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Toyota Tacoma adds significant safety enhancements for 2009 models

The Toyota Tacoma, the best-selling pickup truck in its segment, offers the STAR Safety System of dynamic control technologies as standard equipment in all models and grades for 2009.

In addition, front seat-mounted side airbags, curtain side airbags are now standard across the Tacoma line-up and active front headrests are standard on all Access and Double Cab models.

Anti-lock braking system

The Toyota Star Safety System includes the anti-lock braking system (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRAC). An Automatic Limited-slip Differential (Auto-LSD), which uses brake intervention in place of a mechanical-type LSD to help reduce tire slippage at the rear wheels, is standard on all Tacoma models for 2009 (with the exception of models equipped with TRD Off-road packages, which will be equipped with a separate locking rear differential). The Auto-LSD replaces the mechanical LSD in all applications where it was previously available.

The Tacoma also delivers enhanced value with interior and exterior revisions for 2009. All models feature an argent painted grille, while the TRD Offroad, TRD Sport and Tacoma X-Runner models are distinguished by new smoked headlamp trim. All models have restyled LED taillamps, and Access Cab and Double Cab models can accommodate an available backup monitor system.

The 2009 Tacoma line offers two engines: a 2.7-liter DOHC four-cylinder that produces 159 horsepower with 180 lb-ft. of torque and a 4.0-liter DOHC V6 that produces 236 horsepower with 266 lb-ft. of torque. In both engines variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) provides strong low-end and mid-range torque. An Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence (ETCS-i) helps optimize performance and fuel economy. The V6 engine can be teamed with either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission. Four-cylinder 4×4 models come equipped with a five-speed manual transmission and four-cylinder 4×2 models offer a choice between a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic transmission.

Performance truck

The Tacoma X-Runner performance truck features the 4.0-liter V6 engine in a specially lowered and tuned chassis. The X-Runner name is derived from its “X-Brace” frame reinforcement that provides enhanced torsional rigidity. Available exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission, the X-Runner can accelerate from zero-to-60 mph in less than seven seconds. Just as impressive, X-Runner can achieve lateral acceleration in excess of 0.9-g — comparable with many performance cars.

The X-Runner's Access Cab design incorporates a full body kit, a hood scoop and integrated fog lamps. The color-keyed monochromatic exterior comes in three colors — Barcelona Red, Black Sand Pearl and Speedway Blue.

The X-Runner suspension is lowered an extra inch (versus the standard Tacoma 4×2 models) and rolls on 18-inch alloy wheels with 255/45 R18 Bridgestone Potenza performance tires. Exclusive X-Runner suspension incorporates firmer and shorter springs, specially tuned Bilstein gas shock absorbers positioned outboard of the frame rails for increased control, a rear stabilizer bar with firmer bushings, and specially tuned steering response.

Tacoma offers some of the most sophisticated dynamic control technology in the segment. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA) were already standard; however, the STAR Safety System adds Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). The VSC system, which integrates TRAC, enhances traction on or off-road by helping to keep the vehicle on its intended course. VSC detects front-wheel slide and rear-wheel slide during cornering and attempts to control either condition with throttle intervention and/or by braking individual wheels. Auto-LSD employs the sensors and hardware to provide the limited-slip effect on the rear wheels.

EBD optimizes brake pressure at each wheel independently for greater control under braking, especially when cornering. BA is designed to determine if the driver is attempting emergency braking. If the driver has not pressed firmly enough on the brake pedal to engage the ABS, the system supplements applied braking power until pressure is released.

Tacoma features an integrated trailer hitch and bumper design. Properly equipped, the V6-powered Tacoma models can tow up to 6,500 pounds.

Tacoma automatic transmission models come equipped with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC). By independently controlling the brakes at each wheel as needed, HAC prevents the vehicle from rolling backward or slipping sideways during a transition from a stopped position to climbing a grade. The TRD Off-Road Package on 4×4 V6 automatic models includes HAC and Downhill Assist Control (DAC). DAC uses engine braking to regulate downhill speed and independently control the brakes at each wheel to help improve directional control. DAC automatically de-activates if the driver depresses the brake or accelerator pedals, presses the DAC button, or shifts into neutral.

