Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

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fishmonger
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Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by fishmonger »

After my beloved 2004 Tacoma [broke down --admin LadyGeek] (cracked engine valve), I'm looking at newer Tacomas, 2011 up to 2017. I'm wondering if anyone here drives a 4 cylinder? I've always driven a V6, but am looking at 4 cylinders as well, more to broaden my search than for fuel economy.

I wouldn't tow anything other than a small 15' boat, and do almost no highway driving (wife's car is more comfortable on long rides). What else am I missing? Did anyone go from a 6 to a 4 and regret it later on?
SouthernCPA
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by SouthernCPA »

If I didn't have a 22' Boat to tow, I'd sell my 2006 Tundra and get a 4 cylinder 5 speed tacoma....
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lthenderson
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by lthenderson »

I don't own a 4 cylinder one but a friend has a five speed 4 cylinder that I've ridden in while pulling a trailer full of shingles we ripped off his house. Although not what I would call full of power, it had adequate power to get the load to the dump. It would certainly haul a small boat around. I would certainly be okay with a 4 cylinder that didn't get a lot of driving.
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Smorgasbord
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by Smorgasbord »

Several years ago I went from a Chevy 350 V8 to a 4 cylinder s-10. About the only thing I couldn't do with the little truck was tow a big boat or an RV. There were also a couple times hauling stuff where I needed to make two trips with the gas sipper while the big truck probably could have done it in one. On the off chance I need to haul something massive, I just ask one of the people I know who bought a monster crew cab diesel truck and only use it to pick up groceries or drop off kids at soccer practice.
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fishmonger
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by fishmonger »

The newer generation 4 cyl is supposed to be able to tow 3500 pounds. I would never have to pull that kind of weight.
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fishmonger
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by fishmonger »

Smorgasbord wrote:Several years ago I went from a Chevy 350 V8 to a 4 cylinder s-10. About the only thing I couldn't do with the little truck was tow a big boat or an RV. There were also a couple times hauling stuff where I needed to make two trips with the gas sipper while the big truck probably could have done it in one. On the off chance I need to haul something massive, I just ask one of the people I know who bought a monster crew cab diesel truck and only use it to pick up groceries or drop off kids at soccer practice.
I read recently that 95% of truck owners from 2010 on do not use their truck to tow anything
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noraz123
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by noraz123 »

Sounds like you liked your previous Tacoma and are a loyal customer. However, I just saw Consumer Reports' list of disappointing cars for 2017 and surprisingly the Tacoma is listed (albeit they say it's good for towing):

With a punchy powertrain, the Toyota Tacoma excels for hauling, towing, and off-road use. But for everyday driving or commuting, the Tacoma feels dated and is uncomfortable. Clumsy handling makes it a chore to drive, and the rough ride is fatiguing, with constant jiggling and a rubbery feel over even small imperfections.
More here: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news ... /index.htm

Not sure if this is helpful, but wanted to share. Moreover, I believe this review is for 2017 model only. I've never owned a Tacoma,but have always liked them, and was very surprised to see the poor review.
jharkin
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by jharkin »

When I bought mine I wanted the TRD/OR 4x4 and they only build that config with the V6 so there was no option.

I can say however that the way I drive Ive only ever seen the tach climb over 2000rpm in freeway merging. If you look at a dyno curve that means Im rarely using more than 20% of its rated HP.

And I rarely take it on the freeway.

So I would say that sure, for back road commuting and regular light truck duty I bet the 4 cylinder is more than adequate.
Last edited by jharkin on Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
SouthernCPA
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by SouthernCPA »

fishmonger wrote:The newer generation 4 cyl is supposed to be able to tow 3500 pounds. I would never have to pull that kind of weight.
What about when you step up to that 36' Contender with triple 350s? Maybe one day....
The Wizard
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by The Wizard »

fishmonger wrote: I read recently that 95% of truck owners from 2010 on do not use their truck to tow anything
Right.
So far with my new truck, I've not towed any trailers; I mainly HAUL stuff. Another 2500 lbs of 3/4" crushed stone will hit the bed on Saturday, for my logging road project.

