?Toyota?s Tacoma 4×4 TRD TX-Baja Series: A Hard core Off-Roader??
Toyota claims that their Tacoma is the best-selling compact pickup truck in North America, and has been since 2005. Some manufacturers have scaled dramatically back or have even abandoned the compact pickup market segment, while Toyota continues to forge ahead, adding greater value and new model variations and options to their mix. Three low-volume models were eliminated for 2011 allowing for the addition of five four-cylinder models in response to an ever-growing focus on operational costs and fuel economy.
For the 2012 model year, Tacoma displays a freshened face featuring a restyled hood, grille, headlamps and front bumper along with other exterior changes. The interior comes with a new center-instrument panel design with a revised gauge cluster and a new steering wheel. The redesigned center stack adds new air conditioner/ heater controls and power point locations. The overall cabin look is new, with a black, high-contrast center console, switch plate covers, dash and upper door trim accents. Tacoma now offers new heavy-duty all-weather flooring for Access and Double Cab models, with more specialized TRD Sport and Off-Road models offering new water-resistant fabric seats. The TRD Sport Package also adds side mirrors with turn signal lamps for 2012 as well as available chrome-clad 18-inch wheels. Other details that contribute to added comfort and functionality include a larger, higher-resolution display for the optionally available back-up camera, a new temperature gauge, available rear-view mirror with compass and Homelink, vanity lamps added to sun visors, an additional overhead storage compartment and a new rear-console storage box on all Access Cab models. Added versatility is provided for all models by two front deck ?D?-rings.
The Tacoma lineup includes a wide variety of configurations and models, many of which offer a choice between four-cylinder and V-6 engines, as well as a choice between RWD or 4WD. 4×4 V6 models come with Hill Start Assist, Downhill Assist Control, with an automatic Limited-slip differential as standard on all models. 4×4 system part-time system with a two speed electronically controlled transfer case.
Three cab configurations are available from which to choose: a Regular Cab; Access Cab; and Double Cab. Double Cab models provide 60/40 split rear seats with adjustable headrest and under-seat storage. There are two bed lengths?available – a 60.3-inch or a 73.5-inch bed. The beds feature two-tier loading and an integrated deck rail utility with four adjustable tie-down cleats. There are also a host of bed accessories including a bed liner and a removable bed extender rail.
?? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?The Toyota Tacoma line for 2012 offers two engines: a 2.7-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, inline four-cylinder that delivers 159 horsepower and 180 pound feet of torque; and a 4.0-liter DOHC, 24-valve V6 with VVTi and electronic fuel injection that generates 236 horses along with 266 pound feet of torque. The 2.7-liter engine models are available with either a 5-speed manual gearbox or a 4-speed ECT automatic transmission, while V-6 powered model Tacomas are available with either a 6-speed manual or a 5-speed ECT automatic transmission. Should you want or need a higher level of performance, there?s an available supercharger kit for the 4.0-liter V6 that?s capable of generating 304 horsepower and 334 pound feet of torque.
The T/X and T/X Pro packages are available for the hardcore off-road pickup fan in conjunction with the TRD Off-Road Package, and represent the transformation of a sporty SEMA concept into an option that may be added to either the Tacoma V6 Access Cab or V6 Double Cab. Both Packages will be available on both PreRunner and 4×4 models. The T/X Package displays a somewhat sinister look and stance, while the T/X Pro Package adds more performance.
Paying homage to Toyota?s Baja racing heritage is a 2012 limited edition model, offered in the form of the TRD T/X Baja Series. The TRD T/X Baja Series costs $5,015 (with a $650 factory credit) and features: TRD Bilstein high-performance Off-Road shocks (66mm up front with Eibach Red coil springs and 50mm rear shocks with a remote reservoir), 16? bead-lock style alloy wheels shod with LT 265/70 R16 B.F. Goodrich All-Terrain KO tires, TRD Cat -track exhaust, vehicle side graphics and TRD exterior badge. The TRD Off-Road Package alone is $3,555. With an equipment and feature inventory that?s too lengthy to list here.
In terms of capability, handling and ride control, all Toyota Tacoma model feature as?standard fare: Toyota?s Star Safety System?, which includes: ABS, EBD, BA,?VSC, and TRAC. An Automatic Limited-Slip differential utilizes brake intervention?to assist in reducing rear wheel tire slippage on all models.
Safety issues are addressed on all Tacomas with three-point seatbelts at all?seating positions, front seat-mounted side airbags, roll-sensing side curtain?airbags (with a cutoff switch) and a front passenger cutoff switch on Access Cab?models. All Access and Double Cab trucks come with front seat active headrests.
My 2012 Toyota Tacoma was a Double Cab model in a 4×4 drive configuration,?powered by the 4.0-liter V6 hooked to the automatic transmission, with the TRD T/X Baja Series Package. It sported a Barcelona Red metallic exterior finish and a gray patterned cloth interior. The base price was set at $27,585, while Option Packages and other extras along with the Delivery and Processing?elevated the final sticker to $39,150.
SUMMARY: The 2012 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4×4 TRD T/X Baja Series is a highly capable compact pickup on or off-road that features a reasonable entry height ? a good thing for ease of entry and exit.
Both the front and rear seat accommodations are comfortable, though the rear is somewhat limited in terms of legroom behind taller drivers. The ride quality is quite compliant and handling characteristics are sporty and precise.
Connectivity hasn?t been forgotten either with Toyota?s Entune services, Sirius/XM satellite radio, HD radio with iTunes tagging and text e-mail-to-voice. The premium infotainment system plays through a JBL? GreenEdge audio system with seven speakers. There?s also Bluetooth technology or a USB cable connect, Bing and Pandora.
The 4.0-liter V6 delivers plenty of power on demand and the 4×4 system is both intuitive and effective with a rotary dial to the right of the steering column. Bottom-line, the Tacoma is an ideal compact vehicle for work or play. Should one need a bigger, full size truck, there?s always the Toyota Tundra, but the TRD T/X Baja ride is definitely a cool ride, though I would opt for losing the side graphics.
SPECIFICATIONS: Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4×4 V6 TRD TX Baja Series-?12
|Price as Tested:||$39,150|
|Engine Type and Size:||4.0-liter DOHC, 24-valve V6 with VVTi and electronic fuel injection.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||236 @ 5,200 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||266 @ 4,000 rpm|
|Transmission:||Electronically controlled (ECT-i) 5-speed automatic|
|Drive Train:||Longitudinally mounted front engine / 4WDemand Part time 4×4 system with 2-speed electronically controlled transfer case and automatic limited slip differential.
Suspension: Front – Independent coil spring double wishbone with gas-filled shock absorbers and 1.10 inch stabilizer bar
|Suspension:||Front – Independent coil spring double wishbone with gas-filled shock absorbers and 1.10 inch stabilizer bar.
Rear – Rear rigid leaf spring with staggered outboard- mounted gas shock absorbers with 0.98 stabilizer bar.
Brakes: Power-assisted front vented discs / leading/trailing drum rear with ABS, EBD, BA, TRAC, VSC and auto LSD
|Brakes:||Power-assisted front vented discs / leading/trailing drum rear with ABS, EBD, BA, TRAC, VSC and auto LSD|
|Tires:||B.F. Goodrich LT 285/70 R All-terrain T/A KO mounted on 6-double-spoke/hole TRD bead-lock style alloy wheels|
|Length Overall:||221.3 inches|
|Curb Weight:||N/A lbs|
|Fuel Capacity:||24.0 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||16 mpg city / 21 mpg highway|
|0 – 60 mph:||Not tested|