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Trusty partner

Toyota's Tacoma was quickly dubbed Taco by our team of staffers and made a lot of friends in a short time. Like an easy-going buddy, a long-time friend, it was always there, ready to help for any task at hand.

  • Power supply for electric car charging. Electric cars charging station. Power supply plugged into an electric car being charged.

Toyota’s Tacoma was quickly dubbed “Taco” by our team of staffers and made a lot of friends in a short time. Like an easy-going buddy, a long-time friend, it was always there, ready to help for any task at hand.

A 4.0-litre, 24-valve DOHC V6 engine with Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVT-i) technology powered our tester. Output sits at a 236 hp at 5,200 rpm and 266 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, put to the ground through a five-speed automatic gearbox and a robust 4WD system. In traditional fashion, this 4WD system offered the selection of 2-HI, 4-HI and 4-LOW electronically at the flick of a switch.

In our first installment, managing editor Brad Horn noted: “There’s more than enough grunt here, though we’re anxious to see how our Toyota performs with a loaded cargo box.”

It performed.

Renovating a house between the middle of April and the end of May allowed me to put this one to the test. Aside from towing, it saw all uses one can expect from such a machine: carrying construction materials and equipment every second day; numerous loads to the dump; it carried a dishwasher, lawn mower and other household equipment from 600 km away; easily pulled an old pickup truck stuck axle-deep in farmland mud/muck for a couple of years; and also brought my wife and I to nice restaurants on a few occasions.

This V6 has the power needed to adequately perform any task asked of it, with the added benefit of requiring less fuel than similar V8- powered pickups.

Parking this long truck was a lot easier than one might think, partly helped by a good view out back, partly helped by the narrow design, and mostly helped by the wonderfully tight turning radius.

We sang the praises of the interior at length in previous installments. Lots of useful cubbyholes, wonderful seats and a build quality that has all of us convinced this will not be a rattle trap after a few years of ownership, be they tough years or not.

This Tacoma truck’s design has existed and been improved on for years, and it shows in the near perfection of its execution, though a few details were lacking that could easily be improved upon.

The sliding rear window would benefit from an electric mechanism so the driver can open and close it while driving.

And finally an even bigger gas tank — as an option if needed — would be a big plus. The 80 litres one is good, but an extra 20 or more would have been welcomed.

The Taco was great and wonderful to live with; it’s only bad habit being a drinking one, but even then it consumes less than its competitors.

Our mix of city and highway driving gave us results averaging between 13.2 and 14.5 L/100 km, showing a welcome improvement with the warmer weather as the engine became broken-in. Our fuel consumption over 11,998 km (it came to us with 1,012 km on the odo) was an average of 13.8 L/100km.

The combination of overall practicality and ease of use, as well as comfort of the cabin makes this a great all-around vehicle. You just really need the practical aspects of such a vehicle to justify its fuel expenses.

BEHIND THE WHEEL

2008 TOYOTA TACOMA DOUBLECAB 4X4

Price: $40,470

Total Kms: 13,010

Fuel Consumption: 13.8 L/100 km

Things Gone Wrong: None

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