Is Toyota's 2021 Tacoma V6 Too Slow? Some People Seem to Forget It's a Workhorse

According to Customer Reports, which recently reviewed it, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma powered by the 3.5-liter V6 is one of the slowest-accelerating trucks available on the U.S. market.
2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road 8 photos
Photo: Toyota Motor Company
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Unveiled in January 2015 at the Detroit Auto Show, the third generation of Toyota’s mid-size pickup truck quickly became popular for its reliability and capability.

Although it received a comprehensive upgrade last year, which made it more technologically advanced, the truck is still offered with the same two engine options it was launched with: a 159-hp 2.7-liter inline-four and a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 278 hp.

The latter version was recently tested by Customer Reports, the American nonprofit organization dedicated to unbiased product testing, investigative journalism, consumer-oriented research, public education, and consumer advocacy.

2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off\-Road
Photo: Toyota Motor Company
During the test, the team reported that the four-wheel-driven SR5 Crew Cab "only" managed to achieve a 0 to 60 mph (0-96 kph) time of 8.2 seconds, which is the slowest of any truck they tested. Even the much larger and heavier 2021 Ford F-250 was able to achieve a better time, albeit by just 0.1 seconds.

This result apparently got a lot of publicity and raised concerns for many potential customers, but are these concerns warranted?

Unless we’re talking about crazy high-performance versions like RAM’s TRX or Ford’s Raptors, trucks are not designed with speed in mind; they are dependable workhorses built to withstand hard punishment.

According to the manufacturer, Tacoma’s V6 engine has a peak torque value of 265 lb-ft (359 Nm), one of the lowest figures among all mid-size trucks on the market, though not by much.

2021 Toyota Tacoma 3\.5\-liter V6
Photo: Toyota Motor Company
However, Consumer Reports’ review of the truck states that the main problem isn’t the amount of torque the V6 produces but how it delivers it. It feels slow because the peak value is reached at 4,600 rpm, which is not that far from the redline, so the truck reportedly struggles with low-end torque.

That might not be ideal, but in my opinion, it shouldn’t be a major drawback for those who are looking to buy a 2021 Toyota Tacoma. Like I mentioned earlier, these vehicles are not meant for speed and will be driven at slow speeds when transporting heavy payloads or towing anyway.

The same can be said about the daily driving experience or off-roading. Sure, drivers will encounter situations where they will have to work the gas pedal more than they would with a truck that delivers more power, but the Tacoma is as dependable as any truck in its class.

2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off\-Road
Photo: Toyota Motor Company
It will provide a decent driving experience on the road and won’t get stuck when taken off it, as its off-road capabilities are well-documented.

The 2021 Tacoma is not the perfect truck as such a vehicle does not exist. Minor or major flaws can be found on all models, but overall, Toyota’s mid-size pickup remains one of the best choices out there for those looking for the perfect combination between price, reliability, and capability.

Models equipped with the 3.5-liter V6 and part-time 4WD are available for a little over $32,000. Many used third-generation models are also available, but since this is one of the most reliable trucks made in recent years, it has an incredible resale value, so don’t expect to find one in good condition for less than $25,000.
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About the author: Vlad Radu
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Vlad's first car was custom coach built: an exotic he made out of wood, cardboard and a borrowed steering wheel at the age of five. Combining his previous experience in writing and car dealership years, his articles focus in depth on special cars of past and present times.
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