Now I have used the trailer hitch on my truck, with a stout chain, to pull out a number of 1000 lb to 2000 lb boulders on that logging road which were obstructing progress.
And of course, when downing trees for firewood on the back acreage, a steel cable and 100+ feet of rope connected to the hitch allows me to pull them out to a place for easy processing...
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Topic Author
fishmonger
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by fishmonger »

noraz123 wrote:Sounds like you liked your previous Tacoma and are a loyal customer. However, I just saw Consumer Reports' list of disappointing cars for 2017 and surprisingly the Tacoma is listed (albeit they say it's good for towing):

With a punchy powertrain, the Toyota Tacoma excels for hauling, towing, and off-road use. But for everyday driving or commuting, the Tacoma feels dated and is uncomfortable. Clumsy handling makes it a chore to drive, and the rough ride is fatiguing, with constant jiggling and a rubbery feel over even small imperfections.
More here: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news ... /index.htm

Not sure if this is helpful, but wanted to share. Moreover, I believe this review is for 2017 model only. I've never owned a Tacoma,but have always liked them, and was very surprised to see the poor review.
Interesting. I am a Toyota owner through and through; best vehicle I ever owned was a 2000 4Runner; currently have a Tacoma and Highlander. I had heard from people I trust who know a lot about cars that the newer generation models are not the same. When Toyota set out to become the largest auto manufacturer in the world their quality/reliability suffered. Still better than most, but not the bulletproof reliability they had in the 90s/2000s. Figured some of that was grumpy old man talk, but interesting to see this in print.
RocketCity22
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by RocketCity22 »

I am a Toyota fan with a 2002 Highlander and a 2007 Tundra. Have you considered getting a Tundra instead? I looked at both the Tacoma and Tundra when shopping for a truck and decided the comfort, handling and cabin space of the Tundra was better suited for my needs.
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fishmonger
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by fishmonger »

SouthernCPA wrote:
fishmonger wrote:The newer generation 4 cyl is supposed to be able to tow 3500 pounds. I would never have to pull that kind of weight.
What about when you step up to that 36' Contender with triple 350s? Maybe one day....
When I live closer than 2 hours away from the ocean I'll trade up!
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fishmonger
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by fishmonger »

RocketCity22 wrote:I am a Toyota fan with a 2002 Highlander and a 2007 Tundra. Have you considered getting a Tundra instead? I looked at both the Tacoma and Tundra when shopping for a truck and decided the comfort, handling and cabin space of the Tundra was better suited for my needs.
Don't want a truck that big. It's a daily driver and parking can be a PITA where I go
vtMaps
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by vtMaps »

I drive a 2015 4wd manual transmission 4 cylinder tacoma. Our Vermont roads have a lot of ups and downs... I cannot maintain full speed on the uphill roads... and that's with no load. Pulling a trailer is slower still, but with a trailer I wouldn't be looking to go full speed anyway.

--vtMaps
Last edited by vtMaps on Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jharkin
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by jharkin »

fishmonger wrote:
Interesting. I am a Toyota owner through and through; best vehicle I ever owned was a 2000 4Runner; currently have a Tacoma and Highlander. I had heard from people I trust who know a lot about cars that the newer generation models are not the same. When Toyota set out to become the largest auto manufacturer in the world their quality/reliability suffered. Still better than most, but not the bulletproof reliability they had in the 90s/2000s. Figured some of that was grumpy old man talk, but interesting to see this in print.

Honda has fallen off in recent years also.. Some of that may be a side effect of going so big, but its also partly due to cars being so electronically complex these days that there is more to go wrong.

The Tacoma has always been panned for its handling, especially by CR. Partly that's due to the fact that the previous generation went way tooo long between redesigns (since there was essentially no sales completion for many years) and partially its due to the fact that many new trucks now ride like cars.

Toyota has always oriented the Tacoma at the off road crowd so there is only so much they can do to improve handling without giving up off road capability and alienating that owner base. Its never going to ride like a Ridgeline, but a Rigdeline is never going to be able to go where a Tacoma can. So basically you just need to decide what is important to you.
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by tacster »

noraz123 wrote:Sounds like you liked your previous Tacoma and are a loyal customer. However, I just saw Consumer Reports' list of disappointing cars for 2017 and surprisingly the Tacoma is listed (albeit they say it's good for towing):

With a punchy powertrain, the Toyota Tacoma excels for hauling, towing, and off-road use. But for everyday driving or commuting, the Tacoma feels dated and is uncomfortable. Clumsy handling makes it a chore to drive, and the rough ride is fatiguing, with constant jiggling and a rubbery feel over even small imperfections.
More here: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news ... /index.htm

Not sure if this is helpful, but wanted to share. Moreover, I believe this review is for 2017 model only. I've never owned a Tacoma,but have always liked them, and was very surprised to see the poor review.
Looks like nothing new there from CR. I remember them poor mouthing the Tacoma back in 2000 when I bought mine. Their reviews if this vehicle seem disconnected from the reported satisfaction level of most owners.

