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    Review: 2016 GMC Canyon SLT Crew Cab & Toyota Tacoma Limited Double Cab


    • Looking at the current state of midsize trucks

    It seemed for a time that the midsize truck was a dead vehicle driving. If you wanted one a few years back, you only had the choice of the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma. All of the other midsize trucks had disappeared due to pricing and fuel economy figures being very close to full-size trucks, causing many buyers to go with the larger option. But the midsize truck has been enjoying a resurgence thanks to General Motors introducing the latest versions of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon into the U.S. This, in turn, has caused automakers to reconsider this class with Toyota introducing a ‘redesigned’ Tacoma last year and news coming out that Ford readying a new Ranger towards the end of this decade. GM hasn’t been resting on their laurels either. Last year saw them introduce a diesel engine that gives the Colorado and Canyon best-in-class towing numbers.

     

    A check-up in the midsize truck class was needed. Over the past few months, we spent some time in the 2016 Toyota Tacoma and GMC Canyon with the diesel option. Here is what we found out.

     

    Exterior:

     

    First up is the Toyota Tacoma which doesn’t look that much different from the previous model we drove back in 2013. The design brief for the 2016 model must have something to the effect of ‘if it ain’t broke, why fix it’ in terms of the overall shape. But that isn’t to say Toyota hasn’t made some changes to the design. The front end gets a larger grille, new headlights, and a more aggressive front bumper. Around the back, the tailgate has the ‘Tacoma’ name embossed.

     

    2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited Double Cab 4X4 6


    The GMC Canyon takes some ideas from the full-size Sierra in design. The front features a large chrome grille and rectangular headlights with LED daytime running lights. Our truck came fitted with a set of 18-inch wheels finished in what GM calls ‘ultra-bright chrome’. The rest of the truck is similar to Colorado in terms of the cab and bed design. I have to admit I prefer the Colorado over the Canyon in terms of design. The Colorado just stands out slightly more due to its more distinctive front end.

     

    In terms of beds, both trucks came with their short bed option - measuring about 5 feet. Those needing a bigger bed can option a 6-foot on both trucks. But it should be noted that the Tacoma Limited only comes with the 5-foot bed option. If you want the longer bed, you’ll need to drop down to one of the lower trims. As for bed features, both trucks feature a dampened tailgate and adjustable tie-downs on the bed rails. But the Tacoma begins to pull ahead as it features tie-downs integrated into the floor, storage compartments, and the option of a 120V/400W outlet.

     

    Interior:

     

    Like their full-size brethren, midsize trucks have been seeing a noticeable increase in terms of interior design and materials. Sitting in either truck, you’ll be impressed with the amount of soft-touch materials and the small design touches throughout the interior. Between the two trucks, we would say the Tacoma is the sharper looking with dash inserts that match the color of the seats and silver trim running around various parts. As for the dash layout, both trucks feature a simple layout with controls within easy reach.

     

    2016 GMC Canyon SLT Crew Cab 4WD 11


    In terms of seating, the Canyon and Tacoma offer seating up to five. But the Canyon is the most comfortable of the two trucks. The front seats provide the right balance of comfort and support. For 2016, GM has added a height adjustment for the power seats. This little addition makes finding a comfortable position that much easier. As for the back, there is a decent amount of headroom. Legroom varies on how tall the passenger sitting up front is. It ranges from decent to nonexistent.

     

    The Tacoma, on the other hand, is a comedy of errors. First off, the front seats are mounted quite low and cause you to think that you’re sitting in a bunker. This wouldn’t be an issue if you could adjust the height, but the Tacoma doesn’t offer that. Making matters worse is the tilt and telescoping steering doesn’t offer enough range in terms of its adjustments. As I wrote my notes about the Tacoma, “instead of the truck fitting around you, you have to fit around it.” The back seat is best reserved for either small kids or cargo. An average size adult like your’s truly will find barely any head and legroom.

