Last year, we took a group of new trucks to the Sport Truck test facility and put them through the proverbial ringer. We flogged a group of four trucks to see which one deserved the coveted Sport Truck of the Year crown. The Toyota Tacoma X-Runner prevailed as the winner, just edging out Dodge's SRT-10 (see sidebar for performance numbers), not an easy task against that kind of competition. With a little sweet-talking and a lot of reassurance that we wouldn't cut the truck to pieces, Toyota decided to loan us one for a year. We took shipment of this fine Radiant Red X-Runner a couple of weeks ago and still are nothing but impressed with the truck's performance.
Let's get into some specifics of this truck and what makes it so nice to drive. Toyota upscaled the Tacoma into the midsize class to compete with trucks like the Dakota and gave it a whole new powertrain to do just that. The driving force in the X is a 240hp 4.0L V-6 that features 24-valve DOHC configuration. To keep that power on tap and ready for use, Toyota backed the motor with a close ratio six-speed manual transmission and a 3.15 rearend. This new driveline is stuffed in an all-new frame design that has an extra crossbrace-hence the name X-Runner-to produce a flat-handling truck. With a solid frame base, the suspension system in this truck really shines, thanks to the front and rear sway bars, specifically tuned Bilstein shocks, and rack-and-pinion steering. If we have any complaints about the truck, and they are minor, they would have to be the shifter and the clutch. Both of these components have a very soft feel and don't give you the positive response the rest of the truck provides.
We are going to be racking up the miles on this sucker and reporting back to you each month on the mileage and any bolt-on modifications we might make. This month, we decided to add a few things to the truck to keep it looking new as long as possible. Check out the subsections of this story to see exactly what we did, and remember to check back next month and see where the X has taken us.
Vehicle Type: midsize Access Cab pickup
Construction: body-on fully boxed, all-steel (F-Alpha frame, based on the Nissan Titan), rear drive
Engine: 4.0L DOHC EFI V-6, 24-valve aluminum block with aluminum alloy head with VVT-I; 3,956 cc; CR: 10.0:1
Horsepower: 245 hp at 5,200 rpm
Torque: 282 lb-ft at 3,800 rpm
Transmission: six-speed manual Overdrive
Suspension: F: coil spring independent double-wishbone with gas-filled shock absorbers; front stabilizer bar diameter: 1.18 in; R: leaf-spring rigid suspension; rear stabilizer bar diameter: 0.98 in (X-Runner only)
Steering: power-assisted rack-and-pinion; ratio: 17.4:1; lock to lock: 3.43 turns
Brakes: power-assisted disc/drum four-wheel antilock braking system (ABS) with brake assist (BA) and electronic braking distribution (EBD); F: 12.56-inch disc. R: 10-inch drum
Length/width/height (in): 208.1/74.0/65.2
Track (in): F: 62.2 R: 62.2
Turning Circle (curb to curb): 42 ft
Curb Weight (lb): est: 3,690
EPA city/hwy/combined mpg: 16/21/N/A
Fuel-Tank Capacity/range: 21 gal/N/A
The '05 Tacoma comes with...
The '05 Tacoma comes with a larger 4.0L engine platform, compared to last year's 3.4L. This new engine features dual overhead cams with four valves per cylinder and 10:1 compression. Variable valve timing and drive-by-wire keep the efficiency up while still producing power.
The frame features extra braces...
The frame features extra braces and crossmembers to give the truck a stable base to mount up all the components.
PROTECT IT With the fully...
With the fully painted front fascia on this truck, daily driving might produce rock chips and we can't have that. We hooked up with Joe Conduff from House of Tints to have him protect our truck with a layer of Clear Shield. To make the Clear Shield install as clean as possible, Joe recommended clay-barring the areas to remove any fallout or contaminants. We used Adam's clay bar and detail spray to do just that.
While we were rubbing the...
While we were rubbing the clay, Joe went to work cutting the patterns for the Clear Shield. He downloaded the pattern from the web and sent it to his cutter.
Once the machine was finished...
Once the machine was finished cutting, the tech hung the material on the wall and picked out the salvage, not an easy thing to do on totally clear material.
With the claying complete...
With the claying complete and material ready, Joe sprayed both the truck and the backside of the Clear Shield with a solution of soap and water. This will keep the material from sticking until he wants it to.
A hard squeegee was used to...
A hard squeegee was used to push out the water and allow the glue to adhere to the paint. Joe stuck the center first, then moved over to the edges and set them.