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Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
6/29/22 8:55 a.m.

In reply to Fupdiggity (Forum Supporter) :

I hear you on the manual transmission, but it's just not that much fun in a truck. Well, it's kind of fun, but not fun the same way a Miata is fun. And I say that having swapped a manual into my Isuzu Trooper and buying my F-250 mostly because it had a manual transmission. 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/29/22 9:22 a.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

I tend to agree. Years ago I bought my specific Cummins 4x4 because it had a 5 spd and that requirement really limited the choice of trucks available. Then I come to find out after buying the truck the 5 spd fitted to those trucks was kinda crap and the automatic was a far more reliable option.  So be sure to do the research to make sure a manual really is the best option for the truck you're shopping for. 

That said, I still prefer a manual transmission in a 4x4 truck. Mostly because I live in an area where we (used to?) get snow and I absolutely detest driving an automatic in the snow. 

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
6/29/22 9:28 a.m.

Is the new frontier available with a manual?  
 

jeep and Toyota tax seem ridiculous.   I keep vehicles a loooong time and the resale value argument isn't a use case for me. 

Fupdiggity (Forum Supporter)
Fupdiggity (Forum Supporter) Reader
6/29/22 9:43 a.m.
Fueled by Caffeine said:

Is the new frontier available with a manual?  
 

jeep and Toyota tax seem ridiculous.   I keep vehicles a loooong time and the resale value argument isn't a use case for me. 

Unfortunately no. They discontinued the manual after '19 or so, whenever they introduced the new V6. 

Manuals in trucks are pretty polarizing. Certainly not sporty, but still fun for me. I think it helps that when there's a big tall shifter and long throws, it slows you down a bit and just becomes more about rowing gears for mechanical enjoyment than sport. For me, I just really dislike autos, mostly because of the slushiness that comes with a torque converter, even good ones. The only modern-ish vehicle i've driven where I've thought the auto was a better choice was in my dad's ram ecodiesel. The character of a turbo diesel really fits a traditional auto. Similarly, i had an older powerstroke w/ the 5-speed and wasn't a huge fan, although I may have liked the auto even less. If there was a DCT type option (like in the santa fe) i'd probably be much more amenable to an auto. 

I figure the days of walking into a dealer and driving out rowing my own gears are very numbered. I lust hard after the new Rivian, but that's over double my budget, maybe in 10 years...

Berck
Berck Reader
6/29/22 9:44 a.m.

My tow vehicle is a 2020 Tacoma (V6 TRD Sport).  I've now got 18,000 miles on it, and about 17,500 of those is towing one or the other race cars.  My Formula Vee weighs 850lbs and I'm guessing the 10' landscaping trailer I put it on weighs about the same as the car.  It handles that easily.  The E30 Rally Car is probably more like 2,800 pounds on a 1,500lb trailer.  It is not fast doing that, but it does it just fine.

Comments about the uncomfortable interior are not wrong, but it's also not terrible.  I've done many a 12-14 hour day in it.  I'm 6'2", and the driving position is awkward, particularly with my right leg.  My wife is 5'6" and needs to sit in front of a pillow to be able to work the clutch without her left leg hitting the dash.  She hates the truck.

It doesn't have a lot of power, and you need to not be afraid of 4,000rpm+ when towing.  If there are any hills, 6th gear is useless.  If the hills are visible, you'll need 4th gear to maintain speed.  I get anywhere from 12-16mpg towing, depending on my speed and the wind.

I bought it primarily because of the availability of a manual transmission.  I hate everything about automatic transmissions, particularly the fact that you can't just floor it up a hill and accept the 2mph speed loss, instead having to suffer through a terrible automatic kick-down induced downshift then another upshift.  Or feather the throttle and hope it doesn't downshift.

I don't love the truck--it tows my race cars.  I don't drive it when I'm not towing, and wouldn't recommend it as a daily driver.  18mpg sucks, and despite being a "small" truck, it's huge.  The rear suspension is terrible when it's unloaded.  Unloaded it's oversprung and underdamped.  With a medium load, it's fine.  With a heavy load, it's undersprung and still underdamped.

