Can the 2016 Toyota Tacoma Tow Better than the 2015 Tacoma on the Ike Gauntlet? [Video]

2016 toyota tacoma extreme towing test v6

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma is ready to take on the mighty Ike Gauntlet towing test. During the test, we take a truck – loaded nearly to the max – up and down an 8 mile stretch of the I-70 with a maximum grade of 7% and the top elevation of 11,158 feet above sea level. This is truly an extreme test of a truck’s towing ability.

It is also part of the 2016 Gold Hitch awards for the midsize pickup truck category.

The fully reworked 2016 Tacoma downsizes the V6 engine from 4.0L to 3.5L. The output is now at 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission replaces the 5-speed in the 2nd generation of the truck.

We test all aspects of a pickup truck that relate to towing. Do side mirrors offer good visibility around the trailer? How does the transmission behave on the way down the mountain? How do the brakes feel? Does the truck have enough power to maintain the speed up the hill? And many more…

Watch the video for all the details. [Spoiler Alert: the results are in the table below the video.]

2016 Toyota Tacoma
 2015 Toyota Tacoma
Model Double Cab 4×4 TRD Sport  Double Cab 4×4 TRD Sport
As-Tested Price $35,280 $34,535
Engine 3.5-liter V6 4.0-liter V6
Transmission 6-speed Auto 5-speed Auto
Power (hp / lb-ft) 278 / 265 236 / 266
Payload Rating 1,175 lbs
Tow Rating 6,400 lbs 6,400 lbs
Test Load (trailer + ppl) 6,100 lbs  6,100 lbs
Ambient Temp F 27 degrees Fahrenheit  42 degrees Fahrenheit
Relative Humidity Low (25%) Low (25%)
Barometric Pressure (at top) 29.76 inHg 29.76 inHg
Calculated Power Loss 32.0 % 33.6 %
Down: Transmission Temp normal normal
Up: Time 8:05 8:49
Up: MPG 4.5 n/a
Up: Transmission Temp normal  normal
 Ike Gauntlet Rating  58 out of 100 n/a

All specifications are for the as-tested configuration.

We are implementing the following scoring system to rate the trucks’ performance on the Ike Gauntlet.

There is a maximum of 100 points, with 25 points given in each of the following categories:

  • Downhill Braking: 1 point is subtracted for each brake application required to keep a truck below the desired speed limit of 60 mph. Brakes are applied to decrease speed to 50 mph then released.
  • Uphill Time: The 8-mile uphill run should be completed in 8:00 minutes at 60 mph. Trucks are deducted 1 point for each 5 second interval (or portion thereof) over 8:00 minutes required to complete the run.
  • Uphill MPG: Based on previous years’ tests, a baseline of 6.0 mpg was established. Trucks are deducted 1 point for each 0.2 mpg (as calculated by the vehicle’s trip computer) under 6.0 mpg. Trucks will be awarded points for mpg scores over 6.0 mpg using the same 0.2 mpg rule.
  • Subjective Review: Inevitably, there are aspects to any truck that cannot be captured by a category, except this one. Each truck will have the drivers give their subjective scoring based on driving impressions and features that detract from or add to a truck’s Ike Gauntlet performance. With a max of 25 points given by each reviewer, the scores are averaged.

The 2016 Tacoma score breaks down as follows:

  • 4 points for Downhill Braking,
  • 24 points for Uphill Time,
  • 18 points for Uphill MPG,
  • 12 points as the average of the subjective scores from MrTruck (11 points) and Andre (13 points).

The result is a 58 out of 100 rating. This is the second truck that we rated this way. The first was the 2016 Nissan Titan XD.