The Toyota mid-size pickup truck will always be a special vehicle to me. I had a 1992 SR5 extended cab that I was convinced was the best off-road vehicle in the world (or digging vehicle as we called it back then) you could get your hands on. If I put it in 4-Low and second gear I could climb anything, or so I thought.
Toyota’s four wheel drive vehicles have always been off-road capable machines. We talked recently how Bj Baldwin now drives a beautiful Tundra trophy truck for the Toyota Factory team so the Japanese company is obviously serious about off-road driving once again.
The 2016 Tacoma 4×4 has a feature that I’m both incredibly impressed with, yet also slightly concerned about. A feature they are calling “crawl control” is similar to the hill descend modes that have been in some vehicles for quite a while now, only this is significantly more sophisticated. Apparently the truck completely takes over once you push this button that activates the crawl mode. Say you are going up or down a hill and you are concerned with getting traction, you simply tap a button and the truck will crawl up or down the hill, all you do is keep the wheel straight.
The Truck will apparently take over both the gas and brake pedals in these situations. Using many different senors the truck is able to determine what wheel is getting traction, then send power specifically to that wheel. Still fairly standard right? Well they’ve taken it a step further here. This crawl mode will get you unstuck from some of the worst situations. Picture taking a brand new Tacoma out to the sand dunes and burying it up to the axles to where you are basically high-centered. Rather than getting out a pushing like the old days, now you just activate the crawl mode and sit there as you truck figures out the best way to get unstuck.
Now this sounds ridiculous, I realize that. I thought the same thing when I saw first video of it. I just assumed there was some dramatization going on and overlooked it. But then I start to see more and more videos from different angles, as well as random YouTube videos of actual owners testing out the feature. I only found one where the truck didn’t make it up the hill, or out of the hole it had dug for itself. Most of these videos are using a bone stock Tacoma and while the stock Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrains are great tires, there are better tires for off-road use. It would be pretty impressive to see what this thing could do with an aggressive tread pattern of a mud tire or something along those lines.
I’ll let the video explain the details of how the whole thing works because you probably need an engineer’s degree to fully understand it. But one thing I cant stop thinking about is why hasn’t Toyota just stepped up to the plate and made a true TRD version of either the Tundra or even the Tacoma that can compete with the Ford Raptor. I mean ideally I’m sure everyone would prefer to have the Tundra because then it would be direct competition for the Raptor.
But even if they started with the Tacoma and worked up to the full size that would do the trick. I can’t think of a better company than Toyota to actually bring something like this to the market. As much as I would love to see something from GMC or Chevy, we all know that most likely will never happen. So hears to hoping that there is something special being built in the Toyota factories that will dominate the production off road truck game like Ironman Ivan Stuart used to on the off-road racing series.
In the mean time, this crawl mode is very impressive. Tell us what you think in the comments below.