The new 2016 mid-size contractor pickups
In the 2016 pickup field there are two new 2016 mid-size contractor pickups, the all-new Toyota Tacoma and the smaller, lighter car-like Honda Ridgeline.
New for 2016, the Toyota Tacoma features high strength steel to enhance rigidity and strength. Ultra-high strength steel was integrated into the body shell using a new hot stamping process that reduces weight.
Two engines are featured: a carryover 2.7L DOHC four-cylinder with variable valve timing (VVT-i) that produces 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. EPA estimated city/highway/combined mpg for the 4×2 with an automatic transmission is 19/23/21. Estimated fuel efficiency for the 4×4 with a manual transmission is 19/21/20 and 19/22/20 for the automatic.
For added performance, Tacoma offers an all-new 3.5L V6 with a unique Atkinson cycle with VVT-iW (Variable Valve Timing with Intelligent Wider Intake) equipped with Toyota’s D-4S technology, featuring both direct and port fuel injection.
The new V6 will generate 278 hp, an increase of 42 hp over the previous V6, and 265 lb-ft of torque. Estimated city/highway/combined mpg for the 4×2 automatic is 19/24/21. The estimated mpg for the 4×4 manual is 17/21/19, 18/23/20 with the automatic.
Both engines will be paired with a new 6-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift. The V6 can also be mated to a new 6-speed manual transmission and the four-cylinder to a 5-speed manual
When equipped with the V6 tow package, these new pickups for 2016 can tow up to 6,800 pounds (SAE J2807 tow standard), an increase of 300 pounds over the previous V6.
Among the new 2016 mid-size contractor pickups the Honda Ridgeline follows closely the unique car-like package of the previous model, while introducing a more modern, comfortable and connected pickup targeted at the customer who needs an occasional-use truck without spending the sum that pickups lately command.
It’s based on a unibody design yet has all the practicality of a midsized conventional body-on-frame truck like the Colorado/Canyon pair from GM or the Tacoma or Frontier. It is closer in concept to the long-past El Camino and Ranchero, except it has 4/5 seating and four doors. And it’s a well-appointed 2017 pickup instead of a mid-‘80s model.
It’s in the truck bed that the Ridgeline excels, with a two-way opening tailgate, a secure cavernous lockable trunk in the floor of the bed that also gives access to the spare wheel and, on the new model, six speakers in the bed.
The Ridgeline will be powered by a 3.5L, direct-injected i-VTEC V-6 engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, providing top powertrain refinement and targeting acceleration, performance and leading EPA fuel economy ratings.
Honda sensing technologies available on the 2017 Ridgeline include lane departure warning, collision mitigation braking, collision warning, and steering intervention for lane-keeping assistance. All Ridgeline models will feature a multi-angle rearview camera as standard equipment and upper trims will be available with either Honda LaneWatch or Blind Spot Information system.
−By Steve Sturgess, stevesturgess.com