My friends think I'm crazy. I don't disagree!
Six weeks ago I bought my first Taco after riding around far northern Canada and driving from Portland, OR to Taos, NM in my buddy's, a 2001 4 manual 4x4 reg. cab. I was so impressed with the reliability, ruggedness(genuinely needed by us and by him), and the highway drivability. I loved the simplicity and needed a vehicle that would take this old body to very out of the way places seamlessly. Both my buddy and I are enviros, and so we found the 4 m attactive. But I needed more room and also a bit higher standard of convenience and I thought I might as well get the newer body style, so I bought my first Taco: a beautiful silver 06 SR5 access cab 4m.
At first I loved my new-to-me Taco. It got me where I wanted to go and the 4 wheel makes going up and down my icy frozen 1/4 mile driveway a breeze. And the gas mileage seemed very good, and regular to boot. I put on a hood protector, upgraded to a 6-cd changer, and in many ways I could not have been happier--happy as a clam, as we say around here!
But right from the start, it was a bit of a hassle in stop and go traffic, especially going up hill. It even was a bit of a hassle at the stop sign at the top of a little rise just around the corner. You are on a short steep slope with modest but constant traffic flying by in both directions. And some jerk has pulled right up to the rear bumper in their Mini, Mercedes, or Lexus. Gas, handbreak, breaks, and clutch all trying to fit together as I am trying to squeeze out without spilling my coffee! Not good.
Then, a few days later, my "green dreams" that I was driving a more fuel efficient and therefore less polluting vehicle were trashed--Here at TW! In a discussion, some snarkster pointed out how close the mileage with the auto 6 is to the manual 4 on vehicles equipped with 4x4. Boy can Toyota make an efficient transmission--and reliable too
Perhaps I'm spoiled.I've mostly been driving higher-end Subies and Pathfinders with auto and seamless 4x4(all-wheel really). Other than my Audi quattro, I hadn't driven a manual in years. But after a month--and I learned to drive on a standard--I know its not just the rust in my joints and brain, it is the fact that manual is much less convenient in urban and hilly suburban settings.
So today, having driven just 2k additional miles on the 06, I drove through the snow--the salesman said that at least two other people had looked at the truck that seemed right to me this weekend, and so I feared that it would be gone--and purchased an 05 4x4 access cab auto TRD Off-Road and Towing Pac(I am thinking of upgrading to a bigger heavier boat.) And I happen to like steering wheel audio controls!