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    Thread: wish list: factory stock 25mpg 4x4 daily driveable pickup truck

    1. Member
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      05-04-2012 01:10 AM #1
      I am looking to replace my 2000 Ranger 4.0 4x4 automatic with something a bit newer that gets better than the 15-18mpg I routinely see driving around town (65% highway 70mph, 35% stop and go).

      I am finding myself looking a lot at 2005+ Tacoma trucks with the 2.7L with 5 speed manual.

      I am curious what else I should be looking at? Figure $15K budget for something with around 50K-75K miles.

      Occasional towing/hauling of light loads, commuting, weekend warrior, home DIY, camping all around decent truck.

      My current Ranger has performed admirably for 167,000+ miles and continues to do so, but is very much in the second half of it's life as opposed to the first. Despite being paid for, I am finding it very frustrating that I cannot get close to 20mpg, much less over that figure.

      I have considered small SUV's, econoboxes, etc, but find it hard to match the versatility and utility of a truck; I really would like to have cake and eat it too (4x4 truck plus decent fuel economy plus reasonable purchase price).

      Thoughts?

    2. Member zane!'s Avatar
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      05-04-2012 02:30 PM #2
      You'll get better mileage out of a 2.7l Tacoma for sure but don't expect to tow much of anything. Maybe 2k lbs in a small utility trailer but that's about it.

      I'd also look at an 02-04 Tacoma instead, they are smaller and a little stouter but drive better with the 2.7l IMO. Definitely cheaper too but still not cheap compared to any other truck.

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      05-10-2012 12:20 PM #3
      I picked up a 2009 Tacoma, 2.7L, 4x4, access cab at the end of last year. I've been using it for pretty much exactly what you describe. I haven't run the numbers, but I don't think I'm getting 25mpg. 21-22 seems to be what's usually reported for real world milage in these trucks.

      It's a great DD. I love driving a manual, and while the 2.7L engine will never win a stoplight race, it has plenty of power to get you moving, make a pass, make a quick move to merge, etc.

      I've yet to put more than 800-900lbs. in the bed, but with a load of 800lbs of stone dust and sand, it sits level and rides really well. I realize that isn't a lot of weight for anyone who does serious haluing, but it's what I need, and it does it really well.

      I haven't pulled a trailer yet, but I have no need to pull a trailer with significant weight on it anyway.

      The only place I've found the 2.7L engine to be lacking is on a hill with a load. When my truck is full of five guys and DH bikes, the drive up the mountain takes a lot of 2nd and 3rd gear. My friend's V6 Taco will do it in 4th.

    4. Member TLC Detail's Avatar
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      05-11-2012 11:32 PM #4
      What about an older Tacoma? 96-99? Those things get great mileage, even the V6... And can still be found in MINT condition for under $10k...

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      05-12-2012 08:27 AM #5
      I don't know about where you are, but any 1st gen Tacoma (1996-2004) around me for $10,000 or less is going to have 200K. If I am going to get a replacement to my ranger, it is going to be something with under 100K miles, and preferably closer to 50K. There are a couple of 1st generation tacomas with around 50K miles near me for $15-20K. Stupid money. BEYOND stupid money.

      Maybe I just need to expand the search area; but I am picky about cars, and really like to see what I'm buying in person.

    6. Member TLC Detail's Avatar
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      05-12-2012 09:53 AM #6
      Fair enough!

      Have you thought about the Frontier?

      Depending on year:


      or


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      05-13-2012 09:29 PM #7
      I had considered the Nissan Frontiers, as well as Chevrolet Colorados (both 4 and 5 cylinder versions). From what I have found, the Frontiers don't get particularly good fuel economy. Same with the 5 banger Colorados (not particularly fuel efficient).

    8. Member zane!'s Avatar
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      05-14-2012 04:54 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by jaystone View Post
      I had considered the Nissan Frontiers, as well as Chevrolet Colorados (both 4 and 5 cylinder versions). From what I have found, the Frontiers don't get particularly good fuel economy. Same with the 5 banger Colorados (not particularly fuel efficient).
      I was in a somewhat similar situation to you and spent the last 3 months shopping for a truck. The Toyota market seems to be about the same for us, I looked all over WA/OR/ID. 4wd was a requirement.

      Here's my short version:

      Originally wanted an 02-04 4-door Tacoma. Realized that they are $14k minimum, didn't want to spend that much.

      Looked at ex-cab Tacomas, the V6 models are still $10-12k for what I wanted. Still too much.

      Looked at 4cyl ex-cab Tacomas. The price was right for my area, $8-10k. Then realized that the cab was too small for our needs. Those back seats are worthless for anything besides reclining the front seats a bit further into. If you just need it for two people it would work well.

      Looked at Nissan frontiers... there's no way I'd buy an 04 or older one. Don't like the engines, interior, aftermarket support, gas mileage, the list goes on. I couldn't afford an 05 or newer so not an option.

