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Poor mileage acceptable to Toyota

rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
edited March 2014 in Toyota
I recently purchased a 2003 Toyota Tacomaq, 4 cyl. 2.4L. I have since learned that the window sticker stating 22mpg City is erroneous. Two different Toyota dealers have told me that these trucks get 19mpg City. Toyota customer service told me that 19 is acceptable to them and they are sending me a letter to that effect. The dealer service people even told me I was lucky to be getting 19. I am outraged, and there seems to be nothing I can do. Why did I never see this in any reviews or publications? I checked many of them before buying, and I bought a 4 cylinder to get good mileage because I never tow and never haul excessive loads.


  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    A lot of TTORA guys who run I4 engines (well, they have 2.7L ones) easily get 23+ mpg. Dealer is telling you that it's "ok" because they don't want to have to deal with your truck later, b/c it'd be a warranty work. Take it to the dealer, there's no way an I4 2.4L engine would be sucking gas like a V6 (I get 19mpg on my V6). Drive around until the breakin period ends, then take it to the dealer and make them look at it. If they don't want to, call Toyota Regional Rep and talk to them.
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    The first dealer put instruments on the truck and took it on the road for "instantaneous" readings. They said it was okay, everything normal. They said 19mpg (without AC) is okay and they would pursue it no further. Talked to Toyota for second time and they sent me to the second dealer who wouldn't even discuss the matter because they felt I was lucky to be getting 19. Toyota customer service then said basicly "case closed". Called the first dealer and asked to return the truck. They told me that I should be happy with 19, and that I was very lucky to own a Toyota, "case closed".
    Driving conditions: NO stop and go traffic, tonneau cover, NO AC use yet, outskirts of a small town, NO offroad or dirt roads.
  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    wow thats not good at all

    there are V-8s out there (2wd) that get 19-22 easily. Most v-6s can get 19 easy too

    only thing left to ask is are you driving it like you stole it?
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    Nah, I have been driving it kind of gentle. I have tried to keep acceleration under 2000 rpms, but occasionally when I get on Hwy 90 here in Lafayette, LA I get up to 2200 to keep from getting plowed over by an SUV or a cane truck. The guy at Hampton Toyota said he's been working with Tacomas for 10 years and he says 19 is average for a 2.4L. He said he worked with Nissans for 6 years and that they always achieve the sticker ratings.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    Lets put it this way: I got a V6 4x4 that I sometimes drive like I stole it (when some other truck wants to race, or when I want to get around some slow bum on the road, I stay in gear until 5.25K rpms). With that (and it's mostly in the city, I do highway drives maybe 5-7 miles at a time, my average speed is 75, so engine revs at 2.75K rpms) going on, a tonneau cover, 2" of lift and 31x10.5R15 tires, I get 17mpg in the city. On the freeway, if I keep it at 70 (2.5K rpms), I can easily get 19mpg.

    I have real trouble believing the 2.4L I4 guzzles gas like mine. Do you drive an Xtracab or RegCab? Xtracab got some more weight on it, and could result in some decrease in milage, but not to 19.
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    Yes, it is an Xtra cab with automatic. The auto is rated for 22 City and 25 Hwy. The 5 speed manual is rated 22 City and 27 Hwy.
    The thing that burns me is that neither dealer would offer advice. I just switched to syn. oil, and I might next add a K&N air filter. Hate to spend the bucks. I would rather give them back this thing and let some other "lucky" individual buy it.
  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    i can tell you my truck gets nowhere near what the sticker says. I think it was 14/17 and i am getting 10-12 and 13-15. My highest is almost 20 and this was driving through the mountains. This is with a 00 silverado 4wd 5.3 V-8. I didnt buy my truck for milage so it doesnt bother me much. I think all the ratings on new cars are a little high. Just like some manufacturers tack on extra HP that isnt really there

    False advertising if you ask me
  • sonjaabsonjaab Posts: 1,057
    Remember those MPG figures on the fed . sticker are estimates ONLY. All new vehicles are tested for emissions and MPG a climate controlled facility, on a dyno, under a simulated driving sequence somewhere in MD. or VA.(forget where).
    And yes mileage under REAL operation ....they are
    gonna get less.........................geo

    BTW: My bud traded his 4 cyl camry for a new outback wagon.
    He is in shock ! camry way over 20 mpg...outback best 16 mpg !
    Heck my Chevy 2500 4x4 gets 18 highway crusin' ac on too ! My
    V-8 Caddy gets 25 or better...........
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    Don't these big caddies have an electronic cylinder shut-off system (shutting down multiple cylinders when they are not required) or is that going to debut with the V16 monster they are about to put on the market?
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    I have owned many new vehicles including Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Chevy Astro, Chevy S10, Ford Probe GT, Mazda Miata, and currently a Dodge Caravan. This Tacoma is the first vehicle I have EVER owned that did not achieve sticker rating, and it is not even CLOSE. I do understand from talking to co-workers that the big-boys like the F-350 and Chevy 3500 rarely achieve sticker rating. So maybe I got a bad Tacoma. Toyota just won't admit it, and they will not offer any advice. To their credit, however, they are going to replace the ashtray. This thing starts sliding out by itself when I go over rough roads. I thought about super gluing it because I don't smoke, but then this is something they can't duck and deny, so I will just let them replace it.
  • bessbess Posts: 972
    Maybe you have a brake dragging, or something else thats binding in the driveline. Try jacking the truck up and making sure the tires spin freely etc. (after driving a while, feel the rims to see if they are warm).
    Engine diags wouldn't indicate anything is wrong in this case..
    Also, is your tire pressure up to specification?

