In early of 2015, Toyota unveiled the details of the all-new 2016 Toyota Tacoma to excited Canadian shoppers.

Built atop a new and stronger chassis and frame reinforced with high-strength steel, the new Tacoma came with two engine choices: a 2.7L four-cylinder or an all-new 3.5L Atkinson-cycle V6 equipped with Toyota’s D-4S technology, essentially a combination of port- and direct fuel injection designed for improved efficiency and cleaner operation. The Tacoma’s new D-4S engine took innovation honours for engine technology from a panel of experts in the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) 2016 Innovation Awards.

The new ‘N300’ Tacoma’s upgraded suspension and looks conveyed its athletic character, while the new cabin flaunted soft-wrapped trim. Premium feature content included available wireless charging, smart key with push-button start, leather-trimmed seats, and more. At launch, available grades included the popular SR5, the TRD Sport, the high-capability TRD Off-Road, and the top-of-the-line Limited. The two TRD grades were created with guidance from Toyota Racing Development’s history in desert off-road racing. Look for manual or automatic transmissions, two- or four-wheel drive, and body styles including the four-seat Access Cab and more spacious Double Cab configurations. Look for towing capacity of up to 6,800 lbs (3,084 kg).

Follow the links below for additional features, news, reviews, and specifications on the Toyota Tacoma , and read on for five tips to help make sure you find the best used model possible for your dollar.

Model-year changes

This generation Toyota Tacoma spanned eight model years, with a number of notable updates applied during that period.

For 2019, the TRD Pro grade was introduced to the Tacoma lineup. Featuring Fox suspension components with TRD tuning and a bevy of off-road hardware upgrades and interior enhancements, this specialized Tacoma model targets the most demanding enthusiast drivers.

A major update and facelift was applied for 2020. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto became standard, an eight-inch touchscreen was available, and a power driver’s seat was added as standard to most trim grades. The TRD Pro grade gained unique sequential LED headlights, a new wheel design, a surround-view monitor (PVM) and multi terrain monitor (MTM). Elsewhere, look for new grille and wheel designs to modernize the look.

  • This generation Tacoma spans eight model years starting 2016.
  • Tacoma TRD Pro introduced for 2019.
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto introduced in 2020.


Every day, Toyota Tacoma owners all over the world enjoy custom-modified machines without issue. Conversely, some modifications can cause damage, wear or other problems that aren’t covered by factory warranty.

For most shoppers, sticking to a factory-stock, unmodified Tacoma is best to reduce the likelihood of possible unknowns and headaches.

Low-quality or poorly installed electronic upgrades can cause issues with various vehicle systems, lift kits and suspension modifications can accelerate axle wear and cause leaks, and non-factory engine tuning software can void remaining warranty coverage and cause problems that cost you money.

If you’re not absolutely sure what you’re doing, stick to a Tacoma that hasn’t been modified by previous owners for maximum peace of mind. Note that dealer-approved, dealer-installed modifications are a safe bet as these are typically warranty-compatible and professionally installed.

  • Some modifications are no cause for alarm; others can cause damage and wear that’s not covered by factory warranty.
  • Avoid a model that’s been modified for best results.
  • Some modifications void remaining warranty coverage.

Automatic transmission delays

The Toyota Tacoma owner’s community has done an excellent job of documenting owner concerns with transmission shift behaviour, especially on automatic-equipped models from earlier in this generation. Specific concerns tend to centre around a delay when shifting between Park, Drive and Reverse; a harsh 1-2 upshift; and a delayed or sluggish upshift when using cruise control, such as holding on to a lower gear for too long after climbing a hill.

On your test drive, be sure to operate the Tacoma’s throttle lightly, moderately and heavily, paying extra attention to the response from the vehicle when accelerating from a stop, and being sure to test the vehicle on hilly terrain with the cruise control on. Make a series of multi-point turns where you’ll shift from drive to reverse several times, noting the time for the shift to take place. Always stop the vehicle fully before changing gears.

If you notice any trouble, the transmission in the Tacoma you’re considering likely needs some attention, most likely software related.

Note that pressing the Tacoma’s ‘ECT’ button can improve smoothness and performance on hilly terrain. There’s some more reading here and here.

  • Check automatic transmission behaviour carefully.
  • Issues are reported most often on earlier models (ca. 2016).
  • Rough shifting, rev hang, and delayed shifting are possible issues.
  • An electronic update to the transmission is a common fix.

4×4 checks and road test

When test driving a used Toyota Tacoma you’re considering for purchase, paying attention to the response form the vehicle in a few specific situations can help reveal hidden trouble.

On a loose surface (sand, snow or gravel), shift the truck from two- to four-wheel drive several times as outlined in the owner’s manual. Confirm proper engagement of each setting, switching  between the two several times on your test drive. Take any delays, unwanted sounds, or warning lights/error messages here as a sign to have the vehicle seen by a professional before you buy.

Next, park the Tacoma on a flat, paved surface with its engine running. Quiet the cabin and quickly wiggle the steering wheel back and forth about one eighth of a turn from centre in each direction, listening closely for a knock, tap, or clunk from the front of the vehicle. Vary the speed and intensity of the wiggling and continue listening. Any unwanted sounds here could indicate one or more worn front-end or suspension components in need of attention.

Find an empty parking lot or open space. Keep the vehicle in first gear and drive at a low speed.  Prod the throttle a few times, poking it hard but releasing immediately. Do this several times, listening closely; a clunk or pop from the front end could indicate a worn or wearing motor mount. From the rear, a similar sound could indicate a suspension or axle issue.

  • Most owners report few if any problems.
  • A few tests can coax trouble signs from certain systems.
  • Use your ears on your test drive.
  • A healthy Tacoma shouldn’t pop, clunk, tap, or bang.

Water leakage

Some owners have reported interior water leaks from at least two potential sources; most have not. On your test drive, take steps to ensure the carpeting and floor/firewall in the Tacoma you’re considering are dry and mould-free. Remove all items and mats from the vehicle, and press your hand or a rag into the carpet carefully to check.

Note that signs of moisture or mould in the rear seat or rear firewall area could be a sign of a water leak from the sunroof, the third brake light seal, or the rear window. Up front, wet carpeting could result from a clogged or improperly functioning air conditioner, a sunroof leak, or a windshield leak. If you detect any water leaks in the Tacoma you’re considering, moving to another unit is likely best.

During ownership, be sure to clear debris from the Tacoma’s windshield cowl and sunroof drainage system regularly to help eliminate sources of leaks. Some owners clear their air conditioner drain hose of debris once per year to mitigate leak-causing clogs, too.

Check this video out for a closer look at how your Tacoma’s sunroof drainage system works.

  • Some Tacoma owners have reported interior water leaks.
  • Confirm dry and mold-free carpeting and floor/firewall during test drive.
  • Water leaks are possible from the sunroof, third brake light seal, and the rear window.
  • A/C drain lines can be an issue too.
  • Keep sunroof and A/C drain lines clear for best results.

Final thought

These tips are designed to help test-driving shoppers more easily identify possible trouble areas reported by some owners. An attentive test-drive and shopping process that focuses on the areas above can help you find a first-class example of a second-hand 2016-2023 Toyota Tacoma .

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