A Toyota Tacoma is a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts who appreciate its all-around performance and rugged good looks. Whether your destination requires navigating up and down winding mountain roads or powering over sand dunes, this truck is the perfect vehicle for weekend warriors and adventure seekers. But what if fishing or boating is your game? Will a Toyota Tacoma pull a boat?
Depending on the model and engine type, a Toyota Tacoma can pull a boat (which includes the trailer, motor, and fuel) weighing between 3,500 and 6,800 pounds. Any type of personal watercraft (i.e., jet ski) will fall within this range as well as small fishing boats, pontoons, and sailboats.
Whether it is driven for work or play, a Toyota Tacoma is a reliable performer that is capable of doing some heavy lifting when called upon. This includes pulling a boat or towing a trailer but there are important considerations to keep in mind. Keep reading to learn how big of a boat a Toyota Tacoma can pull, and more importantly, how to know whether it can do it safely.
How Big of a Boat Can a Tacoma Tow?
A Toyota Tacoma isn’t just a workhorse for tough job settings like construction or hauling. It is also powerful enough to pull a boat from your driveway to the boat ramp and back again. Whether you live in close proximity to a lake, or your favorite fishing spot is several hours away, a Toyota Tacoma can get you and your boat to your destination.
But naturally, there are limitations. In the case of a Toyota Tacoma, it is capable of towing boats of certain sizes and its range boils down to weight.
Depending on the model, engine size, and trim, a Toyota Tacoma can safely pull a boat with a package weight (i.e., the boat, trailer, motor, and fuel) falling between 3,500 and 6,800 pounds.
In terms of how big of a boat this weight range translates to, here is a summary of a few popular boat categories and their corresponding weights:
- Personal watercraft (PWC) – this includes jet skis, kayaks, and canoes, and the weights of these popular PWCs will fall between 800 to 1,000 pounds plus 200 – 400 pounds for a single-axle trailer
- Small fishing boats – typically weigh between 1,000 to 2,000 pounds plus 300 – 500 pounds for the trailer
- Smaller boats for recreational use – these include pontoons, motorboats, and saltwater fishing boats, and weigh between 2,200 to 3,000 pounds with their trailers adding 500 to 600 pounds
- Larger boats for recreational use – bay boats and ski boats commonly fall into this category and weigh 4,000 to 6,000 pounds plus 800 – 1,000 pounds for their double-axle trailers
- Larger vessels – in this category you will find sailboats, cabin cruisers, and speed boats, and they weigh between 7,000 to 8,800 pounds with an additional 1,300 – 1,600 for a heavy-duty (three axles) trailer
Based on these figures, a 4-cylinder Toyota Tacoma can safely handle personal watercraft and small fishing boats as well as lighter recreational boats.
The more powerful 6-cylinder Tacoma is capable of towing pontoons, motorboats, and ski boats up to a certain size. As far as pulling larger vessels like sailboats and cabin cruisers are concerned, those are better left to more powerful trucks.
Here’s a video of a Tacoma pulling a boat:
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Can a Toyota Tacoma Tow a Bass Boat?
With the growing popularity of fishing and recreational boating, it should come as no surprise that 95% of all vessels on U.S. waters are 26 feet in length or less. At this size, boats can be towed and trailered to virtually any waterway making these activities highly accessible.
In particular, bass boats are a common entryway into boat ownership because they are an affordable option and easier to transport. Can a Toyota Tacoma tow a bass boat? Here are some basic figures to consider:
- A 17-foot bass boat has an average package weight of around 2,700 pounds
- A 19-foot bass boat has an average package weight of around 3,500 pounds
- A 21-foot bass boat has an average package weight of around 4,100 pounds
If you own a Toyota Tacoma, you can rest assured that your truck is more than capable of towing a bass boat. A 4-cylinder model can handle a 17-footer while a truck with a beefier 6-cylinder engine should have no problem towing a larger 19-foot or 21-foot bass boat.
How Heavy of a Trailer Can a Toyota Tacoma Pull?
How heavy of a trailer a Toyota Tacoma can pull depends on the model and trim of your truck. For instance, an automatic transmission SR model equipped with a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds and can handle a tongue load of 350 pounds.
On the other end of the spectrum, an automatic transmission Tacoma fitted with a 3.5-liter 6-cylinder engine has a maximum towing capacity of 6,800 pounds with a 680-pound tongue load limit.
When it comes to maximizing towing capacity, there is more to the equation than having a more powerful engine.
For it to be fully optimized for pulling a trailer of any sort, be it a boat or a camper, a Tacoma also needs to be outfitted with Toyota’s towing package, which consists of:
- Class IV towing hitch receiver
- 130-amp alternator
- Engine oil cooler
- Power steering cooler
- 4-pin and 7-pin connectors with convertor
- Trailer-sway control
Among the various configurations available for the Toyota Tacoma, only those models equipped with the extended Access Cab (6-foot bed), rear-wheel drive, V-6 engine, and automatic transmission, can achieve the maximum towing weight of 6,800 pounds.
All other Tacoma variations will have lower towing capacities, with the next step down being 6,400 pounds and then 3,500 pounds at the low end.
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A Toyota Tacoma is a true jack-of-all-trades on four wheels. It is just as comfortable navigating crowded city streets as it is exploring dirt roads that don’t even appear on a map (or your phone). It is also adept at towing trailers, particularly those used for recreational boats.
When it comes to pulling a boat, you might say that a Toyota Tacoma is more than up to the task, particularly if your truck is one of the V6 variants that has a towing capacity of 6,800 pounds, in which case, you can easily tow a 21-foot bass boat, pontoon, or even a small ski boat.