More room and power
Page 1: Introduction
CHICAGO, IL - New compact pickup trucks are proliferating at a rapid rate. By this time next year, every manufacturer that currently plays in this space will have a redesigned entry for sale except Ford and its corporate partner Mazda. The popular Toyota Tacoma is getting a complete makeover for 2005, growing larger in every dimension to offer more passenger room, cargo space and towing capacity than ever before. Introduced at the 2004 Chicago Auto Show, the 2005 Toyota Tacoma was displayed in X-Runner trim. The Tacoma X-Runner replaces the current S-Runner sport truck, riding on an exclusive X-braced reinforced frame for maximum torsional rigidity.
To give you an idea of how large the Tacoma has gotten, consider that the 2005 Toyota Tacoma X-Runner's wheelbase is five inches longer and the track is four inches wider than the previous truck. This signals that all versions of the 2005 Tacoma are moving well up in size. The benefit of this upsizing is evident inside the cabin, too. Interior shoulder and hip room are up 4.5 inches.
Unlike other Tacomas with two-wheel-drive, the X-Runner is slammed one inch, rides on 18-inch 45-series performance tires and employs firmer and shorter springs with specially tuned Bilstein gas shocks. The rear shocks are mounted outboard of the frame rails, similar to the 2004 Ford F-150, for increased vehicle stability. Front and rear stabilizer bars are standard, as well as a limited-slip differential.
Power comes from a 4.0-liter, 240-horsepower V6 engine that produces 275 lb.-ft. of torque. Toyota Racing Development (TRD) will offer a dealer-installed supercharger for the X-Runner that puts power into the 300-horse range. Without the supercharger, the X-Runner accelerates to 60 mph in seven seconds, according to Toyota. With the supercharger, Toyota reports that the truck gets to the same speed in less than six seconds. A six-speed close-ratio manual transmission delivers power to the rear wheels, and Toyota claims that roadholding exceeds 0.9 g's of lateral acceleration.To differentiate the Tacoma X-Runner from other models, full ground effects, a hood scoop and integrated front fog lights are standard. The four-door Access Cab body's paint is monochromatic, and will be offered in a limited array of colors.
Antilock brakes are standard, with side-curtain airbags and stability control available as options.
Compact pickups are no longer compact. The Chevrolet Colorado, Dodge Dakota, GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier and now the 2005 Toyota Tacoma have all moved solidly into the mid-sized truck market pioneered by Dodge. Never has a buyer in this market had it so good, or such a tough decision to make.
--Photos courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, USA