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Toyota Tacoma Prerunner (owner experiences)

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  • Couple of questions:
    How well did the 4X2's with locking rear hold up during this latest Midwest storm? Are they somewhat OK in 3-6" of snow?

    How much is Toyota charging for the TRD Supercharger? What are they charging for the install?

    Thanks in advance..
  • webbdwebbd Posts: 176
    I have 29,000 miles on my prerunner v-6 and am averaging 18.7 MPG. This is all city and when I do go on trips, that number can dip to around 18 MPG for 70-75 MPH. I rarely get anything lower than 17.5 or higher than 19.6, so the mileage is very, very consistent. I have kept records from mile one, and these are the results.

    For those of you wondering about the Prerunners vs. 2wd or 4wd models, here is a little insight.

    The Prerunner sits on the 4x4 chassis but, of course, lacks the 4wd. It rides just like the 4x4's--firm. If you get the TRD package w/ Bilstein shocks, expect an even firmer ride. Of course, you'll thank the toyota engineers should you venture into a field of medium to large rocks or potholes as the firmness will keep your insides on the inside.

    For those wondering about whether they should go with the 2.7L or 3.4L V-6, there really shouldn't be much discussion. The 3.4L V-6 is the smoothest, most efficient V-6 in a pickup. It produces over 80% of it's torque at 2500 RPM's. The extra weight of the prerunner, whether reg. or ext. cab, demands the extra power of the V-6. The 2.7L is adequate at best in the Prerunner. Yes, it will cost more, but in the end, you'll thank yourself.

    The supercharger can be bolted on by the dealership in around an hour, and the last time I saw, the prices were around $2400-2500 which may or may not include installation (sorry, I didn't check into this.) The supercharger bumps the HP and torque by 70 horses and pounds for 260 HP and 290 lbs. torque. Get that in the prerunner ext. cab which only weighs around 3350 lbs. (3280 for '00 model, heavier for newer, feminine-grilled '01 models)and you will do 0-60 somewhere in the 6 second ballpark. I wish the magazines would do a roadtest for this model, so we could know the performance for sure.

    Hope this helps anyone with questions.
  • I own a '99 PreRunner V6, ext cab. I have added a K&N filter kit from Downey, so far. More to come. My gas mileage went up to about 17.2 (combined), from about 16.5. The horsepower increase is yet unknown, but it definitely passes better on the freeway.
  • The V6 engine is not available in a regular cab configuration. For a Regular cab you have a choice between two four cylinder engines, the larger one producing 150hp and gets 19/21 mpg. The V6 is rated at 190hp(17/19 mpg) is only available in extended and double cab versions.
  • I am looking to purchase my first truck. I think I should get a 4x4 because I live in southern New England where we get snow, but is the cost worth it compared to the 4x2? There is snow on the ground here for at most 3 months a year. Can the 4x2 Per Runner handle it with the locking differential?
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    Ive tried my tacoma in 2wd in the snow and it pretty much is worthless.....get the 4x4 trust me.
  • I have a Tacoma xtracab 4cyl 5 speed 2WD now (I wanted gas mileage this time), but have had several Toyota 4X4s in the past. I live in Sacramento where it doesn't snow, but when I took them to Tahoe (100 miles away) I purposely got off in the snow to play. It's virtually impossible to get the tires to spin if it's in 4WD. My experience with limited slip differentials is that one tire spins faster than the other, which causes you to slide sideways in snow or ice. If u live in snow country, the 4WD is DEFINITELY worth it.
  • I am looking for a pick up for my 16 year old son. We live in an Atlanta suburb, but he loves to hunt and fish. He is all testosterone. He wants a 4x4 truck. I don't think he will do as much off roading as he thinks. We hunt in Georgia in mostly flat areas. It snows once every two years or so. Can he get by with a prerunner? I'd love your insite. Thanks.
  • Just picked mine up a week before the snow started. Live just outside of Chicago.

    First thing I learned is how to work the Locking Diff... (Plenty of time to play in the 2 hour commute) Next was to add about 300lbs of sand over rear wheels.. what a difference. It definately reduces the slipping and sliding.