I had to add airbags to mine to handle a fully loaded bed with the heavy car/trailer.  Without them, the rear sagged enough that the headlights blinded everyone and the handling was scary.

Reverse gear is way too high for normal use, and totally unsuitable for backing a trailer.  The 2WD low-range mod from the Tacoma forums makes it usable.  (So you can engage low range while staying in 2WD.).

The technology is astoundingly old and unsophisticated.  There are rear drum brakes and a belt driven fan with a clutch.  On the other hand, the technology is astoundingly old and unsophisticated so working on it should be easy.  But then, I bought a Toyota and a 10 year waranty because I don't want to work on my tow vehicle--keeping the racecars running is hard enough.

I don't love it, but it's pretty much the only option for a brand new manual transmission tow vehicle.  I don't regret my decision, but man it costs a lot of money for what it is.

ChrisTropea
ChrisTropea Associate Editor
6/29/22 9:54 a.m.

I went through sort of the same thing a year ago. My 2010 GTI was not reliable anymore and decided it was time to sell it to get something I was not working on all the time as my daily driver. I test drove a Civic SI thinking I would replace it with something similar but after a good bit of searching I decided to go with a mid-size pickup and I was between the Tacoma and a Nissan Frontier. I ended up with a Frontier because used Tacoma prices are insane and I have been extremely happy. I don't think I can live without having some sort of pickup now that I have owned one. 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/29/22 9:59 a.m.

In reply to Berck :

Yeah... if you want a manual it's getting harder.  2018 was the last year Dodge sold the Cummins with a manual transmission. 

engiekev
engiekev HalfDork
6/29/22 10:32 a.m.

If you want something fun to drive that isn't a truck and new, take a really close look at the Elantra N. They are a fantastic value and the vehicle dynamics are out of this world for the price range.

If you want to save cash on mileage, look into a used gen2 volt. They can do 53 miles electric, then get 42mpg on just gas when that runs out.  Also a nice feature is adaptive cruise, compared to the gen1 volt.  EVs just aren't a good way to save money at the moment, upfront cost is way too high right now.  However, the Bolt is now $26k brand new, that changes things.

If you're set on a new truck, I agree with all the other posts: Tacomas are at the bottom of the list. Even a Frontier is a nicer place to be with the redesign.  Ridgelines are hard to beat unless you are towing a lot, otherwise a current gen Colorado has the nicest interior of any of the mid-size trucks and can tow quite a lot.  The new Colorado will be announced very soon, and trust me they will be a compelling option (all I can say). 

We're in the same boat with jumping to new, since we don't tow much and like to do soft-roading stuff in lower Michigan and we want a "1 car" solution we ended up with a Subaru Outback wilderness.  Kind of a weird choice but its a great 1 size fits all vehicle with some light offroading capability, and it has the wrx 2.4 turbo engine.

Whatever you do, don't buy a TDI touareg or Cayenne, good idea on paper that's all I can say from our ownership.

PMRacing
PMRacing GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
6/29/22 12:05 p.m.

Thanks for the feedback. I am nuts.  The main reason the Taco was on the list was because of the MT. 

I can rent a truck if needed. My wife's allroad can handle 95% of the hardware store runs with the roof rack for large stuff. 

And being in the profession I am in (vehicle dynamics) ride and handling are a big part of what I drive, hence the S4.  

Now what can I do to keep the AADD in check?

Brotus7
Brotus7 Dork
6/29/22 12:13 p.m.

I have a '11 GTI and a '22 Taco quad cab, short bed, v6 auto.  I really wanted to like driving a manual transmission truck, but it just didn't add anything when I test drove one. Knowing that I'd tow with it, and the invariable New England traffic killed the idea for me so I got an auto.

Similar to the above comments, I don't hate it, but it gets the job done. I recently towed 3500-4k from CT to NC thru the Appalachian mtns and it was alright. They're geared really low, so I had it in 4th at 3k on the steeper hills and didn't lose any speed. It's nothing like my old 7.3 power stroke, both good and bad. Got 18mpg in the 1700 mile round trip.  On a highway trip to Boston and back we measured 25.5 at the pump, which makes it cheaper to drive per mile than my GTI.

