2010 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab TRD SportPosted on October 29th, 2010
Mid-sized pickup truck combines luxury and utility
By Nina Russin
When I was going through mechanic’s school in the mid-1980s, almost all of my classmates drove compact Toyota pickup trucks. The truck that evolved into the Tacoma was known for reliability in all kinds of weather. Owners would retire their trucks when they got sick of looking at them: the 22R four-cylinder engines never seemed to wear out.
While the Tacoma is the smallest pickup truck in the current Toyota lineup, it’s considerably bigger than the old compact models. An available V-6 engine makes it more powerful, while the TRD sport package adds tech-savvy features such as Bluetooth interface and satellite radio.
The double cab seats up to five passengers, making it a logical choice for active families. Base price on the four-wheel drive V-6 model is $26,250, not including an $800 delivery charge.
The TRD option adds a host of comfort and performance features, including an audio upgrade, remote keyless entry, sport seats with lumbar support, sport suspension, a hood scoop, and 17-inch alloy wheels ($3385). The cat-back system opens up the exhaust behind the catalytic converter to improve airflow through the engine, while keeping the Tacoma emissions-legal ($535).
A V-6 tow package includes a class 4 hitch, transmission and supplemental oil cooler, heavy duty battery and seven-pin connector ($650). With it, the Tacoma can tow up to 3500 pounds, meeting our ALV minimum standard. A front skid plate protects the engine against rock damage on off-road trails ($205).
Other options on the test truck include daytime running lamps ($40), floor mats and door sill protectors ($199), making the MSRP $33,183.
Power for the open road
I drove the Tacoma from Phoenix, Arizona to Palm Springs, California: a distance of about 270 miles. The route consisted mainly of four-lane highway, peppered with the usual traffic and road construction.
While the test drive didn’t include any off-road trails, it gave me a good idea of what it might be like to live with the Tacoma on a daily basis. Weaving through traffic in downtown Phoenix tested the truck’s maneuverability, while the open sections of highway were a good opportunity to evaluate engine power.
Any road trip lasting more than four hours tests seat comfort as well. The Tacoma interior is surprisingly quiet for a tall, two-box vehicle, reducing fatigue over the long haul.
The 236-horsepower V-6 engine offers an abundance of power, but not particularly good fuel economy. Gas mileage on my road trip was on par with the EPA estimate of 20 miles-per-gallon on the highway.
Fortunately, the fuel tank is large enough to give the truck good range. I was able to complete the route with about three-quarters of a tank of gas.
Buyers more concerned with gas mileage should opt for the 159-horsepower four-cylinder, which averages five miles-per-gallon more on the highway.
The engine has excellent power off the line and in the 20-to-50 mile-per-hour range for merging into high-speed traffic. I was able to pass slower vehicles with ease on level surfaces and moderate inclines.
Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. The automatic is more practical around town and surprisingly, offers better fuel economy.
A part-time four-wheel drive system includes a two-speed transfer case, providing the low gears for uneven off-road trails. The 4X4 double cab has 9.3-inches of ground clearance: plenty for off-road trails or deep snow.
Wheelbase for the double cab model is 127.4 inches for the regular bed and 140.6 for the long bed. Both are considerably longer than the regular cab, making them less maneuverable on narrow off-road trails.
A rack-and-pinion power steering system offers plenty of assist at low speeds while providing good on-center response at speed. The double cab has a turning radius of 40.6 feet, making it considerably less maneuverable around parking lots than the regular cab. The longer wheelbase makes U-turns all but impossible.
The Tacoma has a solid rear axle to improve towing performance. Despite this, the suspension is surprisingly compliant. Some solid rear axles hop on the highway: this one does not. Had I not read the specifications, I would have thought the truck had a four-wheel independent suspension. Front and rear stabilizer bars keep the chassis flat in the corners.
Seventeen-inch alloy wheels on the test truck are an upgrade from standard 16-inch rims. They provide larger contact patches with the ground and dress up the exterior.
Ventilated disc brakes up front and drums in the rear do a good job of stopping the truck on dry pavement. I’d prefer rear discs for wet weather, since drums tend to retain water, and are harder to service.
The double cab not only increases the Tacoma’s passenger capability but interior storage as well. With the rear seats in place, there’s plenty of room to toss luggage, golf bags and groceries in back. The seats fold flat to add more room or create a hard work surface for second-row passengers. The front passenger seat folds flat as well, making it possible to carry larger items inside.
Manual seat adjustments up front area easy to use. The manual lumbar adjustment makes a big difference on long road trips. A tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel allows smaller driver to maintain a clear forward view. Redundant audio controls and Bluetooth interface minimize driver distraction.
I found both the gauges and center stack displays easy to read in bright sunlight. The TRD option adds a compass and ambient temperature display in the overhead console. Center stack control knobs are large enough to operate with gloves on.
A spacious glovebox and center console bin hide items in the passenger compartment from prying eyes. Two 12-volt power points at the base of the center stack recharge portable electronic devices. The TRD package adds a 115-volt outlet in back: ideal for powering up camping equipment.
I was impressed by the head and legroom in the second row: comparable to a mid-sized passenger car. Doors on the double cab model are hinged to the front, improving access and egress for the second row. Grab handles on both A pillars and over the rear doors make it easier to climb inside the truck.
All passengers have access to bottle holders in the doors, and cupholders in the center console.
Dual reading lamps up front and a dome lamp in back illuminate the interior at night.
A plastic bedliner protects the cargo area from nicks and scrapes, and provides a softer surface for the cargo. Cargo rails with tie-down hooks on either side secure larger items.
All models come with Toyota’s star safety system, which integrates the vehicle’s antilock braking, traction and stability control. Other standard safety features include front, side and side curtain airbags and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The 2010 Tacoma is on display at Toyota dealerships nationwide.
Likes: A versatile mid-sized pickup truck with room for the family, off-road capability and Toyota’s legendary reliability.
Dislikes: Remote keyless entry and Bluetooth interface are not standard equipment.
Model: Tacoma Double Cab 4X4
Base price: $27,250
As tested: $33,183
Horsepower: 236 Hp @ 5200 rpm
Torque: 266 lbs.-ft. @ 3800 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 16/20 mpg city/highway
5 responses to “2010 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab TRD Sport”
[…] 2010 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab TRD Sport review | Auto Reviews … Oct 29, 2010 … 2010 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab TRD Sport … a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. … Other standard safety features include front, side and side … The 2010 Tacoma is on display at Toyota dealerships … […]
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