Bigger is definitely better for Toyota’s engineers who recently launched the new 2005 Toyota Tacoma work truck.
The new Tacoma, unveiled at a press event in Ottawa which included ample opportunity to drive the impressive truck through a challenging, mud-filled obstacle course as well as through eastern Ontario’s highways and backroads, is significantly bigger in every dimension that its predecessors. It’s also more powerful.
Well known for its cars, Toyota is now looking to carve a similar market presence for its work trucks. Three quarters of Toyota’s sales are cars compared to a 54% (car) – 46% (truck) split for the industry overall.
“We want to make Toyota famous as a car and truck brand,” said David Brimson, national manager of public relations for Toyota Canada.
Pick-ups make up 30% of all commercial vehicle sales in Canada and that’s where Toyota is looking to make inroads with its larger, beefier Tacoma (models include a 4×2 with a 4-door Access Cab passenger compartment, PreRunner 4×2 DoubleCab V6, 4×4 Access Cab V6, and 4×4 V6 Doublecab.
The Doublecab models with automatic transmission are 19.1 inches longer than the previous generation, while Access Cab models are between 5.9 inches and 10.8 inches longer than the Xtracab models they replace. An increased wheelbase, overall length and the proportionately increased width create both more room for passengers and cargo. A multipurpose 6′ 2″ cargo bed is standard on every Tacoma except the 4×4 Doublecab V6 with manual transmission, which has a 5’1″ cargo bed.
Tacoma 4×4 models and the PreRunner 4×2 Doublecab are powered by a new 4.0 litre V6 that delivers more power than the previous 3.4-litre engine with 245 hp at 5,200 rpm and 382 lb/ft of torque at 3,800 rpm. There’s a choice of two transmissions – a new six-speed manual or a 5-speed ECT. A manual transmission is fitted to Access Cab models and, for the first time, to the Tacoma 4×4 Doublecab, while the PreRunner uses the 5-speed automatic.
The Tacoma 4×2 Access Cab is equipped with a 2.7-litre powerplant that develops 164 hp at 5,200 rpm and 183 lb/ft of torque at 3,800 rpm, compared to 142 hp and 160 lb/ft of torque from the previous 2.4 litre engine. Standard gearbox is a 5-speed manual with overdrive; a 4-speed ECT is optional.
Toyota is not making a bigger play for the work truck market without help. Hino, which is 51% owned by Toyota, is also contributing its design expertise. To stress the closeness of the relationship between the two companies, Hino Canada’s well-known vice president Alan Masters figured prominently in the media launch and the Tacoma was delivered to the press conference in a Hino 268.