This week I tested the 2005 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4X4. I got on a Truck kick to cover as many as possible and as close together to be able to recall and compare. It was a good opportunity to do this because of the drastic weather here in Southern California.
At my ranch in the high desert I experienced the full force of nature with a lot of rain concentrated in a short period of time. As I watched the evening news show surreal events of houses sliding down hillsides and hillsides sliding down onto houses below I could look out my window and watch the real thing happening in living color, helpless to alter the course of the flowing water and mud.
Although a tractor is the real hero in these situations it is the truck that provides the ability to carry the supplies from Home Depot to rebuild and then haul the trash away. So I scheduled a series of trucks to highlight their unique abilities and features. In the trenches of battle against the forces of nature all were capable as trucks go. A base truck is all you generally need in these cases and fancy does little to improve function. However the double cab or crew cab feature provides the best of both worlds. As to the fancy interior, it is a distraction to have to pull your muddy body into an interior more suited for a tuxedo-clad cowboy. Uh huh. I agree it is a contradiction in terms. Not to say the Marlboro man doesn’t clean up real well.
Aside from the fact that all the trucks I tested during this time were too pretty, there were several thoughtful features as well. Great tie down apparatus and even AC outlets in the back of the bed for using power tools out back. Bottom line: as always, the features you’ll need will be dictated by the purpose intended. Both of the above features would surely be important on the ranch in Southern California and even more important on the ranch in Southern Oregon that is far more remote. If you’re on the north forty fixing fence the AC outlet is better than a battery-operated skill saw, for example. And a heavy-duty trailer hitch and 4 wheel drive is a must for hauling a 6 horse trailer and dealing with those muddy roads ahead without paved detours.
Handling & Performance:
A 245 horsepower V6 powered this solid feeling, big, bulky and strongly substantial answer to the rough and tumble lineup of trucks and it competes effectively with those listed below.
The appearance speaks more to the street scene with a huge air scoop on the hood that is all show and no go. It is window dressing only with no functionality. It just goes to show you we are more into “Form rather than Function”. As I’ve said before trucks have never looked prettier than they do today.
Fit and Finish:
Consistent with the competition – all of which agree that the consumer demands car like refinement in how a truck is put together. On a working ranch however such attention to detail is wasted.
The Tacoma is priced pretty well with lots of basic stuff like air and manual adjusting seats and the upper end of the pricing is for the four-door crew cab configuration well worth the money.
Options can be added for that Rhinestone Cowboy like upgraded audio, side curtain airbags and a TRD Sport package that will quickly bring the price to $31,000.
The base appointed Tacoma is just fine as a work truck.
Determine the application and equipment needs accordingly. You can cut the cost and still get the job done. For the Beverly Hills contractor, you’ll want to add all the fu fu stuff to look cool. Golfing buddy and contractor, Ken, opted for the GMC Canyon. He’s been happy with it but always looking at what he’ll try next. My favorite in this group to win the coin toss would be the Nissan Frontier, but I would be happy with any in this lineup. I own a Dodge Ram 3500 Dualee but I’ll tell you my intention is to replace it with a conventional 4-wheel drive in this price category, even though I like the Cummins Diesel with 250,000 miles. It’s just getting broke in.
Toyota Tacoma $13-25,000, GMC Canyon $15-28,000, Dodge Dakota $20-29,000, Ford Ranger $14-26,000, Chevrolet Colorado $15-29,000, Nissan Frontier $16-27,000.
Solid, nice styling, convenient 4-door, 4WD for the ranch, comfortable seats and Japanese quality.
Fuel economy could be better.
4.0 liter 245 hp V6 gas engine, 5-speed automatic trans, 4 wheel on demand system with 2-speed transfer case, coil over shock double A arm front suspension, multi leaf rear suspension with staggered outboard mounted shocks and front stabilizer bar, power assist rack and pinion steering, power assisted front disc and rear drum ABS brakes and brake force distribution, dual air bags, composite long bed liner with steel panel rail caps and removable tailgate deck rail system with adjustable tie down cleats, 60/40 rear bench seat, air conditioning, power windows and door locks and mirrors, AM/FM with CD player, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, engine immobilizer and aux power outlet.
17 City and 21 Highway MPG.
Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is email@example.com
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