Picked her up Saturday.

White base model SR 4x4 with the convenience package. 2.7L four cylinder and 5 speed manual transmission.

Having owned many Toyotas over the years, including first gen Tacomas, my initial feeling is that Toyota did an absolutely fantastic job in designing this truck.

Understand also that I am generally critical about cars in general. I like things a certain way, and am a purist at heart - liking older vintage 4x4s and sports cars - lets say a 1980 Toyota 4x4 and Air-Cooled 911 are near the top of my list. Newer cars tend to annoy me or cause me to stare disdainfully at them for a variety of reasons.

With that said, the first thing I really like is the driving position, hard to describe, but high up with impressive visibility. Feels good.

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Next, the overall feel of the truck is solid. It just feels well put together. I dig the styling, and while I owned only first gen Tacos in the past, I like the more modern look of this truck - though truthfully I would love a return to the 1980 Toyota 4x4 style, but Ill take what I can get.

The interior is fantastic, with the fit and finish feeling top notch. The dash design is outstanding IMO; simple, elegant and just very functional without excess. Nice lines and good visibility out the front. The touchscreen audio system, and I suppose the base one since its on my SR, with steering wheel controls and bluetooth calling/voice commands etc is great. Not something I really thought I cared about, but it is really pretty darn good. Good, passable sound, with a functional and useful touch screen interface, which is easy to use. Climate control buttons, are simple, no-nonsense and functional. Yes, I wish the 4WD was engaged with a damn lever, but fine Ill use the stupid button. Seats are very comfy, especially compared to my first gen taco seats, the rear seats and layout are great, lots of room back there. Now I just need to figure out how to disconnect the damn seatbelt chimes.

The headlights are awesome. Projector beams, they have a very clean beam pattern, and are very bright based on what I am used to. Big fan, and yes you know, of course the guys over at Tacomaworld have already installed HID bulbs in these lights, and they look fantastic. I think 150 for the pair? Also dig the daytime running lights/parking lights.

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I have the 2.7L 4 and out here in Jackson, I routinely drive over the mountains at altitude. This engine will not win any races, thats for sure, and I need 3rd, and even 2nd to get over the mountains when it gets steep, but what the heck, its a truck. Everywhere else, power delivery is smooth and plenty fast. The 5 speed manual, is clean shifting, and thank you thank you thank you Toyota for keeping it around with the 4wd and little 4cyl. Such a joy to drive it. This relative of the 22re likes to rev and seems happiest between 3 and 4k.

The driving experience is top notch. Granted, I’m coming from a 1992 Saab turbo most recently (which I loved dearly and almost cried when I left it at the dealership), but coming back from Bozeman where I purchased the truck, I was just very impressed with the general feel and dynamics of this vehicle. Structurally, it is super tight feeling. I was pretty much smiling the entire time driving it back. The suspension soaks up bumps well, though this is just on snowy and icy roads so far. No trail work for her yet, but its coming. Good steering feel, I would prefer a bit more weight, but overall Toyota did a good job. The pickup bed is awesome, along with the bed tie downs and other functional storage and attachment points back there, the slow drop tailgate is cool...not quite sure why I want it, but dammit I like it.

Well, those are first impressions. This truck will hopefully be my partner in crime for a long time. Still needs to be trail tested, but from this man’s opinion, Toyota hit a home run with this truck.