    I have an F250 SuperDuty with a 5.4L engine and I get 16mpgs consistantly. There's no way your Tacoma should be sucking that much fuel..
  • sonjaabsonjaab Posts: 1,057
    Not yet...I hear they are going to try that
    system again in trucks tho. to improve CAFE
    ratings.....My Caddy sips gas on the hiway
    prob. the final gearing. Heck at 70 mph the
    motor is only turning 1700 rpms! My truck is
    turning 2500 rpms at 70. It has the 4:10s tho.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897 4x4 V6 Tacoma with 4.10 gears runs at 3k rpms at 80mph, and I think I got 18mpg on a trip to San Antonio and back today, going 75 average with occasional spurts to like 90.
  • neon99neon99 Posts: 15
    Sometimes new is not improved. Just out of high school, I bought a new '86 Toyota p/u. My two options were a double wall bed and a sliding rear window. It cost something like 6 large OTD.

    It was the last year they had the carbureter 4-banger with 4 speed. The gears were nice and tall and I remember getting consistantly something like 26/32 city/hwy.

    It was a good, basic truck. I do not think they could sell something so basic now as there would be liability concerns on it's safety.
  • I have read these gas mileage stories with interest. Since the EPA let the farmers have an "out" when they established their fuel demands on cars, the SUV's, vans, and pickups are all lacking in consistency for fuel economy. Guess we need a LAW to make the manufacturers get them inline.

    Are there the same mileage problems in the SUV's or Tundras? And what kind of engines/gas mileage can we expect from the "4-Runner-sized Tacomas" on the horizon? What kind of mileage does that big six-cylinder get in the 4-Runner? Seems like the whole lot of "zoom-zoom-zoom" in trucks has "deep-sixed" the concern over mileage.

  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    My only info other than the web comes from my son and my brother. My son's 6 cylinder 2002 PreRunner gets about what the sticker says, but my brother had a 2000 Tundra that got about 14/city and 17/highway under the best of conditions. Sticker was 15 and 19. He now drives a Ford truck. I know three other peopole who own Toyotas, but none of them have any idea what their mileaqge is. Maybe Toyota counts on that.
  • sonjaabsonjaab Posts: 1,057
    Your truck is brand new right ? I have found esp.
    with my truck. Mpg. is poor when new. Mine only
    got 10 mpg no matter what new. Now with 16k miles
    the best I get is 18 mpg hiway ac on unloaded !
    Maybe when you get miles on it your mpg will increase.....Never noted any diff. in my Caddy mpgs. tho. Prob. cuz my truck was gassing up all
    the time while my Caddy was driving by all the gas
    stations !..........LOL
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    Yes, my truck is almost new. It has almost 2K miles on it. But six different Toyota service people told me that Toyotas do not improve after 1K miles. I hope they are wrong. I just finished another check, and thanks to the synthetic oil I seem to have picked up 1 mpg. I need a second check to verify this. My brother thinks I should just accept this crappy mileage, but it is hard to let go. I feel stupid for buying this thing, and nobody likes to feel stupid. I bought a 4 cylinder for only one reason - fuel efficiency. I would have bought a hybrid if they had one because I will never carry more than small loads that are a bit too tall or too wide for my Caravan.
  • yurian44yurian44 Posts: 25
    I'm driving a '97 Nissan pick-up with a 5 speed manual and the 2.4 litre 4 cyl. engine. I usually carry about 1,000 pounds of payload in it and regularly get 24-25 mpg in city driving. In highway driving if i keep my speeds down to 65 mph or below I usually get 28-29, sometimes as high as 30 when it's unloaded except for the shell. This is my 3rd Nissan truck and all have gotten about the same mileage. EPA estimates are never that accurate which is why YMMV (your mileage may vary) has become such a cliche in the American language nowadays.
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    You know, I test drove a Frontier, and it rode really rough, but now I wonder if the tires weren't over-inflated. My Tacoma was. Wish I had bought the Frontier, or the Chevy, or the Ford, or even the Yugo, if they make a truck.
  • toyotakentoyotaken Posts: 897
    If you read the smaller print under the large numbers, the EPA gives a range. This is usually 5-7 mpg over and under the large number on the window sticker. Remember, these are machines with literally thousands of different parts and no two will be absolutely identical. Also, no two drivers will drive absolutely identically either. So there is going to be a range for milage. I know people who get in the very low teens for their MPG and know others who get in the low to mid 20's. All Toyota seems to be saying is that it is well within the range of normal for your particular model of truck.

