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The Toyota Tacoma model has been popular since its first generation in 1995 and has only increased in popularity since its second generation in 2015.
This popular value-holding vehicle has numerous features for every pick-up truck lover and outdoor enthusiast for everyday use and the perfect weekend getaway mobile, whether in muddy conditions or not.
When it comes to vehicles it’s important to know what engine options there are. So does the Tacoma offer a V8 option?
As of now Toyota has not made any Tacomas with a V8 engine in them. The typical engine size of a Toyota Tacoma is a 2.4 Liter 4-cylinder or a 3.5 Liter V6.
However, in 2008 the Toyota Tacoma Incross was shown off at SEMA as a custom build with a 4.7-liter V8 engine and multiple other features for the first and only of its kind. The Tacoma Incross was never actually manufactured by Toyota and was just a concept car.
If more power is what you’re after, you should consider a vehicle besides the Tacoma or look into a conversion kit for your current Tacoma for converting your typical 4-cylinder or V6 into something with a bit more get-up-and-go.
In the meantime, read on to find out all you need to know about the engine sizes the Toyota Tacoma range offers on the market today.
A Brief History Of The Toyota Tacoma’s Engine Technology
Each year the Tacoma model has been designed to become slightly more powerful to adapt to the modern era of vehicles and the necessary requirements to remain safely on the roads. Along with new features, additional technology inputs, and safety requirements, Toyota has upgraded the Tacoma engines throughout its three generations.
Here’s a brief history lesson of how the Tacoma engine has ventured throughout its time, beginning in 1995, when the first Toyota Tacoma was released to the public:
1995 First-generation Tacoma
In 1995 when the first Tacoma was released to the public, the engine options were either a 2.4 liter 4-cylinder, 2.7 liter 4-cylinder, or a 3.4 V6 which originally produced 190 horsepower.
The original first-generation 2.7 liter 4-cylinder engine only had 150 horsepower to its name, which was great for the time it was built in but not great for the progress of the times and the evolution of vehicles going forward.
The first-generation Tacoma was not built or designed for off-road use but was to replace the working man’s truck for everyday personal or business use. The towing capacity was up to 5000lbs (2267kg) and the payload capacity was 1810lbs (821kg).
2005, Second Generation Tacoma
By the time the second-generation Tacoma midsize pickup trucks were being released, it was narrowed down to two engine sizes.
The second-gen engine for the Tacoma was either a 2.7 liter 4-cylinder with 159 horsepower and 180lb-ft of torque or the newer 4.0-liter V6 engine which brought much-needed and necessary power to the Tacoma range.
The new engine and model design allowed for a towing capacity of up to 6500lbs (2948kg) if equipped with the additional towing package feature with a max payload capacity of approximately 1650lbs (748kg).
2015, Third Generation Tacoma
Since 2016, the third generation of the Toyota Tacoma has seen the original 2.7-liter 4-cylinder remain available but with a higher horsepower of 161 hp and a brand new 3.5-liter V6 engine which generates 278 hp and 265lb-ft of torque.
Third gen Tacoma’s are capable of towing up to a whopping 6800lbs (3084kg) and have a maximum payload capacity of 1620lbs (734kg).
What Is The Toyota Tacoma Incross?
The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) for automotive specialty equipment and custom vehicle designs, designed and released the first, and only of its kind, custom built concept V8 engine for the Toyota Tacoma in 2008.
Here are the features:
- I-Force V8 Power Plant
- 271 hp and 321lb-ft of torque
- Custom matte green paint exterior
- Bronze interior
- Outfitted with Toyota Racing Development headers
- Combined access and double cab create a spacious cabin
- 17” American Racing Alloy Wheels
- Custom designed Bilstein shock-absorbers
- Custom Tube Solutions dual exhaust system
- High-quality audio and navigation system
- Sports pedals to keep with the V8 theme
You won’t find any Tacoma models manufactured by Toyota with a V8 motor on the market today as Toyota and all other car manufacturers have clean air regulations to maintain and adhere to in compliance with US law and the V8 engines might not cut it.
There may be numerous other reasons as to why Toyota won’t design a V8-style Tacoma, but you’ll have to ask the professionals at Toyota why!
Is A 4-Cylinder Tacoma Worth Buying?
If a simple and reliable pickup truck with a decent payload and towing capacity is what you’re looking for, then a 4-cylinder Tacoma could be the right option for you.
The 2.7-liter 4-cylinder Tacoma might not grant you as much horsepower as a V6 engine and win you any races, but it has been known to last over 300,000 miles if well looked after and gives you a better value in fuel economy.
In fact, some research shows that if you own a 4-cylinder Tacoma, you might go 10-15 years without needing any major repairs at all!
The 2.7-liter 4-cylinder motor in the Toyota Tacoma is a simple engine design that is built to last for years and also built for easy maintenance. The 2.7 engine is one of Toyota’s most popular engines used in RWD and 4WD vehicles.
Because they’re so popular, they are easier than other vehicles’ engines to fix because mechanics are familiar with the widespread design.
Most mechanical issues within the 2.7-liter engine are common among the Tacoma vehicles and are easy enough to fix for around $400 or less.
Depending on the generation of the 2.7-liter engine your Tacoma has, the horsepower will range from 150 hp to 161 hp which is more than adequate for a compact-sized pick-up truck.
Here’s a quick recap of the 2.7-liter 4-cylinder Toyota Tacoma:
- Simple design for easy maintenance
- Has been known to go 10-15 years without needing engine repairs
- Can last well over 300,000 miles
- Popular engine choice is well-known by mechanics so cheaper and easier to fix
- Generates between 150 and 161 hp
Toyota Tacoma 3.5-Liter V6 Engine
The Tacomas have been built with V6 engines since they were manufactured and released in 1995. But it’s the third generation Tacoma’s that have been built with V6 engines for high-powered performance on the road and off-road with up to 278 horsepower.
This V6 is a direct-injection Atkinson-cycle with 278 horsepower (hp), 4600 rpm, and 6-speed automatic or manual transmission which can tow anywhere between 6500lbs and up to 6800lbs depending on the towing feature you might have installed.
So, while the 2.7-liter is a great engine, the 3.5-liter V6 engine might be better suited to those who have heavier payloads and need or want to tow larger trailers and campers.
The V6 engine is designed to save space and provide a smooth, low-vibration ride and can get anywhere between 21 to 27 miles per gallon which is pretty standard for a mid-sized pickup truck and is also manufactured to conserve gas.
Just like its predecessor, the engine issues in a Toyota 3.5-liter engine are common issues that are usually easily fixed for a reasonable price and are issues that mechanics generally have a lot of knowledge about due to the popularity of the Toyota Tacoma.
Here is a quick recap of the 3.5-liter V6 Toyota engine:
- Provides up to 278 horsepower
- Can tow up to 6800lbs
- Direct-injection Atkinson-cycle
- Up to 27 mpg
- Simple engine maintenance
Although Toyota Tacoma’s do not come with a V8 engine, both the 4-cylinder and the V6 engine in the Tacoma provide the efficient horsepower for a powerful and steady drive and a heavy towing capacity allowance.
Tacoma fans suspect that the well-known and much-loved range of Tacoma will never come in a V8 design due to the expense in gas, lower value in fuel economy, and possibly due to some safety precautions.