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Poor mileage acceptable to Toyota



  • Have an 03 Taco that is at 19.5 mpg. I have just over 2K miles. I noticed a difference in the last 500 miles and I think I actually have been accelerating more since I am over 1K. I have a 5 spd and usually take third gear out pretty far. So I would say my mileage is improving from my first fill up at 16.5 mpg.

    I live in Missouri in the Ozark foothills so the terrain varies more greatly than it would in St. Louis or Illinois.

    I thought the newer automatics were supposed to be better on gas mileage.

  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    The city mileage for the auto and manual are the same, 22 mpg. But the highway mileage is better for the manual, 27 mpg opposed to 25 mpg for the auto.
  • abc246abc246 Posts: 305
    God bless Toyota? Funny how you think. Maybe luck had something to do with it. I bet Toyota didn't even design the ABS system that just became standard this year on your truck (GM made it standard on many models in 1992!). How about God bless the old man for turning away?

    Now back to the topic. I bought a new Nissan Frontier in 98 with 5 speed manual and the 2.4 4 cyl. That truck could only manage average 17 mpg with a lot of highway driving. I traded it in for a Chevy Silverado 4x4, auto, with 4.3 V-6 that gets the same mpg and has way more power!

    I think some manufactures sacrifice mpg to meet emission laws if thier engine control technology is not state of the art.
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    Sorry if it disappoints, but I've driven more miles than many truck drivers, and I can tell you that this Tacoma handling in an emergency is fantastic. You had to be there to feel it.
    The mileage thing is, I think, the attempt to burn more fuel with less displacement. Hence, 4 valves per cylinder. But I agree that at this point big block V6s like GMs 4.3 do a better job of converting fuel to power with very favorable differentials. But in 4 cylinder engines, the Toyota has it all over the S10 4 banger in power. Sadly, this is a result of burning more fuel in nearly the same displacement. I think you have to compare the Toy 4 to a GM 6, and in that comparison the GM will win. GM makes excellent engines, and they sell a V6 at a price competitive to the Toy 4 cylinder. On the other hand, I've owned an excellent S10 that I really liked, but its handling pales in comparison to the Toy.
  • I bought a Tacoma Double Cab with the V-6. So far have been getting just over 16 MPG right out of the box. California switched to the alcohol cut gas and this cuts economy a bit more. I drive a combo of stop and go, sit at the drive thru up to 80MPH spurts on the freeway. I figure reducing the drag in the truck bed will help on the freeway runs. If you own one get used to it, it sits high and has to punch a huge hole in the air. It's a truck, want economy get the 4 cyl I guess. My Honda CRV took a while to get its mileage topped out. Buy a K&N air filter, they help out also.
  • Hello, I plan on buying a:
    2003 toyota tacoma
    PreRunner Regular Cab
    4Cyl Automatic

    This vehicle has a posted 19/22 miles per galon rating.

    What should I expect and what are realistic numbers that you may have seen?
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    Don't start thinking that you won't get the sticker 4x4 V6 gets it. I always get my 17 in the city and 19 on highway (when I can pace myself, and even if I drive like a maniac, 85-90, I'll get 18). This thread was probably started by an isolated incident.
    I would suggest that you get a manual with the 4-banger. From what I usually hear from other Tacoma people, mating an I4 with an auto tranny is not a great idea. Of course, this would mean that you'd have to get a 4x4, since currently Toyota doesn't offer a manual prerunner. Too bad.
  • What is bad about having a V4 with the auto....
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    Auto tranny inheritedly transfers less torque to the wheels. Not much less, but less nevertheless. This is fine for a V6, but with I4, when power is scarce to begin with, it may not be a good thing. Testdrive one and see if it feels good to you. If it feels a little anemic, try a 4x4 Regcab with manual and I4.

    I haven't driven an auto I4, so I can't speak from my own experience, just relaying what I've heard.
  • Do these vhicles have tranny problems
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    There is nothing wrong with transmission or engine. All automatic transmissions are less efficient when compared to manual.
    The I4 you'll get is bulletproof, has been in Toyota for at least 10 years. Just suggesting that you mate it to a manual tranny.