      Looked at Chevy Colorados... they are pieces of sh!t. I recall that they had one or two star crash ratings or something like that. Piss poor build quality, limited aftermarket support, the list goes on.

      Then decided (with my wife) that maybe an SUV would work better for us...

      Looked at Nissan Xterras, see the Frontier comments above.

      Looked at 4runners, shopped every day for a couple weeks, found a clean one owner 1998 V6 and bought it.

      EDIT:

      My conclusion for you: hold out for the Tacoma you want. I'd definitely recommend a 2000-2004 2.7l 4wd for you. They are worth the wait and the market prices are a bit higher because they always are in demand. It will be worth it.

      EDIT again:

      I can get 24mpg highway in my auto V6 4runner, and average 19-20ish with a 50/50 city/highway mix. A 4 cyl/5 speed in a lighter truck will definitely do better than that.
      Last edited by zane!; 05-14-2012 at 05:08 PM.

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      05-24-2012 08:57 PM #9
      So I had an opportunity to drive a 2007 Tacoma access cab 4 cylinder 5 speed 4x4.

      I was wholeheartedly unimpressed. 90K miles, decent shape, $17K. I wasn't expecting a fast vehicle, but frankly it reminded me of my old Vanagon in the power department. It also happened to be raining for my test drive, and I was completely blown away that it only had 2 speed windshield wipers. Am I out of my mind in thinking that intermittent windshield wipers should be a no brainer in this day and age? I understand hitting a price point, but that is just ridiculous. Power windows, keyless entry, cruise control, A/C, electronic shift on the fly 4 wheel drive switch, but 2 speed wipers? WTF.

      I think I am just going to have to revise my search and keep looking. A V6 along with the corresponding fuel economy hit seem to be more realistic as far as my expectations are concerned. A 4 cylinder Tacoma has a hard time getting out of it's own way; I couldn't imagine loading it up and trying to drive it up into the mountains west of Denver (much less towing a small trailer or a bed full of dirt).

    10. Senior Member Aonarch's Avatar
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      07-13-2012 12:16 AM #10
      2.7l taco ftw. Keep looking!


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    11. 07-22-2012 08:06 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by jaystone View Post
      So I had an opportunity to drive a 2007 Tacoma access cab 4 cylinder 5 speed 4x4.

      I was wholeheartedly unimpressed. 90K miles, decent shape, $17K. I wasn't expecting a fast vehicle, but frankly it reminded me of my old Vanagon in the power department. It also happened to be raining for my test drive, and I was completely blown away that it only had 2 speed windshield wipers. Am I out of my mind in thinking that intermittent windshield wipers should be a no brainer in this day and age? I understand hitting a price point, but that is just ridiculous. Power windows, keyless entry, cruise control, A/C, electronic shift on the fly 4 wheel drive switch, but 2 speed wipers? WTF.

      I think I am just going to have to revise my search and keep looking. A V6 along with the corresponding fuel economy hit seem to be more realistic as far as my expectations are concerned. A 4 cylinder Tacoma has a hard time getting out of it's own way; I couldn't imagine loading it up and trying to drive it up into the mountains west of Denver (much less towing a small trailer or a bed full of dirt).
      $17k????????????? for 90k miles, 4 cyl base Tacoma?? I literally cannot imagine a worse deal in my entire life.

      You can buy a brand new V6 ranger for that.

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      07-22-2012 10:36 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Bonanza View Post
      $17k????????????? for 90k miles, 4 cyl base Tacoma?? I literally cannot imagine a worse deal in my entire life.

      You can buy a brand new V6 ranger for that.
      Not anymore, and not a 4x4 without stupid incentives. IIRC, a 2012 Ranger XLT 4x4 with the 4.0 and automatic stickered for about $24K. Besides, Ford dealerships around me have not had Rangers for a while. And even still, a 2000 Ranger is my current daily. 4.0 V6 4x4 automatic. In the summer I get about 18mpg. In the winter about 15 with the ethanol blend they use. While it is a good truck, it has 168,000 miles. I would really like to replace it with another small 4x4 truck but one that gets better mileage (hopefully). If I am going to take on payments, an increase of fuel economy is a necessity. I don't mind the fuel consumption I currently get because the truck is paid off.

      Toyota trucks have stupid resale value. I see one and two year old Tacoma's around me that dealerships are asking a few hundred dollars less than new MSRP. Any of the previous body style (2003ish) Tacoma's for sale with anything under 100k miles command serious coin ($15k and up asking price). It's frustrating as hell when people routinely ask and probably get thousands more than what KBB shows to be their best guess at a fair market price. Supply and demand I guess, but I am not jumping in with two feet just yet.
      Last edited by jaystone; 07-22-2012 at 10:40 PM.

