We recently had the opportunity to pick up a Toyota Tacoma to drive and beat up for a bit. With gas prices more than $3 a gallon, we wondered how these midsize trucks were holding up for the public. Mike's already been driving a Frontier for a while, and I have been driving the Mitsubishi Raider; but I wondered about the good-old Tacoma.

From the looks of it, the Tacoma is easily the favorite midsize, as you can see them everywhere. The exterior of the truck has so many crazy lines, the first impression isn't of a Tacoma; rather it's of some kind of crazy, futuristic project. The inside looks like it was designed by the guys at Lexus. More importantly for us, however, the truck has consistently gotten about 420-440 miles per tank; which is roughly 24 mpg. Our truck is equipped with a four-cylinder motor. We opted not to get a six-cylinder to save money on gas. Of course, the power difference we know is phenomenal, but we're not looking to drag, race, or tow; we just wanted to cruise it.

We've already put our Tacoma to the test, using it to haul parts for the Weekend Warrior from the junkyard on several occasions. From motors to trannies, it's seen it all already. The durable dent-resistant polycarbonate bed, which is rust proof and dent proof, has definitely held up nicely. We put three Ford 9-inch rearends back there, heard them sliding around all day, and they didn't even leave a scratch. Of course, had we been smarter, we would have used the tie-down hooks provided for us.

This isn't the typical review seen on a truck. Normally, we would only have the truck for a week or so, and we wouldn't really learn much about it. But, because we're going to have this Tacoma for about a year, we're really going to get to know this truck. We do have plans for this truck, as well.

Unfortunately, they do no include 'bagging and body-dropping, but we do plan on giving our truck a slightly lower look by installing a lowering kit and some new shoes. We would like to see what differences we'll see in our truck from normal wear and tear on a daily-driven midsize that will go from stock to mild.

Keep an eye out for more information on our Tacoma project, Average Joe. That's right, our truck's name is Joe. Laugh all you want.


2.7Liter DOHC EFI
Four-cylinder with VVT-I
159 hp at 5,200 rpm
180 lb-ft at 3,800 rpm

Four-speed electronically controlled automatic overdrive transmission with intelligence (ECT-i).

One-piece framerails with seven crossmembers and fully-boxed front sub-frame.

(Front): Coil-spring double wishbone suspension.
(Rear): Leaf spring suspension with staggered outboard-mounted gas shock absorbers.

Variable-assist power rack-and-pinion steering.

Power-assisted ventilated front disc brakes.
10-inch drum brakes with tandem booster.

15-inch steel, all-season, 215/70R15.

Overall height: 69.9 inches
Overall width: 74.6 inches
Overall length: 190.4 inches
Wheel base: 110 inches

Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc
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