    Again...testdrive the prerunner you want and see how it feels to you. Maybe you'll like it the way it is.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    Just filled up at the pump this morning....285 miles, light came on, put in 15.8 gallons.
    That's 18mpg for a V6 4x4 5spd Xtracab with a lift.
    Half of it was highway speeds of 80-85mph, other half was all city.
  • fragerfrager Posts: 5
    My '02 4x4 Tacoma D cab, 8500mi gets 16.5 mpg, 89 octane. I drive mostly hills at slow speeds it handles very well.I did a 500mi hiway trip and got 19.5 mpg, IM happy with that.
  • mrnimmomrnimmo Posts: 271
    >There is nothing wrong with transmission or engine. All automatic transmissions are less efficient when compared to manual.

    All automatics with torque convertors (that is almost all automatics except the super exotics) lose about 30% of the engine power in the torque convertor at least until the torque convertor locks up at around 40-60mph.

    Result: lower mpg and poorer acceleration in exchange for the "convenince" of only having to move your right leg rather than both legs. It's a poor tradeoff IMO.
  • jmummeryjmummery Posts: 11
    Break in:
    It takes any engine more than 10K mi to wear into it's sweet spot. If you drive a new engine too easy, you will never get it because the rings will not seat properly and blowby will always haunt you. Cylinders are manufactured with a very fine crosshatch that is designed to fill with oil and kind of polish. If the cylinder pressure doesn't get high enough(this pushes the rings out into the cylinder wall) during the break in period for this to happen in the way that it is supposed to you will never get the fuel economy that you could have gotten and the engine will for lack of better wording not be as good for it's entire life. No new magic technology replaces this.
    I'm not saying that you should hammer your new truck but you should run it up to the 3500-4200 mark every 50th shift in 2nd or 3rd to ensure that the rings are seating properly. Is it using ANY oil during it's normal change interval?
    Remember that you are dealing with a very good Japanese I4 that is designed to rev a little, if you drive it like something American designed, it will not only perform poorly in all aspects but it will not last as long as it should.
    Good luck
  • dougd7dougd7 Posts: 71
    I recently ran across a proper breakin procedure that applies to all engines not just foreign or domestics. The author mainly talks about motorcycle engines but the basic philosophy applies to all engines.

    According to the author the first 20 miles is the most crucial during the break in period. That's when 80% of the breakin occurs. The remaining 20% occurs over the next 500-1000 miles.
  • kbtoyskbtoys Posts: 62
    You know this might sound werid and I can't really explain it but my gas milage sucks in the winter but is great when it gets warm out. Things that make you go hmmmmmm
  • jmummeryjmummery Posts: 11
    Any car truck or whatever will use more gas when it's colder. This is especially true on anything with and oxygen sensor. Your engine whether advanced carbureted or fuel injected(oxygen sensor) is always trying to maintain a air to fuel ratio. When it is warm and the air is less dense the oxygen sensor will tell the computer to give the engine a certain amount of fuel. When it is cold and the air is more dense(more packed with oxygen) the oxygen sensor tells the computer to give the engine more gas to keep the ratio of air to fuel at the optimum.
    Have you ever noticed that your car has more power when it's cold outside?
    The Suzuki Vitara I am driving now varies from 24mpg(averaged for a whole tank)at neg 40C and 30mpg at 0C
    I know a couple people that have blown engines in snowmobiles because they jetted for -30 and drove at -40. The extra oxygen leaned out this simple carburator setup to the point of engine failure in a range of 10 degrees C.
  • sonjaabsonjaab Posts: 1,057
    Also in winter in some parts of the country special additives are added to gas for easier
    cold weather starts. And in summer they do the
    same to cut high pollution in certian areas also.
    This could also reduce mpgs.............
  • saddaddysaddaddy Posts: 566
    u still running 4.10s?
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    Yeah. Stock gears.....I'm staying with 31s, just gonna put them on 15x8 rims.
  • lagitanelagitane Posts: 25
    Just reading all the comments about mileage. Just bought an 03 Tundra V-8, 4x2. Terrible mileage. Getting just a hair under 16 mpg in the City and about 16.6 on the Hwy (just 500 miles on the odometer so far). Its rated at 15 and 19. Realize that it should get better over time, but still scared enough to maybe run right back to the dealer and get a V-6 Taco 4x2 Pre-Runner. Would lose a bundle in trade. Pretty much can just kiss my original down payment good-bye. Love the Tundra room and power. Very well built truck; solid; stong. But this is the worse gas mileage I've ever seen. Can't afford to keep driving it with this kind of mpg. Neighbor's F-150 Ford V-8 gets 19. Can't figure out what Toyota is thinking. Don't they realize how high gas prices are right now? Any feedback before I make take a big financial tumble and scale down into a Tacoma would be appreciated.
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    My son had a 2002 V6 Pre-Runner, and he did not get a lot more mileage than you are getting in your Tundra. I have worked diligently with my Tacoma, and here is what I've done to improve mileage. After you get a couple of thousand miles on it switch to synthetic oil, like Mobil 1 or Syntec. Use 89 octane gasoline. This helps tremendously on the highway but doesn't do much for city driving. At present I am getting a little over 19mpg in the city, which really sucks (sticker is 22). However, I am getting 26.5mpg on the highway, which is 1.5 better than the sticker number of 25. My next move will be a K&N air filter, which should help as much in the city as on the highway. Of course, all of this costs money. You get a good return on 89 octane gas on the highway. On a recent 800 mile trip I actually saved money by using the 89 octane. The air filter costs about $50, but this is a one time expense and might pay for itself.
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    Let me add that I test drove a Tundra, and I would have bought that or a Silverado, had they cost less. Both are much more comfortable than any model of Tacoma, and both have a much larger payload/towing capability, if that matters.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    I have a 2002 4x4 V6 Tacoma, and I've gone through the same worries about gas milage as you. In fact, I figure out the milage every time I fill up.
    You're still in break-in period, so don't worry. My milage went up by about 1-2mpg after it. I do run synthetic Amsoil oil, Amsoil air, but given the lead foot I have, I get very good milage (19sh on highway, 17.5-18 in the city).

