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3916 Toyota Tacoma
<p><strong>&#39;16 Toyota Tacoma.</strong></p>

Next-Gen Toyota Tacoma Unveiled

A new 3.5L V-6 replaces the 4.0L V-6 in the outgoing Tacoma and has Toyota&rsquo;s port- and direct-injection D-4S system.

DETROIT – Toyota reveals its third-generation Tacoma midsize pickup this afternoon at the 2015 North American International Auto Show here.

As with Nissan’s fullsize Titan truck unveiled earlier today, it has been 11 years since the Tacoma was last fully redesigned.

But unlike the Titan, the Tacoma has had incredible staying power in the U.S. market, winning its segment in sales volume for each of the past 10 years.

Although Tacoma sales slipped 2.8% last year, the truck still accounted for more than half of the volume in WardsAuto’s Small Pickup group in 2014 with 155,041 of 253,826 deliveries.

Despite its robustness, Toyota updated the Tacoma for ’16 with a new 3.5L V-6 gasoline engine with Toyota’s D-4S direct- and port-injection technology, already on the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ sports cars.

The new Atkinson-cycle engine replaces a 236-hp 4.0L V-6 in the outgoing Tacoma.

A 2.7L 4-cyl. carries over from the outgoing Tacoma into the new model. Its specs also aren’t divulged, but in the ’14 Tacoma the mill made 159 hp and 180 lb.-ft. (244 Nm) of torque.

A new 6-speed automatic transmission replaces 4- and 5-speed automatics in the ’14 Tacoma, and the V-6 also can be paired to a new 6-speed manual, replacing 5- and 6-speed units.

Toyota promises more power and better fuel efficiency with the new engine and transmission combinations, although it doesn’t provide specifics.

The Tacoma’s suspension has been “fine-tuned to help deliver a smoother on-road ride, while making it even more capable off-road,” Toyota says.

Toyota engineers, largely working out of the Japanese automaker’s Ann Arbor, MI, technical center, beefed up the truck’s frame with more high-strength steel for improved rigidity. Ultra-high-strength steel now is part of the body shell via a new hot-stamping process that reduces weight, Toyota says.

The Tacoma’s face now resembles that of Toyota’s fullsize Tundra pickup, with a similar chiseled look and hexagonal grille.

But Toyota says the rest of the truck’s appearance is unique to Tacoma, including strong wheel flares, which are both for function and fashion, allowing greater wheel travel and giving the truck a “high-lift image.”

The hood is taller than the outgoing Tacoma’s, and a new locking tailgate plays up the truck’s wide stance. The tailgate also has an integrated spoiler for aerodynamic reasons and, as is the industry trend, is damped for less-jarring operation.

The Tacoma adds a tri-fold hard tonneau cover and perhaps one of the most unique features on a vehicle unveiled here, a standard GoPro camera mounted near the rearview mirror to document off-roading adventures.

The Tacoma’s interior has a handlebar theme and upscale features including soft-wrapped trim, Qi wireless phone charging, push-button start, power moonroof, an enhanced touchscreen audio system and blindspot monitor with rear-cross-traffic alert.

The passenger cabin is made quieter using enhanced seals, a multilayer acoustic windshield, a sound-absorbing headliner and a floor silencer pad.

The ’16 Tacoma will come in five grades (SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited) and in 2-wheel- or 4-wheel-drive configurations.

The TRD Off-Road grade has a multi-terrain select system that regulates wheel spin by adjusting throttle and brake pressure in three settings: loose rock, mud or sand.

The Off-Road grade also gets an automatic limited slip and locking rear differential, hill start assist, clutch start cancel, active traction control and crawl control. The latter technology takes over acceleration and braking once a driver has selected a speed between 1 and 5 mph (2-8 km/h).

The Tacoma will continue to be assembled at Toyota’s plants in San Antonio and Baja California, Mexico. The ’16 model goes on sale in the U.S. this fall.

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