NEW FOR 2009:

– Lower pricing
– New four-cylinder 4×4 Access Cab model
– Standard side and curtain airbags, active front head restraints, vehicle stability control and traction control added to all models
– LED combination taillights, new audio unit appearance, MP3/WMA capability, auxiliary jack, and XM satellite radio antenna added to all models
– New upholstery on SR5-optioned models
– Access Cab models add rear seat console; rear speakers moved from door location to ceiling
– 4×2 and 4×4 V6 Access Cab models add power windows and locks
– 4×2 Access Cab V6 X-Runner adds smoked headlamps, subwoofer, and auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated backup camera
– New TRD Sport + Leather Package added
– Exterior colours: Barcelona Red Metallic, Pyrite Mica, Magnetic Grey Metallic and Timberland Mica added; Radiant Red, Desert Sand Mica and Indigo Ink discontinued
– Interior colours: Sand Beige added, Oak discontinued

For 2009, Toyota’s compact Tacoma pickup truck undergoes several changes, including the addition of a new four-cylinder 4×4 Access Cab model, and new standard safety equipment, including side airbags, roll-sensing curtain airbags, active front head restraints, stability control, and Traction Control (TRAC) on 4×2 models, and Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) on 4×4 models. Prices are reduced from 2008 levels.

The Tacoma is now available in five models: 4×2 Access Cab, 4×4 Access Cab, 4×4 V6 Access Cab, 4×4 V6 Double Cab, and X-Runner 4×2 V6. The Access Cab features small, rear-hinged back doors that can only be operated when the front doors are open; the Double Cab uses four independently-opening doors. (A Regular Cab model is sold in the U.S., but is not available in Canada.)

Two engines are available, a 2.7-litre four-cylinder and 4.0-litre V6; depending on the model, transmission choices include five- and six-speed manual gearboxes, and four- or five-speed automatic transmissions. Four-wheel drive models use an on-demand system with two-speed transfer case and automatic disconnecting differential; the TRD Sport Package includes a limited slip differential.

The 4×2 Access Cab uses the four-cylinder with five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic, and includes 15-inch steel wheels, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary jack, folding rear seat cushions, power locks, passenger vanity mirror, power window with driver’s side auto-down, tilt and telescopic wheel, front centre console box, floor mats, front tow hook, composite six-foot cargo bed, removable tailgate, and two-speed wipers.

The 4×2 X-Runner Access Cab uses the V6 and comes strictly with a six-speed close-ratio manual transmission, and adds 18-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, six-CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary jack and wheel-mounted controls, sport seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated backup camera, dual vanity mirrors, sliding rear window, leather-wrapped wheel, metallic dash accents, keyless entry, power mirrors, rear privacy glass, full skirt package, hood scoop, coloured bumpers and mirrors, chrome tailpipe, variable intermittent wipers, 115-volt cargo bed outlet, black headlamp surround and fog lamps.

The 4×4 Access Cab uses the four-cylinder with five-speed manual transmission, and includes 16-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary jack, 50/50 split rear bench seat with foldable cushions, power locks, power windows with driver’s side auto-down, tilt and telescopic wheel, front centre console box, floor mats, front tow hook, composite six-foot cargo bed, removable tailgate, two-speed wipers, and LED taillights.

The 4×4 Access Cab V6 uses the V6 with six-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic, and is similarly-equipped to the four-cylinder.

The 4×4 Double Cab V6 uses the V6 and either the six-speed manual or five-speed automatic, and adds rear seat heater ducts, folding front passenger seat, map lights, and power mirrors. When ordered with the manual transmission, the truck has a composite five-foot bed; the automatic version comes with a six-foot box.

Several packages are available for the various models, including an SR5 Power Package, TRD Off-Road Package and a leather upholstery option.

With gasoline prices sending consumers to smaller pickup trucks, the Tacoma becomes more desirable with the addition of several important new safety features and a four-cylinder model with four-wheel drive. All use a composite cargo box that’s more resistant to impact damage and rust than a conventional steel bed. A smooth ride and comfortable interior is accented with muscular styling, and for those who want a boulevard cruiser, the sporty X-Runner is a tuner truck right out of the box.

Connect with Autos.ca