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2006 Toyota Tacoma Test Drive Review

Picture of 2006 Toyota Tacoma V6 4dr Double Cab 4WD SB with automatic The Tacoma's 2005 refresh was good enough to put it at the front of the pickup truck pack. That remains true for 2006, despite the fact that the truck is mostly a carryover from the previous year.

6.7 /10
Overall Score

The Tacoma's 2005 redesign brought a new style, a more comfortable interior, and a much improved ride that pushed the truck well ahead of its competition. Toyota's taking the "don't fix what isn't broken" approach for the 2006 model year, so changes to the Tacoma are minimal at best. Choice is the name of the game here, as the Tacoma is available in a wide array of trims and body and cab configurations. The truck can be ordered as anything from a stripped-down work truck to a double cab 4x4 off-roader.

Look and Feel

8/ 10

The new Tacoma is a handsome pickup truck, but it doesn't have the style-forward profile that its competitors have adopted. The front end was redesigned last year to include larger headlights and a more prominent grille flanked with chrome accents. Fender flares and tasteful curves work together to give the Tacoma a muscular but friendly look that is much more modern and attractive than the previous generation trucks.

The quality of interior materials feels and looks more expensive than it is, and easily bests the interior quality of competitors like the Nissan Frontier. Even with the solid feeling materials, there's no missing the fact that the Tacoma is absolutely a function-over-form vehicle.


7/ 10

The Tacoma is offered with two engine choices: A 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that has 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque and a 4.0-liter V6 that produces 236 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. The four-cylinder engine is an obvious choice for buyers wanting a truck with reasonable fuel economy, but the V6 does a much better job at almost everything else. The V6 matches perfectly with the 5-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox shifts smoothly and is responsive, making in-town driving much more pleasurable. Acceleration, while far from breathtaking, is brisk and the Tacoma has no issues pulling into traffic or reaching highway speeds.

The Tacoma feels sturdy and solid on curvy roads, and there's much less body roll and leaning than is expected from a truck. The ride remains comfortable on most road conditions, but the truck does allow some crashing and vibrations over rough surfaces. 4-wheel drive (4WD) is simple to use and switching between settings is easy.

Form and Function

8/ 10

The Tacoma is built to a standard that not many other vehicles are, truck or otherwise. The interior is comfortable and well constructed, and even the lowest trim levels feature materials and build quality that make them feel more expensive than they actually are. The seats are shaped in such a way that they remain comfortable on longer drives, and even the back seats (in configurations that have them) are usable by adults.

The Tacoma's level of customization is also a high point for the truck. There's up to 18 different body and trim combinations, and options are simple, cleverly packaged, and affordable. The truck's bed is wide enough for most cargo, but longer items will require the tailgate to be lowered or will need to be tied down.

Tech Level

5/ 10

If you're looking for a truck that comes with a long list of standard features out of the box, look elsewhere. The Tacoma, despite its high quality materials and solid build, is absolutely stripped down in its lowest trim levels. That means no standard air conditioning, no power windows, and no power door locks. The stereo comes with a CD player, an AM/FM stereo, and auxiliary inputs. If your expectations are reasonable, you'll be a happy buyer. Just keep in mind that the Tacoma won't make a tech-lover happy.


5/ 10

The Tacoma performed well in crash testing. It comes standard with dual from airbags, and it was rated Good in moderate front overlap and side crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). But it didn't do so well in roof strength and head restraint testing, earning a Marginal score from the agency. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the Tacoma five stars for both front- and passenger-side protection.


7/ 10

Don't let the Tacoma's price tag fool you. Sure, the sub-$15,000 price tag is attractive, but there's not much included in that number. Models equipped with the four-cylinder engine can return up to 18 mpg city, 25 highway, and 20 combined with rear-wheel drive (RWD) and a manual gearbox. Moving to the bigger V6 engine changes those numbers to 16 mph city, 21 highway, and 18 combined.

Thought it's a long way from well-equipped in its most basic forms, it doesn't take a ton of money to add creature comforts and functional upgrades such as 4WD. All in, the Tacoma lands at just over $25,000, which makes it a whole lot of truck for the money.


Chris is an automotive journalist covering new vehicle reveals, news, and technology. He loves digging into the details to tell entertaining and informative stories.

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Toyota Tacoma Questions



What Does The Red Four Wheel Light Mean When It's Flashing.

Can Anybody Help Is This 4wd Or Brake Issue?

Have a 2006 Toyota Tacoma when I put in drive it won't go its like brake is on finally got it to move in 4wdL but it was like the back wheels and front wheels are not in sync with each other when ...

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Requested an instant offer and it just keeps spinning for calcuation. Have tried a few times over past couple of days and let it go for over an hour each time and nothing. Not sure if it's working c...

4WD Red Blinking Light On Dash

I have a 2006 Tacoma 4x4. Driving in H2 and not attempting to put in H4 or L2. Four-wheel drive indicator light is blinking on and off RED on the dashboard. Local Toyota Service Department has no idea...