Back a few weeks ago we covered the install of the Falcon Sport Leveling Kit (by TeraFlex) on our Tacoma. This time we satiate your voracious appetite for information by wowing you with the ever-popular on-road review.
How a vehicle looks is as important as how it performs. Seriously, in the world of weekend warriors and other non-professional users the better looking you think your rig is the more you want to drive it, look at it, talk about it, and take care of it. It’s a good thing.
With the leveling kit installed as-is, and because we don’t have a bumper installed yet, we have a bit of a nose up condition. Some call it a California lift, we call it ungainly. The reason we did this, as discussed previously, was so we didn’t have to remove the entire front end again to move the retaining ring up to compensate for the winch and bumper that will eventually weigh the front end back down.
To make sure we got a solid read on what the new ride would feel like (and prevent unnecessary tire wear) we had it professionally aligned right after the leveling kit install. After some minor toe changes and a pretty significant camber adjustment, the suspension system was ready for testing.
On-Road Manners and Results
Even with the aforementioned nose up attitude, the pickup’s fuel economy barely changed. I paid close attention to the mileage I was getting in normal driving conditions over my daily commute when the truck was stock. After installing the leveling kit, I am consistently hitting the same numbers I was before. If I did lose some miles per gallon, it’s not noticeable.
The biggest selling point of the Falcon shocks has got to be the multi-zoned dampening that provides the rare win-win of increased performance on-road AND off-road. Falcon Zone Rate Tuning uses an internal spring and progressive bump stop to optimize suspension performance across different driving conditions. We are all aware that a stock Tacoma isn’t a race car (not yet anyway). In the interest of full scientific discovery, I still had to push a few corners to see how connected the truck felt with the road. One of the corners picked is a fairly tight turn that crosses the road crown and has a washboard feel to it. On the stock suspension, in dry conditions, the truck started to skip and break traction limiting our ability to continue acceleration through the corner. Taking the corner with the Falcon setup was night and day. While you still felt the bumps, the truck was stable throughout the corner allowing a steady acceleration from apex to exit without a loss of traction.
For most anyone taking a ride in the truck, they will probably still think it rides like, well…a truck. It’s not meant to feel like driving in a luxury land yacht, there are certainly several improved qualities to on-road comfort. My daily commute spans highway and city roads that have a Green to easy Blue rating and several high-speed rally sections of washboard obstacles and cross camber turns. The old suspension was a game of guess which way the truck will move. The new setup is more “Pass the Grey Poupon.” smooth. It’s not a Cadillac or a Rolls Royce, now at least I know where the tires will end up each time I hit a bump.
Braking is easier, smoother, and better controlled. The suspensions ability to absorb the micro terrain so commonly found at intersections and stops keeps the tire in constant contact with the road surface. The more consistent tire contact results in more grip and less braking excitement.
Turns are smoother, the weight transfer from side to side much more controlled, and the feedback from the tires easier to read. There is nothing worse than when a suspension randomly unloads because of amid-corner bump or other irregularity throwing a vehicle off its line in a turn and you need to correct it.
We never stop at on-road testing but for many readers, this is the most important part. The Falcon Sport Leveling kit gives you better all-around performance, it looks great, performs even better and the price point in our opinion is a great deal for the quality of materials used.
Of course, nothing is ever complete until it sees a little dirt. For that, we have some new tires, different wheels, and hopefully some other parts to show off. Starting with some 33-inch all-terrain tires on 17-inch wheels and eventually trying to fit 34’s under the truck. Maybe 35’s?