We’re just months away from the 2016 model year trucks being on the road and the compact pickup lineup hasn’t been this exciting since cargo shorts were in style (which was never…). This is obviously thanks to the highly anticipated launch of the 2016 Toyota Tacoma and the new-in-2015 Chevrolet Colorado (now with a diesel option!)
So if you’ve got upwards of $40 grand burning a hole in your pocket and want the bed without the fullsize truck footprint, what do you do? As is usually the (unhelpful) case – depends!
Lets start with some stats before we degrade completely into the subjective. In what I would consider the “standard” trim (offroad package, double cab short bed), the trucks are quite comparable across all the major metrics. The most interesting bogey here is optional Duramax diesel in the Colorado, which sets you back nearly $4 grand in exchange for better fuel mileage and making all your Tacoma buddies jealous.
Now for the stuff that is not on the spec sheet:
2016 Tacoma: For all the hype, the “new” Tacoma is just an evolution of the old model – despite a new engine and transmission, the performance of the truck isn’t all that dramatically improved. From an external appearance perspective, the front and rear look different, but the rest of the truck is basically interchangeable with the outgoing model. Although, the interior does look nice and updated (thank God!).
Photo Credit: Toyota USA
Surely, the new Tacoma’s will make good on their offroad legacy and maintain completely astronomical resale values all while operating with the consistency of a Swiss watch.
2016 Colorado: On paper, the Colorado shows up as what the new Tacoma could have been, besting it in power and hauling ability while matching it (on paper at least) in terms of offroad capability and interior comfort.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet
The diesel motor sure is a nice optional feature and is bound to make the Colorado a more competent tow and offroad vehicle with all that torque. While official fuel economy metrics are not out, rumor has it the oil burner will see north of 30mpg on the highway. However, think carefully about checking that $3,700 option box. Based purely on fuel mileage benefits, it’ll take over 93,000 miles to break even on the diesel upgrade assuming the diesel is 30% more economical than the gas motor.
The Verdict: If you are a dyed-in-the-wool Toyota fanboy that can’t imagine a better Tacoma than the outgoing 11-year old design, then this truck is for you. Because it really isn’t that much different (or better) than its predecessor. Whatever I said here was never going to matter to you anyways.
If you aren’t hopped up on the Toyota kool-aid are objectively looking for the most mid-size truck for your $35K, take a hard look at the Chevrolet gasser. If you must have the cool-guy factor of a diesel and don’t want a 3/4 ton truck, the Colorado is the only game in town! Check that $3,700 box and enjoy all that torque. Just please resist putting a stupid tuner on it and “rolling coal”.