2016 Toyota Tacoma: V6/Automatic Transmission Combo Doesn't Impress Much
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on March 15, 2016
If you're buying a 2016 Toyota Tacoma you can choose either a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine or a new 3.5-liter V6, which replaces the Tacoma's previous 4.0-liter V6. The V6 is the obvious choice, mostly because if you're going to tow or haul, you'll want the extra grunt.
Having 278 horsepower is nice and all, but so far our Tacoma's V6 hasn't inspired me to do any Toyota "Oh What A Feelin'" leaps.
First of all, acceleration is just average. As we noted in our prior performance test update, we recorded a 0-60 time of 8.1 seconds. Meh. Our departed long-term Chevrolet Colorado with the V6 was quicker (7.5 seconds) and so is our current long-term F-150 with its turbo 2.7-liter V6 (6.4 seconds). Granted, our F-150 is a different class and price of truck, but nonetheless it sets a certain expectation of performance for a new pickup.
So that's the track-test stuff. Then there's the feel of Tacoma's V6 as you're driving along. There's just not a lot of low-end grunt. You've got to rev it up to really get going. Encounter a hill as you're cruising along and the transmission will almost certainly start downshifting to keep your momentum going as you press in on the gas.
In traffic, this hopping around between fifth and sixth gear can become a bit annoying. Using the ECT button helps, but should you really need to push a button every time you go for a drive?
I can also feel engine vibration through the accelerator pedal. What happened to that renowned 3.5-liter Toyota V6 smoothness? Or what about fuel economy, you might ask? We're averaging 18 mpg so far.
Interestingly, for the 2016 Tacoma consumer reviews posted on Edmunds.com thus far, the evaluation category with the lowest overall rating is Performance.
To be fair, our Colorado's V6 didn't blow us away, either. We described it as "Good, but not Great." That's about how I feel about our Tacoma's V6.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 3,454 miles