    4 X 4 would be nice but I don't go off road and can't see it (except for this year) for only a few days a year. I use the truck mostly for commuting to work and yard/house work.

    Love the truck so far. Great heater, comfortable and better than my 89 Corolla in the deeper snow - especially when it freezes.
  • Been shopping for a new truck for the last month. This is vehicle #50 for me, Toyota truck #7... 2001 Prerunner (Impulse Red/Oak) V6 XtraCab SR5, TRD, Power Pkg, Bucket Seats, Cruise, Sliding Rear Window, MSRP $21562, invoice $19795 (in northern California with the Toyota advertising addon). Paid $200 over invoice or $19,995 (and I used to sell cars). WHAT A GREAT TRUCK FOR UNDER $20K ! ! ! I've also owned a few GM full size trucks (last one was a 97 GMC Z71), and have driven just about every kind of truck u can name... and this truck thinks it's a Lexus. Most of my previous trucks were 4X4s, but since I rarely use the 4X4, I decided to buy something that looks like a 4X4, but doesn't have the extra weight, more maintenance, less performance, and less gas mileage associated with 4X4s. Obviously it won't get as good a gas mileage as my last truck (99 Tacoma 4 cyl 5 speed) but who cares, that one didn't get that great anyway (20/25). Unlike the last one, this one looks HOT, and is FUN to drive, and I can see over traffic. And unlike full size trucks with extended cabs... it fits in my garage!
  • toddztoddz Posts: 7
    Superglide- SOunds like you scored a great price for your PreRunner. I just bought a 2001 as well with everthing. However, the listed MSRP was 23,500. How come yours was so much less? Mine has the TRD, sunroof, cruise, bedliner, power everything, bucket seats, V6 etc... THis is my first Toyota and hope it lasts a long, long time. I ended up paying $23,500 out the door, tax, tag etc... I thought I got a pretty good deal, 7.5 financing, where did you find 3.9??? What kind of milage have you been getting so far?
  • merlhmerlh Posts: 8
    I currently own a '97 F150 V8 extended cab and am considering trading it in for a Taco ma Double Cab Prerunner. I'm hoping that you Double cab Taco ma owners can give me some realistic answers to a few questions:

    1) 95% of it's use will be the daily commute in manic urban traffic and typical home center runs, but I do flat-tow an old Jeep on occasion. I know the Taco ma tats show a towing capacity of 5000 pounds, but is that a realistic figure? Can the 3.4L V6 be expected to comfortably flat-tow a 3000 b. vehicle at interstate speeds over rolling hills?

    2) I have two boys, 8 & 10, that I have to have a back seat for. The F150's back seat is adequate, but I'd really like to have 4 doors on a pickup that I can actually park in my garage. Considering the fact that I plan on keeping this vehicle for a number of years, is the Double cab's back seat realistically sized and comfortable enough for teenagers?

    3) When I test drove the Taco ma I had no idea what the "ETC" button was for and never turned it on. I found the engine power to be adequate to compete with traffic, but just barely (maybe because I'm used to a billion horsepower and a million pounds of torque). What exactly does this button do and does it really help performance?

