The Toyota Tacoma may as well be the most outstanding pickup truck in its class. Those are big words considering that the entire segment is astonishing. Toyota has been producing pickups for the U.S market since 1964 with an undeniable durable nature.
Tacoma lured young drivers with a crisp style, invulnerable dependability, and fun in recreational activities. Tacoma is not the all-mighty truck of its class. But when the tough gets going, it steps to the plate and delivers an exquisite performance. Let’s get on with our 2006 Toyota Tacoma Guide.
Toyota followed the footsteps of nearly all the competing trucks in the class and fully redesigned the Tacoma. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, The 2006-year model is the best compact pickup Toyota has ever offered to the American community.
Roughly, every truck in the compact class grew to become mid-size pickups involving Toyota, Dodge, and Nissan. The latter were redesigned and rebuilt from scratch, changing everything except the nametag. Meanwhile, Chevy and GMC launched new models with new nameplates leaving Ford in the old days.
The new mid-size pickups generation received larger cabs, enhanced ride quality, and upgraded stability. The new trucks were more refined and blessed with more power.
The new generation of this segment received an increasing popularity thanks to their immense size and their new crew cab configuration. They served as sedans offering better maneuverability around the city and impressive towing and hauling capabilities. An achievement that the previous generation could never reach.
Side note: The new mid-size pickups were great off-roaders.
The Legendary Tacoma
Tacoma was redesigned entirely for the 2005 model year, so not many significant changes were introduced for the 2006 model. Nonetheless, that does not mean it is not any good.
Tacoma takes the lead in the mid-size trucks segment with its polished ride quality, impressive handling, comfy interior, and off-road performance. This newest model debuted with improvements and upgrades across the board. Most importantly, it boasts a massive reputation for durability, which the fans cherished.
A Walk Around the Toyota Tacoma
The Toyota Tacoma is not as stylish as Nissan or Dodge pickups, but it is an attractive truck in its own lane. The front features a vivid and striking grille with large headlights.
The bumpers and bumper sides coincide with the bulges and lines to create a sleek and polished finish. The PreRunner and 4×4 models are characterized by broader fender flares to stand apart from the rest of the lineup.
Tacoma comes in three cab styles: regular cab, extended cab (Access Cab), and crew cab (Double Cab) with rear and four-wheel-drive similar to most competitors.
The popular PreRunner trim models continue to live on for the 2006 year. The PreRunner gets the aggressive 4×4 looks with PreRunner decals and the heavy-duty suspension, but it is rear-wheel drive only.
Moreover, Toyota offers Tacoma a distinctive rear-wheel-drive X-Runner model. An Access Cab street truck with a lowered sport-tuned suspension, a six-speed manual transmission, and a proper V-6 engine.
The X-Runner replaced the S-Runner model for the 2006 model year and offers utility features without sacrificing the fun. This model gets additional structural bracings in the underside, hence the X-Runner name.
All regular cabs and extended-cab models come equipped with a four-cylinder or a six-cylinder engine. However, the crew cab models get the V-6 power plant.
The Double Cab is available with two-bed options: a six-foot long-bed and a five-foot short bed, while the rest of the models come with a six-foot long-bed.
The overall length of the Tacoma depends on the body style you choose. The shortest is the Regular Cab at an overall measurement of 190.4-inch on a 109.4-inch short wheelbase. The Double Cab (with short bed) and Access Cab have a total length of 208.1-inch on a 127.2-inch long wheelbase.
The Double Cab model with the long bed is the longest of the bunch, measuring 221.3-inch overall length on a massive 140.9-inch wheelbase.
Tacoma comes with a complex, durable, and light inner bed. It features two-tier loading, adjustable tie-down hooks/cleats, and integrated deck rails. They are compatible with OEM accessories counting bed crossbars, a bike rack, and storage boxes.
How to Choose a Suitable Model for You?
The Regular Cab models are relatively small for better maneuverability in tight streets, but they have massive cargo space. The PreRunner and four-wheel-drive models offer better off-road performance and have the best break-over angle.
On the other side, Access Cabs come with dual rear auxiliary doors. Unfortunately, too small for people to use, but they are excellent to put in the gear you do not want in the bed.
The Double Cab models feature large traditional hinged rear doors that open wide enough for people and extra luggage to go in. Furthermore, Double Cabs provide the comfort of an SUV, and it can haul the most cargo with a long bed, but they are very hard to drive in the city.
