Have been very busy over here, also trying to get caught up on sleep (my wife does not drive stick-shift unless the truck is Triple cased). I've been compiling this and had it mostly done last night but just couldn't stay up any later.
Here comes my first full report!An Old School Hilux Rock Crawler owner's First Impressions of the new Tacoma
Drove 212 miles yesterday and here comes my first report!
Because the above pic shows it, might as well start there.Fuel Economy
The 19.1 MPG did include a lot of wasted city use including much time idling around trying to figure out our plan/schedule/directions as well as functions of the truck. Got crossed up a few times, had to backtrack, etc, while building confidence to use the truck's navigation instead of my cellphone. Also I "had to" open it up and use the skinny pedal a couple times, um, you know, for science
Definitely making over 20 MPG on the freeway @ 75 MPH. For reference my 2.7-liter 3RZ-FE 4cyl powered 1981 Rock Crawler with full body armor and Triple Marlin Crawler cases makes 20 MPG with 37" Interco IROKs at this same highway speed. This is why I like 4cyls. This Tacoma won't be able to touch this.
There is something I find lacking (maybe I just haven't figured it out yet), but MPG is only displayed in averages. Our Yaris and other modern Toyota's I've driven all have instantaneous MPG readouts. There is a blue horizontal instantaneous bar graph, but it lacks a numerical reading. The Eco screen only lists averages.Reverse Camera
Reverse camera is brilliant. Already have some leveraging ideas for its use for Crawling.Cup Holders
Oh man! I've got a truck with cup holders!! Eight of them in fact BSM and RCTA
The Blind Spot Mirror is nice. Took a bit of initial trust adjustment but I've really warmed up to these. Still, I miss my lil blind-spot (convex) mirrors. I use these on all my vehicles so I stopped at an O'Reilly's and they only had some ugly thick black framed mirrors and none of that crap is going on this truck. So I ordered these frameless ones which will be waiting for me back at home: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EVMT6A8
The Rear Cross-Traffic Alert hasn't alerted me of anything yet. 4WD
As mentioned I had to try out 4WD first day off the lot. System works great. I like how solid the rotary switch is. First time ever using a switch to enable 4WD. Realllllly miss the transfer case shift lever(s). Nevertheless, depending on the required modifications I'll run into soon, I might actually keep this shift style for the rear t/case after all.Navigation unit
I am really blown away by this unit. I've used a number of them in various cars and most I've seen are slow and laggy. This Entune Premium with App Suite is brilliant. I had it mostly configured before we made our first stop for lunch
The iPhone Entune app (1.5 star rating on iTunes) so far has been useless for me. The only app I've tried is Pandora and I get ads over Pandora which I don't get through my iPhone (thank you jailbrake!). So I prefer Bluetooth. I think the Gas Station app only works if the Entune app is launched on my phone. That is pretty lame.
Speaking of the App Suite, here is something that is particularly annoying to me. According to both the official Toyota website and brochure, for my trim and truck build, this should ONLY be available WITH AN AUTOMATIC DOUBLE CAB:
I did not request for this; I was actually bummed I wouldn't be getting it. I do not have JBL speakers (I have not seen any JBL logos) but I do have the App-Suite. So Toyota willingly breaks their own rules when it comes to "Apps" but NOT when it comes to something IMPORTANT such as a REAR E-LOCKER...
The navigation's accuracy and ability is between that of Waze and Google Maps. Very impressed with it, especially once I figured out how to mute the lady's voice.Noise
I've never driven another Tacoma but this truck is uber quiet. I think it is more quiet than Marlin's 2000 V8 Tundra, and if it wasn't for these noisy stock tires it might even be more quiet than our Yaris SE.
It does sound like there is noise coming from the back firewall or lower b-pillar areas. I noticed there is a rubber flap on both sides between the cab & bed to isolate vertical flow between the two. Nice touch Toyota. But I wonder if this higher velocity of air between the two is coming through as noise in the cab...
I can see a custom exhaust and intake giving a lot of life to this quiet cabin Hood scoop
Man... I just don't like it. It is only my second day so I must be cautious in coming to conclusions. But for me it comes down to the following:
1. It raises the hood line quite a bit which will certainly block my view of rocks on the trail, and
2. It is fake.
3. A lot of sun glare.
If this opinion remains when I get home I'll be looking to swap with a non-scoop hood.Ignition key
I am very happy I have normal keys. From my past months lurking I've seen flip keys that look very brittle. I am very happy with the keys I got.The main doors
The main doors are very tight on both sides. They will not fully close unless you make a conscience effort to close them. I don't believe them to be out of alignment. I believe they will require some breaking-in and this I like very much. No flimsy sheet metal noise here. Someone put some time into the fit and finish of the Access Cab doors.The access doors
These are VERY nice. I can't believe how fantastic having these doors are. Access to the 'XtraCab' section of the truck is wonderful, and they open and close much better than the doors on my parent's 2000 Access Cab Tundra, which are more like full size doors with exterior handles.The driver's seat
Not that I need to complain here but the seat is "okay". I have only experienced the driver's seat thus far. The seats in my MR2 and Yaris SE are both far better. But then again these Tacoma seats are lightyears better than the ones in my 1981 Hilux haha
The only adjustment is lumbar. I'd think that for a $30k truck they could have more adjustability such as tilt, height, and lateral controls. Perhaps the Limited has this...
