Car Review: 2014 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab V6 4X4

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The midsize truck segment has started to draw more entries as of late, but when it comes to the King of the Hill, the 2014 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab V6 4X4 is still on top. We drove a blue ribbon Tacoma recently and walked away more impressed with this truck and more convinced that this segment has a very bright future.

EXTERIOR

The 2014 Tacoma configurations are based on three cab types: Regular Cab, Access Cab with rear seating, and the four-door Double Cab as tested. The rear-opening doors on Access Cab models open to 80 degrees to give passengers easy ingress and egress. Bold overfenders distinguish PreRunner and 4×4 models. PreRunner models combine the 4×2 drivetrain with the 4×4’s raised riding stance and styling. Double Cab models offer a roof rack system with crossbars that deploy from the roof rails. The Double Cab is offered with a 60.3-inch bed on the 127.4-inch wheelbase or with the 73.5-inch-long bed on a 140.6-inch wheelbase chassis.

On all models, the composite inner bed is made from a sheet-molded composite (SMC) deck and tough, durable walls that are 10 percent lighter than steel. The bed deck features two-tier loading and an integrated deck-rail utility with four standard adjustable tie-down cleats. The rails are compatible with Genuine Toyota Accessories, including cargo bed cross bars, a fork-mount bike rack and diamond-plate storage boxes. An available 115V/400W power point further extends the bed’s utility. The 16-inch alloy wheels were thick and confident looking, as this truck means business even from the exterior!

INTERIOR

As good as the skin looks on the 2014 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab V6 4X4, the cabin space is what really leaves an impression with the toughness and refinement that reaches a heightened mark. Tacoma’s instrument gauge panel lends a sporty look in all models. The center console (standard on Access Cab and Double Cab models) flows into the instrument panel for a unified appearance. The console integrates three cup holders, two of which can accommodate extra-large containers. Tacoma’s interior provides durability and comfort with high-grade fabric and generous standard equipment. Sound absorption material in the headliner and behind the rear seats, along with insulating carpeting, help to provide a quiet cabin. All Tacoma models provide dual bottle holders in driver- and passenger-side doors. Audio controls are mounted high for easy access.

Higher-grade models feature fabric-covered sun visors, an overhead console with map lights, and compartments for sunglasses and a garage door opener. Interior storage is maximized in Access Cab models with fold-up rear seats and under-seat storage. Double Cab models feature 60/40 split rear seats with adjustable headrests and under-seat storage. The Entune Premium JBL Audio system as tested upgrades the sound quality considerably with the JBL GreenEdge amplifier and seven GreenEdge speakers including subwoofer. GreenEdge technology also draws reduced electrical power from the vehicle. The base Entune Audio system for Tacoma uses a 6.1-inch touch-screen display with a rear-view camera, AM/FM CD player, MP3/WMA playback capability, four speakers, auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod connectivity, hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology for audio streaming, hands-free phone use and phone book access. Available Entune Audio Plus adds a high-resolution 6.1-inch screen, HD Radio with SiriusXM Radio (includes 90-day trial subscription), iTunes tagging and HD Traffic and Weather (metro areas only). Standard on the Limited grade and available for the SR5 grade, the Entune Premium Audio system adds Navigation and the Entune App Suite.

With owners using their trucks for hard work and play, Tacoma offers heavy-duty all-weather flooring in the Access and Double Cab models, while the more specialized TRD Sport and Off-Road models offer water-resistant fabric protection seats. Access Cab models feature a useful rear-console storage box and an available backup camera.

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PERFORMANCE

The 2014 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab V6 4X4 certainly provides that “wow” factor from the first time you crank the engine, as the power just exudes into the cabin and there is no doubt one has serious capabilities at their disposal. The 2014 Tacoma model we tested came equipped with a 4.0-liter DOHC V6 that provides 236 horsepower with 266 lb.-ft. of torque that employs variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) to ensure strong low-end and mid-range torque. The V6 can be teamed with either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission as tested. An Automatic Limited-slip Differential (Auto LSD), which uses brake intervention to help reduce tire slippage at the rear wheels, is standard on all Tacoma models. The TRD Off-Road Package, available for 4×4 V6 automatic models, includes Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Assist Control (DAC).

HAC operates by independently controlling the brakes at each wheel as needed to help prevent the vehicle from rolling backward or slipping sideways during a transition from a stopped position to climbing a grade. DAC uses engine braking to regulate downhill speed and independently control the brakes at each wheel to help improve directional control. DAC automatically de-activates if the driver depresses the brake or accelerator pedals, presses the DAC button or shifts into neutral. The TRD Off-Road Package as tested provides a carefully tuned balance of off-road performance and on-road handling. Chassis modifications include an electronic locking rear differential, progressive-rate front springs, specially tuned Bilstein shock absorbers, a 28-mm front stabilizer bar and BFGoodrich Rugged Trail tires. Fog lamps top off the package.

The TRD Off-Road Packages feature a locking rear differential that can be activated by a switch in the cab. An electronic rear differential is available on 4×4 models and the PreRunner. The TRD Sport Package is road-focused and features its own specific suspension tuning and lower-profile 265/65 R17 tires on 17-inch alloy wheels. This package also gives Tacoma a sporty look with fog lamps, hood scoop, TRD graphics and color-keyed rear bumper, mirrors, grille surround and door handles. Both the TRD Off-Road Package and TRD Sport Package have a 400W/115V power point in the bed; sport seats with adjustable lumbar support and unique fabric. Fuel efficiency is also respectable with 16mpg in the city and 21mpg in highway driving.

OVERVIEW

To say we enjoyed the Tacoma is an understatement, because this truck is the real deal. With a wide array of models and options, the Toyota Tacoma has found great success as a work truck or play truck, and it continues to dominate a market segment that is still chasing the Tacoma to this day. There is no doubt that sales will continue to roll in, because not only are midsize truck buyers going to purchase the 2014 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab V6 4X4, but those who initially were full-size truck buyers will find out the Tacoma can do everything and more that they wanted from a truck. For a sticker price as tested of $36,229, the 2014 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab V6 4X4 is a lot of truck and performance for the dollars!

  

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