Epic made possible. This is the tagline of the 2021 Toyota Tacoma and it has been recognized by Kelley Blue Book as the Best Buy of the Year Among Midsize Pickup Trucks. That’s why the RV community is all excited to see what the Toyota Tacoma offers especially as a towing vehicle for travel trailers.
Let’s explore the specs and features of the 2021 Toyota Tacoma to see which travel trailers and campers fall within its towing capacity.
Key Specs and Features:
- 3.5-Liter V6 Direct-Injection Atkinson Cycle Engine with 278 hp @ 6000 rpm/265 lb.-ft. @ 4600 rpm
- 6-speed Electronically Controlled automatic Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i)
- Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) (lb.): 11, 360
- Payload (lb.): 1, 155
- Towing capacity (lb.) (standard/with V6 Tow Package): 6, 400
- Class-IV towing hitch receiver
- 130-amp alternator
- 4- and 7-pin connector with converter
- MPG (city/highway): 18/22
- 5 ft short bed
- Ground clearance (in.): 9.4
The 2021 Toyota Tacoma is available in 3 models: SR, TRD Off-Road, and Limited. You can choose between a 3.5-Liter V6 DOHC 24-valve direct-injection Atkinson cycle engine with variable valve timing-intelligent wider intake) and variable valve timing-intelligent exhaust and a 3.5L V6 direct-injection Atkinson cycle engine. All models have a standard six speed electronically controlled transmission and they come with 278 hp @ 6000 rpm.
This is the main disadvantage of the 2021 Toyota Tacoma as many believe that it lacks the mechanical power to be able to tow travel trailers. You can’t expect a powerful performance with 278 hp. But what it lacks in power, it makes up for in many other aspects as we’re about to point out.
This midsize pick up truck is a 4×4 double cab with a seating capacity for 5 people. Its body is made of one-piece frame rails with 8 cross members and fully boxed front sub-frame to strengthen its structure. Its truck bed is made of fiber-reinforced sheet molded composite (SMC) and the outer panels are made of steel for strength and durability. Its tailgate is easily lowered and can be locked or you can remove it altogether depending on your need.
The 2021 Toyota Tacoma deck rail system has 4 adjustable tie-down cleats and 4 fixed cargo bed tie-down points to keep your travel gears secure wherever you go. There are also a storage compartments to keep your things organized so you can bring more stuff with you when you go camping.
You can upgrade your unit to have a hard tri-fold tonneau cover. This is weather resistant so it can withstand changing weather conditions which we, in the RV community, have to get used to. The truck bed cover can be locked easily and also conveniently folds to the cab so that you can access the truck bed when needed.
The standard safety features of the 2021 Toyota Tacoma include the Toyota Safety Sense and Star Safety System which use advanced technology to ensure your safety on the road. The Star Safety System is responsible for enabling this vehicle to provide you with brake assist, anti-lock brake system with electronic brake-force distribution, traction control, vehicle stability control, and Smart Stop Technology®. You can also rely on your Tacoma for pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, lane departure alert, and dynamic radar cruise control because of the Toyota Safety Sense feature.
When it comes to infotainment, the package depends on the model that you’re getting. For the SR and TRD off-road models, you get six speakers inside your vehicle. The audio system is compatible with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa. It has hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology to keep you entertained while driving. The difference is that the SR model comes with a 7-inch touchscreen while the TRD Off-road audio system comes with an 8-inch touchscreen.
The Toyota Tacoma Limited model offers premium audio and dynamic navigation. It comes with an 8 inch touchscreen, six JBL® speakers including subwoofer and amplifier for high quality audio on the road. You also get to enjoy hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology, This is also compatible with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa.
Can you tow an RV trailer with a Toyota Tacoma?
The 2021 Toyota Tacoma is a medium duty pickup truck. And to answer the question, yes, there are campers that can be towed using this as your towing vehicle. But first, let’s discuss the 2021 Toyota Tacoma towing capacity.
2021 Toyota Tacoma Towing Capacity
The 2021 Toyota Tacoma SR has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 5,600 lbs. Its Gross Combined Weight Rating when you attach a travel trailer to it should be a maximum of 11, 360 lbs. The Toyota Tacoma towing capacity is said to be 6, 400 pounds and we all know that there are a lot of travel trailers which fit this weight category.
The Tacoma comes with a Class IV towing hitch receiver which is essential in carrying weight and distributing that weight evenly throughout the vehicle. With a 130-amp alternator, it is capable of handling your towing vehicle’s basic needs.
The Toyota Tacoma offers Trailer-Sway Control when you get their Towing Package. This feature will make sure that your travel trailer won’t sway as you travel. It applies brake pressure at each of the wheels. The Trailer Sway Control also manages torque so that you’ll have better control of the camper that you’re towing.
What kind of camper can you tow with a Toyota Tacoma?
As mentioned earlier, you won’t have a hard time looking for a travel trailer that can be safely towed by a Toyota Tacoma. Just keep in mind that the 2021 Toyota Tacoma towing capacity is 6,400 pounds so that you won’t put too much strain on your vehicle that can lead to damages and accidents.
There are a lot of campers that can be towed using a Toyota Tacoma especially now that there’s a trend towards downsizing and lighter weight travel trailers. Though we are ruling out large campers, these smaller travel trailers can come with complete amenities similar to their larger counterparts. It’s just that they have been designed to be more compact and lightweight.
Here are the different types of campers that you can tow with a Toyota Tacoma.
Pop up Campers
Pop up campers, also known as tent campers, fit the criteria of being compact and lightweight. The reason behind this is that they have sides or roof which is made of canvas or other materials which are lightweight also.
Pop up campers weigh between 1, 200 to 3, 500 pounds depending on the size and amenities that they offer. The more amenities they are equipped with, the heavier they get so better check the total weight of your camper to make sure it falls within the towing capacity of the Tacoma.
Teardrop trailers are said to be the smallest type of travel trailers. They are easily distinguishable because of their shape which is like a teardrop hence its name. But their shape is also crucial in making sure that it is compact, lightweight, and streamlined. They usually weigh between 1,000 pounds to 3,200 pounds which is within the towing capacity of a Toyota Tacoma.
Fifth wheels can be rather large but there are smaller ones which are available in the market. It is good that RV manufacturers are coming up with lightweight models to give RVers more options. So this means that you can definitely find fifth wheels which are within the towing limit and payload capacity of a Toyota Tacoma and could fit in its short truck bed.
So basically there are 3 types of campers that a Toyota Tacoma can tow: the teardrop camper, the pop up camper, and fifth wheel. As mentioned above, the more amenities they have, the heavier they get. There are teardrop campers and pop up campers that come with complete amenities despite their size. This will make your camping for comfortable and convenient. Just make sure that their total weight is within the 2021 Toyota Tacoma towing capacity so you won’t encounter any problem.
Let’s be frank about it, the Toyota Tacoma isn’t the best towing vehicle out there given its limited power and mechanical performance. But the reality is that it is not built for heavy duty towing but it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to use it as a towing vehicle.
We now know that we can tow compact and lightweight teardrop trailers, pop up campers, and fifth wheels using a Toyota Tacoma. These campers won’t put too much strain on our medium duty pickup truck. You can still enjoy some creature comforts and even complete amenities with these types of campers so you know that you’re gonna have a good time on the road especially with the other features of the Tacoma that make it such a reliable vehicle such as fuel efficiency, user-friendly infotainment system, and excellent standard safety features.