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When Toyota introduced the Tacoma in 1995, it was initially meant to replace the Hilux. Manufactured to be more of a personal vehicle versus a commercial or off-road truck, it attracted young buyers right away. As a midsize competing against Nissan Frontier and Dodge Dakotas, it was quickly ahead of them in sales with its popularity by 2004.

The success lead to the unveiling of an X-Runner trim as a limited production model. Loaded with a manual 6-speed transmission, ground effects, optional StopTech big brake kit and x-brace suspension, the aftermarket community was chomping at the bit to start modifying this truck to make it their own. With aggressive looks and appeal of superior handling, it was hard for anyone else in the market to compete.

Then along came the big brother; the Toyota Tundra. Starting production in 1999, it was the first North American full-size pickup to be built by a Japanese manufacturer. Focusing on people working in the construction field, the 5.7L V8 came standard with a tow package as it was built to compete with the Dodge Ram mega-cab. With the option to have a TRD supercharger installed while keeping your original warranty, power is not a concern with this beast of a truck. It definitely came into the game with the power to pull.

As far back as I can remember, my dad has always been a Toyota guy. The first car engraved into my memory was a little blue Tercel. As I grew up, it went from a Corolla (that turned out to be my first car as a freshly licensed 16-year-old driver) to my mom’s Solara, and eventually to my dad needing a truck and purchasing a Tacoma. As a kid, you ask your parents “why” a lot. So why did my dad like Toyotas? Because they’re reliable. This eventually stemmed off into my purchase of a Tundra, and my brother’s purchase of an X-Runner. Soon after, my dad bought a new Tacoma and we had completed the broad family spectrum of trucks.

Initially, I laughed at the idea of a 4-cylinder truck. Sure, it may be good on gas, but what is that little thing going to tow, groceries? That’s when I boast about my V8, and then my dad laughs at my 13mpg and my brother chimes in with the fact that his “low rider” can out handle the both of us with his factory suspension. When it came down to it, we each had a benefit that another person wanted. Why can’t we have it all? A jack-of-all-trades that can tow without making your wallet cry from gas costs, or have the performance of something that would make daily driving more fun? While we all may be accustomed to the idea of not being able to have it all, we DO have options.

New vehicles from the factory all come with that delay in the gas pedal, and I’m sure it annoys at least everyone with a driver’s license at some point. In order to fix this, you may think you need to spend money on a tune and void your warranty. Well I’m here to tell you, there are other ways to achieve your goals without sacrificing your relationship with your dealership. Enter Pedal Commander, with their 4 mode/36 level throttle response controller.

When you initially think of a throttle response controller, you would assume it would only be a hot commodity among the sport car market. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. Over the past year, sales for Pedal Commander have soared with the Tundra, Tacoma and other trucks being the most popular vehicles the controller is sold for.

I daily drive my Tundra, and yes, the fuel economy burns me on a weekly basis. As much as I love this truck, the amount of money I spent on gas would be the only thing I would change. After installing Pedal Commander and running in ECO mode, I saw my gas mileage increase from 12-13mpg all the way up to 16-17mpg. For a car, those numbers are insignificant. But for a 4WD, 5.7L V8 7,000 lb. beast…. I could hear my wallet give an audible sigh of relief. With varying gas prices, it only took 6 months of driving for this little device to pay itself off, proving to be a worthwhile investment. With this new modification, you better believe my dad got a phone call with my newfound ability to brag that my truck was closer to competing with the reason he bought his Tacoma.

Of course, this brought up his Tacoma and what benefits he may see from installing a Pedal Commander. He already gets good gas mileage, but that comes paired with the inability to get out of his own way if he puts his foot to the floor. City mode is perfect for this application; it eliminates that throttle delay and gives you an amplified version of the stock response without killing your gas mileage. For my brother and his X-Runner that already has good handling, Sport mode is his new best friend. From the reviews that keep rolling in on Tacoma forums online, its making these midsize trucks feel like the little sports cars this device was originally intended for.

No matter your mood, there is a mode for you. Don’t assume you’re stuck with the features that your manufacturer gave you. Make your gas guzzler more conservative, or take your midsize to a new level by controlling your throttle on your own terms with Pedal Commander!

2 thoughts on “The Power of a Tundra With the Fuel Economy of a Tacoma”

  1. Hi – I drive a 2011 Tundra Crewmax with a 4.5 inch lift and 34 in tires and not a 4×4. My current fuel mileage around town is about 12 mpg’s or so. Hwy, around 15-16 at best. When I pull my 7,600 lbs travel trailer, not including all provisions loaded, I get around 8mpg, maybe 10mpg “downhill”.

    In order to maximize my fuel economy in town, not towing, ECO is my best option based on what I have ready. But what about the sensitivity setting? What does this sensitivity setting do? Also, what setting and sensitivity should I use when towing to get the same tow power I have not but with better mpg’s?

    Thanks in advance for your help on this one.

    1. On Eco mode, the sensitivity is decrease. Its going to feel pretty soft and spongy, but this is what helps us save fuel. I had a 2015 4×4 Tundra with horrible fuel economy, and I saved about 3-4mpg city and highway. Never towed a trailer, but I’ve loaded the bed with about 3k lbs. The Pedal Commander was definitely a huge help!

      Eco mode won’t decrease power, its the only mode I’ll recommend for towing.

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