This month, we have to say goodbye to the Toyota Tacoma X-Runner, and we do it with heavy hearts. The truck won our last Sport Truck of the Year competition, pulling top honors over some tough contenders like the Dodge SRT-10 Ram. The X is a well-balanced total package of a truck, not just a quarter-mile screamer. It is able to out-corner most cars on the road and still haul a load. The 4.0L V-6 has good power throughout the rpm range, but really shines when the needle gets above 3,200. The six-speed manual transmission shifts very easily and lets you make great use of the motor.

The truck has two different demeanors. If you are in a mellow mood and just want to cruise down the highway, just slide the stick into Sixth gear. If you are looking to be Rickey Racer, just take her down two gears, stuff the pedal to the mat, and watch as the rpm and the speedo climb rather quickly. Even better than that feeling is the confidence this truck gives you when it comes time to turn a corner. The double-wishbone suspension and Bilstein shocks, coupled with the Bridgestone rubber, allow this truck to pull almost a full g on the skid pad-that's in stock trim! How does that translate to real world? We have a freeway on-ramp that we use every morning that has a 30 mph sign posted, and we have a best speed of about 67 mph with just a little tail drift at the end.

Inside, the truck is much roomier than the last Tacoma and has a more refined look and feel. The only part of the interior that showed any wear from our test period was the floor mats, but the seats and everything else look showroom fresh. If we had one complaint about the interior, it would be the amount of different textures. The dash has four different grains and treatments, alone, but that is a small thing compared to the comfort and support of the front seats. Electric lumbar and high bolsters hold you in the seat where you belong, but they are not so performance-minded that they become uncomfortable after an hour of driving.

There are a few other nice things about this truck. Let's start with the rear seats. The two rear jump seat cushions flip forward and create a flat floor that holds cargo nicely and is big enough to fit a 27-inch tube-type television. Tucked neatly on the passenger side of the composite bed is a 110 power port that has enough juice to run a blender for some serious tailgating. We put it to the test on one of our trips, and it really came in handy when a few friends needed to charge up their laptops and there were no outlets to be found.

In terms of fuel economy, this truck did very well. We clocked just a little more than 20,000 miles on the truck in our travels and averaged 19 mpg. That is great, considering our right foot has very little control, and we had this thing on the floor a lot. There is just something about blasting the X down the highway, cutting in and out of slower traffic. As far as maintenance costs, the only money besides the gas we had to put in the truck was for the normal 3,000-mile oil changes and for one plug in the rear tire when we picked up a nail.

Sport Truck Tech Tip
Lights Out
Every 3,000 miles a Maintenance Required light will illuminate on the dash board, but don't be alarmed. This light was put there by Toyota to remind you to change the oil. Once you have changed the oil, you will have to follow the procedure below to shut it off for another 3,000 miles.

1. With the key in the "off" position, press in and hold the trip meter reset knob.

2. Turn the key to the "on" position while still holding the switch in.

3. The odometer will count down, and once it does, the light will go off for another 3,000 or so miles.

What We Did To It...
You don't get access to a cool truck like this Tacoma everyday, and so of course, we had to customize it a little. Here's what we did to it over the year. Be sure to check out the back issues for full stories on each modification.

The Final Word

We are very happy with the X and everything it has to offer, and the price is not out of control, considering how well this truck performs. If you are in the market for a sporty truck that has good power and a refined feel, this new Tacoma is definitely worth going to the dealer and taking a testdrive.

Toyota Motor Sales
19001 S. Western Ave.
CA  90509
  • «
  • |
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • View Full Article