Toyota Tacoma - 2005 Review: There are Car People. And, there are Truck People, and never should the two come to an agreement when it comes to the things that make vehicles worth talking about. It's a divide between those who appreciate the ride and those who want to take that ride down a ditch - with some cargo in back.
Consider the divide conquered. After a day spent behind the wheel of the all-new Toyota Tacoma, it's clear that the traditional choice between car comfort and pickup practicality is really no longer a choice at all: The eighth-generation of Toyota's original compact pickup delivers both, and may well be the easiest pickup to live with in recent memory.
Though by name the Tacoma was first sold in 1995 with the introduction of a made-in-America model, Toyota actually started selling pickups in the US in 1964. Since then, they have won numerous awards from the automotive press and have developed a loyal following among consumers. But with a host of new or newly remade competitors-including the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon twins, Dodge Dakota, and Nissan Frontier-Toyota knew it had to reinvent the Tacoma by adding size and power while at the same time, somehow increasing maneuverability, fuel economy and improving ride comfort and handling.
It was an ambitious undertaking, to be sure. Based on a day-long drive along the winding roads and rutted trails on the outskirts of Alaska's largest city, Toyota has managed to pull it off.
Big & Strong
Like just about everything else in our bigger-is-better world, the new Tacoma has grown in both size and capability. The once-compact Tacoma is now nearly six inches longer, two-inches taller and, most significantly, nearly four inches wider than the outgoing model. The result is a midsize pickup truck with substantially more room for passengers and cargo. The Tacoma also now shares the same underpinnings as the automaker's midsize Toyota 4Runner and Lexus GX470 sport-utility vehicles. According to Toyota, it's this stronger chassis that gives the 2005 Toyota Tacoma improved ride and handling characteristics.
Toyota engineers also managed to work in a complete overhaul of the Tacoma's powertrain, adding a new 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder engine and a larger and significantly more robust 4.0-liter V-6 and two new transmissions. These beefed-up mechanicals boost Tacoma's maximum towing capacity by 1500 pounds.