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Tacoma Adventures

parking Tacoma in parkI have spent a lot of time the past month either looking at, driving, or talking about the 2016 Toyota Tacoma mid-sized pickup truck.

My immersion in all things Tacoma, Toyota’s award-winning truck that’s made in a San Antonio plant, began with a trip to Houston a month ago. Not far from Bush Intercontinental Airport, a group of car writers were invited to test the recently redesigned Tacoma both on and off-road.

While the drive around the area was quite scenic, with parks and waterfalls providing a pastoral backdrop for Tacoma photo poses, the off-road course designed by Toyota was more exciting with its twists, turns, rocky hills and mud slides.2016 Toyota Tacoma

The Tacoma performed like a champ on both courses.

Not long after the drive, some of us were invited down to San Antonio to tour the plant where Toyota manufactures both the Tacoma and their larger Tundra pickup trucks.

Paint bustersWe were given an educational tour of the plant, which even included a chance to dress up like Ghostbusters (Paintbusters?) to explore the Paint Shop. It was there I learned not to give up my day job to apply for work, since my skills in drawing a straight line or choosing correct color gradations were sadly lacking. These men and women are highly skilled craftsmen.  They also seem to love their work.

The highlight of the plant tour for me was hearing the testimony of a young man who recently graduated from the plant’s outreach program for high school or community college students. After completing his internship, Brandon–still in his 20s–now has a terrific career with Toyota and makes $58,000 a year. Not bad for a kid who thought college wasn’t for him!

Toyota employees with Tacoma @TAWATruckRodeoMy next experience with the Tacoma came a short time later, at the 2015 Truck Rodeo presented by Texas Auto Writers Association. At that event, held at the Knibbe Ranch near San Antonio, 69 auto writers convened to drive 88 trucks, SUVs and CUVs both on and off-road to choose the Truck of Texas and other winners.

There I spent some time riding along and talking with the Tacoma’s Chief Engineer Mike Sweers, who is passionate about his truck and deservedly proud of its capabilities.Toyota engineer Mike Sweers at SMDI seminar

Once again the Tacoma performed beautifully, and for the first time in the history of TAWA’s Truck Rodeo, the Toyota Tacoma won its category, as it was chosen the Mid-size Pickup Truck of Texas for 2015. 

It’s easy to predict there will be a lot more Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks seen on Texas roads in the future.

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