I just took my new Taco on a road trip that totalled 6000+ miles. I added a Scangauge II to it the week before I left. I would recommend one of these for anyone curious about the mileage, or operation of their vehicle. It displays more info than any geek could ever want. I programmed mine to display the actual speed, funny Toyota didn't do the same......
First off the trip went from Manitoba Canada, to Yellowstone, Vegas, L.A., up the PCH, th B.C., back to MB.
If I were to do this type of driving more than once a year I would not have bought a 4 cyl. I was able to pull all grades at 70 MPH, most of the time in 4th, occasionaly, I would end up needing 3rd @ 5000 RPM to maintain my speed up 6% & 7% grades. In third, with about 700# load I could keep the air on. I averaged around 21 - 24 mpg at 75, at 85 I got around 18.5 - 20. Funny thing to watch the scangauge show 14 mpg going up, 30 mpg going down. At lower speeds, it would tell me that the fuel was cut while coasting. So for you standard owners, coast in gear, it will save you gas. As well, the highest gear always got the best mileage, regardless of load. I found a downshift necessary below 1500, as the engine would vibrate excessively. On level ground at 60 mph, I saw averages around 25 - 26 mpg. The engine temp was always 88 - 91C, no matter the load, outside temperature, or abuse. My impressions of this truck are that it's engine and transmission are not very refined. It gets very tricky to co-ordinate smooth shifts with the clutch fan and AC compressor cutting in and out in traffic, causing different loads, and drastically different rates of RPM drop between shifts. The transmission has gear rattle, as well as some release bearing noise, and the engine vibrates under load until over 3000 rpm, but it is reasonable quiet, with the windows up. Of note, I rode in a Honda CR-V during my trip and was impressed at the total absence of engine vibration, and it has more hp from a smaller engine... Handling is good for a pickup. Not nearly as balanced as a frontier, the taco is only neutral under throttle, it understeers (pushes) the rest of the time. Factory tires very quiet, decently grippy on dry pavement, wind noise from the mirrors noticable. Seats comfortable for 14 hours at a time. Stupid exhaust leak sound meant the windows stayed up almost the whole trip. But the AC kept up with the Mohave desert heatwave no problem.
Overall a nice rig, only downside really is the leaky sounding, vibrating engine. But it always kept up with traffic, while getting very good mileage.