OP, be sure check the rated towing capacity of whatever vehicle you're looking at. Whatever you're towing needs to be well within the rated load.
INSERT PITHY QUOTE HERE
whomever
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by whomever »

FWIW: 2010, 4 cyl manual, 2WD

I find the power more than adequate; lots of torque (admittedly, I'm not a horsepower junkie in the slightest). I have towed trailers up to the max gross (3500 lb trailer????), on fairly steep upgrades (eastbound over Snoqualmie Pass). I was quite happy with the performance. On the steepest parts I would downshift and go ??50?? in the slow lane with the trucks. That didn't bother me, but it might bother others.

My one comment, which is probably specific to the 2WD manual - the good news is that the truck is geared quite high. That makes it pleasant to drive on the interstate at western speed limits. The down side is that first gear is higher than you'd like in two circumstances: 1)when you're on a gnarly uphill dirt road - you can't creep up at just a couple of MPH and 2)Trying to start from a complete stop on a steep hill with max gross loads - first gear just isn't low enough for that (we have a very steep driveway; I learned to carry enough speed up it).

I suspect that the 4WD models have a lower 1st (which may be bad on the freeway) and I suspect that an automatic transmission would eliminate the hill starting problem), but I have no data about that.

Around town, with light loads, first gear is fine.
miles monroe
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by miles monroe »

i took a 4 cylinder automatic on a test drive 5 years ago or so. i thot it was pretty slow.
The Wizard
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by The Wizard »

whomever wrote: I suspect that the 4WD models have a lower 1st (which may be bad on the freeway) and I suspect that an automatic transmission would eliminate the hill starting problem), but I have no data about that....
What 4WD models have (or SHOULD have) is a hi-range/low-range transfer case that changes your gear ratios by a factor of what seems like at least two...
Last edited by The Wizard on Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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sunny_socal
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by sunny_socal »

4 cylinders belong in commuter cars, for truck/SUV/minivan you want a 6 or 8 cylinder. Get the biggest engine available, you won't regret it.

End thread
The Wizard
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by The Wizard »

sunny_socal wrote:4 cylinders belong in commuter cars, for truck/SUV/minivan you want a 6 or 8 cylinder. Get the biggest engine available, you won't regret it.

End thread
Maybe.
Horsepower and torque are what matter.
My truck's engine is rated at 365 HP.
In the old days that woulda have to have been a V8 for sure...
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Yooper
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by Yooper »

Drove a 5 speed 4 cylinder 4WD Tacoma for years until I got married and needed extra room. Absolutely loved it. The only "complaint" I ever had was trying to pass someone at highway speeds. Took a bit longer than I'd like to get up to passing speed, but then again I'm an overly cautious driver and like to get around and back in my lane as soon as possible.
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by panhead »

I' had a late 90s Tacoma 4 cylinder 4wd with the access cab (not the 4 door) 5 speed. If it was not a manual transmission I think I would have hated it. With the stick the truck performed very well. I've towed a couple 16' powerboats with it and it did so pretty well. It is not a rocket ship, but I really liked the truck and may buy another one. The Consumer Reports is spot on and par for the course, for the love of all that is holy it's a truck! It's not supposed to ride like a town car. That being said, because the truck is smaller and lighter, and they spring it to be capable of hauling close to a 1/2 ton (I think) It is going to ride stiff. They have gotten better, but they are only going to get so good. My first Toyota truck (1986) would jolt you out of your seat and drinking a coffee in it was a a real challenge!

The other huge problem with them is if you live in the rust belt. The Tacoma of my year had the frame issue where the frame basically dissolved to the point where the truck could and would fall in half. I believe this issue has long been addressed, but these trucks do not like salt. You really have to be meticulous about washing them during the winter.
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Re: Toyota Tacoma - 4 cylinder vs. 6

Post by gks »

fishmonger,

First of all, beware of Consumer Reports car reviews. It is not a magazine for car reviews, and I have serious reservations about the "reliability" statistics it reports. My anectdotal experiences include the differences between the Plymouth Laser, Mitsubishi Eclipse, and Eagle Talon results. As I recall, the Eclipse had a significantly higher reliability rating than the Laser or Talon even though they were the same car produced on the same production line until the end when the Eclipse, Laser, or Talon badge was put on the car. The same can be said about the Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Prism, and Chevrolet Prizm. All were the same car, but the Toyota had the higher "reliability" rating.

For your perusal, here are some reviews of the Toyota Tacoma by magazines that provide car reviews, as opposed to...other ...reviews.

The Tacoma is as not as hated as Consumer Reports would have you believe. Consumer Reports has its place, but I do not regard it as the definitive car review magazine.

http://www.edmunds.com/toyota/tacoma/2016/review/

http://www.caranddriver.com/toyota/tacoma

http://www.motortrend.com/cars/toyota/tacoma/

Greg

Please remember, YMMV.
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