CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2014 Toyota Tacoma - MPG question

I recently bought a used 2014 Toyota Tacoma with the 4 cyl engine. The truck seems to not have much power at all, and the gas mileage has been lousy, 17-19 MPG. Previously I drove a 2003 Toyota 4Runner V6, and got 19-21 miles per gallon, and it (of course) had plenty of power. It seems strange I would get better gas milage with the bigger heavier 4Runner with a bigger engine. Before the 4 runner, I had a toyota pickup with the 22R 4 cyliner engine and it seemed to have a lot more power than this 4 cylinder. Could there be something wrong with this 2014 Tacoma that would reduce the gas mileage and power? The check engine light has not come on at all. What would you check?
Thanks,
Paul

1 Like

I would run a compression test on this truck with xxxx miles on it - you don’t say so we don’t know. Post back with what you find.

Thanks, the truck has about 75,000 miles on it. I’ll do a compression check. Anything else you might recommend?
Paul

Sure, research the 0-60 time of this truck and then measure it for yourself. A cell phone app called Torque Pro can do this for you. That test will tell you if the truck is as fast as Toyota decided it should be or if there is something wrong. Far cheaper than dyno time to prove how many horses have escaped the Toyota “barn”.

It only had 159 hp to begin with… not exactly a performance truck, now is it?

3 Likes

Before you go crazy trying to find out why a truck rated at 19 MPG gets 19 MPG…

8 Likes

Is the truck an automatic or manual shift, regular cab or extended cab, 4wd or 2wd? How about the old truck with the 22r? Was it configured the same as the 2014? Differences like cab size and stick shift vs auto can make a huge difference in how much power a vehicle seems to have.

I owned a 99 Tacoma reg cab, 4 cyl, 5 speed (with 287k miles!) that would get 25 mpg on my 30 mile commute, mostly highway. I believe the 4wd and extended cab models were rated closer to 20 mpg highway. So the options make a difference in mpg also.

Hi Goreham,
Thanks, I thought a small 4 cylinder would get better. This is an automatic, 2WD, so it does say 21 MPG above. And I drive lightly, I typically get as good or better milage than the EPA estimates.

But you are right, it’s not too far out of line.

Paul

1 Like

My current Tacoma is a 2WD automatic. My old 1983 22R was 4WD manual. Both are extended cab.
I figured the modern engine would get whopping better fuel economy and at least as much power. I guess I was just hoping for too much.

A stick shift (to me) feels more powerful. Still, I’d think the 2004 would be more powerful and get quite a bit better mileage than the 1983 model. Maybe you remember the old 83 better than it actually was?

Next time your truck is in the shop ask them to do a fuel trim test. Your report of very little power and lower than expected mpg does seem a little surprising for a 2.7 L engine. Also ask them to verify the engine is running at its specified temperature.

1 Like

When I was a city tractor trailer driver, I occasionally went to a local Chevrolet engine plant. One of the engines they were building was the aluminum Corvair flat six.

Near the loading dock was a work station where a worker was installing piston into the cylinder barrels. This was done with a press operated with a hand lever with a round polished lever a little over a foot long.

Along side the work station was a long handled wooden maul with a large leather faced head. Every so often, the worker would get a piston that just would not go in by hand and he would swing that maul over his head and hit the lever to seat that piston. It would be bad to get a car with one of those pistons, it would be really bad to get a car with more than one.

2 Likes

Not so good for the arbor press either … lol . .

Meanwhile, on the Toyota, are the routine maintenance things all done? How’s the air filter? Spark plugs still original? Ties inflated properly?

Tires are good and inflated proper, air filter looks new. Not sure on the spark plugs, I’ll take a good look at them when I do the compression test. Previous owner said they did all the maintenance as scheduled, but you never know for sure.

1 Like

I guess I’m not surprised by the mileage. An overworked 4 will give poor mpgs. Try driving it VERY gently, slow starts, that kind of thing.

Take a picture of spark plugs, post it here.
How they look will tell a lot about the engine condition.

How about the thermostat? If it’s stuck open that’ll hurt mpgs. Anything unusual about how it warms up?

Although I will say, I ran my old 99 Tacoma pretty hard and still got 25 mpg. But the majority of my driving was on the highway at 75-80 mph. Did anyone ask what the posters commute consisted of? If it’s a short commute in town, he’s not going to get great mileage.

One thing to check that wouldn’t set a check engine light are the brakes. Would be good to check and make sure the brakes aren’t dragging a little.

1 Like

Hi y’all, My driving is about 1/2 freeway, 1/2 town. I don’t have a commute, as I’m retired. Therefore, I don’t drive 75-80 anymore, just 65 to 70.
I’ll check the brakes, but I’ve never smelled them hot. I’ll check the thermostat, too, but I’ve never noticed a problem with it warming up.

1 Like

Most likely, you’d get some sort of engine code sooner or later if the thermostat were failed open. I might just replace the thermostat when I changed the coolant, which needs to be done anyway if it hasn’t been done already.

I believe if you took a decent highway trip and checked the mileage, it might get closer to the epa highway rating. Short trips here and there with little extended highway driving, it’s tough to get much over the epa combined mpg rating.