2015-10-30 12.27.05

Meet the $23K All-New 2016 Toyota Tacoma SR

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If you are looking for a basic 4X2 pickup truck for commuting, projects around the house, or for use in your business, Toyota’s $23K Tacoma SR may be just the ticket, and it’s actually $3,500 cheaper than the same truck from 1996.

Tacoma SR doors open

With mid-size pickups now costing more than some luxury cars, it was refreshing to see a basic, two-wheel drive 2016 Tacoma on display at a recent media introduction for the new 2016 model. We recently drove a $45K GMC Canyon Duramax and were dumbstruck by the cost of the truck.

To the right buyer that truck might be considered a great deal.  However, many truck buyers don’t need most of the fancy bits, don’t go off-roading, and don’t need or want four-wheel drive.  Rear-drive pickups are lower to the ground for easier loading and get better fuel economy.

tacoma sr bed

The Tacoma SR starts out at $23,300. That price can be reduced by $1,715 if it is ordered with the Utility Package that deletes the back seats, substitutes a fixed rear window, and a black bumper instead of the painted one.  For those planning to use the Tacoma for a work truck or home/farm utility vehicle, this is a smart move.  The bed-liner is still standard.  The locking, damped tailgate is also still included.

Selecting the 2WD is the cheapest configuration available, even thought it forces you to select the floor-shifted automatic transmission. (A column shifted option would’ve been nice to add a third passenger). If you’re planning on driving the 2WD in the winter, you’ll appreciate the standard automatic limited slip rear differential you get as part of the package. With winter tires, it should get you everywhere you need to go.

tacoma sr dash

$23,000 might seem like a lot of money for a stripped truck, but “stripped” is a relative term nowadays. This truck, with a $1,715 credit for removing the rear seat and leaving the mirrors, door handles and bumper black, is packed with standard equipment.

The windows are power operated, as are the locks. You get hands-free phone Bluetooth, a four-way adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, a back-up camera, a six-speaker Entune audio system with CD player, Siri Eyes-Free, Bluetooth audio streaming, an iPod connector, and a USB port, all as standard equipment.

It’s true that in the early days, you could buy a much cheaper bare-bones Tacoma, but it included none of this equipment. However, a base 1996 Toyota Tacoma Xtracab carried an MSRP of $14,178 that year. If you wanted power steering, it was part of a $2,360 LX package that also included air conditioning. Power windows added another $470. Intermittent wipers (standard on the 2016) were part of a $670 Convenience Package. Twenty years ago, that totaled $17,678, before you consider the dual airbags, side curtain airbags, traction control, stability control, and backup camera that you couldn’t have gotten at ANY price in the 1990s.

That, of course, is before you adjust for inflation. $17,678 in 1996 had the same buying power as $26,809 today. The 2016 Tacoma — adjusted for inflation, and packed with equipment you couldn’t get in 1996 — is actually $3,500 cheaper than the same truck in 1996.

tacoma sr MSRP

We asked Corey Proffitt of Toyota if this truck was just a demo model that would never appear at a dealership and he said “No.” This is a legitimate model line for the new 2016 Tacoma.  The truck we saw had a supplemental security system for $359, an oval tube-step added for $535 and the $120 bed mat.  Chuck all that stuff and your SR with the Utility package has a price including the $900 delivery fee of $22,694.  And that includes the $209 floor mats.

John Goreham

John Goreham