It takes a big truck to tow a big RV, but some smaller pickups have a lot of power, too. The Toyota Tacoma is one of today’s most popular midsize trucks, but what is its towing capacity?
Does it have what it takes to safely and reliably move a travel trailer from place to place? Let’s find out!
What Is the Toyota Tacoma Towing Capacity?
The standard Tacoma has a four-cylinder engine and a towing capacity of 3,500 lbs. However, two other models, the SR5 and TRD Sport, have a larger V-6 under the hood that almost doubles the capacity to 6,800 lbs. That’s a significant improvement.
Which Tacoma Has the Highest Towing Capacity?
You can choose from six different Toyota Tacomas, referred to as trims. The maximum tow rating comes with rear-wheel-drive models with the 3.5L V-6, an automatic transmission, and a Class IV hitch. These motors provide 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque on the SR, the SR5, and the TRD Sport models.
Can a Toyota Tacoma Pull a Camper?
Even the lowest-priced Toyota Tacoma with the smaller engine can tow some ultra-light campers. Spring for a model with the more powerful V-6 engine, and you can up your game significantly. However, even a top-of-the-line Tacoma can’t handle towing some RVs.
What Kind of Camper Can You Tow with a Toyota Tacoma?
To determine what’s safely within the Tacoma’s range, let’s start at the bottom and work our way up. You have to look at the dry weight of a camper and calculate how much weight it will have once it’s fully packed.
Things add up quickly. A typical generator, for instance, can put on another 100 lbs. A gallon of water weighs around eight pounds, so the size of your tanks is another important factor.
Most teardrop trailers weigh less than 2,000 lbs, so they should pose no problem. Pop-up campers, also called tent campers, have sides made of canvas and usually weigh less than 4,000 lbs. These compact campers don’t have a lot of wind resistance, making them easier to tow. As far as bigger travel trailers go, look at ones 20 feet long or smaller.
Be cautious when determining what’s safe to tow. Overdoing it can cause severe damage to the tow vehicle or create a dangerous situation, even for a short-haul.
Pro Tip: For Toyota fans, you’ll want to know Is the Toyota 4Runner Good for Towing?
Can a Toyota Tacoma Carry a Truck Camper?
If you want to think even smaller, you can also go with a truck camper. Sometimes called slide-ins, these compact campers sit on top of the truck’s bed. Though some of them feel fairly spacious, they don’t have as much room as travel trailers.
You may have difficulty finding a truck camper that perfectly fits the Tacoma’s bed. You will also need to look carefully at the Toyota Tacoma’s payload capacity, which tops out at 1,155 lbs.
➡ Want to make sure your truck and truck camper are the perfect match? Read this: What Is the Best Truck for a Truck Camper?
Toyota Tacoma Specs
The smaller Tacoma has a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with 180 lb-ft of torque. This 212.3 inch-long Tacoma has a curb weight of 4,661 lbs. You can get an estimated 18 miles per gallon in the city and 22 on the highway.
This Toyota truck’s height is 70.6 inches, and the width varies between 74.4 to 75.2 inches, depending on the model. The bed length is 60.5 inches.
It has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 5,600 lbs and a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 11,360 lbs.
Tacoma Trim Levels
The 2021 Toyota Tacoma comes in six different trims: SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, and TRD Pro. You can choose from two cab styles: access cab, with seating for four, and double cab, with room for five.
You can get the highest Toyota Tacoma towing capacity with the SR, SR5, and TRD Sport trims.
How Long Do Toyota Tacomas Last?
The Tacoma has been around since 1995 and has earned a reputation for dependability and reliability. A recent report puts the Tacoma on the shortlist of long-lasting trucks that can easily go for 200,000 miles or more.
Following regular maintenance and staying vigilant on repairs might even get you 300,000 miles out of one. Take good care of it, and it will take good care of you.
How Much Is a Toyota Tacoma?
The Toyota Tacoma SR has the lowest price, with a starting suggested retail of $26,400. The TRD Pro carries the heftiest price tag, starting at $44,325.
Tips to Remember
The rugged Toyota Tacoma’s versatility makes it a terrific daily driver. Whether it has what it takes as a tow vehicle depends on what RV you have in mind – just don’t try to go too big. Remember that, as powerful as they might seem, midsize trucks have their limitations.
The Ford Ranger is another midsize truck option that can tow some lightweight travel trailers and pop-up campers. Learn more here: Can The 2021 Ford Ranger Tow An RV?
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