2016 Toyota Tacoma SR5 Midsize 4×4 Truck (Review)

The Toyota Tacoma is a mid-size truck that is smaller than the full-size Toyota Tundra and has better maneuverability and ease of entry than its bigger sibling. Since its introduction in 1995, it has been one of the most popular mid-size pickup trucks in the world and is a great alternative to more expensive and bigger full-size models.

For 2016, the Tacoma has received some great updates, has been redesigned, and is now better than ever before with a more fuel efficient and quieter V-6 engine, more insulated cabin, an updated infotainment system, 6-speed automatic transmission, and 42 more horsepower.

The Tacoma is available in five trims- SR, SR5, TRD Off-Road, Limited, TRD Sport, and comes fitted with a 2.7-liter, 4-cylinder engine (SR and SR5 trims) that produces 159 horsepower and 180 lb. ft. of torque or a more powerful 3.5 liter V6 engine that produces 278 horsepower and 265 lb. ft. of torque. The 2.7-liter, 4-cylinder engine yields an estimated 19 mpg in the city/23 mpg on the highway for the 4×2 automatic, 19 mpg in the city/21 mpg on the highway for the 4×4 with manual transmission and 19 mpg in the city/22 mpg on the highway for the 4×4 automatic.  Both four-wheel-drive (FWD) and rear-wheel-drive (RWD) configurations are available and every 4×2 Tacoma comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the 4×4 trucks can be equipped with an automatic or a choice of two manual transmissions- 6-speed for the V6 or a 5-speed for the 4-cylinder engine. All 4-cylinder models can tow a maximum of 3,500 lbs., while V6 models can tow between 6,400-6,800 lbs, which is impressive.

Standard features for the base SR trim include- a rearview camera, 16-inch steel wheels, a sliding rear window, a cargo bed rail system with fixed and adjustable tie-downs, power windows/door locks/mirrors, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, air-conditioning, a GoPro windshield mount, Bluetooth connectivity, Siri Eyes, a 6.1-inch touch screen display, a 6-speaker sound system, CD player, auxiliary audio jack, voice controls, and USB port. An SR Convenience package is optional and adds cruise control, 16-inch black alloy wheels, and remote keyless entry.

The SR5 model is the one I tested in the Barcelona Red color and it comes equipped with all of the aforementioned standard features and adds the SR Convenience package features as well as chrome exterior accents, fog lights, , a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio/phone controls, variable intermittent wipers, a better trip computer, satellite radio, and rear privacy glass. An SR5 Appearance package adds body-color over-fenders, an auto-dimming rearview mirror (V6 models), and 16-inch silver alloy wheels. Additional features such as HD radio, rear parking sensors, and an upgraded infotainment system that includes an intuitive navigation system, Entune App Suite, and a larger 7-inch touch screen display.

The TRD Sport trim adds LED daytime running lights, unique exterior trim detailing, keyless entry and ignition, 120-volt power outlet, 17-inch alloy wheels, sport-tuned shock absorbers, auto-dimming rearview mirror, a wireless phone charger, an infotainment bundle, a leather-trimmed shift lever, and better upholstery. A Premium and Technology package is available for the TRD Sport and adds dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights, sunroof, rear parking sensors, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, and heated front seats.  The TRD Off-Road trim adds 16-inch alloy wheels, Bilstein shock absorbers, electronic locking rear differential, the Crawl Control System, which assists with low speed off the road activities.

The top of the line Limited trim is only available as a double cab and adds leather upholstery, a JBL sound system, unique exterior and interior trim, 18-inch alloy wheels, and premium technology features.

Safety features for the Tacoma include- driver and passenger knee airbags, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, active front headrests, brake assist, stability control, and anti-lock brakes. A blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert is standard on the Limited model and optional on the TRD models.

The interior of the Tacoma SR5 is very nice with a contemporary styled dashboard and console area. Because it is a truck, the interior’s materials are more rugged and durable rather than luxurious. The controls/knobs are easy to reach, are user friendly, and the touch screen is responsive. There is ample head/legroom in the front cabin for taller passengers and the seats are firm, comfortable, and supportive. In the rear, there is less space and is better suited for children and smaller adults, yet there is adequate legroom in the back and the seats fold down for additional room and there is a storage compartment under the seats.

On the road, the 2016 Tacoma SR5 is a strong performer with a firm and planted feel. Steering is excellent, braking is firm, and the Tacoma handles a variety of terrains very well, however, from testing the SR5, it can get a little bouncy on bumpier surfaces.

If you are looking for a mid-size pickup truck that is stylish with spacious interior, large cargo capacity, advanced technology, and great off the road and towing capability, then the new 2016 Toyota Tacoma is a great choice.

To find out more about the 2016 Toyota Tacoma, please visit- www.Toyota.com

How We Fall In Love With Cars At An Early Age

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Although the legal age for driving differs between countries, one thing which they all have in common is that from an early age we all want to get behind the wheel of a car and drive it around. Indeed, many kids have a collection of toy cars at an early age, imbuing them with a desire to drive for real one day, and giving them an appreciation of which car they want it to be in.