    Any and all input is appreciated, thanks.
  • toddztoddz Posts: 7
    merlh- I know something about your third question, i was told that when this button is engaged, your tranny will simply stay in each gear a little longer. I have had my tacoma for 2000 miles and have yet to use it. I was told it hurts gas milage.
  • I'm considering purchasing a regular cab 4cyl PreRunner. From what I've read, sounds like I shouldn't expect to use this to haul my friends to the grocery store when it snows--even though in DC we don't get much (1 inch today). If anyone has experience with a regular cab I'd be interested to hear if you think this is a complete pain in the neck. I'm single, don't drive a whole lot, and don't carry a lot with me when I do drive. Would I regret buying a regular cab? I think they look a lot cooler than extra cabs (no offense), but I'm a little leary of the space issue.
  • My new 2001 PreRunner is the 7th Toyota I've had (though it's vehicle #50 for me). Most of the other Toyotas had the ECT switch as well. I leave mine in ECT POWER mode all the time. I've never noticed a difference in gas mileage in any of my previous Toyotas whether it was in the power or normal mode. It not only makes it shift at a higher RPM, it causes it to downshift earlier like it should when u push on the accelerator to go a little faster. I'm so spoiled by the fact that it is always in exactly the right gear at the right time, I can hardly stand to drive another vehicle with an automatic. In fact, I ruled out the Tundra because it didn't have it. I stepped down on the accelerator of the Tundra to pick up speed, and all it did was lug down, until I practically had it floored. This IS NOT GOOD for gas mileage. I had hoped the dual mode transmission in the new full size GM trucks was like Toyota's ECT... but alas, it isn't. The towing mode is totally funky... and stays in the same gear when u let up, (with a typical american clunk) instead of shifting back to the gear it should be in. The best gas mileage is achieved by having the engine at the right RPM for the job it's doing. Sorta like going up a hill in 5th gear with a 5 speed and flooring it instead of downshifting to 4th. The fact that you're in 5th will not give u better gas mileage. Gas mileage is determined by how far down on the accelerator you're pushing. I've been in plenty of economy runs, and check my gas mileage every tank... and pretty much know what will get me better or worse mileage. One of the other things I've learned is that if u have the cruise control on and u start up a hill, it's going to do the same thing... push down on the accelerator a great deal to maintain the set speed. I can get considerably better mileage by not using the cruise control if you're in hilly terrain, for that reason. Just leave your foot as steady as u can. This causes me to go a little slower up the hills and faster down the hills. The only time cruise control will give u as good a mileage as a steady foot, is when you're on flat land and driving a steady speed. If this new PreRunner had leather seats and wood on the dash, it would say LEXUS on the back! I'm really impressed!
  • webbdwebbd Posts: 176
    The ETC button is the "power" button as toyota owners know. It allows the engine to rev about 500 rpms higher in each gear to achieve better acceleration. You can leave it on all the time, and your gas mileage will only suffer IF you drive like you have the button engaged. If you drive normally, the transmission will change gears at its regular engine speeds.

    Gas mileage is not going to be great on the V-6 regardless of which model you go with. My '00 Prerunner has averaged 18.67 MPG in 29,689 miles. Considering the DC weighs about 500 lbs more, you'll probably get around 17.5 - 18 MPG. Of course, I drive conservatively, so yours could even be worse than that.

    As far as towing, others will tell you this and that, but if they don't actually own a toyota, their opinions are just that--opinions. I've towed a U-haul trailer totaling about 3200-3400 lbs at an average of 70 mph with no problems. I live in TX, so we don't have real mountains, but there were hills like you would encounter on almost any drive. If you are going to be driving under or around 55-60 MPH, you can switch off the overdrive, and you won't have the annoyance of the transmission downshifting on all the hills. The OD is a pretty long gear (under normal driving it comes on at 45 mph), and if you tow, the engine will be kicking down a lot especially in the 45-60 MPH range. I averaged 14.1 MPG while towing, if that helps you.

    As far as the interior room question, I don't have a clue. My version of comfortable is probably different from yours.

    Dcdriver, I had '98 reg. cab and it's okay for the single guy with no friends or no life, but if you want to carry anything like luggage, groceries, etc. without getting it wet, the regular cab is pretty limited. You may not like the styling of the ext. cab, but if you need the space, nothing beats having the protection of the extra cab.

    By the way, I agree with Superglide on the cruise control issue. Whenever I do the driving up and down hills on a long trip, I always get better gas mileage. But if I let the cruise control do it, my mileage is less.

    Happy hunting.
  • Having researched, owned and now parting with a 2000 Tacoma, here's what I've learned:

    The V6 engine averages about 17-18 mpg (pre-runner & 4WD) period; if you get more, lucky you; take good care of your unique truck.

    Towing:
    Referencing the above post, would recommend the 4dr 2001 version w/ V6--preferably supercharged--and towing package. As in #23, it's heavier, has more useable room and easier access. Venturing into the mountains and/or driving faster than normal hwy speeds while towing 5000 literal pounds will cause a great desire to A). Sell truck; B). Install Supercharger.