     

    Infotainment:

     

    The base Canyon SL and Canyon get a 4.2-inch color screen radio, while SLE and SLT trims get an 8-inch IntelliLink system. Our Canyon SLT tester featured the optional 8-inch IntelliLink system with navigation. General Motors has been improving IntelliLink/MyLink over the past few years in terms of overall stability. The system still stumbles in terms of performance and recognizing various devices plugged into the USB inputs. For 2016, GM has added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. We tried out CarPlay in the Canyon and found it to be slightly better than IntelliLink in terms of the iPhone-like interface and snappy performance. But like in previous GM models with CarPlay, we found various applications would crash and the system wouldn’t always see my iPhone. Since driving the Canyon, we have tried out CarPlay in vehicles other manufacturers and didn’t have any issues.

     

    All Tacomas feature Toyota’s Entune infotainment system. Depending on the trim, the screen will measure either 6.1 or 7-inches. Our Tacoma Limited tester came with the 7-inch screen. Entune might not be newest-looking infotainment systems on the block, but its simple interface and fast response times make it one of the better systems on sale. We also like how you can customize the home screen to provide various information such as audio and navigation. At the moment, Toyota hasn’t added Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to Entune.

     

    Powertrain:

     

    The GMC Canyon is the most well-rounded when it comes to powertrains. There is a 2.5L inline-four, a 3.6L V6, and the engine found in our tester, a 2.8L Duramax Turbodiesel four-cylinder. The diesel produces 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic and either two-wheel or four-wheel drive. When leaving a stop, you’ll find yourself wondering where that turbodiesel thrust is. Turbo lag is very apparent with this engine. Once the turbo does spool up, the engine delivers power at a smooth and immediate rate. The six-speed automatic provides quick gear changes. In terms of towing, GMC says the Canyon diesel with four-wheel drive can tow up to 7,600 pounds.

     

    2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited Double Cab 4X4 7


    For the Toyota Tacoma, you can choose from a 2.7L four-cylinder or a 3.5L V6. We had the V6 in our tester which boasted 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. The V6 can be paired with a six-speed manual or automatic, and either two or four-wheel drive. Our truck came with the automatic and four-wheel drive. On paper, the Tacoma trails the Canyon’s V6 (305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque). Out in the world, the Tacoma surpasses GM’s V6 partly due to it feeling more grunty at low rpms. You don’t feel that you need to give the Tacoma’s V6 more gas to get moving at a decent clip. The six-speed automatic delivers smooth gear changes, but we wished it would go through the gears quicker. Towing is rated at 6,400 lbs, about 600 pounds less than the Canyon with the V6.

     

    Fuel Economy:

     

    The EPA rates the 2016 GMC Canyon four-wheel drive with the diesel at 20 City/29 Highway/23 Combined and the 2016 Toyota Tacoma V6 with four-wheel drive at 18 City/23 Highway/20 Combined. Our average for the week in both trucks were 25 MPG for the Canyon and 19.2 MPG for the Tacoma.

     

    Ride & Handling:

     

    No other midsize truck can come close to the GMC Canyon in terms of ride. Like the Chevrolet Colorado I drove last year, the Canyon’s suspension smooths over bumps and other road imperfections. You think that you’re riding in a sedan and not a truck. GM has done a lot of work in terms of sound-deadening for models equipped with the Duramax diesel. Thicker windows and more soundproofing means you’ll the clatter of the diesel engine when accelerating. The extra soundproofing also means the Canyon doesn’t have much wind and road noise coming inside.

     

    Contrast this with the Tacoma which feels more like a bucking bronco. You’ll able to tell how smooth or rough various roads are as the suspension will transmit a good amount of the surface into the seats due to the Tacoma retaining a solid-rear axle. Put a heavy load into the bed and the ride does smooth out. This is ok if you’re coming from an old pickup truck. Not so much if you’re coming from a sedan or crossover. Road and wind noise are very apparent at speeds above 45 mph.

