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Discussion Starter #1
I was tossed the keys to a new Toyota Tacoma 4x4 Double cab TRD Sport + yesterday, to take for a spin.

It's a 100KM from here to home and back. Here's my impressions:

- Love this colour! I wish Honda would offer more choice of colour.
- What's with the bump in the hood? Getting in behind the wheel, the huge bump in the hood is distracting and makes it difficult to see where you're planting the front bumper. After a day with it, you get used to seeing it, but jumping back in the G1 RL - the visibility is much better in my RL.
- The seating position, lack of height adjuster: well, I know why you can't raise the seat.. there's no headroom to do so. What an awkward seating position though. It's like sitting in bed to read? even after a 20 minute drive, it feels like my big a## is flattening the cushion and I can't see this being comfortable for the long drives.
-The rear seat is not for adults and storage is pathetic next to an RL.
-It's a truck, and there's no doubt about it. It wiggles and jiggles all the time. It's sturdy and feels confident at speed, but around the parking lot, it has a hint of Buick in it? Wallowy, shaky.. it dips to one side when turning. it does however take bumps on better than my RL. A dip in the road (transition parking lot to street) where I slow down and approach gently in the RL, the Taco soaks up with no fuss at all. But as I turn from the dip in the road to the street and punch it, the Taco feels out of place, the RL is the sports car of the two.

So out on the road - it feels good, but the exhaust note is much nicer in the Honda. Where the RL you feel cracks in the road as feedback, the Taco 'jiggles' all the time. The trans shifts nice, the shift lever feels good and the fact that I can select a gear and leave in the gear I want, it great!
Fuel econ looks to be near identical, if not slightly better than my G1 under same conditions. I think on a hwy run, the G1 would beat the Taco, but the Taco seems better on the 2 lane roads.
Power wise, it's no dog but it doesn't feel 'faster'.

Fit and finish is very good, materials are nice, steering wheel size/weight is good.
The touch screen - whine all you will about the fingerprint Honda, this is the same crap only different. 2 knobs, in piano black and just barely big/high enough to grab. You still need to touch the screen to do anything with the system and OMG!!! Fingerprints.
The audio is not as good as G1 RL, FM reception not as good either.
Seat heaters heat your butt, only warms your back. Not good.
And the display for the seat heater settings is very 'Atari'. Even the heater control panel looks squished, not overly nice to use.

Generous cupholders, and the body coloured band around the dash give the impression of minimalist/truck dash. But there's buttons everywhere, some labeled, some with hieroglyphics only. The cluster is nice, the MID is clear and has all the needed info. The power mirror switch looks out of place as it's shape is different from every other button in the cab.

Speaking of cab, it's confined. Nowhere near as roomy as the RL. Front or back.
I don't use the back window often in my RL, but wouldn't you know it? Nice day yesterday, opened the sunroof and wanted to open the back window to minimize buffeting... the back window is manual and I can't open it while driving :(

Center console is OK. RL G1 is better, G2 TBD. The console lid doesn't move forward, so leaning to the right and back is the only position I could use it in.

Outside: The looks are OK to me. It is a truck for sure. The box material is... well, plastic? I'm not sure. I'd need to throw some stuff in it to be sure. I didn't measure, but it's long (like) and I didn't measure width. If less than 49" between the wheel wells, then NFG. The bolt heads sticking up through the floor don't look finished like RL. The tie downs in the floor look good, not as good as RL. The adjustable tie downs on the box walls look great/handy, but not sure if I'd like when hauling furniture and need all the box space?

That's about it for now. Feel free to ask questions, maybe it'll remind me of something.
Final assessment: RL G1 is better suited for my/most people using the truck for multi purpose including commuting. The Taco seems more 'off road' capable, but it may just be advertising that has me believe that. Next to my lifted RL, I'd take the Taco on IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Almost forgot... most 'truck' thing happened to me this AM (coincidence, I swear).

0C, snowbanks melting, water on the road in some places.

4 lane hwy, cruise control on. A long sweeping corner with a low spot, the water from the melting snow froze on the road. I never even saw it.

