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2015 Toyota Tacoma Fuel Economy Estimates – 32 MPG?

The pending re-launch of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon with aluminum engines, lighter weight construction and direct injection got us thinking. What could a 2015 Toyota Tacoma EPA mile per gallon estimates be? Maybe 32 mpg?

This is a hypothetical story – not real facts. It is a “what could be” story.

2015 Toyota Tacoma Fuel Economy Estimates

What could a 2015 or 2016 Toyota Tacoma have for MPG if it followed what the full-size trucks are doing? How about 32 MPG!

Before we start making assumptions as to what future fuel economy numbers may be, let’s recap what is going on in the full-size truck market and how that could impact the compact trucks. Also, this is simply a best guess at what could happen.

New Engines + 2.5 MPG

The full-size trucks are coming with sorts of different types of engines like Ford’s EcoBoost with turbochargers or GM’s EcoTech3 engines. The new EcoTech3 engines (just announced on brand new Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra) are all aluminum and normally aspirated. They come with fuel-saving features like: direct fuel injection, continuously variable valve timing and seamless cylinder deactivation.

It seems save to estimate using new engine technologies, trucks will increase fuel economy by 2 mpg.

Weight Savings + 1.25 MPG

All the new trucks are dropping weight – lots of it. It is rumored that the 2015 Ford F-150 will drop as much as 700 lbs through more aluminum and lighter brakes and axle. A reliable Ford source says this will result in the new Ford F-150 gaining 3 mpg.

The new Chevy and GMC haven’t released their weight drop, but they have used so much aluminum throughout the frame and cab that it is hard to think they won’t drop similar numbers. This weight savings immediately helps improve fuel economy.

Now the Tacoma doesn’t have as much to lose as the full-size trucks, so MPG gains would be rather limited. Our estimates are conservative with a 1 mpg gain.

Aerodynamics + 1.25 MPG

One of the big items for GM when it unveiled its new pickups is the talk about how aerodynamic they are. GM went over every aspect of the front end to achieve a tighter fit on the sheet metal in an attempt to reduce drag.

While a tighter fit is definitely beneficial, another advancement in aerodynamics is in the Dodge Ram 1500. The new truck is using grille shutters to improve air flow at optimal times. By closing off air when it isn’t needed (along with other features), Dodge says the Ram 1500 might hit 25 mpg (up from 20).

What would the Toyota Tacoma obtain if it used grille shutters and more aerodynamics. How about +2 mpg.

Transmission + 2 MPG

Would Toyota look for improvements in transmission like the full-size trucks? You bet. Full-size trucks are moving toward 8-speed transmission to improve fuel economy. Improving the entire powertrain is part of the increasing MPG puzzle. Toyota has already established this goal.

“By 2015, through improvement in the engine and powertrain alone, we aim to achieve a fuel-efficiency improvement of 10 percent to 20 percent on the models adopting the improvements,” said Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota’s outgoing product development chief told

Let’s say the gains from an improved transmission (lighter weight, more efficient use of gears) is 1/2 mpg.

What does all of this add up to?

+ 2.5 New Engine Technology

+ 1.25 Weight Savings

+ 1.25 Better Aerodynamics

+ 2 Better Transmission

= 7 MPG gained

With the 2012 Toyota Tacoma 2WD 4 cyl, 2.7 L, Manual 5-spd, Regular Gasoline sitting at 21 City, 22 Combined, 25 Highway, according to, we could see a 2015 or 2016 Toyota Tacoma hitting 32 MPG. Make it a Hybrid and it could reach 37 MPG.

Why would Toyota want to increase the MPG? GM is planning on a diesel version of the Chevy Colorado hitting 30. If Toyota wants to keep up, they had better get busy on improving the MPG on the Tacoma.

What do you think? Could a compact truck ever reach 32 mpg?

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  • jimenezohana

    Wow!! Those are some nice truck mileage numbers especially in this day where there is no such thing as stable gas prices.

    • Tim Esterdahl


      They will be if Toyota follows through with all the improvements.


  • parksnrecmatt

    so its possible for a 4×4 v6 to get 24mpg Combined or even 25 mpg. that would be worth up grading to me.

    • Tim Esterdahl


      Not really right now. Could be in the future though!


  • DieselLuv

    If we were allowed mid sized diesels in the states 32 mpg in a mid sized truck would be the low side of standard fuel economy. But thanks to government’s ability to decide what we can and cannot purchase, diesels are only available in full sized trucks, which even though weigh so much more than the mid sized trucks, get comparable mileage, due to the extreme efficiency of diesel engines.

    • RAL

      You are 100% correct. The choked engines the EPA forces on us do pollute a tiny bit less mile per mile at the tailpipe. The overall impact is higher because of all the other aspects required to produce and distribute more fuel because of the higher fuel use. Bottom line it is false envirmental protection. Total BS.