    Another thing to consider is this: you got a V8. Don't expect it to use same gas as a V6 Tacoma. 16-17 you get is fairly good for a V8.
  • saddaddysaddaddy Posts: 566
    18 is probably as good as the Tundra will get; maybe towards 20. However, I thought 16-18 city/hiway was good for v8s. Ummm, I like Toyotas, but I too have been curious as to why the smaller v8 in the tundra gets comparable to worse mileage than larger competition. My v6 prerunner now gets 20+ easily after a K&N filter. But I struggled to break 18 for the longest. Ultimately its up to you, I would trade my little taco for your tundra with mileage woes in a hot second, if thats any consolation. Good luck and keep us posted
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    You will never get the mileage a small Ford V8 gets, and you can only dream about the 21mpg for a GM small V8. Your back seat is smaller than the Ford and FAR smaller than the extended cab Chevy. However, you have a Toyota, which is supposed to mean you will be good for the long haul. They are made for people who expect to exceed 200k miles on a vehicle, not that a Ford or Chevy won't. They also handle better, partly because they are smaller but mostly because of suspension design. Finally, the Tundra is hands down safer than any other pickup. The Tacoma 2WD is an excellent 2-seat car that you can haul stuff in, and not a lot of it. It does not handle crash tests very well, particularly side impact, and the Pre-Runner is too top heavy for good handling. The standard extended cab Tacoma (lower to the ground) can be equiped with a V6 only if you take a manual 5 speed transmission. So I suggest you think long and hard about giving up a Tundra for a Tacoma. You are going to spend $200 or $300 more for gasoline each year, but you can haul a lot more sand or bricks in yours than I can. Having said all that, I like my Tacoma, and it fits my budget.
  • lagitanelagitane Posts: 25
    From listening to you all, I think I'll keep the Tundra and just bite the bullet on the gas. I should have stuck with the original Tundra V-6 I had. I got 21 mpg on a 285 mile trip in April with it. It was a nice truck. Should have never test driven a V-8. Bad mistake. If you drive one, you'll want it! The difference was amazing, just had to have it. Just NOT a good financial decision. I'm a counselor; don't make tons of money, but do appreciate a good engine and power like everyone else. This puppy hauls [non-permissible content removed] and feels really grounded and strong (It's a TRD). After break in, I will try some of your suggestions about synthetic oil and the K&N filter. Can switch to 89 octane for long Hiway trips. Really scarey thing, though, is when you turn on the A/C & just watch the gas gage slowly but steadily drop. Ouch! I live in AZ, so not much chance of running this puppy w/o A/C. Gonna be a long, expensive summer. I gues, if worse comes to worse, I can always buy a fully-equiped camper and live in it. LOL Thanks again. Love this board. You people are much more helpful and SANE than those idiots on the Tundra board. They just argue and try to one up each other. It's annoying and juvenile. Wish Edmunds would do something to stop all the BS. Thanks again. You are appreciated. I'll visit here again to see what's up with Tacomas. I do like that new crew cab Tacoma they came out with this year; way cool. Dealers aren't dealing on it, however. Too popular. Have to wait.
  • dieselbreathdieselbreath Posts: 243
    So far I've read:
    - you're driving really easy, shifting under 2000 revs
    - your 4-cyl truck has a 4-valve-per-cyl. engine
    - you're not getting suitable mileage in town, but doing good on the highway.
