“David get in your car and drive to the airport,” my former editor-in-chief Patrick George told me over the phone. “Wait, what?” I replied. “I don’t have time to explain, just go.” So I hopped into my 1996 Jeep Cherokee XJ five-speed and blasted down I-75 towards Detroit Wayne airport. While I was in the car, Patrick called me back. “I just got us an invite to the new Toyota Tacoma press drive. It’s tomorrow in Tacoma, Washington.” Hot damn!
That was an exciting launch for me because it was a vehicle that our readership actually cared about, unlike the car I’d previously written about, my first-ever review: the 2016 Hyundai Tucson. What’s more, it was at the 2016 Toyota Tacoma launch that I met chief engineer Mike Sweers, who informed one of my early Deep Dives, which really helped me make a name for myself in this business.
Anyway, that review was published on my 24th birthday with the headline “The 2016 Toyota Tacoma: A Spicy Taco That Doesn’t Taste All That New.” To this day I wonder why we didn’t use the word “Fresh” instead of “New,” but in any case, the vehicle — despite its new Crawl Control feature meant to help you get unstuck if you’re bogged in sand or dirt — felt like it was very much a tiny step from its predecessor (in typical Toyota fashion).
Still, it was a good, capable, and ultimately reliable machine as the world would find out, but it wasn’t perfect, with many folks complaining about efficiency and ergonomics. In any case, a new Taco is upon us, and it does indeed seem “Fresh.” With a new four-cylinder turbo replacing the old V6 and an eight-speed automatic instead of a six-speed (a six-speed stick stays around, thank goodness!), and also a new platform shared with the Land Cruiser, Sequoia, and Tundra — the new Taco seems promising.
I’m driving the vehicle near Malibu TODAY. In classic fashion not dissimilar to what happened eight years ago, we managed to get the invite only yesterday. I better get up from bed and hit the road! Let me know what you’d like to know about the new Tacoma!