Truckin’ good times
Did you know that Toyota’s been doing the truck thing for more than 80 years? Did you know that Land Rover will be celebrating their 70th anniversary next year? From a certain point of view, Toyota and Land Rover are on equal footing when it comes to ruck heritage and building legendary offroaders.
Obviously, Toyota’s more the affordable variant and with less technology but in many respects, this ensures longevity and reliability, especially where later-model vehicles are concerned.
All of this babble to say that Toyota’s latest Tacoma is as much as a blast from the past as it a modern-day work truck with all the amenities. My tester was a $50k TRD Pro with a “god-bless” 6-speed manual transmission. Although the price tag is eye watering, it is justified.
The TRD package includes a one-inch lift, remote reservoir Suspension Kit, Fox racing shocks, skid plate, large P265/70R16 Goodyear Wrangler Kevlar tires and TRD-tuned stainless steel exhaust. All this works with the healthy and well-used 3.5-litre V6, which is good for 278 horsepower. Performance is decent, especially as engine revs rise.
The ride is terrible, but perfectly à propos for the truck and steering is rack and pinion but feels like a recirculating-ball set-up. The shifter’s throws are long, clutch travel is even longer, but man-o-man do I love being put to work when driving the truck. Its lack of refinement is purposeful but the smiles are endless.
As I stared at the exclusive cement-grey paint job, decals, wheels and ground clearance, I wished that Moab, UT, was 350 km from my home, and not 3,500. I can only imagine how all of its road flaws would make it shine through Hurrah Pass.