     

    2016 GMC Canyon SLT Crew Cab 4WD 7


    But the Tacoma does redeem itself when it comes to off-roading. Thanks to 9.4 inches of ground clearance, flexible suspension, and loads of off-road tech (hill start and descent control to name a couple), the Tacoma can tackle a trail with no issue. Thanks to winter storm during our week in the Tacoma, we were able to put the four-wheel drive system to the test. Fitted with a set of Michelin off-road tires, the Tacoma went through deep snow with no issues. It should be noted that if you’re serious about taking a Tacoma off-road, then you should look at the TRD Off-Road which adds new shocks, meatier off-road tires, the Multi-Terrain Select system that varies the traction control system for different conditions, and crawl control that modulates the brakes and engine when dealing with some treacherous obstacles such as a steep hill.

     

    The Canyon isn’t as capable off-road. For one, it is about an inch shorter in terms of overall ground clearance. Second, the front air dam which is used to improve overall aerodynamics hampers off-road performance. A key example of this comes in approach angle. The Canyon only has an 18-degree approach angle while the Tacoma has either a 29 or 32-degree approach angle.

     

    Value:

     

    Both of these test trucks make a strong case for going with one of the lower trims. The 2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited Double Cab starts at $37,820 for the four-wheel drive model. With options, the as-tested price came to $41,024. Yes, you do get a lot of standard equipment such as blind-spot monitoring, dual-zone climate control, navigation, heated seats, push-button start, and a JBL audio system. But you can get a fair amount of those features as options on the SR5 and the two TRD models. One other thing to consider. The Toyota Tacoma is one of the best vehicles to retain its resale value. Kelly Blue Book says the Tacoma will retain 73 percent of its resale value after three years.

     

    The Canyon SLT has a slightly lower base price of $37,450. But it is the more expensive of the two with an as-tested price of $44,365. A fair chunk of the price comes from Duramax diesel which will set you back $3,730. For the as-tested price, you can get into a decently equipped full-size truck. Again, the lower trim SLE gets most of the equipment from the SLT as options for a slightly lower price.

     

    Final Thoughts:

     

    If you’re expecting me to say the GMC Canyon is better than the Toyota Tacoma or vice-versa, then you’ll be surprised at what I’m going to say. Both of these trucks are good choices in the midsize truck class. The choice comes down to what are your desires and needs. For example, if you’re coming from passenger sedan into your first truck or planning to do some towing, the GMC Canyon and sister Chevrolet Colorado are what you should go for. On the opposite end, the Tacoma is perfect for those who want something to tackle the trail or need a V6 with a bit of punch.

     

    2016 GMC Canyon SLT Crew Cab
    Cheers: Fuel economy of the diesel, barely any wind and road noise, smooth ride
    Jeers: Price, GMC Intellilink still has some bugs, fair amount of turbo lag

     

     

    2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited Double Cab
    Cheers: Very capable off-road, V6 feels quite punchy, clever features in the bed
    Jeers: Rides like an old school truck, difficult to find a comfortable seating position, fair amount of road and wind noise

     

     

    Disclaimer: GMC and Toyota Provided the trucks, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

    Year: 2016
    Make: GMC
    Model: Canyon
    Trim: SLT 4WD Crew Cab Short Box
    Engine: 2.8L Turbodiesel Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 181 @ 3,400
    Torque @ RPM: 369 @ 2,000
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/29/23
    Curb Weight: 4,698 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Wentzville, MO
    Base Price: $37,450
    As Tested Price: $44,365 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    2.8L Duramax Turbodiesel Four - $3,730
    Bose Audio System - $500.00
    8" Color Touchscreen with GMC Intellilink and Navigation - $495.00
    Spray-On Bed Liner - $475.00
    Copper Red Metallic Pain - $395.00
    Driver Alert Package - $395.00

     

