Great Scott! Is it 2015 already? Well, let’s take a quick look-see at how accurate Back to the Future II was.
• Still need roads.
• Nikes don’t tie themselves.
• Hoverboard not available commercially.
• Still awaiting 12 separate Jaws sequels.
And as for the Toyota pickup truck, hoo-boy, is that ever a prediction gone wrong. It doesn’t fly, it doesn’t run on garbage, there’s no Mr. Fusion in the bed – all things considered, this is a pretty ordinary rig.
The reason I bring up BTTF2 in relation to the Tacoma is pretty simple: the original film is best known for its DeLorean hero car, but when Marty McFly successfully navigated the trials and tribulations of time travel, his reward wasn’t a stainless-steel super(ish) car, it was a truck. Specifically, he got the girl, and he got a shiny new 1985 model year black Toyota pickup complete with a lift kit, big tires, and offroad lighting.
Those were salad days for the sport truck indeed, when a compact little rig was your ticket to sun, fun, and driving your best girl up to the lake. Thanks for waxing her up, Biff. Er, the truck, I’m talking about the truck!
Come 2015 and the compact truck market has shrunk even as trucks have grown larger. The plucky little Ranger and Mazda B-series are toast, and full-size pickups have improved in both fuel economy and overall affordability. What’s more, Toyota’s pickup offering now also has to contend with two new machines from General Motors: the Canyon and Colorado twins. That’s not to mention Nissan’s Frontier, a near-constant rival. [Don’t forget about the awkward and expensive Ridgeline! –Ed.]
This one’s the TRD Sport version of Toyota’s Double-cab Tacoma, and to draft in another ’80s movie reference, it’s as venerable as Mr. Miyagi. This generation of truck first debuted in 2004 as a 2005 model, and if we hopped in our DeLorean for a decade’s jump, we’d find almost the exact same truck sitting in showrooms with Hoobastank playing over the PA.
Still, the Tacoma’s minor 2009 facelift still looks good in 2015, if not particularly fresh. The 2016 version will be updated, so watch for that.
In my neighbourhood of North Vancouver, the Tacoma is something of a ubiquity. You see them everywhere you go, from shopping mall to the peak of Mount Seymour. Heck, my neighbour even bought one. He had mentioned considering buying an old Land Rover Discovery, and after I stopped screaming, I suggested checking out some other options.
It’s a popular choice, a Camry-with-a-tailgate, but the Tacoma’s appeal is not immediately apparent when you first jump in the cabin. Sure, trucks are meant to get dirty, and the Tacoma’s rough-and-tumble cabin looks like it’d bear up under heavy use, but this is very much a time warp compared to almost any modern car short of a Mitsubishi Mirage.
The seats are flattish and lack adjustability. The rear cab space isn’t huge, although it’s workable if you’re briefly ferrying a load of mountain bikers up the hill. There’s no rear defroster (the mirrors don’t defrost either), and no automatic headlights.