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Old 10-28-2013, 10:08 AM   #1
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Toyota Tacoma: automatic LSD vs 4x4?

Hi y'all --

(Posting this on "Campfire" since it has nothing to do with vans.)

I need some advice/education, and the folks on the Toyota Tacoma /Toyota truck forums are a bit, uhm, rabid on this subject. Cooler and wiser heads prevail on the SMB forum.

I'm thinking about replacing my dying daily driver with a recent year Toyota Tacoma Access cab, V6. I might have looked for a recent year v6 body-on-frame SUV (like the Explorer) but those were all victims of the "crossover" stampede. These faux minivans have nil towing capacity, too many seats (at the expense of cargo capacity), way too many cup-holders for me and Dawg, and are just plain ugly. (OK, I'm rabid on this subject ).

I don't want a v8 because this will be a daily driver in the city. Friends with Expeditions and Tahoes get about 12 mpg around town. Ouch!

I had a 2001 v6 4x4 Explorer (put 196K miles on it) and the power was just fine, even in the Rockies and Cascades. And it did well towing a pop-up camper. As did my 1992 Mazda Navajo.

So I'm leaning in the direction of a v6 Taco with the tow package (6500 lbs) and a shell on the back for camping.

I don't do off-roading, per se, but back when I lived in Oregon I liked the security of having 4x4 for snowy conditions when I'd head to the mountains to ski or for dog sled races (though in fact I rarely needed to use it, as I had studded tires). Now I'm more likely to drive on semi-graded dirt roads (like in Utah to see fossil beds or in Big Bend NP), NFS roads, and if I'm lucky, light snow (if and when I get to camp in the mountains in shoulder season again -- I love the Tetons and the San Juans lightly dusted in snow in October).

Drive train? Assuming I'm looking for 2010 or later, would the Tacoma automatic limited slip differential with good M/S tires (and chains when necessary) be OK, or should I go for the 4x4 knowing that 98% of the time it will not be needed...or perhaps 99% of the time?

Note that 4x4 Tacomas are not easy to find in central Texas.

Help! Car salesmen of course assure me that I need what they have on their lots and would be a fool to consider anything else....

Or is there another vehicle that I should be looking at?

Cheers,
Meredith
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:22 AM   #2
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Re: Toyota Tacoma: automatic LSD vs 4x4?

I had a 2006 Tacoma 4x4 5 speed with the r22 motor, loved it, traded that in for a 2003 Tundra 4x4, loved that truck. Traded that in for a 2006 FJ Cruiser 4x2 (LSD) and Auto lockers. Got stuck in the sand once and was disappointed with that vehicle ever since. Lost faith in it I guess.
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:19 AM   #3
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Re: Toyota Tacoma: automatic LSD vs 4x4?

The issue becomes a choice you have to make. 2wd and be prepared to recover if stuck, which means self recovery device such as Hi-Lift, hand winch, MaxTrax, etc... Or buy 4wd and pay up for it now.
I do feel that the money spent would come back upon a sale later, so for the added safety/confidence, I suggest both the 4wd and some self recovery device.
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:55 AM   #4
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Re: Toyota Tacoma: automatic LSD vs 4x4?

When I see people pulled over chaining up under a sign that says "Four wheel drive OK" I'm glad I'm driving a 4x4. I also agree with Carl about resale, even if it's banged up a bit a 4x4 is easier to sell.
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:37 PM   #5
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Re: Toyota Tacoma: automatic LSD vs 4x4?

Jage drives exactly what you are looking for, I think, so I would think he will chime in with some good advice, possibly mixed with some advice on baby formula, sleep deprivation and the like.

In my part of the world NOTHING holds resale as well as a Toyota 4WD truck. Nothing even comes close.

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Old 10-28-2013, 01:18 PM   #6
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Re: Toyota Tacoma: automatic LSD vs 4x4?

Go with 4x4. Lockers work great in a van where most of the weight is out back anyways, but in a pickups the weight is at the pulling end, so you really need 4x4 in a lot of situations where a 2wd van has no problem.

My thoughts on the Taco... Many of my friends have them, but the newer ones especially have lost their "small truck" advantages. They aren't as small anymore, and they get big-truck fuel economy.

The new F150s with either V6 (3.7L N/A or 3.5L twin turbo) both seem to use less fuel on the highway than a 4x4 taco. Even the 5.0 seems to do nearly as well. Several of my friends were impressed enough to make their first jump to a Ford.
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:19 PM   #7
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Re: Toyota Tacoma: automatic LSD vs 4x4?

If it is used for commuting and fuel mileage is an issue, the 2wd with highway tires will be the ticket. We have had 2wd vehicles forever and have gone places most people wouldn't take their Suburban, and have never got stuck except in ski area parking lots.

I wouldn't be surprised if a new Ford F150 would have a better combination of price, towing, and fuel efficiency than a Toyota.
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:22 PM   #8
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Re: Toyota Tacoma: automatic LSD vs 4x4?

I have a 2004 Tacoma 4x4 and my bro-inlaw has the 2003 Tacoma with 2wd limited slip. We both go off the beaten path with our trucks and I can honestly say my truck is much better than his when it comes to travel, I wouldn't own another with out 4x4. Love the manual stick transfer case to drop it in and out of 4wd when needed. Never a worry about the weather. FYI the 2004 was the last year of that particular body style, the small truck style.
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Old 10-28-2013, 03:09 PM   #9
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Re: Toyota Tacoma: automatic LSD vs 4x4?

Thanks, all.

Yep, the 4x4 Tacomas hold resale value: when I look 2010-2012 with less than 60K miles and compare those to the 2013's, the asking price difference is only about $3-4K.

On Saturday a couple of guys on my Habitat for Humanity build crew suggested I look at the new (2011 or newer) F150 as well, so that's a project for this week. Time to work up a spreadsheet with comparative specs. I'd want the extended cab and 6.5" bed so that I could build a sleeping platform; 5'5" won't work.

Wheelbase and turning radius are no small consideration: Austin is so "green" now that parking my E350 was almost impossible in many places because they've made the parking spots short and narrow to encourage us to drive small hybrids. It's now even difficult to park a minivan in some of the grocery store lots, and almost impossible to parallel park downtown.

No one has suggested looking at the new Chevy 1500 -- which on paper is more fuel efficient and has comparable hp and torque. I've never owned a Chevy. Just several Fords, a wonderful old Subaru, and a couple of dreadful Dodges.

This is an awkward time to be thinking about a midsize truck: the refreshed Tacoma is due in 2015 (new engines, etc), and that's when GM will introduce the re-done GMC Canyon and the Chevy Colorado as "lifestyle trucks" to fill the void left when body-on-frame smaller SUVs disappeared. Leer has created "lifestyle packages" for their truck caps, too,designed to enable folks to carry all their toys.


Cheers,
Meredith
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Old 10-28-2013, 03:15 PM   #10
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Re: Toyota Tacoma: automatic LSD vs 4x4?

I would check real world MPG on the forums for the Tacoma. I had a 2003 double cab prerunner and I could barely scrape 17 on the freeway. My full size 2008 Sierra could get that and have more room, etc. Ford's ecoboost would be a good option since you can get the best of both worlds when it comes to power and economy. Don't know what they run since I haven't priced them out, but I know when I was looking at newer double cab, long bed, 4x4 Tacomas, they weren't exactly cheap.
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