenum/manifold casting. The supercharger is fully warranted for up to five years or 60,000 miles or the remainder of the powertrain warranty at the time of installation when installed by a Toyota dealer.
Capability, Handling and Ride
Tacoma offers some of the most sophisticated dynamic control technology in the segment. Standard on all Tacoma models is the Toyota Star Safety System™, which includes the anti-lock braking system (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRAC). An Automatic Limited-slip Differential (Auto-LSD), which uses brake intervention to help reduce tire slippage at the rear wheels, is standard on all Tacoma models.
The VSC system, which integrates TRAC, enhances traction on, or off-road, by helping to keep the vehicle on its intended course. VSC detects front-wheel slide and rear-wheel slide during cornering and attempts to control either condition with throttle intervention and/or by braking individual wheels. Auto-LSD employs the sensors and hardware to help provide the limited-slip effect on the rear wheels.
EBD optimizes brake pressure at each wheel independently for greater control under braking, especially when cornering. BA is designed to determine if the driver is attempting emergency braking. If the driver has not pressed firmly enough on the brake pedal to engage the ABS, the system supplements applied braking power until pedal pressure is released.
The TRD Off-Road Package on 4×4 V6 automatic models includes Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Assist Control (DAC). HAC operates by independently controlling the brakes at each wheel as needed to help prevent the vehicle from rolling backward or slipping sideways during a transition from a stopped position to climbing a grade. DAC uses engine braking to regulate downhill speed and independently control the brakes at each wheel to help improve directional control. DAC automatically de-activates if the driver depresses the brake or accelerator pedals, presses the DAC button, or shifts into neutral.
To serve the specific needs of the off-road enthusiast, TRD Off-Road Packages feature a locking rear differential that can be activated from an electronic switch mounted in the cab. This on-demand feature allows the power to be evenly distributed to both rear wheels to increase overall traction. An electronic rear differential is available on 4×4 models and the 4×2 PreRunner.
Every Tacoma model is standard equipped with three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, front seat-mounted side airbags, roll-sensing side curtain airbags (including a cutoff switch), and a front advanced dual-stage airbag system. A front passenger cutoff switch is standard on Access Cab models.
All Access and Double Cab models feature standard active headrests for the front seats. The active headrests move up and forward almost instantly in the event of certain rear-end collisions to help reduce the distance between the occupant’s head and the headrest.
Comfort and Convenience
The well-equipped 4×2 Regular Cab model has standard air conditioning; a full-size spare tire; AM/FM CD four-speaker sound system; tachometer; digital clock; two instrument panel powerpoints with a lighter; dome lamp; and rear mudguards. Regular Cab 4×4 models with the automatic transmission feature standard bucket seats for 2011.
Tacoma Access Cab and Double Cab models add more standard features, including power windows and door locks, bucket seats and a center console. In Double Cab models, power mirrors and driver seat adjustable lumbar support are also standard.
For both Access and Double Cab models, the available option combinations are built on five core packages. The SR5 Package bundles styling and comfort features, including color-keyed overfenders and front bumper, chrome grille surround and chrome rear bumper, intermittent wipers and upgraded interior features and trim, including a leather-wrapped steering wheel and automatic transmission shift lever.
Access Cab and Double Cab models offer upgraded audio systems with an AM/FM/in-dash six-disc CD changer, which for 2011 now include standard satellite radio (subscription required). Optional on Access Cab models is a system that features two audio speakers integrated into the ceiling and a 7.9-inch 65-watt subwoofer integrated between the rear jump seats, bringing the speaker count to seven. Double Cab models offer the JBL premium audio system with seven speakers, including an amplified subwoofer. Each of the audio upgrades feature steering wheel audio controls.
The TRD Sport Package is road-focused and features its own specific suspension tuning and lower-profile 265/65 R17 tires on 17-inch alloy wheels. This package also gives Tacoma a sporty street look with fog lamps, hood scoop, TRD graphics and color-keyed rear bumper, mirrors, grille surround and door handles.
The available dealer-installed TRD Big Brake system was developed by Toyota Technical Center and TRD engineers. Engineered to provide effective braking performance under sustained heavy use, the Big Brake system dramatically improves pedal feel, while substantially reducing brake fade from repeated high-speed stops. The system uses 13 x 1.25-inch semi-floating vented rotors with directional internal fins, forged aluminum four-piston fixed calipers, larger pads with high coefficient-of-friction material and braided steel lines.
The 2011 Tacoma configurations are based on three cab types: Regular Cab, Access Cab, and the four-door Double Cab. The rear doors on Access Cab models open to 80 degrees to give passengers easy ingress and egress.
With its big, bold headlights and grille, Tacoma projects a strong, rugged appearance. Flush rear surface glass and surface structures between the bumper sides and body give Tacoma a sophisticated, clean look. PreRunner and 4×4 models are distinguished by bold overfenders. PreRunner models combine the 4×2 drivetrain with the 4×4’s raised riding stance and styling. Double Cab models offer a roof rack system with crossbars that deploy from the roof rails.
Tacoma Regular Cab 4×2 models are built on a 109.4-inch wheelbase; PreRunner and 4×4 Regular Cab Tacomas are built on a 110-inch wheelbase; 4×2 Access Cab models (including PreRunner and 4×4) ride on a 127.4-inch wheelbase. The Tacoma Double Cab with the standard five-foot bed shares the 127.4-inch wheelbase, while the Double Cab long-bed models use a 140.6-inch wheelbase.
The Tacoma Regular Cab and Access Cab models feature a 73.5-inch-long bed. The Double Cab is available with a choice of a 60.3-inch bed or a 73.5-inch bed. The Tacoma’s composite inner bed is made from a sheet-molded compound (SMC) deck and tough and durable walls that are 10 percent lighter than steel. The bed deck features two-tier loading and an integrated deck rail utility with four standard adjustable tie-down cleats. The rails are compatible with Genuine Toyota Accessories, including cargo bed cross bars, a fork-mount bike rack, and diamond-plate storage boxes. An available 115V/400W powerpoint further extends the bed’s utility.
The Tacoma interior provides durability and comfort with high-grade fabric and generous standard equipment. Sound absorption material in the headliner and behind the rear seats, along with insulating carpeting, help to provide a quiet cabin. Exterior aerodynamic details help reduce wind noise.
A three-pod instrument gauge panel lends a sporty look in all models. The center console (standard on Access Cab and Double Cab models) flows into the instrument panel for a unified appearance. The console integrates three cupholders, two of which can accommodate extra-large containers.
All Tacoma models provide dual bottle holders in driver’s- and passenger’s-side doors. Audio controls are mounted high for easy access. Higher-grade models feature fabric-covered sun visors and an overhead console with map lights, as well as compartments for sunglasses and a garage door opener. Interior storage is maximized in Access Cab models with fold up rear seats and underseat storage. Double Cab models feature 60/40 split rear seats with adjustable headrests and under-seat storage.