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So now I know - Tacoma 4 cylinder review

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Old 04-10-2012, 04:24 PM   #1
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So now I know - Tacoma 4 cylinder review

Back in 2010 when I bought my Taco, Toyota wasn't selling new 4 cyl 4x4 access cabs in Colorado. Since I was coming from an 86 4runner with the 4 cylinder 22RE, I figured I already knew what the 4 cylinder would offer, so I just went for the V6 instead.

But now that gas is pushing $4 a gallon, I've begun to wonder if I made a mistake not seeking out a 4 cylinder for a test drive to see what it would offer. Today I got that chance when I went in for a blower motor replacement. They had one 2012 4 cylinder 4x4 5-speed manual access cab on the lot.

I was very disappointed. On the flats it was great. And certainly at low altitudes, I am sure the 4 cylinder does just fine. But the dealer let me take it up a winding 50mph canyon from 6500 to 7200 feet elevation with 4-6% grades ... a canyon I drove my 4Runner up and down for 12 years, so I knew what gears I would probably be driving in.

My old 4Runner drove almost the entire canyon in 4th, albeit mostly floored, at 45-50mph, save for one section where I had to drop into 3rd to maintain speed. But that was with maybe 115hp. Surely the 159hp of the 2012 would let me stay in 4th the whole way up.

Not even close. I had to drop it into 3rd three times to keep speed. That's 3rd and floored. The sales guy I was driving with had never been in the 4 cylinder 4x4 access cab either, and he was as surprised as I was just how gutless it was in our environment. And that was totally unloaded save for the two of us.

All I could think was how dangerous that truck would be heading up I-70 to the Eisenhower tunnel, being so powerless. So now I know.

This is not to disparage those who love their 4 cylinders. I loved my 22RE! But I live at very high altitude (house is at 8650 feet). And the lack of oxygen automatically robs every engine of 15-20% of it's power. I was just so very surprised that my old 86 4Runner ran that canyon better than the new engine. So for those of you out there in high mountain land wondering ... now you know.
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Old 04-10-2012, 04:32 PM   #2
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You sure it wasn't the 2.4L?

Not to sound like a nerd, but oxygen percentage is the same throughout elevation; it's increased gravity pressure that increases which is why it's harder to breath at higher elevation as the diaphragm is pushed down. Of course, we adapt, the cars don't
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Old 04-10-2012, 04:34 PM   #3
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45-50 mpg? And you're getting rid of it why?
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Old 04-10-2012, 04:38 PM   #4
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My 2.7 2001 was gutless too. It was manual and would constantly down shift to go up hills on the freeway all the time. I took it to vegas from SD and it was a battle to stay at 70mph going up some of the freeway dunes. I love the power the 6 cylinder has compared to my 4.
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Old 04-10-2012, 04:53 PM   #5
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It's defiinitely not fast.
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REX_111_MDG_BMET View Post
45-50 mpg? And you're getting rid of it why?
I'm pretty sure he meant MPH , not MPG.
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by RetiredFF View Post
I'm pretty sure he meant MPH , not MPG.
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:23 PM   #8
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hahahahahahahaha
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:01 PM   #9
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What model year was your 4runner? What was the final gear ratio on that and what did it weigh? Also consider you were driving a new engine which would still be tight.
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:05 PM   #10
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x2 on gear ratios.
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steves104x4 View Post
It's defiinitely not fast.
Hahaha. It isn't. I seem to manage just fine on hills though. I just put that pedal right to the floor and it revs out quite nicely in second gear with the automatic. Then again I have a first gen single cab and I am not climbing mountains at high elevations.
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:38 PM   #12
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<pats you on the head> You must be so proud of yourself.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredFF View Post
I'm pretty sure he meant MPH , not MPG.
LOL whoops. Corrected.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:43 PM   #14
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I agree, my 4cyl lost a lot of power when I went up to Tahoe, but I never found myself downshifting to 3rd. I live at 60ft above sea level, and it has no problem down here. A small turbo would do wonders for this engine at elevation, can't wait to see what toyota does for the next gen.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goober View Post
What model year was your 4runner? What was the final gear ratio on that and what did it weigh? Also consider you were driving a new engine which would still be tight.
Definitely the 4Runner was lighter. Back then there were no such things as airbags, ABS and reinforced crumple zones. It's doors were like sheets of paper compared to the Taco.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenJammn5 View Post
Not to sound like a nerd, but oxygen percentage is the same throughout elevation; it's increased gravity pressure that increases which is why it's harder to breath at higher elevation as the diaphragm is pushed down.
It is true that the percentage of oxygen in a given volume of air remains the same regardless of altitude. But the density, or number of molecules of oxygen is that same volume of air is reduced the higher you go. At 9000 feet, a liter of air has 73% of the oxygen molecules a liter of air would have at sea level. So you need to breathe more at altitude to get the same amount of oxygen you get at sea level.
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:03 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Juggernaut View Post
A small turbo would do wonders for this engine at elevation, can't wait to see what toyota does for the next gen.
No doubt. If they could squeeze out 30 more hp (the Highlander 4cyl already gets 187hp), drop a couple hundred pounds with better use of composites, and added direct injection (which could boost fuel efficiency 15-20%) I'd test drive again.
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Old 04-18-2012, 04:55 PM   #17
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Its for sure sluggish, but I honestly like it. I have drove my 2011 for a year now and I now drive the speed limit. No more speeding tickets and driving stupid for me. I just ordered the DT header and a Jardine catback so it should have a bit more jump but I dont care really. Just worried about the towing ability with a little boat
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:02 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxpower29 View Post
Its for sure sluggish, but I honestly like it. I have drove my 2011 for a year now and I now drive the speed limit. No more speeding tickets and driving stupid for me. I just ordered the DT header and a Jardine catback so it should have a bit more jump but I dont care really. Just worried about the towing ability with a little boat
You're low altitude flatlands. Should be perfectly fine towing a small boat.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:11 PM   #19
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You could get creative and put a small turbo on a 4cylinder and get the power you're looking for at high altitude.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:57 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxpower29 View Post
Its for sure sluggish, but I honestly like it. I have drove my 2011 for a year now and I now drive the speed limit. No more speeding tickets and driving stupid for me. I just ordered the DT header and a Jardine catback so it should have a bit more jump but I dont care really. Just worried about the towing ability with a little boat
how much for the DT header, and Jardine catbacks? and where did u order from?
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