      • Tim Esterdahl


        While I tend to agree with you about EPA BS, I do find it interesting that other countries/areas are starting to follow suit like Europe and China. My thing is that if it is complete American EPA BS then why would they follow along?


  • arsh

    Toyota has the capability if they put the hilux turbo diesel in the tacoma. they just havent for some reason. some stupid excuse of emissions which is a fallacy. I’m hoping they just bring it out for the 2015 model and saved it.

  • mudrock

    7 miles per gallon gained for the Tacoma! I say get working on this new improvements immediately. It might be time for me to trade in for a 2015.

  • Ed

    How about a NGV truck??

    • Tim Esterdahl

      Not enough infrastructure for a consumer version to make sense. NGV will probably stay in Gov’t and commercial fleets only.


  • Mike Hunt

    Does anyone want to buy a bridge?

    • Tim Esterdahl



  • Steve

    If the Tacoma gets 38-32mpg, I would buy it. What about a front wheel drive truck to save mpg

    • Tim Esterdahl


      There is a lot of chatter about bringing a new truly, compact truck to the market. It would resemble more of the El Camino of years past and would have the front wheel drive characteristics of a car with the bed of a truck. It would be similar to the Aussie Utes. We shall see though if it becomes a reality.


      • Matt McDonald

        gee… seems all my google matches are yours today Tim 😉 I’ve owned 6 El Caminos and 10 Toyota small trucks (assuming you can even call a Tacoma a “small” truck) and 10 Corvettes. I’ve been to Australia, and I’ve been fascinated with their utes for many years. I know that many of us could live with a truck that size, because we don’t pull 5th wheels and loads over 1500#. A ute with a Corvette drivetrain could deliver great gas mileage, mostly because they’re so aerodynamic, and driving along at 1500 RPM is barely above an idle. I recently drove a 99 Corvette 30 miles across Phoenix at 55MPH and average 39.5 MPG. My current Tacoma is an 09 Prerunner Access Cab with a V6 auto. My previous Tacoma was an 07 Prerunner Access Cab with a 4 cyl 5 speed. I’ve had a Scan Gauge hooked up to my OBD plug on both of them. I’ve gotten 30+ MPG from the V6 auto for over 30 miles several times… when I’m driving 45-50 MPG with few stoplights. But as soon as you get over 65, aerodynamics come into play,.. suddenly you’re down in the low 20s. So… unless someone redesigns our trucks to make them more aerodynamic and lower to the ground, don’t expect any gas mileage. Even if we’d get an efficient diesel version, aerodynamics would still make it 25-30% more efficient. The side benefit from that is increased performance and better handling… WOO HOO :-)

        • Tim Esterdahl


          Sorry for taking over your Google. LOL!

          Yes, a truck is a brick on wheels. I’ve spoken with many engineers who lament that fact. They really do try to make it more aerodynamic, but it just doesn’t work.


  • John

    My old Dakota from 1991 got 30 so why the heck not!

    • Tim Esterdahl




  • Andy

    Old Toyota T100 v6 3.4 I getting 18 to 24 MPG!!!!!

    • Tim Esterdahl



  • MeMyselfAnd-I

    Your not going to see those types of fuel increases without a 4cyl turbo diesel engine in the Tacoma. Without it they will likely get 2-3mpg better with the 6spd auto and direct injection with some weight loss but no way 7+ mpg!
    The VW Amarok (not in the USA market because of the chicken tax but that will change by 2020) quad cab gets 34mpg with their small turbo diesel and has more towing cap, hauling cap and nearly double the range of the current gas burner Tacoma.
    Ram is coming with a 6cly diesel in their 1500 in a few weeks mpg near 30mpg on a full size!! Tacoma had better get serious with what coming with their competition and with the chicken tax starting to fade in 2018 as imports come in they will get left behind without a small turbo diesel!

    I had my 2013 taco extended 4cly 4 months and dumped it for poor mpg that couldn’t even get the sticker garb of 18 city…… lol 18mpg city in a 4 banger.

  • Elmore Frank Brown Jr

    It’s worth a wait for the new 2016 or perches a 2014 tacoma? Is a base or prerunner v6 good? Please let me know? I am still thinking which one I should buy.

  • Elmore Frank Brown Jr

    I just want to know which one I should buy the 2014 or 2015 tacoma or should I wait for 2016? Please let me know?

    • Tim Esterdahl

      Elmore, sorry I’ve been on the road. It’s hard to say which one. While we think they could release a new model as a 2016, it is just a rumor at this point. If the current generation is good for you then don’t wait. If you want something better and are willing to be wait, I would wait.