    Year: 2016
    Make: Toyota
    Model: Tacoma
    Trim: Limited 4X4 Double Cab
    Engine: 3.5L Atkinson Cycle V6 with Dual VVT-i
    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 278 @ 6,000
    Torque @ RPM: 265 @ 4,600
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/23/20
    Curb Weight: 4,480 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: San Antonio, TX
    Base Price: $37,820
    As Tested Price: $41,024 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    Tonneau Cover - $650.00
    V6 Tow Package - $650.00
    5" Chrome Oval Tube Step - $535.00
    Carpet Floor Mats w/Door Sill - $209.00
    Mudgaurds - $140.00
    Bed Mat - $120.00

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    Very good review comparison! I enjoyed it.  :thumbsup:

     

    Just a heads-up I assume this is supposed to mean 73%. I only say this because I think last time I found something you said things get posted other places as well.. I'm not trying to be a grammar police as mine is probably jack $h! lol. 

    "The Toyota Tacoma is one of the best vehicles to retain its resale value. Kelly Blue Book says the Tacoma will retain 73 of its value after three years."

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    Very nice write up, bummer about the turbo lag but I wonder if you could use a custom tuner to address that issue?

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    "You’ll able to tell how smooth or rough various roads are as the suspension will transmit a good amount of the surface into the seats due to the Tacoma retaining a solid-rear axle."

     

    No idea what this sentence alludes to.  Every genuine pickup truck made has a solid rear axle.

     

    It is possible that, like most diesel trucks, the baby Duramax has a throttle that is tuned for smooth getaways while towing, not burnouts.  ;)