What is it that grabs us about cars before we are old enough to understand anything about them? For many of us, it is the fact that they allow us to travel so fast from one place to another, and the freedom that they seem to give. Faraway places have a powerful hold over us as children, and anything that gets us to them whenever we want to go will seem like a dream. The same fascination applies to aeroplanes.

Additionally, we see cars in virtually every TV show we like as older children. Whether it is a cop show that features a kick-ass law enforcer or anything else with a charismatic central character, we will want to be that person and want to drive what they drive. Herbie, KITT and the General Lee are three examples, and most of us between the ages of thirty and fifty can remember having one or more of these cars as toys.

As we get older, the car loses some of its mystique. If they have not done before the first time we take them in to have the clutch repaired, cars will certainly start to pale in terms of excitement when we have to pay for repairs. Nonetheless, we will still love them. Heck, many of us even name our cars.

Cars In Video Games – Instilling A Passion For Driving

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Anyone who has played a reasonable number of video games will no doubt have played at least one which involves motor vehicles. The humble – or not so humble, as the case may be – automobile is the star of many video games and a supporting cast member in many others. Starting with motor racing games and continuing on through a great number of others, most of us have driven a video game car.

The wide range of sports car games reflects the number of sports which include automobiles. There are games which replicate Nascar, Formula One, Indycar, Touring Car and even Go-Karting. These are all fun to play and can give the player a real appreciation of the skill involved in these sports. Every player has their own favorites, and there are official tie-ins with all the major motor sports.

Then again, there are other games which involve driving a car as one part of the game, of which the most famous would have to be Grand Theft Auto. In this series of games, you play a character (different games feature different ones) who has to carry out a range of tasks, many of which fall outside the law. In each of the games, as the name suggests, you can steal cars to aid you in carrying out the tasks.

What these games permit you is the chance to indulge a wilder side. Certainly you cannot expect to get away with stealing a car in real life, and using it to drive into a crowd of enemies is completely inexcusable. But on a video game screen it doesn’t matter – unless you have difficulty separating what is real from what is not.

The Cheapest Car On The Market?

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It is a sad state of affairs that ordinary motoring is outside the reach of many a person in today’s society because of the cost of automobiles. Even when bought on a finance plan, spreading the cost over years, it can still be tricky for someone on a low income to buy a car and drive it – not to mention the inherent instability of financing plans (lost your job? Lose your car, too!).

However, there is the beginning of a movement to cheaper motoring taking place at the moment, and how successful this is may well govern whether the movement picks up pace and is joined by all or most vehicle manufacturers. The Tata Nano is believed by many to be the cheapest new-model motor car on the market and is bringing new cars within the price range of less well-off drivers.

A low cost automobile will necessarily be less advanced than a mid-price or expensive model, but in order to get off the assembly line it will need to be safe to drive and workable as an option for motorists. If enough people drive the cheaper models – which are after all cheaper to make, too – then more companies will build similar models.

How many people want to drive budget vehicles is another matter. In a world where the car is often a status symbol, it is indeed tricky to take to the road in something that everyone knows was cheap. Additionally, most governments would agree that what they want is fewer cars on the road and not more. But for those who want it, at least one option is now there.

Pimping Your Ride – Or Making Your Car Look And Drive Better

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The popular US TV series Pimp Your Ride, which has been exported to other TV markets in recent years, is a logical conclusion to the popular hobby of auto modification. People all over the world look at their cars and think “I can make this better – faster and better looking, and it will corner better when I’m done, too”. Basically, it’s The Six Million Dollar Man but with cars.

You can modify your car to a greater or lesser extent. Some people will settle for a new paint job and perhaps some new wheels and hubcaps. There may be some improvement in the car’s performance as a result, but the less modification you do, the less the improvement will be – in theory, at least.

There is, after all, such a thing as too much modification. You can tune up the engine, add things and take them away, and even – if you are inclined towards a daredevil approach – add nitrous oxide to the mix. You can add spoilers and tail fins to the car as well, for better road holding, but sometimes the theory and the practicalities do not match.

The basic message is that modification can be a mixed bag. If you know what to do and how to do it, then you can give a previously staid car a new lease of life, or bring an older car into line with some newer models. Or you might just settle for a cooler interior and a louder sound system. The choice is up to you, but please bear in mind that professionals make big money doing this for a reason – they’re good at it and you might not be.

Racing For Sport – Formula One Motor Racing

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The single word “car” can be used to describe any one of a number of different kinds of vehicle, from the comfortable family sedan to the armored people carrier, and indeed to the sports cars that are driven around tracks by professional drivers. You’ll never see a Formula One car on a public road outside of special circumstances, but it’s a car alright.

The Formula One car has little in common with a road legal vehicle. The shape is different – it is much lower and more aerodynamically proportioned. It is as small as it can safely be while containing a driver and the necessary safety features, and it is built for high speeds – faster than any road legal car.

