2016 Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road 4x4 of the Year Winner – 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road

    Compact & Functional

    StaffPhotographer, WriterCorey SimoneWriter

    The results of our week long 4x4 of the year test are in and one vehicle has come out on top: the 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD-Off-Road. With excellent all-around off-road performace and being flat-out awesome in the open desert, the Tacoma was made for the dirt.

    With a stout 3.5L V6 engine, performance-tuned suspension and awesome traction aids, every judge had a blast driving this midsized pickup on and off the trail.

    The 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road was able to accomplish any task we put it up to. With its refreshed look for 2016, comfortable interior, tuned suspension, and unobtrusive traction control, the Tacoma was able to edge out some sitff competiton.


    Off-road performance proves the new Tacoma retains its rugged reputation and leads the pack heading into 2016

    LOS ANGELES January 8, 2016—PETERSEN’S 4-WHEEL & OFF-ROAD, the world’s premier 4x4 authority, has selected the new Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road as the winner of its 34th annual 4x4 of the Year Award.

    PETERSEN’S 4-WHEEL & OFF-ROAD magazine’s 4x4 of the Year award competition is open to all-new or significantly revised 4x4s, trucks, and SUVs for the upcoming model year. For 2016, the field of vehicles included eight entries from various automakers. This year’s contenders included:

    2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road
    2016 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk
    2016 Ram Rebel
    2016 Chevrolet Colorado Diesel
    2016 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4
    2016 Mercedes-Benz G550
    2016 Nissan Titan XD
    2016 Td6 Range Rover Sport

    Vehicles must also be available for sale before January 15 of the model year, have a production run of at least 2,500 units, and be equipped with a two-speed transfer case or low-range gearing. The three SUVs, four trucks, and one van squared off in a series of off-road reviews and tests over 1,000 miles that evaluated each vehicle in categories including suspension, engine, transmission, and transfer case, in addition to their performance on- and off-road in dirt, mud, rocks, sand, and gravel. Judging for the award is slanted heavily toward off-road performance with four-wheeling attributes held high, while price and empirical performance balances against the experienced judges’ opinions. This year’s judges bring a breadth of off-road knowledge with more than 100 years of combined experience amongst them.

    The new Tacoma quickly moved to the top half of the test vehicles with its plethora of off-road attributes packed into a tough midsize truck. The new 3.5L V-6 engine features D4S injection technology with both direct and port injection and delivers 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, helping to propel the small truck up rocky ledges and through sandy washes with ease.

    “Once we hit the dirt, it was obvious we had a serious contender on our hands. High-speed desert roads were not a problem thanks to the well-tuned suspension, and the traction control system didn't get in the way like it did in many of our other testers. The hillclimb and rockcrawling sections were effortless, thanks in part to the rear locker, and the Tacoma held its own in the sand. In all of these situations, the traction control system was actually more of a help than a hindrance, which is rare these days. Related to this is Crawl Control, a feature in which the driver can set the speed and steer the truck toward an obstacle, and the truck figures out how to claw its way up whatever is in front of it. While it's no substitute for an experienced driver, much like the hill descent feature, Crawl Control could be an asset to a novice off-roader. No matter what we threw at it, the Tacoma made it all look easy and was clearly one of the most capable off-road vehicles of our test,” said PETERSEN’S 4-WHEEL & OFF-ROAD Editor Fred Williams.

    Complete information on the test will also be immediately available on the PETERSEN’S 4-WHEEL & OFF-ROAD website at fourwheeler.com and in the May 2016 issue, on sale February, 19, 2016.

    PETERSEN’S 4-WHEEL & OFF-ROAD, a media brand of TEN: The Enthusiast Network, is internationally recognized as one of the leading brands in the light-truck category, covering a wide range of vehicles from late-model daily drivers to advanced trail rigs. An icon to more than 3 million readers, this brand’s content includes basic-to-advanced DIY tech, worldwide events, and aftermarket trends. PETERSEN’S 4-WHEEL & OFF-ROAD is a part of The Enthusiast Network’s Fourwheeler Network online and can be found at fourwheeler.com.

    TEN: The Enthusiast Network is the world’s premier network of enthusiast brands, such as MOTOR TREND, AUTOMOBILE, HOT ROD, SURFER, TRANSWORLD SKATEBOARDING, and GRINDTV. With more than 50 publications, 60 websites, 50 events, 1,000 branded products, MOTOR TREND OnDemand subscription video on-demand service, and the world’s largest action/adventure sports media platform, TEN inspires enthusiasts to pursue their passions. For more information, visit enthusiastnetwork.com.