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      Interior:
      Unfortunately, both the Cascada and Camaro fall on their face when it comes to the interior for different reasons.
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      Powertrain:
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      Ride & Handling:
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      Make: Buick
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      Curb Weight: 3,966 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
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    • By William Maley
      Summertime means something different for everyone. For some, it’s time to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. For others, it is the time to take that trip you have been thinking about for awhile. If you’re an automotive writer like myself, summertime means convertible season. The feeling of having the roof down and enjoying the expanded view of the sky is something quite special. This summer saw two of GM’s latest convertibles roll into the Cheers & Gears’ Detroit garage, the new Buick Cascada and recently redesigned Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible. How did these two droptops fare in the summer heat?
      Exterior:
      There is no denying the Opel/Vauxhall roots of the Buick Cascada as it is just basically the Cascada sold in Europe with Buick basing. But that isn’t a bad thing since the Cascada is handsome for the most part. The front features a new grille design and headlights with LED accents. The side profile reveals short overhangs for the front and rear. These overhangs make the side look somewhat oddly proportioned. A set 20-inch wheels come standard. Around back, a long chrome bar runs along the trunk lid into the taillights. 
      On the opposite end is the Chevrolet Camaro. If you’re looking for something quiet and doesn’t bring attention, then maybe you should pass on it. Redesigned last year, Chevrolet retained the Camaro’s basic profile with its sharp lines and rounded corners. But major work was done on the front and rear ends. The front features a narrow top grille and slim headlights. A massive grille sits underneath between a set of deep cuts into the front bumper. The back has been cleaned up with a new trunk lid design, rectangular headlights, and quad-exhaust tips. 
      One item both the Cascada and Camaro share is a fabric top. Putting the top down or up takes under 20 seconds for both vehicles. With the tops down, both vehicles look quite good. But put the tops up and the Cascada is the better looking of the two. I can’t put my finger as to why, but I think it deals with how the Cascada has a little bit more glass than the Camaro. 
      Interior:
      Unfortunately, both the Cascada and Camaro fall on their face when it comes to the interior for different reasons.
      In the case of the Cascada, it features the dash from the outgoing Verano and Encore. This reveals that the Cascada is older despite what Buick may have you think. For example, the center stack is laden with buttons and it will take you a few moments to find the specific one you’re looking for. Not helping is the Cascada using GM’s last-generation infotainment system. While the system is easy to use, the interface is looking very dated. It would have been nice if Buick could have slipped in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascade, but that would have likely introduced more problems than solutions.
      On the upside, the Cascada’s interior is well-built and features decent quality materials. A fair amount of dash and door panels feature some soft touch material. The front seats are comfortable for short and long distance trips. Power adjustments for the driver’s seat make it easy to find a position that works. One touch Buick deserves applause for is the seat belt presenter. The front seat belts are nestled away when the Cascada is turned off to make it easier to get in and out of the back seat. But when you start it up, the presenter extends for both the driver and passenger to buckle in. The back seat provides enough space for kids or small adults. Taller folks like myself will find minimal legroom. With the top up, anyone sitting back here will feel very confined. With the top down, this feeling goes away. 
      Step into the 2016 Camaro Convertible’s interior and you’ll find the same retro ideas from the previous model such as the shape of the dash and circular vents. But Chevrolet improved the overall usability of the Camaro’s interior. For example, the retro-inspired engine information gauges that were placed ahead of the shifter in the previous generation are gone. In its place are a set of air vents that also control the temperature of the climate control system. 
      Our tester featured the optional Chevrolet MyLink system with navigation. We know we’re beating a dead horse with our complaints with MyLink such as a slow response when going from various screens and recognizing devices plugged into the USB ports. But you would think that GM would maybe issue an update or something by now to fix some of these issues? Like other Chevrolet models we have driven this year, the Camaro’s MyLink system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. We tried CarPlay and found it to be easier to use than most automaker’s infotainment systems. But, we had issues with apps crashing and the system not always recognizing our phone.