    13. Member zane!'s Avatar
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      07-23-2012 10:51 AM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by jaystone View Post
      Toyota trucks have stupid resale value. I see one and two year old Tacoma's around me that dealerships are asking a few hundred dollars less than new MSRP. Any of the previous body style (2003ish) Tacoma's for sale with anything under 100k miles command serious coin ($15k and up asking price). It's frustrating as hell when people routinely ask and probably get thousands more than what KBB shows to be their best guess at a fair market price. Supply and demand I guess, but I am not jumping in with two feet just yet.
      Your Toyota market is just like mine, it's rare to find a 2000+ 4x4 even close to KBB. It's definitely supply and demand, as these are always in high demand.

      Consider it an entry fee to the best truck you will ever own (at least that's how I look at it to make myself feel better).

    14. Member zane!'s Avatar
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      07-23-2012 10:52 AM #14
      Also, serious question: Have you driven a 2002-2004 2.7l 5speed Tacoma yet? They are a completely different truck and are very well suited to that engine.

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      07-23-2012 11:42 AM #15
      I have driven that year range 2.7L and agree with you entirely. I was very disappointed with the new one in comparison.

    16. Member ventovr's Avatar
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      07-25-2012 11:59 AM #16
      I have a 98 tacoma with the 2.7 and a 5 speed and i have gotten 23 mpg on a long drive with 31's. i think i could maybe get a little better now that i have 28's instead. The truck is great, it drives very well for being a pickup. I got it for a steel at 6,500 with 108k.

    17. Member rpmk4's Avatar
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      08-02-2012 02:03 PM #17
      have you considered the colorado? i have a 2wd and get 19mpg in town with the 5cyl, my roommate gets 18mpg in his 4x4. interstate i averaged 24.6 on a roundtrip to florida and back. if i'm on the highway for any exteded time its easily 23mpg. you would have to stay away from the z71 package to get that kind of mileage though. i went from ranger to colorado and i'm glad i did.


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      08-05-2012 10:03 AM #18
      I had briefly considered Chevy Colorado trucks, but it must be 4x4 and the I5 in that configuration seems to be getting high teens in real world situations. Even the 2.9L I4 doesn't do much better (MAYBE 20 combined).

    19. Member rpmk4's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 03:32 PM #19
      that's quitter talk! actually now that i realize where you are located it wouldn't do that good. i have never had a vehicle so temperature/altitude sensative towards gas mileage in my life.

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      08-07-2012 07:28 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by rpmk4 View Post
      that's quitter talk! actually now that i realize where you are located it wouldn't do that good. i have never had a vehicle so temperature/altitude sensative towards gas mileage in my life.
      didn't know they were temperature/altitude sensitive. A friend of mine had a 4 cylinder 4x4 5 speed and got about 20 combined.

      I know my ranger absolutely HATES the ethanol blend that is distributed in winter around Colorado. I see my average drop about 2 to 3 MPG when they bump the ethanol in late fall/early winter.

    21. Member zane!'s Avatar
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      08-08-2012 12:35 PM #21

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      08-08-2012 01:07 PM #22
      Nice truck, but not $14k nice.

    23. Member zane!'s Avatar
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      08-08-2012 01:21 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by jaystone View Post
      Nice truck, but not $14k nice.
      I agree. Maybe $11k nice. Just an idea though.

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      08-10-2012 01:39 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by jaystone View Post
      I am finding myself looking a lot at 2005+ Tacoma trucks with the 2.7L with 5 speed manual.
      I had a 2000 2.7L Single Cab Pre-Runner and before that a 3.4L V6 Extracab 4x4 5spd and I never saw anything over 19mpg. I sold the Prerunner to buy a 2004 4runner 4x2 with the 4.0L V-6 and my average in that was also 18.5mpg, but it was such a nicer vehicle to drive than either Tacoma.

      I sold my 4runner and traded down to a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited with full time 4wheel drive before moving to CO last fall, and I'm getting 19.5mpg average per the computer. I think 4cyls are just too weak to drive around up here. You'll really hate the 4cyl driving up I-70 into mountains.

      My Dad had a GMC 4x4 w/t 1500 with the 4.3 and he claims that he would get 24 mpg when it was new. GMs with a Tall Gear Ratio in the rear end really can get some impressive fuel economy, really pissed me off when guys with Tahoes and Avalanches were gettin the same mileage as my Toyota...

      The Toyotas are also way too damn expensive to buy used. New it's the best truck to get 'cause it depreciates so little. But after owning 3 of them and now the Jeep, I literally paid HALF for my Jeep than I would've for a comparable 4runner. Now new they were close in price but in the used market, the money you'd spend on a couple extra repairs is still far less than the premium for owning a Tacoma.
      Last edited by 1badMKIrocco; 08-10-2012 at 01:44 AM.

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