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Will a 4x4 Access cab 4cyl 5spd manual Tacoma meet my family's needs?

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Old 03-24-2011, 03:01 PM   #1
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Will a 4x4 Access cab 4cyl 5spd manual Tacoma meet my family's needs?

The time is approaching where my Yaris is not going to cut it for camping with the family. My wife and I also regularly have to borrow trucks, SUVs and vans to get things done. This may have been somewhat avoidable if I had got a Honda Fit, but it still wouldn’t fix 75% of our transport problems. We need to upgrade to fit kids (it’s high time to start making babies), camping gear, dog(s), tow a boat (not any more than about 2200 lbs) and a travel trailer (again, probably not any more that 2400 lbs loaded, but maybe up to 3000lbs loaded).

I am a fuel economy NUT. I shift at 2100 RPM, never speed, coast in gear and get very agitated when I have to “throw it away” (meaning gas). This is why I really want a 4 cylinder vehicle. However, I need a 4 cylinder vehicle with some hauling and towing capacity. This excludes crossovers because they can’t tow more than 1500 lbs. 3500 lbs capacity seems about right.

The questions I have are: Will a 4x4 Access cab 4cyl 5spd manual Tacoma meet my needs? It needs to have 4x4. Won't get a truck without it.
  • Will I be able to get a rear-facing child seat in the back? My wife is short (5’2”), so she may be able to sit in the back behind me. She finds the back seat perfectly comfortable in the Access cab. I have seen some people get a rear-facing seat in, but I would like to hear from any people who have tried recently. Will we also be able to get a dog back there? Maybe the dog will be up front and the wife in the back! HA! We will use the Yaris for most child hauling anyway.
  • The travel trailer I am looking to get is a 16 foot Scamp, which is listed as 1750 lbs dry. I guess that loaded it would be around 2200-2400 lbs. Would I be able to safely tow this through the Canadian/American Rockies with gear, and family if I wanted to? I live in Manitoba (flat prairie), so I am not worried about towing in the simple hills in this province. It is possible that I will have to get a trailer that will 3000lbs loaded... should I be concerned? It wouldn't be towed more than a couple times a year. We want to seasonal camp for the most part.
  • What add-ons will I need for towing other than the hitch, possibly airbags, mirrors, brake controller and wiring. Will I need an oil cooler? Bigger alternator?
  • I am willing to do some modifications to the truck to improve its power a bit. No superchargers or anything. However, would a drop-in air filter, all synthetic fluids, and LC headers and removing the charcoal filter give me… I don’t know, 5-10 more hp and torque? That would be perfect, as they would also improve fuel economy. Are there other (non-crazy) mods that I should look into to get a bit more power?
  • Tacomas hold their value like nothing else here in Canada. It’s to the point where a 2009 4x4 I4 Access Cab with 33,000 kms is still $27,500. I could walk out of a dealership once I have my grad rebate etc applied on a brand new truck for probably under $30,000. On top of this I have an older Corolla that would be pain to safety to sell, but might be tradable for $2000. Is it worth it to just buy brand new? I have only found one used Tacoma that fits the description that I have stated in months of searching Manitoba and the Western provinces. I am unsure and nervous about searching the northern States.
Thanks, and sorry for the length and detailed questions!
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:07 PM   #2
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All sounds well...the only issue would be the rear seats in the access cab...They arent designed to be full seats, so you may have issues there with child seats...other than that I think it will fit just fine...as you said toyota tacomas hold their value really well...so if you out grow it you have room to upgrade without taking a big hit.
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:11 PM   #3
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dont get a 4 cylinder. i have a 97 4 cylinder and pull like 2800 lbs and my truck can barely make it up hills in 1st or second gear, would highly recomment getting bigger than a 2.7l

edit: .....
The travel trailer I am looking to get is a 16 foot Scamp, which is listed as 1750 lbs dry. I guess that loaded it would be around 2200-2400 lbs. Would I be able to safely tow this through the Canadian/American Rockies with gear, and family if I wanted to? I live in Manitoba (flat prairie), so I am not worried about towing in the simple hills in this province. It is possible that I will have to get a trailer that will 3000lbs loaded... should I be concerned? It wouldn't be towed more than a couple times a year. We want to seasonal camp for the most part.

is it a pop up or no? if its not a pop up camper the wind resistance will also be a major factor with the 4 cylinder. ihave a pop up and it has trouble
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:13 PM   #4
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I honestly wonder if a double cab and or V6 might fit your needs better.

I'm not exactly sure what the 4 cylinder equipped tacos are rated at for towing but I would assume 3,000 lbs fully loaded would be okay. But I'm not sure.

The issue with the AC cab is that children tend to
to grow quickly and if you plan on keeping the truck for 5+ years it might be worth getting the double cab and letting the family grow into the space.

Traveling with dog(s), kid(s) and gear in an AC sounds like a potential recipe for trouble, IMO.

2011 trucks can be had in a double cab 4 cylinder configuration. If you decide to buy new.
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:14 PM   #5
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If you're already thinking of modding the engine to get better power, this should be telling you something: you need the more powerful motor.

Can't speak to the child seats, but if you want to take long camping trips with older kids, you'll want that double cab.

