If you’ve followed me long enough you’ll know that I’m a fan of small cars. I’ve owned a Chevy Aveo, Chevy Spark, and now a Ford Fiesta. The smaller, the better. But, I have a secret. I LOVE big ol’ trucks. In fact, I learned to drive in a F-150 and growing up my dream vehicle was a black Dodge Diesel Dually….thereafter, a Hummer. Another fact: when it comes to off-roading 99% of the time DH is the driver. It’s not that I’m chicken, I just tend to be a better navigator so that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
So, when Toyota reached out to see if I’d like to have a Toyota for a week…and it could be a truck…and it would have full off-roading capabilities…and only assigned to me…I took the opportunity.
When the bright orange Tacoma showed up in our driveway just a few days later I was excited. Then, when I realized it had all of the bells and whistles you can imagine and the guy dropping it off said. “I’m the one that has to clean it…but go get it dirty!” I was stoked. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I’m a gear head. I’m far from it. I’d love to spout of all of the specs but that’s not my jam. However, when I like something I like it. When I don’t, I don’t. And I’m more than happy to share about it.
I was able to off-road 4 of the 7 days I had the Tacoma. Not too shabby. I was also able to take it on a wide variety of terrain. Full disclosure: While I put it through the rounds sadly I did not have the opportunity to use the crawl function. There was no real opportunity. Not to mention, while I’m quite adventurous I also had to remember that this was a loaner vehicle and whatever damage I caused I would have to have repaired.
From our experience (and obvious reasons), a Jeep Wrangler has always been our off-roading vehicle of choice. However, I have to say I was quite impressed with the handling of the Tacoma. It was smooth and didn’t jar us around as much as when we’re in the Jeep. The one major downside was the length of the truck. More compact vehicles make it easier to get in and out of situations or turn around. Not so easy when you have a bigger back end. Coming from my recent use of compact vehicles I also to take the back end into consideration when I parked. There were countless times that I got out of the truck only to find I had not pulled into the parking spot far enough. (I also had to get used to the width as well) Of course, this is not an issue with the truck, just habit and personal preference.
Aside from the off-road capabilities I had countless aspects of the Tacoma I loved. None of these are deal breakers, nor is this my entire list, but here’s what topped the list…
Blind Spot Monitor – Due to blind spots I don’t rely solely on my mirrors and find myself turning my head to check for cars. (and you should too ;)) But I have to say the Blind Spot Monitor is pretty cool. Basically a little icon on your side mirror will light up if someone is in your blind spot. If you turn your blinker on to make your move it will then start blinking at you to further warn you NOT to make your move.
Back Up Camera – These tend to be the norm nowadays, yet I had never had an experience with one until the Tacoma. At first it was pretty weird to use, but I got used to it. It helped tremendously, especially when I was trying to get used to accommodating for the size of the truck (see above). However, I don’t think I would ever fully rely on a back up camera.
Dual Control Thermostat – Bottom line: this should be the norm for vehicles. Wish our cars had this…but they don’t
Keyless Ignition – This took some getting used to. Not going to lie, even on the last day I was still reaching to get the keys to turn off the Tacoma. Haha! But, when you’re off-roading it’s great to NOT have your keys banging back and forth on your steering wheel and console.
Outlet in Truck Bed – Kind of random and I had absolutely no need for the use of this outlet during my week-long period, but I can see how this would be incredibly helpful. Seriously, have you ever wanted to plug something in and been unable to because you needed an A/C adapter? While you couldn’t use it while driving it could come in handy for off-roading and camping.
Here are some of the things I didn’t love so much….
Qi Wireless Charger – I was initially stoked to see there was a wireless charging pad. I wasn’t so stoked to learn that I needed to purchase extra accessories to add to my iPhone in order to use. If I owned the vehicle I would possibly consider purchasing the accessories, but I dunno. First world problems, but at this day in age I think that if you partner with a company it should be compatible with all phones and ready to use without having to purchase add-ons.
Sirius XM Radio – People swear by XM but I’m not impressed. The quality of sound can’t rival that of listening to a CD, iPod, or even local radio. I love the variety but I could take it or leave it. Thankfully the Tacoma also had the option of CD, AUX input, or regular radio as well.
All in all I was pretty impressed by the Tacoma. With all the option available you can have all the bells and whistles you can imagine, and it’s a rad truck with legit off-roading capabilities.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)