Whether it is more power, a roomier interior, or better safety equipment, the 2006 Tacoma comes fully loaded with features it never had before. A wide variety of models is available, starting from $ 14,000 to the range-topping 4x4s. The 2006 model get a new tire pressure monitor and service reminder indicator.
The Regular Cab is the bare-bone entry-level model. Yet, it comes with a stunning list of standard features. The features include a tachometer, a full-size spare tire, and a CD player. It has brake assist and anti-lock brake (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD).
EBD ensures that braking force is equal among all the wheels.
Fun fact, Tacoma is one of the few pickups available with regular cab style because most manufacturers moved to the extended and double cab style.
What is more, it comes fitted with:
- AM/FM radio
- Four speaker sound system
- Coolant temperature gauge
- Fuel warning light
- Digital clock
- Rear mudguards
- Dome lamp
- Two PowerPoint connections
Access Cabs gets additional standard features like bucket seats, air conditioning, and an upgraded sound system.
It includes AM/FM radio with dash-integrated six-CD changer and six speakers. On top of that, the Double Cab comes with a center console, keyless entry, power door locks, mirrors, and windows. It receives upgraded fabric seats and a JBL premium audio system with seven speakers and a subwoofer.
Do you know what is more impressive than the standard features? It is the design, interior quality, and comfort.
Tacoma rekindled the interest in the compact pickup segment and brought younger buyers to the courtyard with its fresh, fashionable, and practical style. It set new quality standards for the rest of the competitors to follow.
The new Gen pickup trucks come with a decent interior, but the Toyota outshines the rest with better quality materials. The dash, upper panels, and door trims are made of hard plastic but modest and soft-looking.
The silver plastic in the middle of the dashboard may be a deal-breaker to some. However, it compensates for it with pleasant cloth seats and upholstery.
The Toyota Tacoma has dashboard controls and gauge clusters similar to the ones you find in a Toyota 4Runner, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The seats feature a firm and supportive bolstering, which is an unusual thing to find in a mid-size pickup. In addition, getting into the cabin is much easier, especially on the Access Cab due to the rear door.
Things get even better once you climb into the cabin. The exterior view is superb because of the big windows and mirrors. The center console has integrated cupholders, and the passenger seat folds down to form a try or allow extra space for longer items.
The dashboard is reasonably organized, and everything is within reach. It includes large knobs to adjust the cabin temperature easily. Plus, the knobs are electronic, so they are easy to twist even with gloves on.
The radio is mounted in the upper center dash, and it is quick to understand and operate. Though, the screen is hard to read sometimes.
I recommend you upgrade to the JBL premium sounds system because it sound much better than the standard. Models with automatic transmission come with a foot-operated parking brake, while manual models feature a pull-out handbrake.
The overall seating position is perfect for driving. The bucket seats on the range-topping Tacoma models are well-bolstered and comfy. Although, the bottom of the seating could be a bit longer and provide more thigh support. The manual seats have adjustable lumbar support, but the height and angle of the bottom are fixed.
The Double Cab Tacoma versions have complacent and cozy rear seats. They offer good enough room for legs, shoulders, and decent headroom. The seats are reclined backward a little to make them more convenient for long journeys.
They fit adults perfectly, and the windows go all the way down to keep the kids happy. As a matter of fact, some passengers found the Tacoma back seats comfier than the Nissan Frontier.
In addition, the back seats in the Double Cab can fold down to create a large, flat, and solid platform for tools and gear. The Access Cab has rear seats, but they are useless. The space is very cramped, and it is best used for carrying groceries.
As far as cruising on the roads is concerned, the Toyota Tacoma did not disappoint. The V-6 has plenty of power to give, and handling is rather neat and responsive. On top of that, off-road models offer better performance over rough terrain than previous models. The ride is composed, refined, and more comfortable.
Toyota offers the Tacoma a 4.0-liter dual overhead cams V-6 engine with variable valve technology (VVT). It helps in honing power and torque delivery over a broad RPM range. The V-6 produces 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, more than Chevy Colorado and Dodge Dakota.
The power plant is mated to a sleek and responsive five-speed automatic transmission. It is quick on the downshift and smooth on the upshift. It provides five ratios to keep the engine on the most efficient RPM.
There is an optional fun six-speed manual transmission available for the Tacoma. The shifts are effortless, but the first gear ratio is low, leaving a big gap to the second.
A gap big enough to fit another gear in there!
Not to that extent, but you get the idea.
