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Diesel or 2016 Toyota Tacoma – which would you pick

Toyota is dead-set against a 2016 Tacoma diesel. Chevy and GMC began preparing for 2016 Canyons and Colorados with Duramax Diesels this week. Will you jump the fence?

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No topic at Torque News spurs more debate or has a deeper emotional response than that of a Toyota Tacoma with a diesel engine. Our readers, and those who participate on the forums we follow have made it crystal clear. Tacoma owners want a diesel option. Sadly, when the 2016 Tacoma was launched the chief engineer for the Tacoma went out of his way to explain why Toyota won’t do it (for the U.S. Market). So now the only question is, which matters more to you? Diesel power, or Tacoma?

This week GM began to update its ordering codes and order books for the 2016 Colorado and Canyons trucks. The new GM mid-size pickups with diesel engines actually get some other goodies included like engine braking (exhaust braking, or Jake-brake) and trailering upgrades. The 2016 models will be for sale in about four to six months. Presently, Chevy and GMC are selling every truck they can make at a very high profit, and with limited discounting. To be frank, GM can’t build enough trucks to meet demand.

The same is true of Toyota. Toyota is also selling all the trucks it makes at a nice profit, and if it could build more it would sell more. The third shift is now ramping up, and Toyota is selling more Tacomas now than it could have made last April (without stealing line capacity from Tundra).

So what will it be mid-size Toyota pickup owners? Diesel or Tacoma for you when the Tacoma you have now is due for replacement?

Related Story - No 2016 diesel Tacoma coming - Toyota explains why

Main story image courtesy of Patrick Rall

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DrLou (not verified)    May 14, 2015 - 3:38PM

Trucks behave like they were meant to with a diesel engine because of the low end torque it provides. Low end torque also makes a good case for an all electric truck if it has a battery pack that provides decent range. BEV trucks will probably become popular when the price of a BEV truck is comparable to one with an internal combustion engines.

Denis LeBlanc (not verified)    May 15, 2015 - 7:27AM

What they have to develop is an electric drive for the rear axle and gas front wheel drive. They'll have all the torque of a diesel and fuel milage of a small Ecoboost with the performance of an HD diesel. No smell, no chemical treatment of emissions and reliability. Sadly it will take at least another 10 years to develop this.

Avi Meron (not verified)    May 15, 2015 - 11:30AM

TOYOTA is making a mistake with its illogical resistance to Diesel in North America! let alone that the TOYOTA HILUX with a Diesel is the best selling pickup in world! I hope that Toyota loses a bunch of sales to GM and in the end forced to get a Diesel engine! how long that Toyota think they can sell us Gas guzzlers like the Tacoma and Tundra when other MFG. will have vehicles with twice the mileage and torque? Does Toyota really think that they can reject the consumer in such a "blatant way" ! Toyota manufactures good and high quality vehicles, but there are other manufactures that also do! there is nothing "magical" about Toyota, contrary to what their "clueless" chief engineer thinks!

Steve (not verified)    May 16, 2015 - 7:49AM

In reply to by Avi Meron (not verified)

Clueless chief engineer? I wonder how he got that position being clueless.

I think you should read a little more about why Toyota is going this way. First, the atkinson/otto engine going into the new Tacoma will most likely be more powerful than a diesel while offering similar mileage. Second, there is still a lot of pollution coming from diesel tailpipes that isn't being reported. Over the next 10 years, manufacturers will be forced to continue cleaning up diesel emissions until they are comparable to gasoline engines.

Torque is a really misunderstood term. People have created an imaginary idea that it is "pulling power". These days, posting a high torque number is the best way to squeeze a few more bucks out of a consumer while offering only minimal benefit. A Toyota Prius has a combined torque rating that is similar to a Chevy 5.3l engine. Which do you think tows better up a mountain? Were you aware that the Ram 3l Ecodiesel performs very poorly in towing tests compared to other truck engines with less torque?

Thomas (not verified)    May 27, 2015 - 7:13PM

In reply to by Steve (not verified)

I agree with everything you said. The diesel's torque is only good a low end rpm's. If you are not pulling everyday day than it is pointless to own for most. The gas motor gets better HP which is more useable for everyday driving and supercharged gas motors make just as much torque with way more hp.

I might add that diesels also take too long to heat up so if you live in cold regions you will freeze in your vehicle for a lot longer wishing you had heat in the cab. And all these diesels have very poor acceleration due to poor HP numbers. Ya they save fuel but so do 4cylinders and neither one can accelerate. The diesel can pull at low rpms but try to get it to highway speeds is like watching paint dry and forget trying to pass, all it can do is maintain its current speed. Once the rpms go up your torque takes a sht and you have no hp to compensate for a pass. Just complete garbage unless you own a transport meant to pull every single day.

