Does the Toyota Tacoma Have a Manual Transmission?

Manual transmissions come with an array of benefits. For example, they are easier to maintain and historically provided better fuel economy. Some may argue that they also add to the driving experience, especially in full-size pickups. Accordingly, many people are wondering whether or not the latest Tacoma comes with a manual as well as an automatic transmission. Let’s have a look at the different drivetrains that are available.

Results from Toyota recently reported on a conversation with Toyota officials, who were speaking with the online publication Carbuzz. During that interview, they claimed that the manual transmission is on its way out. In fact, Kelly Blue Book even reports that 2018 was the last model year in which manual transmissions were available for base models. Even so, Toyota does still offer a manual on four of its vehicles, including the Tacoma.

Approximately 5% of all Tacoma pickups are sold with a manual transmission each year. Those wanting a manual transmission are currently limited to only one trim model, which is the 4×4 TRD. When buying a TRD with a manual transmission, know that the six-foot bed is no longer an option.

Improvement over the automatic

Car and Driver Magazine recently test drove the 2020 Tacoma, and had some surprising things to say about its manual transmission. In fact, they advise buying a Tacoma with a manual transmission rather than an automatic. The reason is that when paired with an automatic transmission, the truck’s V6 engine, “struggles at times.” According to Car and Driver, that doesn’t seem to be the case with pickups outfitted with a manual transmission. also claims the Tacoma’s manual transmission is “generally pleasant to operate.” After test driving a manual Tacoma, they reported that “shift throws and clutch effort are mild; they never fatigued in traffic and clutch feel inspires confidence…” At the same time, they noted that the manual transmission does not increase the truck’s power, and in fact will subtract 20 pounds from the payload because of its additional weight.

2019 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road
2019 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road | Toyota

Other options

For those who are still not sure whether or not a manual transmission is right, there are plenty of other drivetrain possibilities. The pickup comes standard with a 3.5 liter, direct-injection V6 engine, which Toyota brags is the “perfect blend of efficiency and power.” When paired with the six-speed automatic transmission, this power train combo will provide you with 6,800 lbs. of towing capacity and a payload of up to 1,440 lbs.

A four-cylinder engine is also available on select trim models, including the utility package. This motor is a 2.7 liter, 16-valve model with VVT-I, and is capable of 5,200 rpm, 180 lb.-ft. of torque and 159 hp.

Toyota also offers a six-speed, electronically controlled automatic ECT-i transmission with intelligence. This transmission features a button that when pressed, will automatically adjust the drive train’s shift points. As such, you can get to a higher rpm level before shifting into to the next gear. The intelligent transmission also provides greater control over the engine torque and clutch, which allows for smoother shifting and less wear overall on the transmission.

Which is best, a manual or automatic transmission?

For those who enjoy the classic feel of a manual transmission, the Toyota Tacoma still provides some options. However, those who prefer an automatic transmission will find plenty of choices as well. If you do decide to go with a manual transmission, you’ll need to act quickly. Not only are manual trucks more difficult to find at dealerships, there is also no guarantee that Toyota will continue to offer them past the current model year.