The 2005 Toyota Tacoma: A New Standard for Compact Pick-Ups

Not much has changed in compact pick-up trucks in the past decade. Whether it’s a Ford Ranger, Chevy S-10, or even a newcomer like the Nissan Frontier, odds are the only significant changes to the model came in trim level, cab size, or maybe adding power windows as a standard feature. Toyota’s new Tacoma, however, has changed all that, and the resulting 2005 Tacoma sets a new standard in compact truck design other auto makers are sure to envy.

Like most compact trucks, the 2005 Tacoma comes in regular, Extended Cab (Toyota calls it the “Access Cab” model), and Crew Cab body styles. All are available in both two- and four-wheel drive. Options on the 2005 also include a long-bed version of the Crew Cab and the Access Cab X-Runner “street truck,” which is priced like a heavy duty work truck though its styling seems better suited to city streets than to job sites. All the new Tacomas feature more engine power, more interior room, and more safety features than any previous model.

Both the regular and Access Cab Tacoma models are available with either four- or six-cylinder engines, while the Crew Cab models use a V6 exclusively. Lower-end Tacomas employ a new 2.7-liter, four-cylinder engine, which produces 164 horsepower and 183 pound-feet of torque, while all of the Tacoma’s V6 models incorporate a 4.0-liter producing 245 horsepower and 283 pound-feet of torque. With these numbers, the new Tacoma measures up to every six-cylinder truck in its class – offering a full 6,500 pounds of towing capacity. Transmission choices include either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic for the four-cylinder, while V6 buyers can choose a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. For those looking for a truck for towing on job sites or off-roading, the new Tacoma also offers both “Hill-start Assist Control” and “Downhill Assist Control” on all models equipped with an automatic transmission.

Toyota has also packed many more bells and whistles into the base Tacoma than in previous models. The least expensive 4×2 regular cab is outfitted with such standard features as antilock brakes, a CD stereo, and multiple power points. Even more impressive than the newly standard features is the overall design and comfort of the interior, which has increased both leg and head room and features a clear-and-easy instrument display. The new composite cargo bed, which comes standard on all models, incorporates built-in storage units, adjustable tie-down anchors, and an optional 400-watt electrical outlet. Crew cab models also offer optional front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags.

Moving up in trim level, Tacoma Access Cabs add bucket seats, air conditioning, and a pair of rear access doors. On top of that, the Double Cab offers keyless entry and power windows, locks, and mirrors. On Double Cabs, a JBL audio system with seven speakers is an option, while the available TRD Sport package includes performance suspension and upgraded tires. A TRD Off-Road package features wide tires and an off-road suspension.

Base prices on the new Tacomas range from about $14,000 for a regular cab 4×2 with manual transmission to just over $25,000 for a double cab 4×4 with long bed. A middle-of-the-road 4×2 Access Cab with V6 is priced at around $18,000. Considering most competitors’ models are priced in roughly the same range while offering much less than the Tacoma, Toyota’s new truck even manages to hold the line when it comes to price.

Better engine, better cab, more creature comforts, more safety features: the 2005 Tacoma hauls the heaviest load in the compact pick-up class.

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