Another downfall to the manual is the poor fuel economy. Rear-wheel-drive models with automatic transmission average 18 miles per gallon in the city and 22 on the freeway, and 4x4s get 17 miles per gallon in the city and 21 on the highway.
On the other side, the V-6 manuals achieve 16 miles per gallon in city limits and 21 on the highway whether it’s rear-wheel or four-wheel-drive.
Toyota recommends 91-octane gas for this gas V6. If that does not wreck your bank account, I don’t know what will.
Luckily, the engine lineup includes a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that offers better fuel economy than the V6. Plus, it runs on cheaper regular gas.
The four-banger makes an average of 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel-drive models with a manual transmission get an average of 21 miles per gallon in the city and 27 on the highway, while automatic versions average 20/27 city/highway.
Four-wheel drive models achieve lower MPG. It is estimated to get 19 miles in the city and 23 on the freeway.
It is an inline four-cylinder with dual overhead cams and VVT, which is efficient. Toyota recommends feeding it with 87-octane for optimal performance.
Tacoma feels sturdy and nimble on curvy roads. Surprisingly, it struggles with slight leaning and body roll in tight corners. The new model is more spacious and longer than the previous one, and you can feel that on the road. Its sheer size can be problematic in some situations.
For instance, a Double Cab Tacoma with a six-foot long-bed needs 44 feet to do a full circle. Models with regular cab and short beds take less than 40 feet to do a full circle. Nonetheless, it remains a massive pickup, and it is challenging to par it in a tight space.
Tacoma’s driving capabilities extend beyond the paved roads. The four-wheel-drive TRD models are fitted with an exceptional suspension to conquer the rough terrains. In short, it is comfy off-road and handles the dirt trails with ease.
Towing and Hauling Capabilities
Tacoma’s performance as a workhorse depends on the way you configure it. For instance, a 4×4 Double Cab with a V-6 and long bed can tow a max of 6,500 lbs. and carry 1,300 lbs. but a regular PreRunner with a short bed and a four-banger can tow 3,500 lbs. and haul 1,600 lbs.
As standard, all Tacoma models come with ABS, EBD, and brake assist. The Double Cab models get optional front airbags. Off-road and 4×4 models get hill start and downhill assist control. Moreover, all models get an optional stability control system except the X-Runner.
Tacoma comes with a bundle of packages.
Enhancement Package is available for the rear-wheel-drive Regular Cab. It includes air conditioning and styled steel wheels.
The Convenience Package contains:
- Cruise control
- Remote keyless entry
- Power windows, door locks, and mirrors.
- The SR5 Pack for improved styling and comfort features
- Color-keyed fenders and front bumper
- Chrome grille surround and rear bumper
- Center console
- Intermittent wipers
The SR5 package brings a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter to the Double Cab and Access Cab. Finally, a TRD Sport package offers performance suspension and upgraded tires.
Pros and Cons
- Flexible and refined drivetrains
- Impressive off-road capability,
- 18 body configurations,
- Stability control,
- Solid build quality and reliability
- Nosedive under braking
- The manual gearbox is not smooth
Question: Should I Buy a New or Used Tacoma?
Answer: Toyota Tacoma is famous for holding a great resale value, so you may not save much on 3-5 years old models. You can buy a used 2005-2008 Tacoma for a reasonably low price. However, the problem with such contemporary vehicles is they can be rusty and may have low-quality replacement parts.
Question: Which Tacoma Provides the Smoothest Ride?
Answer: According to online forums, the TRD Off-road offers the smoothest ride thanks to the suspension. But, others may disagree and say that the range-topping Limited provides the best ride quality.
Question: How Much Does a Tacoma Snug Top Cost?
Answer: It can cost you about $ 1,900 to $ 3,500 depending on the model of the top, its features, and the company that makes it.
The mid-size pickup segment offers many options other than Tacoma. Considerable picks include the Chevy Colorado, Nissan Frontier, and Dodge Dakota.
Check out how Toyota Tacoma compares to others:
- Toyota Tacoma vs Nissan Frontier
- Toyota Tacoma vs Honda Ridgeline
- Toyota Tacoma vs 4Runner
- Toyota Tacoma vs Thundra
What Do I Think?
Tacoma is a magnificent go-anywhere ride every off-road lover wants. It boasts sublime reliability and serves as a workhorse and a family hauler.
Although it has downsides, it still provides good value for money and comes loaded from the factory. In addition, the marketplace is over-flooded with accessories and parts that can make Tacoma better than it already is.