The first thing I noticed was the back end of the truck get loose. The VSA kicked in and everything settled down. A larger patch of ice and I'd have been in trouble.
4 years driving the RL on the exact same road.. VSA has only ever kicked it when I made it happen! Never has the RL stepped out like that!

I'll stick with my AWD system, thank you very very much :)
 
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Nice write-up xr.

But it's too early for me.... I read 100KM as 100,000 miles at first.... & was, for an instant, stunned to hear "to home & back". :) :) :surprise:
 

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OK I have to ask. What's with the HFP. I've seen those but doesn't it really mean anything?

On the taco. I agree on the seating position. My brother had one and I drove it once. Hated the seating position. That was long before I got the Ridge which I find to be really comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just remembered - This Taco has 1000km on it (750 miles dnick lol). The rear differential has a low howl/whine noise while cruising, light load. Reminded me of my old Blazer :)

I wanted to like the Taco. My dad had 3 of them back to back, from 96 to 02. All sticks, 4wd ext cabs. There were tough and reliable although he never drove them past 100 k on the odom, and the last one was returned for the frame rot problem.

I pictured myself driving to the camp, hauling my bike and being unconcerned by road condition because of the Taco perceived prowess.
Seriously, just a day into this, I know I'd have buyer's remorse with the Taco. The RL has spoiled me, by offering better ride and everyday functionality with just enough off road capability for my needs. My driving habits likely represent 80% of the truck population. I tow, but not much and not often. I haul, but mostly things from the garden center or big box store. I drive my truck everyday, and sometime into the city and into underground parking. I don't garage my vehicles.

There is one other thing that happened during my test with the Taco, that is maybe a scenario that only applies to me... although I doubt it:

My in laws were at the house and wanted to go to dinner. Usually, they will ditch their 1/2 ext cab Sierra to ride in the Ridgeline. Mom has cancer and is pretty frail. The RL is her favourite vehicle (she has a Cadillac SRX) to ride in - easiest to get in/out, room for her cane in the front pass seat, great visibility, etc..
I asked them if we could take the Taco to go out... Dad is about 240 lbs and would have had to sit in the back... he said "Not going to happen" and Mom looked at the front pass seat and said "No way". We took the Sierra lol.

Thinking about it myself, I can't picture my wife and I going out in the Taco. It seems a little 'redneck'? next to my RL. Somehow, I don't think I'd be alone thinking this way.

These are my impressions... your results may vary.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
HFP = Honda Factory Performance

I wanted to dress my truck up a little, as I thought the side of the RL a bit dull. Big colourful stickers on the rear quarter of the box is pretty standard for most trucks.

I like it :)

I also have 3M carbon fibre coating over the raised portion of the hood (separated by red pin stripes to the painted portion), and CF coating on the tailgate (helps hide the dings and scratches too).

The RL has a 2" lift, Enkei rims and Toyo Open Country tires (265/65/18). It's my version of the Honda Off Road package.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I didn't think so..

If you are a handy man and have ever hauled drywall, you know how important this measurement is.

If only I had a photo of my Dakota, with the lumber tipped over that was supporting the drywall above the wheel wells, and my reaction to finding several of the sheets damaged... my discouragement at the Home Depot with the load of drywall on the cart and realizing I forgot to buy lumber to load it in the box and my discontent trying to get the drywall in the box on top of the lumber.. long day, remember it well and my RL is a constant reminder of what to watch for in a 'truck'.

2 homes later, I'm eyeball deep in renos again, hauling sheet goods at least 1x a week. I buy only as much as I can install in a week when I'm not at my day job. So 5 to 10 sheet of drywall at a time. Some 1/2" and 5/8" ply for the stairs I built along with 2x10 and 2x12 lumber.

Sheet goods on the bottom, makes it harder for the studs to slip around in the box :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Another Taco plus:

You can turn on the bed light while driving! I'd like that in the Honda.
But the RL has better positioned lights... so maybe a tie.
 

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Great overview! Thanks a bunch. Personally, I can't get past TOY-o-ters styling. Bulging bug eye headlight lenses and the entire front grill integration is FUBAR. Add to that your observations of a jiggling bowel of jello common to body-on-frame pick-em-ups and any potential deal is busted for me.