      The front bucket seats are quite comfortable and will hold you in if you decide to tackle that special road aggressively. A set of power adjustments makes it easy for anyone to find a comfortable position. The back seat is best reserved for small kids or extra storage as legroom is nonexistent. You would think that the Camaro Convertible wouldn’t feel as claustrophobic as the coupe since you can put the top down, but it isn’t. Sitting in the Camaro convertible with the top down, I felt like I was being contained in a small box. Blame the high belt line for this.
      Powertrain:
      Power for the Buick Cascada comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. The figures are impressive for this engine. But drop it into the Cascada and it is quite disappointing. Performance is very lethargic as the engine has to overcome the nearly two tons of Cascada. It feels like an eternity getting up to speed and you’ll find yourself putting the pedal to the floor to get the vehicle moving at a sufficient rate. EPA figures for the Cascada stand at 20 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. My average for the week landed at 21 mpg. 
      The Camaro’s engine lineup includes a 3.6L V6, turbocharged 2.0L four, and our SS tester’s 6.2L V8. The V8 pumps out 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. We had the optional eight-speed automatic, but you can get a six-speed manual. The V8 makes the Camaro Convertible stupidly fun. I found myself wanting to roll down the window at a stop light to tell the vehicle next to me “let me play you the song of my people” before stomping on the accelerator and having the V8 roar into life as the light turns green. The engine will pin you in your seat if you floor it and there is a never-ending stream of power throughout the rev range. A nice touch is the optional dual-mode exhaust system that only amplifies the noises of the V8. The eight-speed automatic is ofine around town and on the highway but stumbles somewhat in enthusiastic driving where it takes a moment to downshift when slowing down. Fuel economy for the Camaro SS Convertible stands at 17 City/28 Highway/20 Combined. I got about 19 mpg during my week-long test.
      Ride & Handling:
      Describing the ride and handling characteristics of the Cascada can be summed up in one word; smooth. Buick’s engineers tuned the Cascada’s suspension to deliver an almost magic carpet ride. Even with a set of twenty-inch wheels as standard equipment, the Cascada is able to deal with rough roads with no issues. Around corners, the Cascada feels planted and body roll is kept in check. But don’t plan on doing anything enthusiastic with it. The steering is a little bit too light for it. Drive it like a relaxed cruiser and you’ll enjoy it. Wind buffeting is minimal with either the windows rolled up or down.
      The Camaro Convertible is shocking as to how well it handles. Part of this comes down to optional Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) system which limits body roll. Chevrolet engineers also worked on improving the structural rigidity of the Camaro. The combination makes the convertible just as good as the coupe in corners. Direction change is fast and there is plenty of grip coming from the meaty tires. Where the Camaro Convertible falters is the ride quality. The SS comes with a set of twenty-inch wheels. While they do look sharp, it makes for a somewhat unbearable ride. Bumps of any size are clearly transmitted to those sitting inside. MRC does its best to provide a comfortable ride, but it might be worth considering going down to a smaller wheel to improve the ride. Wind buffeting is kept in check with the windows up or down.
      Price:
      The 2016 Buick Cascada starts at $33,065 for the base model. Our up-level Premium starts at $36,065 and comes to an as-tested price of $37,385 thanks to the vehicle being finished in an optional blue color. You really don’t get much in terms of additional features when compared to the base Cascada aside from some additional safety features - front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert - and automatic wipers. Also for that amount of cash, you could with the Audi A3 cabriolet which offers a slightly more premium interior. But you would lose out on the larger back seat of the Cascada. You would be better off with the base Cascada.
      If you have your heart set on a Camaro Convertible, be ready to shell out the cash. The 2016 Camaro 2SS Convertible carries a base sticker of $48,300 - $6,005 more expensive than the coupe. Add on the list of options fitted to our tester such as the eight-speed automatic, magnetic ride control, and dual-mode exhaust system and you’ll end up with an as-tested price of $54,075. I’ll give you a moment to pick yourself up from the floor due to the price shock. The Camaro is nice car all-around, but is it really worth dropping $54,000?! We’re not so sure. 
      Verdict:
      Both of vehicles have issues that don’t make them as appealing. The Cascada’s engine either needs to be kicked to the curb or head off to the gym to get a bit more power. It would nice if Buick could also figure how to put in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascada, although that might prove to be an engineering nightmare and something that would be better suited for the next-generation model. The Camaro Convertible’s price tag will make a number of people and their bank accounts cry. Also for being a convertible, the Camaro still feels as claustrophobic as the coupe.
      But when you drop the tops in both models, you forget all about the issues. Instead, you begin to take in the sky and rush of the wind. This makes you remember why you bought a convertible, to enjoy the feeling of openness. It is only when you put the top back up that makes you wonder if you can live with the issues. In the case of the Cascada, the answer is no. The Camaro is a maybe.
       
