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2015 Toyota Tacoma Changes – New Engine/Transmission, No Regular Cab

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Rumors are starting to grow around the 2015 Toyota Tacoma and what changes are in store. With new competition coming to the market, are these changes good or to little too late?

2015 Toyota Tacoma Changes - New Engine/Transmission, No Regular Cab

Take a good look at this regular cab, 5-speed Tacoma. It will be vanishing soon.

Let’s be clear that most of these rumors have to do with the pending 2016 CAFE requirements that are going to cause a large wake. With that in mind, the first rumor is that the late in 2014, the Tacoma will get a 2.0L turbo engine This new engine is of the smaller displacment breed (think EcoBoost) and should provide increased fuel economy.

While a more fuel efficient engine with turbochargers makes sense, testing and real world experiences haven’t measured up. There is also the reluctance by Toyota to use them. Toyota’s chief engineer for the Tundra and Tacoma, Mike Sweers, has repeatedly said he can’t find the increased fuel economy that people say they get.

There is also the sense that the 2015 model will simply be a “mid cycle update” than a true ground-up change, as there simply hasn’t been time to integrate the Tacoma and Hilux (or Tacoma and Tundra) platforms. The integration of these platforms is widely expected and will take place in the near future. The simple reason is that there are so many economical benefits to building off of one platform it is hard for automakers to avoid doing it.

Another big rumor is that Toyota will discontinue the regular cab version of the truck. The truth is that a regular cab isn’t a big seller and they can build the larger cabs for about the same price. The lack of a big price savings plus fuel economy standards on a regular cab truck together could very well spell the end to this option.

Lastly, there is speculation that a new transmission is on the horizon. Most competitors have been adding more gears to improve fuel economy and Toyota will soon be forced to join the fray to keep up. It is likely that future Tacoma and Tundra pickups will share an eight-speed transmission in all engine sizes including the V-6. While this many gears may seem unnecessary to some consumers, the computer controlled automatic transmissions will efficiently use them to achieve better fuel economy.

What do you think? Which rumor makes the most sense and which one(s) do you think will come true?

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12 Comments

  1. What surprises me most about Toyota is how they don’t seem to be scrambling like everyone else to deal with CAFE standards. They have to have something up their sleeves come 2016 to promise body on frame SUVs, get the Tacoma and Tundra within reasonable MPG of the Ford and their Ecoboost or Chrysler and their 30 mpg diesel for the ram (and the wrangler?). No improved transmissions, not updated engines. This has to be an attempt to milk as much out of the current product line as possible AND to buy them the time to tweak and improve their replacements.

    I have faith in Toyota and hope the ram diesel is enough to convince Toyota to bring their diesels stateside, but like everyone else around here, I’m convinced that’s just a pipedream…

    But, they do have to have something up their sleeves barring some (not trying to be political here only funny) expectation that an Obama impeachment would lead to the overturning of CAFE right? What other options could keep them so above the fray that has plagued the rest of the industry? Look at Honda. They canned the ridgeline for 2 years. Surely it’s to deal with its shortcomings as a product and address it’s MPG. How is Toyota keeping so cool?

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Robert,

      First, without getting political but pointing out that impeaching or Obama leaving office will have no effect on CAFE requirements. Why? The automakers made the agreement with the EPA’s insistence. Did Obama push for a higher mandate? Sure. So did Bush, Clinton, Bush, etc… Unless the EPA goes away completely, CAFE will remain. Also, remember CAFE has been around since 1970 and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

      Second, Toyota really doesn’t have to do anything. They sell so many Prius models that they will simply take those credits and apply them to their truck lineups. Ford and Ram don’t sell nearly the amount of electric vehicles and are working hard to improve their fleet MPG. Ram is probably in the most trouble since it doesn’t have any electric vehicles and does very little to nil with hybrids. GM should be fine, although, there is a big reason why they dropped the price of the Volt by $5k.

      -Tim

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Robert,

      I should have added and just thought about it, there is and has been some talk about Toyota getting screwed out of the CAFE discussions. I wrote this over at our sister site. Check it out: http://www.tundraheadquarters......fficiency/

      -Tim

      • Thanks, and like I said I was actually kidding, but the one thing I had forgotten about is doesn’t the standards apply to a simple average MPG of your product line? Not a weighted average of MPG over totals sales of vehicles? That is, doesn’t a prius c have the same weight as a tundra since the regs don’t demand that your average MPG factor in total sales of each vehicle available?

        • Tim Esterdahl says:

          Robert,

          Close. It is actually a LOT more complex. So, the CAFE requirements are broken down by a car/truck’s footprint (measure from approximately the wheel wells) and then broken down by category. Then, you have to average a certain MPG per category. Now, if you have electric vehicles you get a special credit that can be applied to a vehicle over the cap. So, if you sell one Prius, you get one credit to apply to say a Tacoma.

          In the end, it is like everything government, extremely complex and probably full of unintended consequences. From our journalism side, we can only speculate what certain companies may do. The simple truth is that we really don’t know until 2016.

          -Tim

  2. Correct the caption Tim. Reg cab tacomas were never offered with a 6 speed. In that regard, I hope they don’t get rid of it altogether next year if the truck is redesigned.

  3. Tim,

    Every vehicle that i have ridden in with the 8 speed tranny just hangs up and makes alot of noise (whinning). I have driven the Ford Raptor to the new BMW. I hope if toyota does the 8 speed they get there arms around it.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Sam,

      I am currently driving a press loan 2013 Lexus RX 350 with an 8-speed transmission. If this is the tranny that Toyota wants to use for all their vehicles, I say go for it. No problems at all. It shifts really smooth and it is hard to notice any loss in performance. It actually downshifts on demand without feeling clunky.

      -Tim

  4. A “many speed” transmission doesn’t really do much for fuel consumption. It will have no effect at all on the highway (where your fuel consumption is dictated by the ratio of the highest gear — not the other ones), and its effect will be minimal in the city.

    Toyota could very easily improve the fuel mileage of Tacoma, simply by changing up the highest gear ratios on the manual transmissions.

    Automatic (4cyl / 6cyl): 0.705:1 / 0.716:1
    Manual (4cyl / 6cyl): 0.805:1 / 0.849:1

    The manual transmission versions (especially the 6-cyl) get much worse fuel consumption than the automatics, and the *only* reason is that they are subjected to a far less favorable gear ratio.

    Give the manuals the same gear ratio as the automatics, and they will no longer wreck the fuel consumption numbers.

  5. I just purchased a 2014 Tacoma TRD Sport V6. I replaced the exhaust with TRD Catback (very easy) and I put a K & N air filter. My question is that when I took the “stock” air filter out I noticed another filter (I guess). Do I leave that “filter” in or do I remove that one also? The K & N fits fine, but I wasn’t sure about that inner white filter…

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