Handy Family Hauler

This might be an unusual way to begin a vehicle review, but I’ve gotta’ be honest.

I’ve been intrigued with Toyota’s Tacomas for decades….ever since I first started seeing them on TV in some of those early Mideast wars.

You’d see a Tacoma with 2-3-4 guys in the back…a machine gun or two…and it’d be careening down a sand dune or over some rocky roadless terrain…and I’d just sit there and think….dang….that’s gotta’ be one tough truck!

Sadly….the wars are still going on….and the ancient Tacomas may be still rolling as well.

So…..I didn’t come close to putting out test Tacoma to such a test, but it did impress me as one quite capable vehicle.

That would be as in capable of taking a family of five and their toys to Wallyworld or the lake….or taking a couple of guys and their big-boy-toys off to wherever.

We had a Tacoma Double Cab 4 x 4 in Testosterone Grey….( Toyota calls it “Magnetic Metallic” ) ….with their 4.0 six-cylinder hooked up to a 5-speed automatic.

In short, for less than $33,000….you can do almost anything.

Let’s start with the un-truck part….the interior. Plenty of room for 4 or 5 in a two-tone fabric-covered interior…again, in manly grey. It’s a bit of a step up into the raised 4 x 4 cabin, but nothing that anyone over 5’8 should have a challenge with. And guys…if you’re with a woman under 5’8….you’ve got a marvelous opportunity to display your gallantry and sensitivity!

As for the truck part, this Tacoma had a shorty 5’ bed….thanks to the full-cab design.

Get the jump seat edition and you can have a longer bed.

But even with the 5’ bed and the tailgate down and perhaps on optional bed extender / protector, you could put one or two trail bikes or one jet ski in the back and go have fun.

Your proverbial 4 x 8 sheet of whatever will fit fine…resting above the wheelwells…and hanging a bit out of the back. But we can do it…yes we can!

And for anything smaller, Toyota has thoughtfully included tie-down opportunities throughout the bed.

Tacomas start at roughly 19K with transportation. That’ll get you a 4-cylinder standard ( no-room behind you ) cab with a stick shift….rated at 21 city and 25 highway.

Our test 4 X4 4.0 six-cylinder started out at under 28K with a 5-speed auto rated at 16 city and 21 highway…on regular.

With Toyota’s Entune audio + 19-ways-from-Sunday hands-free connectivity and
Keyless entry, “tough” trim, back-up cam, tow package, and quite a bit more, our test Tacoma still listed at under $33,000.

If the Tacoma lives up to it’s tough guy heritage…and it’s family-friendly nature…you’ll probably trade it in when you’re tired of it….not when it’s worn out.


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