2016 Toyota Tacoma: Fuel Economy

Toyota Tacoma Limited 30 II

The heart of the 2016 Toyota Tacoma is the all-new Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter 60-degree all-aluminum V-6 with computer-controlled dual-overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. What makes it an Atkinson-cycle engine is that the valves on the intake side can, when appropriate, stay open a little longer during the compression stroke.

The ability of this engine to switch back and forth between a normal four-stroke Otto cycle to an Atkinson cycle allows the engine to be more efficient with the energy it produces, wasting little effort. The fact that it has both direct-fuel and port-injection capabilities will allow the engine to offer the most power possible — no matter what load it's carrying or the speed of the vehicle — with the smallest sacrifices to fuel efficiency.

Keen observers will note that that new 3.5-liter D-4S V-6 has more than 40 horsepower more than the outgoing all-aluminum 24-valve V-6 and 1 less pounds-feet of torque, with a maximum peak torque rating of 265 pounds-feet at 4,600 rpm. Yes, the new motor has less torque but a much better throttle response due in large part to a flatter, longer torque curve. That's why the engine (perfectly mated to the new quick-shifting six-speed) feels like a bigger, more powerful version of the 4.0-liter it's replacing.

Another thing to note about the 2016 Tacoma is how close the EPA fuel economy numbers are for the two engines. The 2.7-liter I-4 two-wheel drive with the automatic transmission gets 19/23/21 mpg city/highway/combined and the 3.5-liter V-6 two-wheel drive with the automatic transmission gets 19/24/21. And don't forget to check out our separate first drive, pricing, and video review

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Toyota Tacoma SR5 18 II



Tacoma colorado fuel




Those are great fuel economy numbers!

The new V6 took care of the city fuel economy but the new transmission did not address the highway fuel economy as I would have liked. I suspect the reason is much like the Tundra they are using a 6-speed auto with a tall 1st gear. That tall gearing requires the low axle ratio that hurts highway fuel economy. The 5.7L Tundra may change from that on the 17my Tundra but we will have to wait and see.

Toyota/Aisin's 6 speed automatic have the same 6:1 ratio spread that GM has with their 6L50 transmission.
A tall first gear means that 6th gear will be highly overdriven.
So, bad highway mileage means inferior aerodynamics.

6.2:1 {typed too fast}
Toyota/Aisin has the advantage, for highway fuel economy, of very closely spaced 5th & 6th gears. 6th is only 84.1% that of 5th gear, {GM's twins have 6th at 79%} and a direct drive 4th gear.
3.6, 2.09, 1.49, 1, 0.69, 0.58, Reverse 3.6. {2.57:1 low-range} 3.909 axle ratio
GM 6L50: 4.065, 2.371, 1.551, 1.157, 0.853, 0.674, Reverse 3.2
3.42 axle ratio.
Both use the same overall diameter tires 265/60 18 (and minus 1"/2")

Seems the Colorado 2.5 average is wrong. Shouldn't the 2.5l be 23.5 average, not 22?

EPA composite mileage is 55% city / 45% highway.
Still rounding and all...

Real highway mileage is 90% aero, 5% weight, 5% OD. The truck still has real ground clearance and good approach angle, big tires, an upright windshield. It's not going to do as well as the Colorado with that huge plow blade GM put under the chin.

EPA highway is mostly low speed acceleration under 50 mph so tall and narrow gearing makes a huge difference - see the Ram 8 speed picking up 2 mpg - 10%! - over the 6 speed despite the exact same final drive. EPA numbers aren't even worth reading.

@georgeC: Ah, didn't realize the split was like that, thx for the info.

It's a bit misleading then. Seems to me the Tacoma gamed the numbers to get a similar average when in reality the Colorado's numbers will be much higher. 20/27 is no slouch. That's what my tiny 2008 single cab Ranger 2.3l was rated at. The Tacoma's 2.5 is weak and inefficient at 19/23. Its simply dated.


Someone explain how the base 2.7 2wd gets worse mileage out of the new 6 speed slush box compared to that gawd awful 4 speed. It may well address the 4 banger ' sluggishness, especially off the line, but geez. There is no excuse for such mediocre numbers.

Not as good as I'd have thought. My 2011 4wd has been getting 20.5 highway.

I'm guessing the EPA/car manufacturers base hwy on 55mph? Modern highway speeds are 70+. Testing/scoring should be modified accordingly.

Aaron- it doesn't- the 6speed is 1mpg higher for all 3 numbers. IN the Manual trans, its an improper comparison- 2wd vs 4wd.

So, virtually the same fuel economy as the GM and the new Taco engine uses both EFI/DFI and the Atkinson cycle.

