2021 Toyota Tacoma
The latest 2021 Toyota Tacoma continues to be a capable on-road and off-road truck. A max tow rating of 6800 lbs and a max payload of 1685 lbs make it a good utilitarian mid-size pickup. Off-road performance is represented with the TRD models, which sport larger tires, a 1.5" factory lift and a locking rear-differential. In the slightest of nods towards the luxury segment, 2021 Tacos can, for the first time ever, be optioned with a power drivers seat. In addition, dual-zone climate control is now standard and should end the battle between driver and passenger in finding the perfect temperature.
Capable Truck, Less Capable Engine
2021 Tacos are optioned with a 2.7L inline-four or a 3.5L V6. Most are sold with the 3.5L V6, producing 270 horsepower. Compared to other mid-size trucks in the segment, while reliable, this tried-and-true V6 is under powered.
- Add horsepower and torque
- Heightened throttle response
- Crisp engine sound
Installing a cold air intake on a 2021 Tacoma pickup is one of the easy ways in which owners can help boost the output of their engine. Replacing the factory airbox and panel filter, a cold air intake system focuses on smoothing out airflow and providing less restriction through the filter and inlet. A quality CAI (cold air intake) system will also position the filter to benefit from ram air flow, which is the wind effect created when the truck is in motion. The result from these cumulative properties is a 10-15 net increase in horsepower and torque. In addition, due to the less turbulent airflow through the throttle body, most cold air intakes will quicken throttle response by a tad. Last but not least, using less restrictive depth-loading conical filters, Taco owners can expect to hear more inlet noise as the air moves through the intake.
Slide, Not Scrape, Over Obstacles
Given the fact the Tacoma is a capable off-road machine, it is unsurprising owners choose to take it off the beaten path. For those that are seriously into the trail life and really enjoy wheeling their 2021 Tacoma in the deep brush, consider outfitting the truck with a set of rock sliders. A rock slider has two primary functions. First, they act as their name directly implies - as a 'ski', of sort, secured under the rockers that can help slide the truck down an obstacle when otherwise it might get hung up on the undercarriage and stuck. Their second main function is to protect the rocker panels and rails from trail side scrapes and impacts, be it during a slide or encountering an obstacle with the suspension compressed. Shape and form do play an important role in a rock sliders' effectiveness. You may notice that certain rock sliders extend somewhat horizontally and are also intended to act as a side step, aiding passengers get in and out of the cab. This type of rock slider usually features a tubular rail with a smaller contact surface, which won't be as slick as a rail with a wider footprint. In this case, for maximum sliding ability, choose a rail with the biggest surface area. An example of this would be a rock slider that is less tubular and looks more like the hull of a boat. These wider, beveled surfaces will offer the best performance in terms of getting down off an obstacle. Last but not least, another critical component of a quality rock slider is the mounting point. A real rock slider will mount to the frame, the strongest point available. Rails that attach to the rocker panel or pinch seam will be significantly weaker and aren't intended (or suited) for hard-core off-roading. This type usually incorporates a side step and will mainly offer light impact protection versus all out sliding capability.