Despite strong enthusiast demand and even internal consideration by Toyota, a V8-powered Tacoma never materialized due to factors like fuel efficiency regulations and market segmentation.
- Toyota built a V8 Tacoma concept in 2008 which was never produced.
- A V8 Tacoma may interefere with Tundra sales.
- Trends continue to produce smaller engines with turbochargers and hybrid power.
- You can swap your Tacoma's engine for a V8 with enough time, expertise, and money.
What could be better than a V8 Toyota Tacoma? Enthusiasts have been dreaming about this build for many years, but Toyota hasn’t mass-produced one yet. Still, there are some things to know about the V8 Tacoma, such as the concept that existed.
Let us walk you through the history of V8 engines with the Tacoma and take a look into the future. We also show you what to do if you desperately want a V8 motor in your Tacoma.
Sadly, Toyota has never offered a V8 Tacoma engine to the general public. All Tacoma models have either been equipped with a four- or six-cylinder engine.
However, Toyota did build a Tacoma with a V8 engine in 2008, but it was strictly a concept. It was never produced. This concept truck is known as the Toyota Tacoma Incross.
Still, Toyota does offer a V8 engine with other vehicles, including the larger Tundra.
Let’s dive deeper into the V8 engine specs that have or are offered.
Starting with the Toyota Tacoma Incross I-Force V8 engine, we have these specs:
- Displacement – 4.7 liters
- Horsepower – 271
- Torque – 321 lb-ft
How does that compare with the Tundra V8 engine? Here are some specs from the 2021 Tundra V8 engine.
- Displacement – 5.7 liters
- Horsepower – 381
- Torque – 401 lb-ft
Reliability and Longevity
The 5.7 V8 used by Toyota is also known as the Toyota 3UR-FE. It’s been used in the Tundra, as well as the Land Cruiser, Sequoia, and Lexus LX 570. While it’s been a reliable engine, well-loved by drivers, there have been a few notable issues.
- Water pump leaks: failure sometimes occurs between 60,000 and 100,000 miles
- Hydraulic chain tensioner failure: causes loosening of the timing chain
- Excessive oil consumption: while rare, the piston ring clearance can lead to more oil consumption, or it could be caused by using poor-quality oils
- Leaky cam towers: because Toyota uses an RTV sealant rather than a gasket
- Secondary air injection pump failure: can lead to stalling and a rough idle
Benefits and Drawbacks
There are some distinct benefits to driving a V8 Toyota, but also some downsides. Let’s look at both.
- Increased power, beneficial for towing and hauling
- Useful for bigger jobs, such as on the worksite
- Faster acceleration and increased speed
- Poor fuel economy
- Not the best choice for daily driving
Why Toyota Doesn’t Make a V8 Tacoma
Because Toyota has never released a statement about the lack of a V8 Tacoma, speculation is all that’s available. The most obvious reason would likely have to do with fuel economy. Would Tacoma owners want to spend so much on fuel for the smaller pickup?
Additionally, the V8 engine may be too large to fit in the Tacoma properly. It may also have issues meeting the EPA’s clean air regulations.
Another probable explanation comes from a Reddit user, who is a Toyota Master Technician who has worked at dealerships. Here’s their explanation:
“When I worked for the dealership, I asked the same question, and the answer I got was that they did not want the Tacoma to interfere with the Tundra sales by doing so since that would likely drive up Tacoma sales and drop Tundra sales. [It] seems like it wouldn’t matter since it’s still a Toyota purchase, but that being said, the different platforms are from different parts of the corporation and [they] don’t want to negatively affect other models.”
Will Toyota Ever Put a V8 in the Tacoma?
Given what we just looked at from the Toyota technician, it’s difficult to believe that the automaker plans to change course any time soon.
The Tacoma lineup has never had a V8 engine, and the manufacturer continues looking for more fuel-efficient options. It would be counter-productive to put a more powerful, fuel-sucking engine into the truck at this point.
Still, the Tacoma models continue gaining more power and only improve with time. For example, the 2024 Toyota Tacoma i-FORCE Max hybrid powertrain will be a game-changer.
Swapping the Tacoma’s Engine With a V8
There’s always the option to take out the existing Tacoma engine and replace it with a V8. However, the job can get pretty expensive unless you plan to do all of the work yourself. Even then, you are looking at a huge time investment.
Let’s look at a few examples of V8 swaps that have already been done.
Hot Cars showcased a Tacoma with a Nascar V8 build. This truck ended up with three times as much horsepower. It was built and designed by DeBerti Shop.
On Engine Swap Depot, you can also find examples of Tacoma owners swapping out the engine for a V8.
Additionally, there are great YouTube videos that show a V8 Tacoma swap and illustrate the process. Here are two we recommend watching.
Other Engine Options Available on the Tacoma
The have been many Tacoma engine options over the years. Let’s look at what’s been available.
First generation Tacoma (1995-2004) offered 3 different engines:
- 2.4L 2RZ-FE I4 (142 HP/160 lb-ft torque)
- 2.7L 3RZ-FE I4 (150 HP/177 lb-ft torque)
- 3.4L 5VZ-FE V6 (190 HP/220 lb-ft torque)
Second-generation Tacoma (2005-2015) offered 2 different engines:
- 2.7L 2TR-FE I4 (159 HP/180 lb-ft torque)
- 4.0L 1GR-FE V6 (236 HP/266 lb-ft torque)
Third-generation Tacoma (2015-2023) offered 2 different engines:
- 2.7L 2TR-FE I4 (same as second gen)
- 3.5L 2GR-FKS V6 (278 HP/265 lb-ft torque)
2024 Tacoma has 2 engine options
- 2.4L T24A-FTS Turbo I4 (228–278 HP/243–317 lb-ft torque)
- 2.4L T24A-FTS Turbo Hybrid I4 (326 HP/465 lb-ft torque)
Tacoma Alternatives That Offer a V8 Engine
If you are set on a V8 truck and don’t want the Tundra, there are other options. However, automakers don’t put a V8 in any compact truck. You would have to choose from one of these other full-size models.
- 2024 Ram 1500
- 2024 Ford F-150
- 2024 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- 2024 Nissan Titan
There’s also the option to go with a heavy-duty truck, as many of these have V8 or diesel powertrain configurations.
Feeling the Power
Are you dissatisfied with your current Tacoma setup? While it’s not simple to swap out the existing engine with a V8, it is possible.
However, you may consider getting a different truck altogether. It would be far easier to upgrade with a Tundra or other full-size truck. These are going to provide the power you are looking for without a lot of hassle.