Living in the centre of the city, you want to be conservative with space. Pickup trucks pose multiple challenges. Many won’t fit into underground parking spots and all require extremely careful negotiation in alleys. However if you run a blue-collar business or make runs to the country every weekend and really need a truck, the Toyota Tacoma may be the sensible choice.
Mind, the trim we tested, the biggest and most expensive of the four offered, felt ever so slightly too long at 5,620mm. The 4×4 Doublecab V6 5A seats five comfortably and, from our narrow parking spot off a lane, demanded the Austin Powers 20-point turn. The 5,286mm short cab would’ve been ideal. But the power of this trim’s engine and the assorted concomitant controls, mixed with the length of cargo bed, proved excellent.
The ice storm that hit the GTA last December 21 destroyed two trees in our back. We cut them down to firewood and I used the Tacoma to transport the lumber 150km north of the city to the family chalet in Huronia. So it was well weighed down.
Fortunately the strength of the 4.0 litre 6-cylinder engine was enhanced with the SR5 Power Package. At $2,375, it’s not a cheap option but, featuring 2,903kg of towing capacity, is worthy of consideration for someone who hefts or drags a lot of tonnage. (There are over 20 other extras in the package, ranging from trailer sway control to rearview camera and driver lumbar support for a workin’ man. So the expense isn’t outrageous.)
It probably weighed three-fourths of that capacity. Furthermore the drive north entails many of the province’s steepest hills. Despite the automatic transmission, an extra $1,550 itself, you can still shift into low gear, plus second, third and even fourth—perfect for minimizing brake use on the severe ups and downs. Plus you can select two or four-wheel drive, subdivided also at a lower gear.
The Tacoma hauled the lumber easily. Furthermore, it delivered fairly accurate mileage!
It’s important to stress that I never once pushed it hard and actually treated it delicately when it was well weighed down on that hilly drive north. Furthermore, even when it wasn’t carrying any freight (approximately 60% of the total distance) I rarely exceeded the speed limit and was gentle on the brake. On the other hand, it was a steamy few summer days and I had the AC on constantly, a big energy suck.
Furthermore, those estimated, government-approved fuel economy numbers always assume Pollyanna driving conditions. This top-line Tacoma is predicted to deliver 11.7L/100km in ideal combined city and highway driving. After a week, I’d logged about 415km in the Tacoma. It took 49.7 litres to fill the tank, which meant it delivered 11.98L/100km. That’s pretty close to ideal.
Base Tacoma: $22,450
Base Tacoma 4×4 Doublecab V6 5A: $29,600
A/C and other Taxes: $134.45
Freight & PDI: $1,690
Total as driven: $35,349
Though a co-owner and former editor of DailyXY, Steven Bochenek is actually an advertising writer who does some journalism on the side. In 2011 he was accepted into the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. His other interests include playing music, long-distance running, skiing and writing in the third person.
Photo courtesy of Toyota Canada.