Is it Worth it to Buy a 2021 Toyota Tacoma With a Manual Transmission?

There is a lot to consider when shopping for a new or used Toyota Tacoma. You have to figure out which trim level you need, in addition to which bed size and cab configuration. But you’ll also have a choice between a manual or automatic transmission. But is really better to shift your Tacoma yourself, or have the truck do it for you?

Buying Toyota Tacoma with a manual transmission has its disadvantages

2021 Toyota Tacoma with a manual transmission
2021 Toyota Tacoma with a manual transmission | Joe Santos

First things first, if you end finding a Toyota Tacoma with a manual transmission, don’t expect it to be a sportscar. Yes, you can row the gears yourself and shift at whatever rpm you desire, but the gear ratios are long as is the stick shift throw. Having driven a 2021 Tacoma with a manual and automatic transmission, I can personally say that having the manual transmission only makes normal driving feel only slightly sportier.

Also, as PickupTrucks.com notes, the Tacoma with a manual transmission weighs about 20 pounds more and it doesn’t add any power to the equation. There’s also no crawl control mode on the manual Tacomas, so if you like to boogie on the rocks on a regular basis, then that could be a deal-breaker.

There are many upsides to shifting the gears yourself

2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD going uphill
2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD going uphill | Toyota

The good part about driving a Toyota Tacoma with a manual transmission is that it has a shorter 4.3:1 axle ratio versus the taller 3.909:1 ratio that you get with the automatic. That shorter ratio equates to quicker acceleration off the line and through the gears, which can even come in handy on the off-road trails.

Speaking of going off-road, although opting for the manual transmission emits crawl control, you can still make your hill descents easy by shifting into the lower gears. In some cases, you won’t need to shift much. And if you happen to stall while on a mountain and don’t want the hazard of rolling backward, there’s a “clutch start cancel” button on the dashboard. When this button is activated, it allows the driver to start the truck without having to push in the clutch. That’s pretty handy.

Additionally, if you’re into modifying your Tacoma, then you’ll be happy to know that the manual transmission can be modified to accept a higher gear ratio for even better acceleration. The manual transmission Tacomas are generally cheaper, too, but dealers might mark them up depending on their supply.

Is it hard to find a Toyota Tacoma with a manual transmission?

2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD going downhill
2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD going downhill | Toyota

Speaking of supply and demand, it can be relatively tough to find a 2021 Toyota Tacoma with a manual transmission. After doing a nationwide search on Cars.com, we found 76 trucks with manual transmissions for sale compared to the 3,500-plus automatic ones. That’s a pretty small ratio, especially for Tacoma.

That being said, if you do find a Tacoma with a manual transmission for sale near you, act quickly and be prepared to possibly pay top dollar for it. However, if you enjoy driving a truck with a  manual transmission, then buying a Tacoma in this guise could be worth every penny spent.

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