    Sorry I can't help more, but hope it helps.

  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    I think the tires, weight, gearing, and aero-disadvantages of a 4x4 make a huge difference vs 2wd. I bought a used 4x2 1996 V-6, 5-spd, Tacoma extended cab because I had no plans to go off road and wanted better fuel economy and handling.

    I was hoping to get at least 20 mpg since (unlike Yurian) my 2.4 liter standard-cab Nissan was only getting about 22 mpg. I was astounded to find that I get 25 on the freeway (at 75 or so) and never less than 21 around town. EPA estimates are 19/23. I'm happy.

  • saddaddysaddaddy Posts: 566
    here but, IMO you guys complaining about mileage on 2003 model trucks need to lighten up a bit. Ever heard of break-in?

    I have never heard of a vehicle getting great mileage straight off the lot. My tacoma 3.4L got pretty dismal mileage for the first 10k miles and then really started to get better. Was I surprised - not at all. Im at 26k miles now on my 2000 model truck and mileage is anywhere from 18 to 23.5 depending on how and where I drive. Good luck.
  • sonjaabsonjaab Posts: 1,057
    What area are you in ? Flat and long Texas or going up and down hills in Colorado ?..Maybe working it too hard.
    My dad has a new 02 Chevy s-10x cab, 4.3 v-6, auto., 4wd loaded out. Will have to ask about his
    mpgs....His 99 s-10 4 cyl., reg cab, auto., 2wd got over 20 plus puttin' around. Read that GEEZER
    at the wheel mpg.!
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    Since 1986 I have bought 10 new cars for my family. I am familiar with the term "break-in". All of these vehicles achieved EPA average before the 500 mile mark. Reps at two Toyota service departments told me that a Tacoma is broken in at 1000 miles and that my mpg is maxed out for current conditions. You say 10K. Who do I believe? My son's 2002 V6 PreRunner was getting within one mpg of my I4 performance at 1000 miles on his truck, so I tend to believe those service departments. I hope you are right and they are wrong.
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    I'm in Lafayette, Louisiana. The only hills are actually bridges. I made a 200 mile test keeping the revs below 2200 during accelleration, and at most times I was able to keep it below 2000. On a 4 cylinder engine this is slow. For that 200 mile test I got 0.8 mpg better than my average, but I was in constant danger of getting plowed over by big SUVs and pickups. I cannot drive that way all the time, but I wanted to find out just how bad this thing is.
  • bessbess Posts: 972
    I didn't know your truck was 'that' new. On my last new truck (Ford), MPG's didn't maximize until around 5k to 7k miles on it..

    The increases will be gradual, and you probably won't even notice the difference from tank to tank. But I bet in 6months the MPG's will be right at the numbers on the sticker.

    Also remember that some trucks will take more or less fuel in the tank depending on the angle the truck is sitting at the pump. This can skew the mpg calculation for a tank, but will be made up on the next tank and average out over time.

    Just have fun with your truck.
  • oldharryoldharry Posts: 413
    Maybe you baby it too much. With automatic transmission, if you are driving like there is a egg between your foot and the pedal, you do not get to the speeds that the trans shifts up soon enough, and you use more fuel. I have a neighbor (older than me) that drives that slow. Everyone else hates to get behind him heading to town, takes him over a half mile to get up to fifty. He gets terrible milage because he is most often not in high gear, and the converter lockup doesn't get used.

  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    I think you might be right. But it doesn't matter anymore. This thing saved my life today. In heavy rain on a 25 mile long interstate bridge in south Louisiana this morning an old guy in a new Cadillac came onto the highway up an exit ramp, and when he realized I was going to hit him head-on he turned right across the highway. I had to brake and shoot left fast without losing the tail-end. Just when the rear-end was about to let go the anti-lock brakes kicked in and I shot through a hole about three inches wider than my truck at, by that time, about 50mph. The control was phenomenal. This Tacoma can drink all the gas it wants. Forget this post. I take it all back. Today is my 60th birthday, and this truck gave me a pretty good present. God bless Toyota.
  • ilmorilmor Posts: 8
    More Tacoma has the V6 and automatic, 2WD (Pre-Runner) with 5800 miles on the odo. Current combo city / highway (commute to work) mileage this week was 15.8 mpg. That's with one other person in the vehicle and no other loads, hilly and flat roads (no mountains).

    Manuf. claims 17 / 19 for this vehicle.

    As for the discussions about Nissans, well, they have less horsepower and are slower than the Tacoma's, so there is a tradeoff. I would rather pay a little more for the fuel and have the power and quality of the Toyota, personally.
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