2012 Toyota Tacoma
The 2012 Toyota Tacoma gets a comprehensive electronic update with Bluetooth audio connectivity, HD radio, satellite radio, and Toyota's Entune services. The 2012 Tacoma is part of the second-gen model that is bigger and more powerful than the first-gen Tacoma unveiled in 1995. The Tacoma is available in Regular Cab, Access Cab, and Double Cab body styles. Both the Regular and Access Cab get a standard 6.5-foot bed, while the Double Cab has a five-foot bed and an optional six-foot bed. The Toyota Tacoma has a standard 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, connected to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox. Meanwhile, higher trim models get a 4.0-liter V6 engine churning out 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. The Tacoma has a standard rear-wheel drivetrain, but all variants are available with optional four-wheel drive.
The standard 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine in the 2012 Toyota Tacoma is a marginal improvement over the previous 2.4-liter four-banger. You probably heard about cold air intakes and how they improve engine breathing to free up a few precious horsepowers along the way, but that's not the entire story. Upgrading from the stock airbox and paper filter to a high-flow cold air intake will benefit your rig's acceleration, throttle response, and fuel economy. Combined with an aftermarket throttle body spacer that swirls the air into a vortex on its way to the combustion chamber, you can typically unleash an extra four or five horsepower from your four-cylinder Tacoma. And since most cold air intake kits come with reusable and washable air filters, you can save money on parts and maintenance while reducing waste.
Hear the V6 Roar
On the other hand, the second-gen Tacoma's 4.0-liter V6 is also larger and more potent than the previous 3.4-liter V6 engine. While a performance intake system will yield dividends like in the smaller 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, installing an aftermarket exhaust upgrade is a surefire way to unleash more power while giving your truck a more prominent and noticeable exhaust growl. Depending on your needs and budget, there are three ways to do it. The most affordable route is to replace the stock muffler with a larger and free-flowing axle-back exhaust kit. This means removing the OEM tail section (which could require cutting) and bolting (or welding) the new set in. Installing a header and mid-pipe kit is another viable course of action. Header and mid-pipe systems have high-flow catalytic converters with metallic substrates that are efficient at converting carbon monoxide without impeding performance.
The next step after installing a set of intake and exhaust mods is to reprogram the ECU. The stock engine tune is ideal for most on-road and street applications, and most cold air intake kits and axle-back exhausts do not require re-tuning the PCM (Power Control Module). However, Tacoma engine tuners come with pre-programmed and selectable engine tunes that allow you to adjust many parameters - like changing the transmission shift points or adjusting the speedometer - and maximize the potential of other modifications. And since performance tuners can also monitor or diagnose engine parameters and check engine codes, you essentially have a portable mechanic in the palm of your hand. Keep in mind that most tuners come with pre-loaded engine tunes and are not applicable for custom tunes required after installing a supercharger, for instance.