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

Bringing The Toyota Mirai’s Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Technology to Schools in an Exciting Way

Toyota invited me, as well as several science teachers to a special training class at their headquarters in Torrance, California to learn Horizon Education’s methods to teaching and instructing new hydrogen fuel-cell technology to their high school students.

Since Toyota’s successful introduction of the Mirai Hydrogen Fuel-Cell 4-door Sedan in 2015, there has been much excitement and acceptance of the new vehicle and innovative technology. The positive reception has made Toyota look at growing Technology, Science, Mathematics, and Engineering education, also known as STEM, in schools within Southern California.

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The teaching session was thorough, fun, interactive, and informative, beginning at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 4:00 p.m.

A wonderful breakfast and lunch was provided while the teachers learned all about how they could teach their students about the Mirai and how hydrogen fuel-cell technology works.  Also, during the training class, Mirai engine models and various parts were displayed on a table near the instructor for the participants for observation and visual learning.

The instructor, Lindsey Spalding, was very knowledgeable, articulate, understood her subject, and explained to the teachers in attendance how the engine is built, how it runs on hydrogen, and how to teach this new technology to their students in a fun, exciting, hands-on way, getting them ready for future race competition with their very own hydrogen fuel-cell powered miniature cars.

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Lindsey demonstrated how the mini Mirai engines function and kits were provided to teachers to show their students how the hydrogen fuel-cell engine works.

For more than two decades, Toyota has been fully committed to the advancement of fuel cell technology with worldwide research and development. The Mirai is the first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle Toyota has ever produced and is fueled by hydrogen. Yoshikazu Tanaka, who is Toyota’s chief engineer, was the overseer and business manager of the Mirai project at Toyota.

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I found the training session to be very interesting, informative, educational, and I believe that high school students will enjoy learning about the Mirai, engine, and fuel-cell technology with their teachers instructing them, demonstrating, and giving hands-on assignments, class discussions, and engine models to work with. The students will be able to design their own mini cars, sculpt the exterior, and build the chassis. It is a wonderful subject for students to learn how the Mirai operates using hydrogen as fuel. Also, by learning how the Mirai runs and operates, they may want to own and drive one in the future.

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The special Toyota after-school program has a fun and exciting conclusion for all participating students at the Los Angeles Convention Center between March 30th-April 2nd 2017 when they will have the opportunity to compete and race their custom, hand built mini Mirai Vehicles in front of a large audience.

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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.