The best Formula One drivers over the years have been the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Gilles Villeneuve, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. Although in many cases, these drivers have been helped by having the best car on the circuit, an uncommon level of skill and determination to win has set these men apart. Senna was tragically killed while competing in the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994, but statistically Formula One has had a low level of fatalities for all the speed of the races.

Formula One is similar in many ways to its American cousin, Indycar racing. However, it is felt that the drivers at Formula One level are slightly more technically gifted and the cars more conducive to fast lapping than Indycars. Many young Indycar drivers will make a move to Formula One after succeeding in the States, while few will move the other way.

Trading In For A Younger Model

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Some people drive the same car from the day they pass their test to the day that they decide to stop driving, or have that decision made for them. Others, and these are the larger group, will update their car on a more or less regular basis. There is a reason for this, and it is fairly simple. As cars get older, they become more prone to faults and some features may become obsolete.

There is a lot that you can to to keep your car more up to date, especially on the inside of the car. Any car in the world can accommodate a GPS satellite navigation system, although the newer models come with one already installed. Seatbelts were, once upon a time, optional in a car, but now they are compulsory with good reason.

Newer cars are, in the main, cleaner and safer to drive than the older ones. This can be balanced against the fact that a driver may feel more comfortable, more at ease and therefore a better driver in a car they have driven for many years. But many of us will trade in for a newer model simply because it is less prone to faults.

In such cases it may be a good idea to trade your old car in for a small part of the cost of the newer model. There is always something that can be salvaged from an older car, and it may even be modified to make it more up to date.

Drinking And Driving – It’s Never OK

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One of the most troubling issues regarding motoring, in any country, is that of people driving their cars while under the influence of alcohol. The laws governing acceptable drinking and driving differ in many countries, but just about every country in the world has a law regarding drinking and driving. The base point seems to be that it is something you just should not do.

The problem with drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car is that alcohol impairs reaction times and judgement. Many people will utter the oft-heard sentence “Well, I actually drive better when I have had a few.”. Even if this is objectively true, and it rarely is, it fails to take into account the fact that other drivers use the road too.

Therefore, a driver who is technically intoxicated may be in better control of their own vehicle than you might expect, but their reaction times will be compromised. Therefore, if another road user has a problem which outs other drivers at risk, the driver who has had a few drinks will be less likely to succeed in pulling a manoeuvre that avoids a crash.

There can be any number of debating points made about the safety or otherwise of drinking and driving, but the key point is that if you make a mistake or are unable to perform a safety manoeuvre because your judgement is impaired by alcohol, you are at least partially responsible for the crash. So if you are out drinking, leave the car at home.

A Touch Of Art – The Art Car

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Can a car be a work of art? There are some who would suggest that the best automobiles out there are an example of art at its most practical. A lot of design goes into making a car aerodynamic and aesthetically pleasing, and fans of sports cars will often make the point that the car gets high speeds and performs well while looking beautiful enough to be exhibited in a museum.

The idea of a car as art has been taken to greater lengths by the art car movement, who take no chances with the aesthetic beauty of the original models by making additions that turn the car into something completely different. The movement is particularly strong in areas such as Houston and Minneapolis, with Houston being home to the world’s first Art Car Museum.

Seen by many as the father of the Art Car movement, Harrod Blank has made a number of films about the Art Car as well as writing books and articles, running a blog and curating the Art Car Fest, an art-car based parade held in the San Francisco bay area once a year and also has a hand in an art car camp at the Burning Man festival in Nevada.

To make an art car, all you need is a car, an idea and the materials to make it come to life. Of course, if you want the car to be road legal you need to make sure that it adheres to the laws that govern the roads you are driving on. Ideally, this means nothing blocking the driver’s sight line and nothing that makes the vehicle unstable.

Putting The Pedal To The Metal – Do You Want Nitro With That?

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Nitrous oxide is one of the most divisive issues for car enthusiasts in this day and age. As an add-on for souped-up cars, its most notable contribution is to take the top speed of the car a few notches higher, making it a popular inclusion for people who take part in drag races. However, there are many who caution against its use, saying that it makes the performance of a car dangerously unstable.

The skeptics most likely have a point. When a car is designed, the idea behind its top speed is that that speed is sustainable for at least a while, and that the car can be controlled while at that speed. Adding to that top speed makes the car less stable and is not good for the engine. If you have a car merely for drag races and have somewhere safe to race, then you may choose to go for it. Otherwise, “nitro” as it is commonly dubbed is a pretty bad idea.

Of course we enjoy high speed in our cars, but the distinction between sustainable high speeds and unsustainable ones has to be made. A burst of nitro will only last for a few seconds, and that may suggest that its sparing use will not have implications for your vehicle, but the most concerning fact must be that at the speeds gained by nitro, it becomes a lot harder to control your vehicle, meaning that the first time you use it can be the last time you drive.

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