One thing that is pretty nice is that the driver's seat can slide about a mile back. I am 6'0" and always have my seat back as far as it can go. Not with this Tacoma. These seat rails probably have enough movement for 6'5" drivers.Factory alarm
I have a question: Where is the alarm? I tested it and it appears to only be a keyless entry system. No audible alarm, no hoking of the horn or flashing of the lights. There is a sticker on the driver's side window that shows soundwaves emitting from the vehicle, but so far I haven't figured out how to enable the "alarm". I have this same issue with our 2013 Yaris.
Two ways I tested it:
1. Remove key from ignition -> Open door then close door -> "arm" system -> Flip the door lock lever to the unlock position by hand -> have a friend open the door from the outside -> Nothing happens.
2. Roll window down halfway -> Remove key from ignition -> Exit vehicle -> Close door -> "arm" system -> Reach over the window and manually unlock door as above -> Open door from outside -> Nothing happens.
Unless the system is smart enough to know that the door was unlocked inside by the flip lever, it is not working. How do I enable the Tacoma alarm from silent mode to alarm mode? ThanksFront shocks
The front shocks definitely need more dampening. The 5100-series Bilsteins we carry will be a welcomed improvement once I get back to our shop.Brakes
Brakes feel great. Hopefully I never need to test the ABS. The real test will come once I get off-road.Visibility
I am very happy this does not have the incredibly limited visibility as a FJ Cruiser. Pretty confident I'll be able to adjust to this truck for Rock Crawling. Over the shoulder visibility is good; The taller bedsides are not noticeable to me. A-pillars are wider than my non-airbag Hilux, but not stupid-wide like they are on my Yaris. The packaging of the curtain airbags has improved.The transmission
You've waited for it so here it is: GREAT TRANSMISSION. All the marketing hype about dual synchros is true: Downshifts into 1st gear do not require the vehicle to be at a near stop. Toyota has done a fantastic design with 1st gear. Downshifts as if it was a 3.8:1. Surprisingly, unless the specs I've found online are wrong, it is lower than the 1st gear 4cyl transmission in my Hilux (3.98 vs 3.95) which is unexpected for an engine with more bottom end torque as the 6cyl. However this is great news once I get our Crawler installed.
Some RPM comparisons for you automatic lovers:
RPM at 70 MPH: 6th gear: 2,400, 5th gear: 2,900
RPM at 80 MPH: 6th gear: 2,700Clutch
Clutch is like any other factory Toyota clutch. Light pedal, mushy engagement window.Engine
Amazing engine. I am very impressed with it so far. It does have a slight hiccup in power delivery when you first hit the throttle, however I've never driven a drive-by-wire stick-shift before so I don't have anything to compare with. I've only opened it up a couple times and so far there seems to be two sharp power increases: One about 2,800 RPM and another about 3,900 RPM. Pulls very hard above 4k. Torque around 1,800 RPM is very good. I had no issues slowing for traffic and reaccelerating to speed without downshifting from 6th gear. Will be interesting how much this will change once I get all my gear loaded up in the bed.
I have not heard the D4S system "cleaning itself".
Idles low, about 700 RPM, also very good for Rock Crawling.
The engine shakes a lot during cranking and run-off. Love that 11.8:1 compression!The curious things...
- The Recirculate button is of AN ACTUAL PICKUP TRUCK. You look at any recirculate button/switch for any Hilux and it is a recirculate drawing of a family car silhouette.
- If you don't fully activate the blinker, then it will blink a minimum 3 times. Very annoying. My habit of 20 yrs driving is to blink twice for lane changes by only slightly moving the lever. Even if I barely move the lever for one blink and release the Tacoma will blink twice more.
- Steering wheel controls: I like the layout and use them often, but Toyota used a non-standard audio control: Right & left buttons control volume while up & down buttons control skip.
- Brake and gas pedal are wider apart than my Hilux. Maybe this is to account for people wearing large work boots. I have to exaggerate my heel-toe movements. I'll be looking for pedal covers soon.
- I do not like the doors auto-locking once the truck is in motion. I was taught to never drive away with the doors unlocked, however while Crawling I leave them unlocked on purpose due to frequently stops. I'll be overriding this soon.
- I do not like how the air vent mode auto-reverts to main vents only upon each and every time the truck is started. I like having ventilation for my feet and 95% of the time I have the mode set for main vents + feet vents. So every time I get in the truck I have to readjust the vent mode. Dumb. Also unnecessary wear and tear.
- Windows have auto down AND up including for the passenger door control. Very nice.
- Visors are both telescopic AND both with lighted mirrors. Very nice.
And that's it for my initial impressions! Back on the road we go!