    This is perfectly logical. You're only mistake is thinking that mileage is inversely proportional to REVS when it is proportional to EFFICIENCY.
    Small displacement engine designers increase power by reving the engine faster (to draw in more air & fuel). To increase efficiency at high revs, they've added more valves to let the engine breath. And they've likely optimized the engine timing, cams, etc. for a tradeoff between peak HP (good for marketing) and peak torque (good for acceleration).
    Now shifting at 2000 revs is fine if you're driving a V8, but your engine is just starting to wake up. Its almost the equivalent of shifting a V8 at 1000 revs when you shift your 4-banger at 2000 revs.
    On March 11th you wrote that the engine is turning 2200 RPM on the highway. And you're exceeding the rated MPG. Bingo! Try this:
    - keep your engine OVER 2000 revs for one tank of gas. I'll bet your mileage is almost the same, maybe even slightly better.
    - on the following tank, keep it over 2000 when accelerating (shift around 2500), but let it run below 2000 when decelerating before you downshift.
    - eventually, with experimentation you'll find engine speeds that work.
    But remember that with 4 valves, low RPMs will cause some fuel/air to blow right out the exhaust valve during the intake/exhaust overlap because the engine is designed to rev.
    Let it run in the range the engineers designed it for and it will:
    - run smoother
    - be less stressed (lower torque required)
    - last longer
    - get better mileage.
    If you really want good mileage at low REVs you'll need to change cams. Get an "RV cam" designed for torque instead of high-rev power and then its OK to drive like you do now. (that cam will have much less overlap) But I'd advise against it because you won't recoup your expenses and you may void your warantee. Your engine if begging to spin faster. Make it happy!
    That's just one engineer's opinion.
    What do the rest of you think?
    (PS: My favourite truck was my Landcruiser Diesel Wagon...great MPG and built like a tank!
    If you're serious about economy go to your VW dealer and ask for a Transporter Van with Diesel and 5-spd ... expect 34+ MPG in the city. My brother's friend just bought a used one with over 300,000 on the odometer and it gets over 30 MPG still. Just be careful on the highway because they are s-l-o-w :)
  • rlafaverrlafaver Posts: 70
    Thanks for the input. I got sort of the same advice earlier. I have since tried using 2200 as a rule for accelerating from a dead stop and I have tried 2500, which feels a bit much like a race. You are correct that the mileage was about the same. 2100 to 2200 seems to get something less than .5 mpg improvement. Keep in mind that I am usually driving without hinderance of traffic, so I can try these things for city driving. I feel for those folks who face "real" city traffic.
    Changing cams is drastic, but synthetic oil is something most people can afford and seems to generate improved mileage in all driving situations.
    89 octane gasoline boosts highway mileage enough to actually save money, but it does nothing for city mileage. Along with the oil, however, it does render the valves completely silent, which seems to me should decrease engine wear. Someone out there might have a more scientific opinion on the 89 octane stuff.
    I have decided to change to a K&N air filter in an attempt to get more benefit from the higher octane in the city. It seems logical that boosting air intake has to help, and the K&N should help combustion even when idling.
This discussion has been closed.