Taco: 276 HP/266 TRQ
GM: 305 HP/269 TRQ

Again, the Taco has more technology in the engine, but where are the gains over the GM V6? There are none!

The Taco's power specs and fuel economy are disappointing IMO.


I get what your saying but the gear ratios on the Tundra's AB60 6-speed auto but lets compare them to GM's GL80.

Toyota AB60F transmission gear ratios:
1st: 3.333 (really tall for 1st gear)
2nd: 1.960 (really tall for 2nd gear)
3rd: 1.353
4th: 1.000
5th: .728 (First overdrive)
6th: .588 (Second overdrive)

The tall 1st and 2nd gear requires a 4:30 axle ratio. This kind of gearing is usually only found on diesel HD Pickups https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allison_1000_transmission. All Toyota pickups run this kind of gearing.

Now let's look at GM's 6L80

1st: 4.027
2nd: 2.364
3rd: 1.532
4th: 1.152
5th: 0.852 (First overdrive)
6th: 0.667 (Second overdrive)

The lower 1st and 2nd gear allow for the taller axle ratios that GM used like 3.73 and 3.42.

Now on the new 8L90 they get the est of both worlds. They have the low 1st and 2nd gear and tall overdrive gears so they can still run the highway 3.42 axle ratio https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_8L90_transmission.

1st: 4.56 (Low 1st gear)
2nd: 2.97
3rd: 2.08
4th: 1.69
5th: 1.27
6th: 1.00
7th: 0.85
8th: 0.65 (Tall overdrive gears)

The reason the 6.2L didn't gain much in fuel economy going from the 6L80 to the 8L90 was they already had tall highway gearing in the transmission and axle ratios.

The best gearing I have seen is still in Ram 1500 with the 8HP90:
1st: 4.714 (really low 1st gear)
2nd: 3.143 (slightly taller than Tundra's 1st gear)
3rd: 2.106
4th: 1.667
5th: 1.285
6th: 1.00
7th; 0.839 (1st overdrive gear)
8th: 0.667 (2nd overdrive gear)

The gears start from really low to tall and are evenly spaced. That is darn near perfect for a truck as you match axle ratios upon your towing needs.

I was always told that Tundra's designs came from either Lexus or Hino. For 2016 the LX570 gained an 8-speed to go with that 5.7L https://www.yahoo.com/autos/2016-lexus-lx-570-and-gs-unveil-their-corporate-126667595567.html. The lower 1st and 2nd gear ratios provide better grunt and they still get the tall highway gears similar to GM with theirs being a little better http://www.aisin-aw.co.jp/en/products/drivetrain/at/at01.html.

1st: 4.596
2nd: 2.724
3rd: 1.863
4th: 1.464
5th: 1.231
6th: 1.00
7th: 0.824
8th: 0.685

Due to the low 1st and 2nd gears in the transmission the 5.7L iforce may not need to have that really low 4.30 axle ratio that hurts highway fuel economy. A 3.73 and 3.55 sound like great axle ratios. I don't think GM changed axle ratios on the 6.2L so it's fuel economy remained mostly the same but if Tundra can go taller axle ratios it will see improvement on the highway while still being lower in 1st and 2nd gears.

The 2.8l Duramax is going to betch slap this little Prius engine'd Toy truck.

Again, Toyota takes their Tacoma owners as chumps because there is no direct competition... except now there is, oops.


This new competition won't matter much. The Colorado/Canyon twins will get off to a good start, but in the end, the mid-size market will stay mostly the same. Chevy guys buy Chevys, Ford guys buy Fords and those Tacoma loving guys will still buy Tacomas.

I'd bet that the people buying the Colorado/Canyon are trading in GM cars, not Toyota trucks.

"This new competition won't matter much." and its that attitude which is exactly why you have a 10 year old truck with a new front clip and a glorified Prius engine... what you say may be right, and in this case that means the GM guys are rolling around in a well appointed, modern, technologically advanced midsize truck, and Toyota drivers get what Toyota marketing says they get... Its actually a lot like half tons currently, Ford is head an shoulders above GM in terms of technology and interior appointments, options etc, and yet GM guys wont ever buy a Ford.... because. So they just settle for whatever GM offers.

I didnt say Tacoma buyers were logical, more like loyal to a fault, so that's fine, you will never get the best truck that you could, just whatever the bean counters decide is good enough not to lose you.

Actually, lots of them are trading in Tacomas.

"So far, sales of the midsize trucks have dispelled doubts over where the buyers would come from. GM says 43 percent of buyers are new to GM. The top trade-ins include the Ford F-150, Toyota Tacoma and the phased-out Dodge Dakota, GM says".