I didn't want to spend new truck money on a new truck, but used trucks prices are insane. Up here, it felt like 30k got me something 5+ years old with 100k miles on it and rust - no thanks!

I guess the Taco is like the Nickelback of trucks. They're alright, but folks who hate em do it with a passion.

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/29/22 12:26 p.m.

In reply to PMRacing :

Have you tuned the S4 yet? Pulley(s)? CAI? TB? 

PMRacing
PMRacing GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
6/29/22 12:37 p.m.
Javelin said:

In reply to PMRacing :

Have you tuned the S4 yet? Pulley(s)? CAI? TB? 

No, I haven't done that.  And the reason is the car is fast enough as is to get me in trouble. I don't need to go faster (the track car is for that) and I don't need to burn the extra fuel.  I might do an intake for some more noise..it is too quiet.

The big(ish) issues for me are some clutch weirdness at times (I do have the SS clutch line but it chatters on warm, humid days), and a couple of annoying squeaks to track down. I want to add Android auto soon (RSNAV). 1st world problems, I know. 

rothwem
rothwem Reader
6/29/22 12:49 p.m.
PMRacing said:

And being in the profession I am in (vehicle dynamics) ride and handling are a big part of what I drive, hence the S4.  

Woof, yeah.  You'd hate a Tacoma.  Ride/handling is really awful.  

Fwiw, I went through a similar crisis around 2014.  I swapped an E90 for a Tacoma and almost instantly regretted it.  It only lasted in my driveway for 6 months or so.  The plus side was that I was able to sell it after 6 months for only $200 less than I paid for it.  Well and 6 months of loan interest at 3.59% APR.  The bigger bummer was that I sold my E90, and I haven't really been able to find one with the particular set of option packages since.

engiekev
engiekev HalfDork
6/29/22 12:49 p.m.

How much would it cost to have a decent shop, like Steve's European or Munks, fix those issues and just keep driving the pants off it?  Maybe doing that and adding some choice mods will make it exciting again.

Another option would be selling as is, trade up to a newer S4 or similar vehicle. Seriously, check out the elantra N, it's basically a hot FWD rocket that was developed by a team led by Biermann from BMWs glory days, MSRP is $32k.  They're bonkers, rated for "276HP" but they are dyno'ing at 261 wheel horsepower.  I drove one around SE MI and its stiff but not terribly so, it has frequency selective dampers, not magneride but pretty good.


https://www.edmunds.com/car-news/track-tested-2022-hyundai-elantra-n.html

https://www.roadandtrack.com/reviews/a40315768/2022-hyundai-elantra-n-video-review/

PMRacing
PMRacing GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
6/29/22 12:55 p.m.
engiekev said:

How much would it cost to have a decent shop, like Steve's European or Munks, fix those issues and just keep driving the pants off it?  Maybe doing that and adding some choice mods will make it exciting again.

Another option would be selling as is, trade up to a newer S4 or similar vehicle.

I've considered having someone work on it. Haven't ruled it out but if I can schedule ahead of time with my family I usually can tackle it.

Similar car...there in lies the problem. New S4s are AT only and not that much different. Post E9x BMWs don't anything for me. A 996 C4S would be nice but then it's an older car that needs maintenance again.  

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
6/29/22 1:00 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

I agree with the idea--I don't think I could maintain a house without a truck--but question your judgement on which truck. I'd buy a Ridgeline, Ranger, Colorado or Frontier (in that order) before a Tacoma, and that's assuming Mavericks remain unobtainable. 

Generally speaking I'm a truck fanboi and a Toyota fanboi but I totally agree with this.  The Tacomas are uncomfortable, not really big enough to use fully as a truck, and have my least favorite engine.  That V6 may be reliable but it's underpowered, has a weak torque curve, and sounds like garbage.  A manual transmission offers no advantages that I can think of for a truck that's going to be used as an appliance/daily.  I'm not particularly vain about my vehicle choices but Tacomas seem very popular with the flatbrim/vape/Fox t-shirt crowd.

