Produced by Toyota since 1995, the Tacoma is a pickup truck made specifically for the North American market. Partly due to Toyota’s outstanding track record of reliability, the Tacoma quickly became one of the best-rated trucks from this era. In fact, they were so well-made that you can still buy a 1st-gen Tacoma up to this day. If you are in the market looking for a cheap and somewhat older pickup truck, the 95-04 Tacoma might very well be the car for you. To help you decide and find the right one for you, here’s everything you need to know about the Toyota Tacoma: Specs, pricing, different models, and edition as well as every yearly update.
1995 Toyota Tacoma
Launched in the US in February 1995, the Tacoma was engineered for better ride quality, improved handling, comfort, and safety than its predecessors, the Toyota Truck and Hilux.
Toyota offered three different engine options. The 2.4l four-cylinder 2RZ-FE engine rated at 142 HP and 160 lb-ft of torque with a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs and gas mileage of 26 mpg.
The second engine available was the 2.7l four-cylinder 3RZ-FE engine produced around 150 HP and 177 lb-ft of torque. Surprisingly, the 3RZ-FE was more fuel-efficient than the smaller model at only 20mpg.
Last but not least, was the 3.4 L 5VZ-FE V6 with a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. The 3.4 L was rated at 190 HP and 220 lb-ft of torque with only a small increase in gas mileage, 21 miles mpg.
In the beginning, the Tacoma sold very well. By 1998, Toyota released the PreRunner model. The Tacoma had the same full-frame and a solid rear axle as its predecessors, however, but the front suspension was redesigned with Toyota changing to coil springs on both 4x2s and 4x4s. A TRD Off-Road Package was available that incorporated a locking rear differential.
The PreRunner option spread to regular cab models for 1999, and all Tacomas equipped with antilock brakes were also equipped with daytime running lights. With the PreRunner package a certified hit, Toyota pushed the style envelope even further. In 2000, Toyota introduced the Tacoma StepSide model, incorporating a bed with distinct fender blisters. Including, a new four-door crew cab model. Christened the Double Cab model, it was given Tokico gas shocks and four doors. The extended cab had a 6 ft bed, while the crew cab only had a 5-foot-5-inch bed. In October 2000, Toyota revealed the S-Runner trim package that incorporated a five-speed manual transmission paired with a 3.4 L V6 engine.
The Tacoma remained unchanged in 2002. However, it was still popular enough to be named the “Most Wanted” small pickup that year. By 2003, the Tacoma had increased in sales by 16.5%. The Toyota Tacoma ended is life in 2004, remaining largely unchanged.
The Toyota Tacoma TRD supercharger was co-developed by Toyota with Magnuson Superchargers. They were specifically designed for use in the FJ Cruiser and Tacoma equipped with a 3.4L 5VZ-FE V6 engine. Offered through certified Toyota dealers, they could be installed without voiding the warranties by said dealerships. The power output was increased to 254 hp and 270 lb-ft.
Toyota Tacoma’s for Sale
If you’re in the small pickup market, the Tacoma is a great choice. And luckily, they aren’t that hard to come by. Just a quick google search for “Toyota Tacoma’s for sale near me” brings up a wide range of options. It only takes a little bit of research to find out what prices are in your local area.
Toyota Tacoma Recalls
There have been a few recalls on the 4x4s that Toyota made. Most of them have had to do with the bumper light assembly parts that failed to conform to the federal safety standard. They were cited to not contain the required amber side reflectors.
Furthermore, on the 1995 Tacoma, the front suspension support was known to crack under particular driving conditions. The battery was also occasionally known to have a defective weld inside the positive and/or negative terminal. However, the fear was that the defective weld could prevent the vehicle from starting, not cause an explosion or anything like that.
Not to neglect is also the now-famous”frame recall”. This recall is probably one of the best-known in the automotive world. The problem was about frame corrosion and was so bad that Toyota had to buy back many of them or perform extensive frame repairs at their own cost. However, 1st-gen Tacomas are only eligible for the recall if they were inspected by the manufacturer before 2011. Consequently, if you plan to buy one, make sure to check if the recall has been done before spending your money on a potential pile of rust.
The first-generation Toyota Tacoma is a marvelous and reliable pickup truck. If you’re looking for a daily driver that can haul your boat on weekends and perform as well on a farm as in the city, the Tacoma is the truck for you. It’s definitely a 4×4 that you shouldn’t underestimate.