Other safety features

All seating positions on every Tacoma model are equipped with three-point seatbelts, and an advanced dual-stage airbag system. A front passenger cutoff switch is standard on Access Cab models. Each model for 2009 is equipped with standard front seat-mounted side airbags and roll-sensing side curtain airbags (including a cutoff switch). Also new for 2009 Access and Double Cab models, active headrests on the driver and front passenger seats move up and forward almost instantly in the event of certain rear-end collisions to help reduce the distance between the occupant's head and the headrest.

The well-equipped 4×2 Regular Cab model includes a standard full-size spare tire; AM/FM CD four-speaker sound system; tachometer; digital clock; two instrument panel powerpoints with a lighter; dome lamp; and rear mudguards. Air conditioning is now offered as a standalone option on Regular Cab models.

The Access Cab and Double Cab models add more standard features, including bucket seats and a center console. In Double Cab models, upgraded seat fabric and power windows, mirrors and door locks are also standard. All option combinations are built on five packages.

Toyota offers a variety of performance parts and option packages for Tacoma. The TRD Off-Road Package provides a carefully tuned balance of off-road performance and on-road handling. Chassis modifications include progressive-rate front springs, specially tuned Bilstein shock absorbers, a 28-mm front stabilizer bar and 265/70R16 BF Goodrich Rugged Trail tires on 16-inch alloy wheels. Fog lamps and TRD graphics top off the package for a tough, sporty appearance.

Both TRD option packages include a 400W/115V powerpoint in the bed, sport seats with adjustable lumbar support, unique fabric, plus an overhead console with a compass and outside temperature display. Double Cab and Access Cab models also offer the new backup monitor system.

Big Brake system

The available dealer-installed TRD Big Brake system was developed by Toyota Technical Center and TRD engineers. Engineered to provide effective braking performance under sustained heavy use, the Big Brake system dramatically improves pedal feel, while substantially reducing brake fade from repeated high-speed stops. The system uses 13 x 1.25-inch semi-floating vented rotors with directional internal fins; forged aluminum four-piston fixed calipers; larger pads with high coefficient-of-friction material; and braided steel lines.

The Tacoma line offers 18 different model configurations based on three cab types: Regular Cab, Access Cab, and the four-door Double Cab. With its big, bold headlights and grille, Tacoma projects a strong, rugged appearance. Flush rear surface glass and surface structures between the bumper sides and body give Tacoma a sophisticated, clean look. PreRunner and 4×4 models are distinguished by bold overfenders. PreRunner models combine the 4×2 drive train with the 4×4's raised riding stance and styling. Double Cab models offer a roof rack system with crossbars that deploy from the roof rails.

The Tacoma Regular Cab and Access Cab models feature a 73.5-inch-long bed. The Double Cab is available with a choice of a 60.3-inch bed or the 73.5-inch bed. The Tacoma's composite inner bed is made from a sheet-molded compound (SMC) deck and walls that are 10 percent lighter than steel, yet tough and durable. The bed deck features two-tier loading and integrated deck rail utility that includes four standard adjustable tie-down cleats. The rails are compatible with Genuine Toyota Accessories, including cargo bed cross bars, a fork-mount bike rack, and diamond-plate storage boxes. An available 115V/400W powerpoint further extends the bed's utility.

Tacoma Regular Cab 4×2 models are built on a 109.4-inch wheelbase; PreRunner and 4×4 Regular Cab Tacomas are built on a 110-inch wheelbase; 4×2 Access Cab models (including PreRunner and 4×4) ride on a 127.4-inch wheelbase. The Tacoma Double Cab with the standard five-foot bed shares the 127.4-inch wheelbase, and the Double Cab long-bed models use a 140.6-inch wheelbase.

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