2010 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab
2010 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Chris Chase

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2010 Toyota Tacoma

Generally speaking, I don’t have much use for pickups, so when I picked up this Tacoma tester, I did as I always do when I get a truck to review: I put the call out to friends and family to “help” me test it by using it to haul their stuff.

First up was my dad, who wanted to buy a pre-fab shed. Then, I found out my buddy Mark wanted to buy some – nay, a lot – of mushroom compost for his garden and exactly 19 rolls of sod for the front lawn.

It’s DIY home-improvement jobs like these, Mark and I surmised, that regular people (as compared to tradesmen) might buy pickups for. And in that sense, the Tacoma proved to be just enough truck (barely, but more on that later) for all the tasks I’d lined up for it. Believe it or not, I was actually excited about getting to use this truck for what it was made to do, just as much as I get when given the chance to drive a sports car on a racetrack.

A small garden shed fit in the bed, but only once it was out of the packing crate it came in
What a generous cubic yard of compost looks like
A small garden shed fit in the bed, but only once it was out of the packing crate it came in (top); What a generous cubic yard of compost looks like. Click image to enlarge

The second generation Tacoma, like the one you see here, was introduced in 2005 and hasn’t changed much since then, save for a minor styling update in 2009. Engine options are a 2.7-litre, four-cylinder that generates 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, and a 4.0-litre V6 good for 236 hp and 266 lb-ft. Transmission choices are a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic with the four-cylinder engine, and six-speed manual and five-speed auto with the V6.

In Canada, the Tacoma can be had in Access Cab and Double Cab models, the former with two small, rear-hinged rear doors, and the latter with four, full-size, front-hinged doors; the U.S. market also gets a regular cab version. There are two bed lengths, too: a six-footer that is standard on most models, and a five-foot bed that, for some reason, is only offered on Double Cab models with manual transmission.

The four-cylinder engine is available only in Access Cab models, with the V6 being an option there and standard in Double Cab models. All V6 trucks are four-wheel drive, while the four-cylinder engine can be paired with a simpler rear-wheel drivetrain.

2010 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab
2010 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab
2010 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab
2010 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab. Click image to enlarge

My tester was a top-end 4×4 Double Cab V6 model ($31,845) further outfitted with the TRD Sport Package ($5,110), which adds conveniences like steering wheel audio controls, sliding rear window, cruise control, keyless entry and variable intermittent wipers. More importantly, perhaps, are the functional additions, including transmission and engine oil coolers, upgraded alternator, trailer wiring harness, Class IV hitch, 400-watt cargo bed power outlet and a backup camera; the mechanical upgrades boost the Tacoma’s towing capacity to 6,500 pounds (about 3,000 kg) from 5,000 pounds (around 2,300 kg). The automatic transmission adds $1,700 to the price of a Tacoma Double Cab with the TRD package.

It’s worth noting that the Double Cab Tacoma with manual transmission comes standard with the SR5 Power Package, while it’s extra on automatic trucks; as a result, the stickshift version is pricier to start, at $32,615.

Unladen, the V6 motor is strong, bringing brisk, if not fast, acceleration. The five-speed automatic does its job well, though its shifts are rougher than what you’re treated to in a typical family sedan or crossover; thank the gearbox’s heavier-duty nature for that. It responds with prompt downshifts when the gas pedal is prodded, though the engine generates enough torque in its low- and mid-range that a downshift is rarely required for moderate acceleration.

The 4×4 system is a driver-selectable part-time setup with low-range gearing, operated electronically via a knob on the dash. Unlike many full-size pickups, the Tacoma’s system doesn’t have an automatic mode that allows the truck to remain in four-wheel drive all the time. There’s no centre differential, so the truck must be driven in two-wheel drive mode on paved surfaces. Access Cab V6 models can be had with a locking rear differential and skid plates for the transfer case and fuel tank as part of the TRD Sport Package, but these items aren’t included on the Double Cab model. All Tacomas however, get an automatic (electronic) limited slip rear differential and come standard with stability control and traction control.

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