All-new for 2005, the Toyota Tacoma is bigger, more powerful, and all-around better than the model it replaces. And despite the extra bulk and brawn, this new Tacoma – the first full model change since the truck’s 1995 inception – is more fuel-efficient than the 2004 model.

The Tacoma is available in two body styles, an Access Cab with rear-hinged secondary access doors, and the Double Cab, with fully independent rear doors. (A regular-cab model for the U.S. market is unavailable in Canada.) Both are available in two- or four-wheel-drive.

The Access Cab 4×2 is powered by an inline four-cylinder and includes a five-speed manual (a four-speed automatic is optional), CD player with six speakers, front bucket seats, rear folding jump seats, telescopic wheel, 15-inch steel wheels, dual manual remote mirrors, fixed intermittent wipers, and removable tailgate. An optional package including air conditioning, power windows and locks, cruise control, variable-intermittent wipers and a leather-wrapped wheel can be added.

The Prerunner Double Cab 4×2 carries a 4.0-litre V6 and comes exclusively with a five-speed automatic. It has the same features as the Access Cab, plus air conditioning, 16-inch steel wheels, a 60/40 folding rear bench seat, power locks, power windows, fender flares and power mirrors. A Sport package including a limited slip differential, Bilstein shocks, aluminum alloy wheels, sport seats, sliding rear window, variable intermittent wipers and cruise control can be added.

The Access Cab 4×4 comes with the 4.0-litre V6 and a six-speed manual transmission that can be optioned up to a five-speed automatic. Features include air conditioning, CD player with six speakers, front bucket seats, rear folding jump seats, 16-inch steel wheels, dual manual remote mirrors, fixed intermittent wipers and removable tailgate.

The Double Cab 4×4 is powered by the V6 and comes either with a six-speed manual (that gets you a five-foot cargo bed) or a five-speed automatic (with a six-foot bed). Both models include air conditioning with rear seat heater ducts, CD player with six speakers, 60/40 split rear bench seat, power locks and windows and power mirrors. Towing packages can be added to all 4×4 models.

All models come with a cargo box made with a new composite material that’s lighter and more durable, and resistant to deformation, impact damage and rust. Towing capacity for the V6 models increases from 3,500 lbs in 2004 to 5,000 lbs for 2005. Styling by big-truck manufacturer Hino, a division of Toyota, gives it a muscular, in-your-face appearance that hides the fact that this a smooth-riding truck with intelligently-placed controls, a high level of refinement and a solid, built-to-last feeling to it.

The Tacoma is built in Fremont, California.

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