Would a minivan meet your needs?

My 2008 Honda Odessey with V6 gets better mpgs than my 4 banger 4x4 taco.
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:15 PM   #6
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i would also recomment a DC.
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:16 PM   #7
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A full cab + gear + towing means you're probably gonna be floored in 3rd gear at 75 kph heading up any serious grade. It'll get a serious workout in the Rockies, that's for sure.
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainEarth View Post
A full cab + gear + towing means you're probably gonna be floored in 3rd gear at 75 kph heading up any serious grade. It'll get a serious workout in the Rockies, that's for sure.
floored second gear... personal experience
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:27 PM   #9
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I have the exact truck you are considering (a 2009, bought it in Winnipeg last fall for $27k, taxes in, at 40,000km FYI). I love it and it works perfectly for me, but I am single with no kids!

I think this truck would meet a lot of your needs. But...

The back seats really are tiny. I wouldn't even consider stuffing your wife back there for anything longer than a half hour drive across town. It's just not designed for long trips with adults. I cannot comment on fitting child seats back there, so if that is a possibility it may work for you, but you will have to sell once they get big enough.

And while the towing capacity is 3500lb, I would be a little wary of towing close to that limit for any length of time, especially if you are planning on filling the cab as well. I have towed an 1800lb trailer with a mostly empty truck and it towed just fine (in 4th and at 16mpg btw) but I definitely felt the trailer back there.

Have you considered a V6 double cab? IMO it would be an all around more practical vehicle for you if you can swing the extra cash. And you will only lose a couple mpgs.

Edit: I should add this exact combination is very hard to find. I got very lucky and one showed up at a dealership right when I wanted it. At the time there were no others like it on Auto Trader in Manitoba and only 3 in Ontario.
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:37 PM   #10
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I just went from a 1997 Taco Extended Cab 4X4 auto to a 2008 Access Cab 4X4 5 spd. Had a few 4 cyl. Toyota trucks (and cars) before that, plus various domestics. Based on your needs description I would not buy a 4-banger Access Cab Taco...it's a nice truck but like others have said it's not really a truck for toting a family around, or for towing. Tough to find something that meets your criteria, but at the risk of being tarred and feathered I'd suggest looking at the new bigger domestic hybrid SUVs. They do well in the gas mileage department (better than a 4 or 6 cyl. Taco) and have the power for tough towing conditions. Not sure about their reliability...but nothins' perfect.
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:11 PM   #11
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I'm with you on the fuel savings. But the thing is when you add family and trailer then fill the bed, will it exceed combined vehicle rating. For that, I bet the v6 DC or AC would have a better gross combined rating.
Your tasks opposes fuel thriftyness, your fuel savings would be in the v6 tacoma as opposed to a full size v8. I love the I4,but feel your family and needs is better served with the v6, then consider normal mods for fuel savings on that.
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 97yota4wd View Post
dont get a 4 cylinder. i have a 97 4 cylinder and pull like 2800 lbs and my truck can barely make it up hills in 1st or second gear, would highly recomment getting bigger than a 2.7l


is it a pop up or no? if its not a pop up camper the wind resistance will also be a major factor with the 4 cylinder. ihave a pop up and it has trouble
It is not a pop-up, but I was hoping it would be OK even with the extra resistance since it is so light. I read in the towing section a thread where a guy hauled a 2200 lbs pop-up (dry) and he wasn't having a problem. Thanks for your info though, I need to hear as much personal exp as possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjmoose View Post
If you're already thinking of modding the engine to get better power, this should be telling you something: you need the more powerful motor.

Can't speak to the child seats, but if you want to take long camping trips with older kids, you'll want that double cab.

Would a minivan meet your needs?

My 2008 Honda Odessey with V6 gets better mpgs than my 4 banger 4x4 taco.
The wife hates the idea of a mini-van. We also need to 4x4 or at least AWD for her fall hunting trips with her dad. The mods will be fun to do an more mileage and a bit more power are only a good thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainEarth View Post
A full cab + gear + towing means you're probably gonna be floored in 3rd gear at 75 kph heading up any serious grade. It'll get a serious workout in the Rockies, that's for sure.
Hmm... I hope to hear from some more about this. We might consider tenting the Rockies. Actually, we probably would tent that trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 97yota4wd View Post
floored second gear... personal experience
How much weight did you have? What are the differences between a 97 I4 and 2011 I4? Is it geared the same way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dustyroades View Post
The back seats really are tiny. I wouldn't even consider stuffing your wife back there for anything longer than a half hour drive across town. It's just not designed for long trips with adults. I cannot comment on fitting child seats back there, so if that is a possibility it may work for you, but you will have to sell once they get big enough.

Have you considered a V6 double cab? IMO it would be an all around more practical vehicle for you if you can swing the extra cash. And you will only lose a couple mpgs.
We have both sat in the Access cab and rode in it. We were both comfortable. We are both hobbit sized though. I doubt the kidlets will ever get past 5'5" within the lifetime if this vehicle. Still, we will have to test it all out more. We'd love the DC V6, but it does suck on gas and if I am getting one, I am getting the TRD package for the towing package. That's putting me at... $42,000 Canadian? If I am paying that, I'm getting an F-150 EcoBoost.