Adam (not verified)    May 22, 2015 - 2:56PM

In reply to by Avi Meron (not verified)

The problem is that diesel Hilux is equal to $65,000 U.S. AND still needs emissions changes. You can ship one from Australia(god knows I looked and why I know) if you really want.

Ray (not verified)    May 15, 2015 - 9:21PM

Diesel trucks are over rated. Sure they make more torque but they are more expensive to maintain, especially at high mileage. I've had the first of the first gen tacoma and also the first of the second gen. I regret selling my first one at 150,000 miles and now am a month from rolling 200,000 on my 2005. When I decide to buy a new truck it will be a Tacoma. No question. Mid sized trucks don't need a diesel.

Z (not verified)    November 1, 2015 - 4:53AM

In reply to by Ray (not verified)

Toyota has the technology to make a gas engine that gets 30mpg + and they wont. People want the excellent good gas mileage of the diesel for the most part. We are entering 2016 here, 19mpg is unacceptable!!

Chad (not verified)    May 17, 2015 - 7:18AM

I think Toyota is right on target with the decision. Don't get me wrong; would’ve loved the first Tacoma for the wife to have one in it, BUT it'll never be used the way diesels are intended to be used (like my Super Duty is). I drive the diesel Hilux all the time here in AFG and the questions remain the same. Would I ever hook up to a horse trailer, rv, dump trailer, or whatever else to a diesel Tacoma Diesel or a Hilux? No... Small trucks aren't meant for such tasks and load. And the added expense for the "cool factor" isn't economically feasible (to me anyway). If the reason for purchase was specifically for MPG’s of a diesel, do the math. Several upfront thousand on the engine, added engine oil, fuel filters, DEF, and added taxes at the pump; your break even time makes it at a minimum a 10 year truck.

GM will score some points with folks because of the diesel engine for sure – if buyers can get over the slew of quality control concerns and recalls. But just wait... These folks will have them overloaded to the point where the brakes are shot, suspension is shot, and they'll be white knuckled the entire trip because they'll know the trailer's driving them instead of the truck pulling the trailer. Lastly, imagine all the folks that will be buying the Colorado Diesel JUST for the MPG factor. The vast majority of these folks are the type that hasn’t got a clue of how diesels work or how to take care of ‘em. After they figure out the aforementioned costs and trade back into a gasser, would you really want the truck used???

Not my intent to offend anyone if offense was taken – just my two cents worth.

jaco (not verified)    May 18, 2015 - 3:59AM

I would disagree that the Tacoma does not need a Diesel. I live in South Africa and the small diesel engine is the best selling vehicle by far. Technology in diesel engines has improved so much over the last 5 years its incredible. . I have seen a toyota Hilux d4d diesel with 500 000km on the clock without doing anything to the engine. Its reliable, fast and way more fuel efficient. Today we have diesels that is fast, quiet and powerful. I am moving to the United stated in a vew months and will be looking for a diesel. I am going to have to settle for the GMC Canyon 2.8 duramax diesel... :((( I am a huge toyota fanatic and is very very very dissapointed that it will not make a diesel. The 4 liter v6 tacoma engine is the same as we have here and its not really that popular as the diesel but also a very reliable, but heavy on gas. We will have to see what the new 3.5 V6 atkinson's cycle tacoma does on MPG and can be compared to the 2.8 duramax. Then i will decide......

Leo (not verified)    June 7, 2015 - 9:45AM

Yes I will jump. Dodge has made the truck I've been waiting for 30 years. Rambox and an small diesel. I have come to the conclusion that I am willing to pay extra for repairs of a dodge but I get to drive the vehicle that suits my needs. My last two Tundras has been good to me but its time to move forward.

Thomas (not verified)    June 8, 2015 - 2:06PM

In reply to by Leo (not verified)

Have you seen how poorly these diesels do when pulling. The acceleration is horrible. For the one or two times I have to pull something I would rather have a turbo gas motor. Same torque but twice the hp so I can actually accelerate and when not under load the small tubo gas motor will do very well on fuel mileage for the majority of my time driving and I have acceleration if needed.

CK Hay (not verified)    January 30, 2016 - 8:01PM

I love my 2008 Tacoma but I despise it's horrible fuel efficiency. I agree with other comments here, I'm not so interested in horsepower as I am in torque and fuel efficiency.
I would love to update my Tacoma, but I will only do that with another Toyota if a diesel option is availble.
I'm loath to think I may wind up with another GM after my horrific experiences with a K1500 but if that's what it takes to get me a truck that does what I want, I fear I may have to jump the shark back to GM and I'd be terribly disappointed to leave Toyota as a customer and proud owner.

John Goreham    February 1, 2016 - 8:37AM

In reply to by CK Hay (not verified)

I am testing a 2016 Tacoma TRD Off Road (V6) this week and struggling to get 20 MPG in combined suburban and highway use. The torque is very impressive. If diesel is inexpensive where you live (it is more than regular unleaded here) then your point is valid and the Colorado/Canyon are calling your name.