Some of the folk here have been driving the Gen1 RL's for much longer than I - so I can see the desire to move along. In my second year with 06, I still smile as I approach her. Love the sound of her starter, adore the way she feels in my hands and a$$. My romance with her is no where near tired, worn out or forcing me to seek automotive satisfaction elsewhere. SO, for the foreseeable future, she'll get all the TLC I can apply because she has earned my love and admiration. Heaven help the poor dumb bastard I catch denting her skin in a parking lot. Things will not go well.
 

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Another Taco plus:

You can turn on the bed light while driving! I'd like that in the Honda.
But the RL has better positioned lights... so maybe a tie.
I like the 4 lights in our Gen1 & use them all the time. Now Honda took two away with Gen2.

I like the looks of the Tacoma but figure I wouldn't be ecstatic about it's driving characteristics after owning my RL as long as I have.
 

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Another Taco plus:

You can turn on the bed light while driving! I'd like that in the Honda.
But the RL has better positioned lights... so maybe a tie.
Turn those lights OFF!!

The Tundra also can have the bed light on while driving. Very annoying to follow a vehicle with the lights on. Up high it shines right into your eyes.
 

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I was thinking that was not allowed in the USA (bed lights on while driving), but I may be wrong about that.
 

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Surprised it didnt out handle the RL with your big tires and lift installed. Good wright up cant wait to see how the New Tacoma and RL stack up against the Genl drivin wise off road, thats where the Tacoma should shine. Im not into the electronics part of new vehicles.
 

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Surprised it didnt out handle the RL with your big tires and lift installed. Good wright up cant wait to see how the New Tacoma and RL stack up against the Genl drivin wise off road, thats where the Tacoma should shine. Im not into the electronics part of new vehicles.
I can never tell when you're joking Northern. :)

While big tires & lift would be even better for off-road, where Taco already outperforms RL....

But big tires & lift definitely do NOT equate to "out handle" on the road. 'Just makes corners even less friendly via higher CG.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Surprised me a little too, but the BOF and live axle of the Taco really limits it's handling. The Taco is definitely quieter than my RL due to tire difference, BUT in this scenario.. I wouldn't bet on the Taco beating me off road ;-)

If it came down to torque, the 2sp transfer case would help Taco. But it isn't going to be able to put any of that to the ground with the factory tires.

As mentioned before, it would be better if during comparison test if each vehicle could be tested as delivered from factory and then with a premium tire (on and/or off road type). In the midsize shoot out years ago, the RL was certainly going to win every on road test (noise/handling) vs the competition, but had to lose offroad (and did so embarrassingly) because of tire choice. That shoot out had the RL in sport trim, with a street all season tire and the competition on more aggressive A/T tires.

It'll be the same this time around, if you put a GM off road package truck against an RL black edition.. they can't seriously compete on their tires in the same categories. May as well throw a Mustang in the shootout and it'll win in handling/accel/fuel econ/etc... and just take a 0 for off road/cargo, and still will the shootout!

Tires, tires, tires! Makes all the difference :)
 

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Good write up and comments - thanks. I love my Ridge, chose her over a Tacoma and plan to drive her for many years to come. That being said, we recently bought a 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid for my wife to drive. It is very well designed and very well built, and the fit and finish are outstanding. If I'm being honest, I would have to say it's probably even better made than my Ridgeline. So, I am committed to my Ridge but can't bash Toyota. They make a great product.
 

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Thanks for the write up. Having driven almost everything at least once, I just can't deal with any truck with rear leaf springs as a daily driver (the closest to acceptable are the GM twins). IMHO, an indy rear or coil springs like the RAM are the only acceptable solution if you drive around a lot unladen. The jiggling and mild side stepping over any bump or road imperfection gets old quick (I'm looking at YOU new aluminum bodied F-150). I moved to a RAM 1500 when the RL was totaled but looking forward, the RL G2 is the only midsize I'd consider (and I'm looking to go back to a midsize after the RAM).

The Tacos seating position - as you discussed - is simply a deal breaker for me at 6' 2"...I've been in the new Taco and like the previous gen, it is simply a bad set up for anyone over 5'10" tall.
 
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