You may well be right, I just want to spend under 30 grand because my wife and I loathe payments. If we are making monthlies on something, I want their to be property along with it, hehe. We can swing the 30 grand now, but we'd have to spend another year and a bit saving to be able to spend 40+.
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tacoyota View Post
I'm with you on the fuel savings. But the thing is when you add family and trailer then fill the bed, will it exceed combined vehicle rating. For that, I bet the v6 DC or AC would have a better gross combined rating.
Your tasks opposes fuel thriftyness, your fuel savings would be in the v6 tacoma as opposed to a full size v8. I love the I4,but feel your family and needs is better served with the v6, then consider normal mods for fuel savings on that.

I may have mis-represented myself on my towing needs. I am looking at towing a camper at most 3 times a year. Usual trips will only be 300 kms to the Whiteshell or North Western Ontario to a season camp site. The boat would be towed more. If we made a trip to the Rockies, we'd probably tent.

The fuel savings will come from this truck having to serve as a second commuter vehicle.
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:30 PM   #14
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OIC . Should do ok with the I4 then,your mods will help too. I suspect the trailer/ family/ gear might put it right up to combined vehicle limits. Hitch brake n wires should do, but an air bag would help if you think it wallows too much. Keep an eye on the engine temp on grades .

I will say ive seen a lot of trade-ins done to similar situations, even my dad traded a 5.0 ford for a better towing 5.9 dodge. Try to borrow or ride wit ha buddy with the 2.7 and go up a grade, your first hand experience will be your best advisor.
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:33 PM   #15
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I will tell you I traded my 2008 AC 4cyl because it was underpowered. No matter if I was pullin a flat trailer or had my sportbike, tool, n gear in the bed, I beat the shit out of it to keep it at highway speed. Find a used V6DC. I bought brand new but I got a good trade and price on the new truck.
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:34 PM   #16
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Honestly you should look into keeping the Yaris for daily driving and make a expedition mobile on the cheap with an older truck or van that can tow. In any vehicle you can only have 2 of these 3 things, fuel economy, carrying capacity, and power.

Save gas 5 days a week and "blow it" on the weekend.
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kravchenko View Post
What are the differences between a 97 I4 and 2011 I4?
Based on what I see online ...

1997 4x4 4-cyl Xtra Cab (now called the Access Cab)

5104 lbs gross weight - 2.7L engine - 150hp

2011 4x4 4-cyl Access Cab

5350 lbs gross weight - 2.7L engine 159hp

--->>

How about a Subaru Forester? They're great vehicles. The 2.5x Premium Forester is a 170hp 4-cylinder manual all wheel drive. It has a tow capacity of 2400 lbs, and MPG is great ... 21/27. And it probably will actually get, and even beat that .. Tacomas have actually been rather disappointing when it comes to achieving their posted MPG rates. Fold down the rear seat, and you have decent cargo room too. Drop in a tarp for messy carries. I have no idea what the actual weight carrying capacity is .. a truck obviously will be more. But I'd check into it.

Unless you need an actual truck or offroad vehicle, the Forester is a great choice for a family vehicle. It's cheaper than the Tacoma, too. My wife and I have a 2005 Subaru and the boxer engine, and Subaru's AWD technology is awesome. On road performance in snow kicks my Tacoma's ass up and down the pass. And it does great on forest roads too. 90k miles so far and not a single problem. Subaru is the only car company that actually saw sales increase through the recession .. by 15%! And marketshare is up too.
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:37 PM   #18
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I have a 2008 access cab 4cyl 4wd.A rear facing car seat does fit also the forward facing fits, i've used both.As for towing i towed a uhaul trailer from central texas to pittsburgh.the trailer was about 2500lbs.Had no problems drove at 75 mph and got 19mpg.The only downfall is as your family grows your truck doesn't.If i did it again I wold buy the dclb.Hope this helps in your decision.
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:41 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kravchenko View Post
We'd love the DC V6, but it does suck on gas and if I am getting one, I am getting the TRD package for the towing package. That's putting me at... $42,000 Canadian? If I am paying that, I'm getting an F-150 EcoBoost.
Not sure I follow your logic. If you get a DC why does it have to be a TRD... why does it need a towing package? You wouldn't be touching the max tow capacity so would be fine with any aftermarket hitch. I hear you on not wanting to make payments though.

As for the fuel economy, a V6 is really not that much worse. I bought the 2.7 specifically for fuel economy, but if you look at the numbers the difference is realistically only a couple mpg. Wish it was more...
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainEarth View Post
Unless you need an actual truck or offroad vehicle, the Forester is a great choice for a family vehicle. My wife and I have a 2005 Subaru and the boxer engine, and Subaru's AWD technology is awesome. On road performance in snow kicks my Tacoma's ass up and down the pass. And it does great on forest roads too.
Been there, smelled that. Using a Forester as a camping vehicle becomes a mess quickly. That Forrester was camped out of more times than I can remember, but every time it held that smell and dampness for a while. It gets old on a 10 day to month+ trip trust me.
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