Used Toyota Tacoma Information
Used Toyota Tacoma Review 1996-2004:
Toyota's trucks have always had quite a following, even before the SUV craze began. The 4Runner never sold as well as Jeep's old Cherokee, but early versions dating back to before Toyota started stuffing V8s under its hood earned a cult following that lingers even now that the truck has become part of the SUV mainstream.
Toyota pickup trucks share a similarly small, but loyal, fan base. Real car geeks know Toyota's history as a builder of small trucks like the one Marty McFly lusted after in Back to the Future dates back decades, especially in its home market, where they've always been as popular as the Big Three's pickups are here in North America. Perhaps they never caught on here because of Toyota's early reputation here as a maker of economy cars; many truck buyers likely couldn't bring themselves to drive a pickup that belonged to the same family tree as the Tercel and Corolla. There's also the fact that until the mid-90s, Toyota's small truck was known simply as "truck." Creative, eh?
A lot of things changed for Toyota's compact pickup line in 1996, though, when it was redesigned and christened the Tacoma. The Tacoma got all-new power too, in the form of either a 2.4-litre four-cylinder (142 hp; 160 lb-ft of torque), a 2.7-litre four-cylinder (150 hp; 177 lb-ft of torque) or a 3.4-litre V6 (190 hp; 220 lb-ft of torque) that replaced the comparatively wimpy 2.4- and 3.0-litre units (116 and 150 hp respectively) that powered previous generation models and finally gave Toyota's compact truck the guts to go head-to-head with competing compacts from the Big Three.
Initially, the Tacoma could accommodate three people comfortably or five people uncomfortably in either regular or "XtraCab" extended cab configurations. In 2000, the Tacoma Prerunner, a rear-wheel-drive Tacoma dressed up to look like a 4×4 model, was introduced and slotted in, price-wise, between the two- and four-wheel-drive models. In 2001, the Tacoma DoubleCab with a slightly longer cab than XtraCab models, and four doors instead of two and a tiny cargo bed was introduced.
So what did the Tacoma offer that other smaller pickups didn't? For the most part, it was similar to other small trucks from Japan (Nissan's Frontier was the only other true Japanese truck) and North America (Ford's Ranger and the Mazda B-series that shared much of the Ford's DNA, Dodge's Dakota and the GMC S-15/Sonoma and Chevy S-10) in size and in carrying capacity but offered the bulletproof reliability Toyota is known for. The Frontier came close to matching it over the years but couldn't beat the Tacoma's near flawless record according to Consumer Reports, who recommend the Tacoma in every model year from 1997 to 2004.