    Improving Fuel Economy:
    To improve mpg, you must slow down, make alterations and/or spend $$$ For example: Amesoil TS-115 air intake, modify air box
    (see http://www.gadgetonline.com/airinduction.htm), have computer re-mapped (Taco's inhale gas above 75 mpg, this can be corrected somewhat), exhaust system upgrade, smaller hwy (not all-terrain) tires and keep at rated psi, decrease ring & pinion ratios, lighten vehicle--remove brush guard, nerf bars, tailgate, campershell, etc., use good gas, use recommended oil weight then switch to synthetic after 35 or 40K miles, move to higher altitude, etc,.

    4WD excellent for snow, 2WD not as good. Here are some 2WD fixes:

    "Z-chains" (actually cables, MUST get exact tire size) for all 4 tires (2 & 4WD's). Gives bulldozer-like traction on snow and ice--especially braking. Can be found at Pep-Boys or online.

    No factory locking axle. Get cheaper plain axle (it's stronger) and have Powertraxx's "No-slip" Locker installed and forget it (no maintenance). First ice/snow/steep hill thereafter will produce grins and giggles; vastly improved cornering under throttle and off-road traction too; especially necessary with Supercharger.

    Use good tires: Michelins, Goodyear or Toyo. Maintain air pressure, keep rotated = better mpg & longer life. Use correct tires: Use off-road/snow tires exactly for that; use all-weather hwy tires rest of year = better mpg (fraction of percentage), quieter ride, better breaking and both sets will last much longer.

    4 vs.6 cylinders:
    The 4 is too small for the extended cab, okay for regular cab.
    The V6 is okay, wish it was mapped like Mazda's 3.0L 200 hp V6 w/ better mpg and more low end.
    The Supercharged V6: WOW! Enough said. You can peg 100 before you know it while passing so be careful--Tacoma's with large tire package become nervous around 90 mph. It's also rough on timing belts, tires, trannys and drive train so keep pretty close to maintenance schedule if you lead-foot. Finally--after supercharging many Taco owners report excessive giggling, funny grins, occasional drool and unusually-cocky attitudes...don't let all that power go to your head.

    Let Toyota Dealership service your vehicle according to regularly scheduled maintenance if possible.

    Whew!....enough for now.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    Well ive had my tacoma(s) at 105-106 (speed limited) and it felt just fine and i wanted to go faster but that damn limiter!....and thats in fourth gear.
  • Can a 2000 Tacoma PreRunner, XtraCab, V6 automatic transmission equipped with the TRD package do the same things as a 4X4?
  • Greetings, all. I have been browsing around several web sites concerning the purchase of a new vehicle, before settling on this one. I am currently "between trucks", so to say. My last one was a VERY well-used 1985 Toyota X-tra cab SR5 that expired 3 weeks ago, it died with over 201,000 miles. I am seriously looking at a 2WD PreRunner Extra Cab w/the TRD option package. Since I am an avid motorcyclist, and don't really do serious offroading here in the SF Bay Area, I need something that can haul my street bike to track days (Thunderhill raceway north of Sacramento, Willow Springs in SoCal), carry a couple of dirtbikes to Hollister, hit the mountains (Tahoe/Reno) for skiing/snowboarding, and yet still look sharp enough for dates. I like the extra power the V6 offers and am willing to make a small concession to the lower mileage figures. It may tow the occasional 2-bike trailer as well, which is probably a total weight of 1200-1500lbs.

    I looked at Toyota's nearest competitor, the Nissan Frontier, and while its features were attractive, it looked like it fell out of the ugly tree & broke every branch on the way down. Someone needs to have a serious meeting with that firm's design team. Unfortunately, Toyota decided to change the grille on the newer models as well, yuck. I prefer last year's design.

    I took the liberty of printing out Edmund's new car shopper's guide; although I almost have enough now to put a good down payment on the truck, I need a little more time to do my homework before I enter the battlefield of the dealerships. What kind of good experience/hassles have you had? Any local Toyota dealerships here in the Bay Area that are recommended over others? I realize the playing the numbers game is part of the deal, but I really want to avoid any unecessary run-arounds when I am ready to buy.

    Thanks for your time, wish me luck!
This discussion has been closed.