As Toyota nears the release of its 9th generation Tacoma, excited Toyota fans wait patiently. Due out only weeks away on September 10, 2015, Toyota dealer anticipate this newly updated truck to come their way.
With a whole new generation comes a whole new list of goodies and updates. Before we can drive away in it ourselves, lets look at some of the newest installments this 2016 Tacoma has headed our way.
The last time Toyota received an update was in 2005 when they introduced their 8th generation. To go ten years without an update in the automotive industry is an exceptionally long time.
However, it appears to have been working in Tacomas favor. The Toyota Tacoma has consistently dominated in the field of compact pickups. A shrinking market combined with Toyota’s innovative initiative has helped keep the Tacoma competitive and relevant in today’s market. Right now the Tacoma accounts for 50% of all small pickup truck sales.
Tacoma TRD Fans
When the previous generation introduced the Tacoma TRD or Toyota Racing Development, it took the focus away from work loads and turned it towards a fun more sporty life for the Tacoma.
This meant opening the pickup to a whole new audience. Aiming to capture a youthful spirited market who enjoyed taking their Tacoma off road and into the woods, Toyota successfully found another niche for this newly transformed lifestyle vehicle.
Speaking specifically to this niche, Tacoma’s 9th generational updates focus more on performance, appearance and amenities than work load or towing capabilities. Aimed at staying in touch with their core audience for this specific pickup, focusing their attention elsewhere would be competing outside their segment which would prove foolish.
The Tacoma has a specific following. These updates are for them.
Even though the Tacoma isn’t the workhorse that every other pickup brand offers, Toyota still has always stayed bare boned with interior design. More has always been less when it’s come to style, but that changes in this generation.
A newer line of luxury amenities are offered in the higher trims; heated leather seats, dual zone climate control, smart key with push button start have been integrated into the new Tacoma.
Adding to the feel and technology of Tacoma are its extra tools and playful toys.
GoPro Camera Mount
In the first partnership of its kind, Toyota will be collaborating with American made camcorder company GoPro. Toyota recently announced its plans to include a GoPro camera mounted on the dash of every new Tacoma as standard equipment.
This kind of pairing between car company and tech gadget companies is likely to set a precedent for future collaborations.
Pitched as the kind of truck that is always up for adventure and can go anywhere, it seems a natural fit that GoPro be there to document it. Located right in the front glass of the new 2016 Tacoma, the GoPro is set to capture every moment of the muddiest, mountainous, best weekends of your life. While the camera isn’t actually included, all GoPro is including is the mount, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that there will be deals offered as you get further into the year.
Not that they need it. The Toyota Tacoma is one of the best selling pickup trucks in America today and like the rest of Toyota’s vehicles, has an incredibly strong and loyal fan base.
Although I think Tacoma buyers with their natural adventurous attitude won’t need that much more persuasion to purchasing a GoPro to record their journeys. What it may encourage from people who do purchase the GoPro are more trips to the back country and less to the mall.
Besides, off roading is just way more fun, even if you aren’t recording it.
Qi Wireless Charging
The Qi wireless charging pad is an excellent improvement and will be perfect for the tech-savvy Tacoma driver who doesn’t want to fiddle with extra wires cords hanging out of his dashboard. The Qi wireless charging pad is located under a removable tray in front of the cup holders. If your smartphone is Qi enabled, you will be able to charge it simply by placing it atop the pad.
While the Tacoma has always been a rugged looking compact pickup truck, the exterior looks even better now with reduced height of cabin and increased height of the bed which makes it all over more proportional. Increasing the depth of the bed by 7% provides more workload carrying up to 1620 lbs depending on trim level.
The frame has been updated with ultra high strength steel, fine tuned front and back suspension as well as springs and axels. These features improve drive on and off road but help go a long way to improve conditions in quality of drive.
Three new colors are offered in this new generation, almost the least they could after so long: Blazing Blue Pearl, Inferno and Quicksand. These colors reflect the wild and explorative nature that the Tacoma driver represents.
While Toyota buyers will still get the choice of a 4 cylinder or a V6, they will also get to choose from a 6 speed automatic or manual transmission. The 3.5L V6 engine which will be offered in some trims, has an increased horsepower of 278 and 265 lb/ft of torque.
The V6 uses an Atkinson cycle which pumps out about the same fuel economy as the 4 cylinder which begs the question, why would you get a 4 cylinder anymore? The price, mostly. The V6 is an extra $1700, gets just about the same fuel economy and adds more in performance and capability.
Some buyers may be surprised to see that Toyota raised the price of the 2016 Tacoma. The entry price for a base trim Tacoma starts at $24,200. From there you can get a Limited model Double Cab with V6 and four wheel drives which top the price cap at $38,720.
With less emphasis on workload and towing capability, the Tacoma’s updates focus on enhancing performance, appearance and amenities. And why shouldn’t it? This niche who maybe started out as young adults buying the TRD have stayed loyal to the Toyota, specifically Tacoma brand and now as adults have the money to spend.
Because of this, Toyota saw an opportunity to increase the cost of the entry level Tacoma. With a following as loyal as theirs, they can add the little bit extra because Toyota brand consumers know that what they’re paying for extra quality and value.
Still the Same Strong Demeanor
While the 9th Generation Tacoma marks a era, its highlights showcase the overall theme which is keeping an adventurous spirit and crawling over rugged terrain. The interior shows the technological improvements but keeps true to its utilitarian nature without being too fancy or luxury. This in an interior that can still be hosed down with water should your off roading experience be dirty enough to need it.
This is why the Tacoma is still the best selling compact pickup. It refuses to be anything less than capable of tough, strong and durable. It plays to its audience who craves adventure. Toyota creates loyal customers and these fans have been waiting long enough for their new generation of Tacoma.
Soon enough, young fans. Soon enough.