The heart of the 2016 Toyota Tacoma is the all-new Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter 60-degree all-aluminum V-6 with computer-controlled dual-overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. What makes it an Atkinson-cycle engine is that the valves on the intake side can, when appropriate, stay open a little longer during the compression stroke.
The ability of this engine to switch back and forth between a normal four-stroke Otto cycle to an Atkinson cycle allows the engine to be more efficient with the energy it produces, wasting little effort. The fact that it has both direct-fuel and port-injection capabilities will allow the engine to offer the most power possible — no matter what load it's carrying or the speed of the vehicle — with the smallest sacrifices to fuel efficiency.
Keen observers will note that that new 3.5-liter D-4S V-6 has more than 40 horsepower more than the outgoing all-aluminum 24-valve V-6 and 1 less pounds-feet of torque, with a maximum peak torque rating of 265 pounds-feet at 4,600 rpm. Yes, the new motor has less torque but a much better throttle response due in large part to a flatter, longer torque curve. That's why the engine (perfectly mated to the new quick-shifting six-speed) feels like a bigger, more powerful version of the 4.0-liter it's replacing.
Another thing to note about the 2016 Tacoma is how close the EPA fuel economy numbers are for the two engines. The 2.7-liter I-4 two-wheel drive with the automatic transmission gets 19/23/21 mpg city/highway/combined and the 3.5-liter V-6 two-wheel drive with the automatic transmission gets 19/24/21. And don't forget to check out our separate first drive, pricing, and .