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 |  Sep 03 2011, 3:15 PM

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America’s best-selling compact pickup truck just got better with Toyota refreshing the 2012 Tacoma inside and outside. For the updated Tacoma, Toyota has equipped the 2012 model with a new hood, grille, headlights and front bumper among other minor details, while the interior has been revamped with a new center-instrument panel design, revised gauge cluster and a new steering wheel. That’s not all either, with a redesigned center stack (including the Entune system on some models), new air conditioner and heater controls plus power point locations.

The Entune system, first introduced on the Prius V, is similar to Ford’s SYNC, allowing voice, touch screen and steering wheel mounted controls of the audio and infotainment systems. It gives access to XM stocks, sports and weather, plus it provides the latest info on gas prices. In addition, there are apps like OpenTable (to book a restaurant), Movietickets.com (to buy movie tickets) and iheartradio, to listen to streaming radio stations from across the country.

For 2012, the Tacoma will have two options for engine choices, a 2.7L DOHC four-cylinder with 159-hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, while the heftier 4.0L DOHC V6 pumps out 236-hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. VVT-i is present in both engines while the V6 can be paired up with either a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic, and the four-cylinder gets a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic option.

As always, plenty of cab choices and options will be available to the Tacoma. Owners will get to choose from a Regular Cab, Access Cab and the four-door Double Cab while drivetrain options will be 2WD or 4WD. T|X packages are also available in 2012 for the hardcore pickup fan, and can be had in conjunction with the TRD Off-Road Package. The T|X packages adds a concept-truck look to the Tacoma V6 Access Cab version or the V6 Double Cab PreRunner and 4×4 models. The aesthetic changes are paired up with a set of 16-inch TRD black alloy bead-lock wheels with 265/70/16 BFGoodrich Rugged Trail tires.

In addition, performance can be increased with a TRD exhaust system as part of the T|X package. TRD will also be offering a supercharger kit for the 4.0L V6 power plant, helping bring performance to 304-hp and 334 lb-ft of torque. Additional options include the SR5 Package which adds plenty of styling and comfort features. The TRD Sport Package comes with 17-inch wheels and tires, fog lamps, hood scoop and other minor styling accessories. Lastly, a dealer-installed TRD Big Brake system is offered with 13 by 1.25-inch semi-floating vented rotors and four-piston calipers.

Pricing for the 2012 Tacoma has yet to be announced.

GALLERY: 2012 Toyota Tacoma

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