Drive: 2005 Toyota Tacoma
By: Mike Magda,
© 2004 PickupTruck.com
old Toyota Tacoma poised to overtake the Ford Ranger in the compact/midsize
truck market, can you image the assault the new Tacoma will make on the
venerable sales leader?
the turn of the century, Ranger outsold Tacoma by more than 2-to-1. But
with Ranger sales tumbling—including a 20-percent drop this year—and
Toyota picking up market share every month, the Tacoma could overtake
Ranger by year’s end. And with Ford not expected to bring out a
new Ranger for a few years, don’t look for any comeback soon.
story isn’t about Ford’s self-inflicted demise; it’s
about the refinement, power enhancement and increasing stature of the
eighth-generation Toyota Tacoma. Always a favorite of youthful buyers,
the 2005 Tacoma has also matured in size and capability to meet more complex
and upscale needs. While other manufacturers have cut their small-truck
portfolio, Toyota has expanded and diversified its lineup. There are 18
model configurations across four cab-bed combinations:
cab on 109.4-inch wheelbase with a 73.5-inch cargo bed
• Access Cab on a 127.2-inch wheelbase with a 73.5-inch cargo bed
• Double Cab on a 127.2-inch wheelbase with a 60.3-inch cargo bed
• Double Cab on a 140.9-inch wheelbase with a 73.5-inch cargo bed
are available in 2- or 4-wheel drive, and the popular PreRunner model
with its desert-inspired suspension returns across the board in the 2WD
lineup. New to the Tacoma roster is the X-Runner, a sporty 2WD model featuring
a special frame, tuned suspension and radical body package.
A new 2.7-liter
4-cylinder engine rated at 164 horsepower is standard in all models except
the X-Runner and Double Cabs. They come with a revised 4.0-liter V6 rated
at 245 horsepower. The 4-banger is linked to a standard 5-speed manual
transmission with a 4-speed automatic optional on 2WD models. The V6 is
mated to one of two new transmissions: a 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic,
although both may not be available on some models.
SR5, TRD Off-Road and TRD Sport packages will be available on many models.
These packages tie popular options and specific equipment together in
easy-to-order groupings and price structures. The SR5 adds a lot of chrome
while the Sport package offers a color-keyed look. The Off-Road package
beefs up PreRunner and 4x4 models with Bilstein shocks, skidplate, sport
seats and locking rear differential. Toyota also offers a basic Enhancement
Package and Convenience Package to add popular items such as air conditioning
and power windows without getting the upscale options.
were adamant about increasing the size and performance of their pickups
pickups when they started developing future strategies for the Tacoma
and the fullsize Tundra. “In anticipation of where we know we have
to go with Tundra, and I knew the next-generation Tacoma would need to
move well beyond the compact truck dimensions of the previous models,”
said Tacoma Chief Engineer Yuichiro Obu at the truck’s introduction