       
      Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Cascada and Camaro; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Buick
      Model: Cascada
      Trim: Premium
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L SIDI DOHC with VVT
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 200 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 207 @ 1,800 - 4,500, 221 @ 2,200 - 4,000 (with overboost)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,979 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gliwice, Poland
      Base Price: $36,065
      As Tested Price: $37,385 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Deep Sky Metallic - $395.00
      Year: 2016
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Camaro Convertible
      Trim: SS
      Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 455 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 455 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/28/20
      Curb Weight: 3,966 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
      Base Price: $48,300
      As Tested Price: $54,075 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Magnetic Ride Control - $1,695.00
      Eight-Speed Automatic - $1,495.00
      Dual-Mode Exhaust - $895.00
      Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation - $495.00
      20" 5-Split Spoke Aluminum Wheels - $200.00
    • By William Maley
      Three years might not seem like a long time. But in the automotive industry, it is an eternity. In that short amount time, a vehicle may be surpassed by competitors and sales may take a dive. Take for example the Nissan Altima. When the redesigned model was launched back in 2013, it was considered to be above-average and some key advantages over rivals. But time has passed and the Altima has been surpassed in a number of key areas by refreshed/redesigned competitors. Nissan knew they needed to do something to get the Altima back in contention. Last year, they introduced a refreshed Altima that would hopefully give them a fighting chance in the class. Let's see if it does.
      If you were expecting some big changes to the Altima’s exterior in this mid-cycle refresh, then you’ll be disappointed. The front end features a new V-shaped grille and revised headlights to bring the model in line with the current Nissan design language. Updated taillights and new wheel choices finish off the changes. The interior is mostly left alone in this refresh aside from some new choices of trim pieces. That isn’t a bad thing as the Altima’s interior is a nice place to be in with ample space for passengers, a fair amount of soft-touch materials used throughout, and a simple dash layout. 
      One item we do wish Nissan would have addressed in this refresh is the NissanConnect infotainment system. All Altimas come with a five-inch touchscreen as standard, while our SL tester featured the optional seven-inch screen. This system has a number of issues ranging from an interface that makes it look older than it really is to the system crashing our iPod on a regular basis. More worrying was the system crashing and rebooting twice during our week-long test. It would be nice for Nissan to take the system out of the Maxima and Murano and put it into the rest of their lineup as it doesn’t have the issues listed here.
      Under the hood of the Altima are the same engines that have powered it since 2013. Our Altima SL tester came with the standard 2.5L four-cylinder with 183 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a 3.5L V6 with 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. No matter which engine you pick, a Xtronic CVT routes the power to the front wheels. The 2.5 does quite well around town as the engine gets up to speed at a decent rate. Getting onto the highway is another story as you’ll need to almost floor the gas pedal to get up to speed at a somewhat decent rate. This also brings forth an abundance of engine noise, something we complained about in our 2014 Nissan Altima SL review. At least the Xtronic CVT is responsive when you step on the accelerator and the illusion of the stepped gears can make most buyers believe they’re driving an automatic.
      The EPA rates the Altima’s fuel economy at 27 City/39 Highway/31 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 31.7 MPG.
      The Altima’s ride and handling characteristics are in the middle. The suspension does a decent job of soaking up most bumps, but some larger ones will make their way inside. The recently redesigned Chevrolet Malibu and Volkswagen Passat do a better job in this regard. In the bends, the Altima feels composed and shows little body roll. But the steering is way too light and doesn’t offer enough feel to feel sporty. If you want that, a Mazda6 or Ford Fusion should be on the list.
      How do you sum up the 2016 Nissan Altima? It is a competent midsize sedan. But competent isn’t a strong selling point to a midsize sedan as you can apply to any model in the class. What you need is something that makes your model stand out whether in terms of design or features. The Altima doesn’t have anything like that.
      Picking the Altima may be the safe choice, but it be might a choice you regret.
      Disclaimer: Nissan Provided the Altima, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Nissan
      Model: Altima
      Trim: 2.5 SL
      Engine: 2.5L DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Xtronic CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: 182 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 180 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/39/31
      Curb Weight: 3,254 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Smyrna, TN
      Base Price: $28,570
      As Tested Price: $32,115 (Includes $835.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Technology Package - $1,700
      Moonroof Package - $800.00
      Carpeted Floormats and Trunk Mat - $210.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Three years might not seem like a long time. But in the automotive industry, it is an eternity. In that short amount time, a vehicle may be surpassed by competitors and sales may take a dive. Take for example the Nissan Altima. When the redesigned model was launched back in 2013, it was considered to be above-average and some key advantages over rivals. But time has passed and the Altima has been surpassed in a number of key areas by refreshed/redesigned competitors. Nissan knew they needed to do something to get the Altima back in contention. Last year, they introduced a refreshed Altima that would hopefully give them a fighting chance in the class. Let's see if it does.
      If you were expecting some big changes to the Altima’s exterior in this mid-cycle refresh, then you’ll be disappointed. The front end features a new V-shaped grille and revised headlights to bring the model in line with the current Nissan design language. Updated taillights and new wheel choices finish off the changes. The interior is mostly left alone in this refresh aside from some new choices of trim pieces. That isn’t a bad thing as the Altima’s interior is a nice place to be in with ample space for passengers, a fair amount of soft-touch materials used throughout, and a simple dash layout. 
      One item we do wish Nissan would have addressed in this refresh is the NissanConnect infotainment system. All Altimas come with a five-inch touchscreen as standard, while our SL tester featured the optional seven-inch screen. This system has a number of issues ranging from an interface that makes it look older than it really is to the system crashing our iPod on a regular basis. More worrying was the system crashing and rebooting twice during our week-long test. It would be nice for Nissan to take the system out of the Maxima and Murano and put it into the rest of their lineup as it doesn’t have the issues listed here.
      Under the hood of the Altima are the same engines that have powered it since 2013. Our Altima SL tester came with the standard 2.5L four-cylinder with 183 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a 3.5L V6 with 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. No matter which engine you pick, a Xtronic CVT routes the power to the front wheels. The 2.5 does quite well around town as the engine gets up to speed at a decent rate. Getting onto the highway is another story as you’ll need to almost floor the gas pedal to get up to speed at a somewhat decent rate. This also brings forth an abundance of engine noise, something we complained about in our 2014 Nissan Altima SL review. At least the Xtronic CVT is responsive when you step on the accelerator and the illusion of the stepped gears can make most buyers believe they’re driving an automatic.
      The EPA rates the Altima’s fuel economy at 27 City/39 Highway/31 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 31.7 MPG.
      The Altima’s ride and handling characteristics are in the middle. The suspension does a decent job of soaking up most bumps, but some larger ones will make their way inside. The recently redesigned Chevrolet Malibu and Volkswagen Passat do a better job in this regard. In the bends, the Altima feels composed and shows little body roll. But the steering is way too light and doesn’t offer enough feel to feel sporty. If you want that, a Mazda6 or Ford Fusion should be on the list.
      How do you sum up the 2016 Nissan Altima? It is a competent midsize sedan. But competent isn’t a strong selling point to a midsize sedan as you can apply to any model in the class. What you need is something that makes your model stand out whether in terms of design or features. The Altima doesn’t have anything like that.
      Picking the Altima may be the safe choice, but it be might a choice you regret.
      Disclaimer: Nissan Provided the Altima, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Nissan
      Model: Altima
      Trim: 2.5 SL
      Engine: 2.5L DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Xtronic CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: 182 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 180 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/39/31
      Curb Weight: 3,254 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Smyrna, TN
      Base Price: $28,570
      As Tested Price: $32,115 (Includes $835.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Technology Package - $1,700
      Moonroof Package - $800.00
      Carpeted Floormats and Trunk Mat - $210.00
    • By William Maley
      Toyota Motor Sales Reports August 2016 Sales
      Toyota Division light trucks posts year-to-date sales record Highlander and 4Runner post double-digit gains Lexus posts best-ever LUV sales for the month and year-to-date TORRANCE, Calif. (September 1, 2016) – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today reported August 2016 sales of 213,125 units, a decrease of 5 percent from August 2015 on a volume basis. With the same amount of selling days in August 2016 compared to August 2015, sales were down 5 percent on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis. 
       
