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New Car/Review

1998 TOYOTA T100 4WD X/CAB SR5

by Matt/Bob Hagin


SEE ALSO: Toyota Buyer's Guide

SPECIFICATIONSManufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 25,298Price As Tested                                    $ 28,056Engine Type               DOHC 24-valve 3.4 Liter V6 w/EFI*Engine Size                                 207 cid/3378 ccHorsepower                                   190 @ 4800 RPMTorque (lb-ft)                               220 @ 3600 RPMWheelbase/Width/Length                  121.8"/75.2"/209.1"Transmission                           Four-Speed AutomaticCurb Weight                                     4132 poundsFuel Capacity                                  24.0 gallonsTires  (F/R)                                     P265/70R16Brakes (F/R)                                      Disc/drumDrive Train                   Front-engine/four-wheel-driveVehicle Type                        Five-Passenger/two-DoorDomestic Content                                        N/ACoefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/APERFORMANCEEPA Economy, miles per gallon   city/highway/average                           16/17/17Payload                                       1,890 poundsTowing Capacity                               5,000 pounds    * Electronic Fuel Injection

(By sheer volume, the two top-selling vehicles here are pickuptrucks. Unfortunately for Toyota, neither of them carry that company'slogo on the hood says Bob Hagin. Matt Hagin agrees, but says that thebig Toyota T100 may change those statistics in the future.)

BOB - The Toyota marketing philosophy is to build a vehicle forevery market segment, Matt, but it had its corporate hands full when itwent into the full-sized pickup field with the T-100 in 1993. Americansbuy their pickups as much with their hearts as with their heads andbrand loyalty with trucks is much stronger than it is with cars.

MATT - That's true, Dad, and old habits are hard to break. But the4100-pound T100 isn't found wanting when it comes to comfort orhigh-tech innovations. The three trim levels are Regular Cab, Xtracaband SR5. Standard Cab comes with a twin-cam, four-valve 2.7 liter fourcylinder that puts out 150 horses through either a five-speed manual ora four-speed automatic. It uses two-wheel drive and is really designedto be attractive for commercial rather than for personal use. Othermodels up the T100 ladder fit that bill, and the most popular version isthe 4X4 Xtracab SR5 like the one we're featuring this week. It packs a3.4 liter V6 engine that puts out 190 horsepower at a low 4800 RPM. Thatshould do well to extend engine life. And what's really amazing is itstorque. At 220 pound-feet, it pulls as well as many of its domesticcounterparts that have larger V8 engines.

BOB - The automatic transmission in our test truck didn't seem to bemuch of a power drag and I'm not surprised that it outsells thefive-speed manual by a considerable margin. One of the things Ilike about the T100 is that I don't have a problem in climbing aboard.Our 4X4 Xtracab SR5 has over eight inches of ground clearance and thetruck is just the right height for me. Short drivers may have problems,however. Everyone will like its car-like amenities. Standard stuff likea 60/40 cloth bench seat with a fold-down armrest, and cupholders thatslide from the dashboard make the T100 easy to drive over the long haul.

MATT - The options packages on our T100 boosted its basic pricequite a bit, but they add a lot to its daily drivability and style. TheValue Package adds power door locks, outside mirrors and windows, airconditioning and a bunch of other cosmetic items. The 265/70R16 tiresand 16-inch aluminum wheels are another option, but tilt steering isstandard, as is the sliding rear window, tach and variable-speedintermittent wipers. An AM/FM cassette stereo system is also standard,though our truck came with a relatively inexpensive audio upgrade.

BOB - The four-wheel-drive system on our test model handled off-roadduties well, with Toyota's rugged independent front suspension, a solidrear axle, and shift-on-the-fly 4WD engagement. On slippery roads, ananti-lock braking system would help in an emergency, but our test truckdidn't have that option. The chassis layout on the T100 Xtracab SR5 istypically truck with a ladder frame, double wishbones up front and asolid axle carried by leaf springs in the rear. This is pretty much thesame chassis and suspension system found in many, but not all, sportutility vehicles, and comfort-wise, the T100 doesn't fall far behind thebest of them. The main difference is the lack of a comfortable rear seatin case more than two or three adults need a ride.

MATT - Another drawback of the Xtracab model is that it only has asix-foot bed. The standard cab models use an eight-footer that holds anamazing amount of stuff. Fortunately, there's two-tier loading, solumber is stackable, and there are tie-down hooks to secure the load.Don't get me wrong, Dad, you can still haul lots of stuff back there,but it just isn't suited to be a heavy-duty real-world work truck. Thatextra room behind the seats is convenient for lockable storage and forreclining the front buckets 'way back, just how I like them. But for mytastes, I'd get the T100 with the long bed - just in case.

BOB - Matt, having followed your exploits for many, many years now,I've come to the conclusion that the only rig that would satisfy yourneed to carry "stuff" would be an 18-wheeler with two trailers.