There's a reason the F-150 is the best selling vehicle in the US.  Just saying.  It's 20% bigger but 50% more capable for every job.  Interior quality is about what you would expect from Lincoln (relatively good), powertrains are great, gas mileage should be as good or better than the Taco.  It's a grownup truck.

Fupdiggity (Forum Supporter)
Fupdiggity (Forum Supporter) Reader
6/29/22 1:33 p.m.
PMRacing said:

And being in the profession I am in (vehicle dynamics) ride and handling are a big part of what I drive, hence the S4.  

Even as a taco fan, definitely not where i'd look for vehicle dynamics. From the factory they are pretty horrid. I will say that based on other tacoma-adjacent vehicles (4runner) the aftermarket can do wonders and I consider another 3k in suspension mods part of the buy-in.  My 17 yr old frontier on fresh bilsteins arguably has better chassis dynamics than the new tacos I've driven, and I'd rate that pretty low. 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
6/29/22 10:35 p.m.

In reply to ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) :

Amen to that fuel mileage.  My F150 5.0 V8  4x4    averages 21-23 mpg to and from work. Stop lites and freeway etc.  Freeway less than 65 it's 24 and 70& above 22-23  now this is a 2016 I understand some of the newer ones get even better.  
  But none are as cheap to own as the EV's will be  

   The great part is  I can buy E85 and pay $1.20 a gallon less and only lose 2-3 mpg.  So I actual save over $20 a tank full.  

Pokitren
Pokitren New Reader
6/30/22 6:27 a.m.
engiekev said:

How much would it cost to have a decent shop, like Steve's European or Munks, fix those issues and just keep driving the pants off it?  Maybe doing that and adding some choice mods will make it exciting again.

Another option would be selling as is, trade up to a newer S4 or similar vehicle. Seriously, check out the elantra N, it's basically a hot FWD rocket that was developed by a team led by Biermann from BMWs glory days, MSRP is $32k.  They're bonkers, rated for "276HP" but they are dyno'ing at 261 wheel horsepower.  I drove one around SE MI and its stiff but not terribly so, it has frequency selective dampers, not magneride but pretty good.


https://www.edmunds.com/car-news/track-tested-2022-hyundai-elantra-n.html

https://www.roadandtrack.com/reviews/a40315768/2022-hyundai-elantra-n-video-review-betpokies

How easy is the elantra N to maintain and compared to what?

engiekev
engiekev HalfDork
6/30/22 7:58 a.m.
Pokitren said:
engiekev said:

How much would it cost to have a decent shop, like Steve's European or Munks, fix those issues and just keep driving the pants off it?  Maybe doing that and adding some choice mods will make it exciting again.

Another option would be selling as is, trade up to a newer S4 or similar vehicle. Seriously, check out the elantra N, it's basically a hot FWD rocket that was developed by a team led by Biermann from BMWs glory days, MSRP is $32k.  They're bonkers, rated for "276HP" but they are dyno'ing at 261 wheel horsepower.  I drove one around SE MI and its stiff but not terribly so, it has frequency selective dampers, not magneride but pretty good.


https://www.edmunds.com/car-news/track-tested-2022-hyundai-elantra-n.html

https://www.roadandtrack.com/reviews/a40315768/2022-hyundai-elantra-n-video-review/

How easy is the elantra N to maintain and compared to what?

I have no idea, I don't own one.  Hyundai has a ridiculous warranty: 10yr/100k powertrain, 5yr/60k full vehicle.  The engine is somewhat proven as it debuted in the Veloster N, which is new so long term reliability remains to be seen.   They have a decent track record on reliability for overall vehicle stuff. As far as maintenance, it looks relatively simple to work on for the mechanical bits, SavageGeese shows the underneath very well here https://youtu.be/LMeaduB60G0?t=192 .  Like any new car, electrical/infotainment/communication, etc. is far outside the normal mechanics purview and would require dealer service.

PMRacing, if you're looking to cure automotive ADD, have you thought about getting another "fun" car you can drive on the street?  The way the market is, you probably won't lose much if you get tired of something new and sell in a year or two.

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