      Toyota division posted August sales of 182,187 units, down 4.6 percent on a volume basis and DSR basis.   
       
      “Coming off the strongest SAAR of the year at 17.9M units in July, the industry took a bit of a step back in August,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota division. “RAV4, 4Runner and Highlander all recorded strong year-over-year growth for the month, keeping Toyota Division light truck sales on track for another record year.”
       
      Lexus posted August sales of 30,938 units, down 7.6 percent on a volume basis and DSR basis. 
       
      “Lexus luxury utility vehicle sales reached new heights in August, with a record NX sales month helping lead our brand to its best-ever year-to-date sales performance for our LUV lineup,” said Jeff Bracken, Lexus division group vice president and general manager. “With improving supply on our LUV’s for the remainder of the year, we are looking for a strong close to 2016.”
       
      August 2016 Highlights 
      Corolla posts sales of 30,741 units Camry posts August sales of 32,864 units Toyota Division light trucks up 1.6 percent; posts year-to-date sales record RAV4 sales rose 8.6 percent Highlander posts sales of 14,966 units, up 12.2 percent 4Runner up more than 15 percent Land Cruiser up almost 65 percent in August TCUV posts best-ever sales for the second consecutive month Lexus LUVs post best-ever August and year-to-date sales NX up 21.6 percent in August with sales of 5,407 units; best month ever GX up more than 12 percent for the month LX up 95.6 percent in August Lexus L/Certified posts best-ever August *Note:  Unless otherwise stated, all figures reflect unadjusted raw sales volume

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