2013 Toyota Tacoma pumped up with bad-boy looks

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Farm Forum

Toyota’s Tacoma, the U.S. sales leader in the compact-pickup segment, rolls into 2013 fit to lure consumers looking for a sporty, capable truck.

Benefiting from freshened styling and upgrades during the previous model year, the 2013 Tacoma — available in Regular Cab, Access Cab and four-door Double Cab configurations — is offered with special packages that boost looks and performance.

The Double Cab short-bed 4×4 test truck with a 4.0-liter V-6 gains an edgier appearance and more-balanced performance with a TRD Sport Package, which adds $3,200 to its base price — $26,705 with the six-speed manual and $27,585 with the five-speed automatic.

Pumping up the TRD Sport Package model is an aggressive, chiseled front-end treatment that enhances the truck’s bad-boy image. The hood is topped with a body-colored scoop, the grille and lower fascia are black, and round inset fog lamps are standard. Mirrors, door handles, fender flares and rear bumper are color-keyed, and body sides wear “TRD SPORT” graphics. Available colors are Barcelona Red Metallic, Black Magnetic Gray Metallic, Nautical Blue Metallic, Pyrite Mica, Spruce Mica and Super White.

Wheels are 17-inch five-spoke alloys, wrapped with lower-profile P265/65R-17 tires (Bridgestone Dueler H/T on the tester), which team with a specifically tuned sport-suspension system with heavy-duty Bilstein shocks.

Power to the wheels is via a 4.0-liter V-6, delivering 236 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 266 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm, with an Electronic Throttle Control system with intelligence that optimizes performance and fuel efficiency. Estimated fuel economy for the 4×4 test truck with automatic transmission is 16 miles per gallon city and 21 mpg highway.

Acceleration and towing muscle can be increased with an optional dealer-installed TRD Eaton Roots-type supercharger kit with air-to-liquid intercooler that increases V-6 output to 304 horsepower and 334 lb.-ft. of torque. Priced at $4,500 with the fit kit, the supercharger includes all the hardware for installation. Thanks to the supercharger’s self-contained lubrication, it requires no maintenance.

Equipped with the $650 Tow Package, 4×4 towing capacity is 6,400 pounds. The Tow Package includes a Class-IV receiver hitch, transmission and supplemental oil cooler, heavy-duty battery, seven-pin connector with converter, trailer-sway control and 130-amp alternator. Maximum payload for the 5-foot cargo box is 1,290 pounds.

As with all 2013 Tacomas, the cargo box has a durable sheet-molded composite inner bed with tough walls that are 10 percent lighter than steel. Also increasing utility are rail caps, two covered bed-side storage compartments, an integrated deck-rail system with four adjustable tie-downs, a removable tailgate and 115-volt/400-watt deck-mounted power point. A roof-rack system with crossbars that deploy from the roof rails is available on Double Cab models.

Double Cabs offer the advantage of large, front-hinged rear doors providing convenient access and egress. The rear seat is 60/40 split with cushions that lift to accommodate larger cargo. Headroom is excellent in the rear and legroom is good to fair, depending on front-seat positioning. Up front on the TRD Sport tester are sport bucket seats with driver lumbar support, upholstered in water-resistant two-tone fabric.

The instrument panel is metallic-toned with chiseled-sided center stack and large well-illuminated gauges, and the steering wheel grip is leather-clad. Adding driving convenience are an integrated backup camera paired with an auto-dimming mirror and monitor, plus outside temperature gauge.

A $790 Double Cab Convenience Package is available for all Double Cabs, which includes a remote keyless entry system, steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control and sliding rear window with privacy glass.

New for 2013 is a $6,695 Limited Package that adds upgrades such as SofTex-trimmed heated front sport seats, leather-clad steering wheel with audio controls, Display Audio with Navigation, chrome grille surround and rear bumper, chrome outside mirrors with turn-signal indicators and 18-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels.

Double Cab Tacomas also are available with the SR5 Package, providing appearance and convenience upgrades, and ready-for-the-rough-stuff TRD Off-Road Package.