People I knew bought these Toyota trucks For MPG. Now you can buy a full size Ram Eco Diesel with better MPG, better quality, more luxury,more capability than these small trucks. Ram has changed the truck market again.

18/23/20 for the automatic is the mpg on the 4wd. I understand Toyota insisted that 30% of trucks from factory come with tonneau cover so they can get posted higher mpg rating. If true- would the 2015 be equal in mpg if tested with a tonneau cover? If yes- no real difference in mpg- just torque. What do you think?

Including Port Fuel Injection with Direct Injection counters the spike in particulates inherent to gasoline-DI. Eventually our government will have our exhausts using gasoline-particulate-filters--if we use simple DI foolishness.

To me the fuel economy numbers are not what I thought they would be. There are full-size trucks that get better gas mileage than the Tacoma. How does the 4 cylinder do worse than the predesscor...when it is the same motor with a 6 speed. I was hoping for 20city 27-28 hwy

3.33 is low enough of a first gear ratio to use whatever rear end ratio they want. Hell a just few years ago first gear was around 2.5:1 with a 373 or 410 rear. The truck could roast off the tires just fine with that gearing.

Actually I posted most of the transmissions from a few years ago and 3.33 is not low enough to use with any rear end. You would have to use something with a 4.10 or lower that ruins highway fuel economy if your not diesel. You cannot put a 3.33 with a 3.73 rear end and max tow. Toyota doesn't even do that on the non tow package Tundra's that have the standard 4.10 rear end. Nobody does that as I have shown.
Ford's 6R80
1st: 4.17
2nd: 2.34
3rd: 1.52
4th: 1.14
5th: 0.86
6th: 0.69

The low 1st gear allowed for multiple axle ratios and when paired with a 3.73 rear end it is geared lower than the Tundra's towing package of 3.33 and 4.30 rear end.

Ram's 6-speed is another example it has a tall 1st transmission gear as well.

1st: 3.23
2nd: 1.84
3rd: 1.41
4th: 1.00
5th: 0.816
6th: 0.625

Which requires a 3.92 rear end for max towing. That is almost the same as this new Tacoma. Which is the reason why GM gets better highway fuel economy with the Colorado/Canyon and its 3.42 rear end.

Peak HP and torque #s don't tell the whole story- torque band, transmission tuning, curb weight, etc, all factor into how the truck will perform. I can't wait to see a 5-way apples-to-apples test next year with The Tacoma, the GM trucks with both gas and diesel options, The new Nissan Frontier (possibly with a diesel) and the (gasp!) Ridgeline.
I'd like to see all trucks with the same 600# cab load and 5000# trailer. I'd like to see on-ramp acceleration, fuel economy (and distance from full to the empty light turning on), panic stop and emergency lane change.
I'd like to cargo box volume compared in bags of mulch.

The chevy would have to be getting much, much better fuel economy to compensate for the headaches it will give you. I finally got rid of the last Silverado in our fleet and couldn't be happier. Pay a few more bucks upfront and get the Toyota, it will pay you back big in the long run.

You gotta be joking. A Silverado and F150 blow the tacoma away in fuel efficiency. That is not right. And the colorado is rated at 27 gas and 30 diesel. The days of Tacoma are over. I am buying a Silverado - way way way nicer interior, more towing, tons more room, better gas mileage, awesome off roading, more bed space. Come on Toyota!! I cannot believe ANYONE would buy one of these. If you want smaller, get a diesel Colorado

No concerns about longevity?

Toyota tends to drive for years past the pay off date making it very valuable........

How is Chevy/gmc stacking to that?

I looked at a colorado today.. was interesting how the body was metal and moved to plastic when going to the bumper... but seems no bumper is made to "bump" anymore.

My Tacoma has 350,000 km on it and I haven't touched anything on the exhaust (not even a hanger) ive changed one idler pully, and changed one wheel bearing (the rest of the whole steering system tie rods and all are still original) 1800 in repairs in 8 years.... I doubt you will get that out of a ford or a chevy.. plus you can actually park it in the city. unlike a Ram

I'm extremely disappointed with the fuel economy of my short-bed TRD off road 2016 Tacoma. After about 2000 miles, I'm getting around 18 mpg. My previous truck was a 2007 Tacoma, which got around 22 mpg. VERY DISAPPOINTING!

I too am VERY disappointed with my 17.9 mpg on my 2016 taco. That's driving easy with stock tires. My wife's 2009 Tacoma gets better milaege and tows more like a pickup should. To get any power out of this Prius engine you have to rev the crap out of it. I'd like this pickup better if it had the old 4.0 in it with an 6+speed transmission. Also thanks a lot Toyota for selling me a new Tacoma with a transmission that was a quart low on fluid. I paid you enough to top off the fluids...

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