Is this new Toyota Tacoma SR 2WD base truck a great buy, or should you stay away? I drive one to find out. It’s been a long quest for me to find and drive a base version of the new Tacoma with a 2.7-liter I4 engine. The MSRP on this truck is under $29,000. An opportunity finally presents itself when I rent one in Indianapolis for the 2022 Work Truck show.
We have driven and tested many Tacoma V6 4×4 trucks. This one has the less powerful four-cylinder engine and two-wheel drive. The engine is rated at 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. This gas engine has been around in Toyota pickup trucks for decades. It’s tried and true. When I step on the go pedal it makes noise, but the truck does not go very fast. The engine will rev to around 5,000 rpm, but it’s not eager to reach higher revs and the sound is not very pleasing. It’s simply an affordable and reliable power plant.
The rest of the truck is very attractive. The cloth interior is simple and usable. The infotainment screen works well. I used Apple CarPlay by plugging into the USB port and navigated without an issue. This truck has a manual HVAC system, heated side mirrors, traction disable button, and ECT Power button for the transmission (which does not seem to change the acceleration any).
The Tacoma 2WD is equipped with a limited-slip rear differential that should help with traction on slick surfaces. This crew cab (double cab) truck has a very competitive 1,400 lbs of maximum payload. This is the same payload as our long-term 2022 Toyota Tundra Limited crew cab 4×4 TRD Off-Road truck.
When properly equipped, this 4-cylinder Tacoma can tow up to 3,500 lbs. I did not get a chance to haul any cargo or tow any trailers with this truck, but the power is already fairly limited even with an empty truck. However, I did get close to 22 MPG on my mostly highway drive in Indiana.
In the end, I would recommend this pickup truck if you do not have to drive in the mountains or at high elevations. If you need a simple commuter pickup that can haul large items in the back – this is an affordable and reliable choice.
However, if you live at higher elevations, need to tow a medium-sized trailer that’s close to 3,500 lbs or above – this truck is not for you. You can get a 4WD system with this engine, but it will make this truck heavier and slower.
I think it’s time for Toyota to update their Tacoma powertrains, and the rumors suggest that a new turbocharged I4 engine is coming to the new generation of the Tacoma in 2023. Let me know what you think about this Tacoma SR in the comments below.