Trucks & SUVs

Why Is the 2021 Toyota Tacoma so Painfully Slow?

You won’t be drag racing with your next pickup truck. However, no one wants a rugged-looking vehicle that’s a wimp under the hood. So, many shoppers may wonder what’s up with the 2021 Toyota Tacoma’s pathetic acceleration time.

Let’s dive into the Tacoma’s performance data to see how this shortcoming may affect your driving experience.

How slow is the 2021 Toyota Tacoma?

A close-up of the 2021 Toyota Tacoma's tire kicking up dirt
The 2021 Toyota Tacoma driving on a dirt road | Toyota

Toyota’s midsize pickup truck takes a shockingly long time to get up to speed. And this revelation may lead you to seek out Tacoma alternatives.

According to Consumer Reports’ data, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma takes 8.2 seconds to accelerate from 0-60 MPH. This figure is the slowest time among all trucks the publication tested.

Even the heavy-duty 2021 Ford F-250 had a better showing by accomplishing the feat in 8.1 seconds. And this model weighs 3,200+ pounds more than the Tacoma.

Meanwhile, every other midsize truck posted results between 7.4-7.8 seconds.

Notably, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma’s 0-60 MPH acceleration time will vary based on its configuration. Consumer Reports tested a Tacoma SR5 Crew Cab equipped with an available V6 engine and four-wheel-drive system.

Why does the Tacoma’s strongest engine feel weak?

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The 2021 Toyota Tacoma’s lackluster performance may be due to a combination of factors.

Consumer Reports’ review of the truck identified several problems. The most significant issue is the Tacoma’s unsatisfactory torque production. Its 3.5-liter V6 engine delivers 265 lb-ft of torque, which isn’t atypical for its class.

However, the publication stated, “In some situations, the 3.5-liter V6 feels short on low-end torque and requires prodding of the gas pedal to get the truck to move smartly.

Additionally, Consumer Reports criticized the 2021 Toyota Tacoma’s clunky transmission and inept handling.

Is the 2021 Toyota Tacoma’s terrible acceleration a deal-breaker?

A silver 2021 Toyota Tacoma Trail Edition on display in front of a mountain range
The 2021 Toyota Tacoma Trail Edition on display | Toyota

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This truck may post slow performance numbers, but its sales figures are anything but disappointing.

Whether its shortcomings will affect you depends on the way you drive it. For example, experts have long praised the Tacoma for its off-road capability.

Consumer Reports’ testing backs this up, stating, “The Tacoma ascended our rock hill course like a champ, gobbling up the slope with ease.”

However, its slow acceleration can prove to be an annoyance if you’re using the Tacoma as a daily driver. But that’s not its only drawback.

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma’s cabin is relatively cramped and filled with low-grade materials. Plus, its ride quality makes you suffer through every bumpy journey.

There’s a better option in the midsize pickup segment

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Few trucks in this class stand out as fantastic options. However, the 2021 Honda Ridgeline stands tall above the competition.

The Ridgeline may have an unconventional design, but buyers are finally overlooking its quirkiness. It delivers incredible fuel efficiency, provides a comfortable driving experience, and has a long list of safety features.

Meanwhile, the aging 2021 Toyota Tacoma – which was last redesigned in 2016 – can’t keep up. 

Most outlets place it in the middle of the segment, as was the case with its third-place ranking on the U.S. News & World Report. However, that may have to do with the respect the truck earned based on its off-roading acumen.