Compact pickup truck; Built in USA, Japan
  • crew cab
  • ext. cab
  • reg. cab
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,500 – $14,500*

1995 Toyota Tacoma SR5 4WD Xtracab extended cab

1998 Toyota Tacoma SR5 2WD Xtracab extended cab

1998 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner Xtracab extended cab

1998 Toyota Tacoma Limited 4WD Xtracab extended cab

1995 Toyota Tacoma interior

  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Reliability
  • Engine noise
  • Step-in height (4WD)
  • Price
  • Ride

The only advantage a Tacoma might have over domestic compacts would be in reliability. This is one case where we would shop the competition despite Toyota’s reputation.


Toyota’s sixth-generation pickup finally got a proper name of its own–Tacoma. The all-new model ha a driver-side airbag, and featured aggressive new styling, both inside and out. Propelling the new Tacoma were three engines–two 4-cylinders and a V6. The new engines included a 142-horsepower dual-overhead-cam 2.4-liter, a 150-horsepower dual-overhead-cam 2.7-liter, and a 190-horsepower dual-overhead cam 3.4-liter V6. The Tacoma also rode on a redesigned chassis and suspension and came with rack-and-pinion steering in place of the previous recirculating ball system. Also, 4-wheel ABS was now optional on all Tacoma models. The 4WD models were visually differentiated from 2WD models by a distinct grille treatment and an elevated chassis.

Yearly Updates

1996 Tacoma Pickup
For ’96, Toyota’s Tacoma pickup is provided with a new off-road package that includes a locking rear differential. The new unit is available only on regular-cab 4WD models with a manual transmission. On 2WD models it includes a rear differential locking system, 31-inch tires on alloy wheels, and a tachometer. On 4WD models, Toyota charges a little more, but adds bucket seats, a center console, and 4WDemand, the more sophisticated of Toyota’s two 4-wheel-drive systems.
1997 Tacoma Pickup
For 1997, 2WD models get a new grille and flush headlights. Also, the base 2.4-liter engine gains a new ignition system and a more sophisticated sequential multipoint fuel-injection system.
1998 Tacoma Pickup
Tacoma finally gets a passenger-side airbag, and the SR5 models get a new name–Limited.
1999 Tacoma Pickup
Seatbelt pretensioners topped the short list of changes for ’99.
2000 Tacoma Pickup
Intermittent windshield wipers became standard, and models with ABS now had daytime running lights. Four-wheel-drive trucks got numerically higher axle ratios for quicker takeoffs.
2001 Tacoma
New for 2001 were 4-door Double Cabs with four front-opening doors and a 60/40 folding rear bench seat. All models got a restyled front end with a raised hood and prominent grille. Also added for 2001 was a new S-Runner model–a manual-transmission V6 PreRunner Xtracab with stiffer springs, premium shock absorbers, color-keyed exterior, and special interior appointments.
2002 Tacoma
There were no significant changes for 2002.
2003 Tacoma
Antilock brakes were made standard on all models for 2003.
2004 Tacoma
The Tacoma loses its optional flare-fender StepSide cargo box in 2004.


longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

Standard powerplants included 2.4-liter and 2.7-liter 4-cylinders, plus a 3.4-liter V6. The smaller 4-cylinder is standard on 2WD models, while the 4WD models offer the 2.7-liter unit. The new V6 is available for both configurations. The 2.4-liter dual-overhead-cam 4-cylinder offers 142 horsepower at 5000 rpm and 160 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. The larger 4-cylinder boosts output to 150 horsepower at 4800 rpm and 177 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. Finally, the Tacoma’s V6 delivers a lusty 190 horsepower at 4800 rpm and 220 pound-feet of torque at 3600 rpm.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/144
Engine HP 142
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 160
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.7/163
Engine HP 150
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 177
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.4/207
Engine HP 190
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 220
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Road Test

Acceleration with the base engine feels brisk, particularly with the manual transmission. The 2.7-liter 4 cylinder in 4WD models has marginally more horsepower and torque, but feels more taxed in all driving situations. Tacomas with the 3.4-liter V6 have strong standing-start acceleration with either transmission. The 2001 test 2WD automatic V6 PreRunner Double Cab did 0-60 mph in a respectable 9.7 sec. And we averaged 16.1 mpg with 4WD and manual transmission, 19.4 with 2WD and automatic in our tests of V6 Xtracabs.

Ride quality is poor. Tacoma pounds over bumps and bounds over dips in the pavement. Handling is nothing special either, but at least the brakes work well.

Inside, the Tacoma feels rather spartan. There is enough room for two adults to stretch out in front, but the rear area, like in all compact pickups, is best left to cargo and not people. Controls are well-arranged, but are a bit on the small side–especially radio controls. Visibility is excellent and noise levels are only marginally higher than in comparable Ford or Chevy compact trucks.

Tacoma’s payload ratings are competitive with anything in this class, but even with the 3.4-liter V6, towing limits fall short of the Ranger and S-Series by about 1000 pounds. Note also that Tacoma has only a single 6.2-foot cargo bed length; while nearly all competitors offer a regular-cab model with a cargo bed of 7 or 7.5 feet.


Model Tested: 2001 Toyota Tacoma Xtracab 2WD, V6 auto

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 4
Fuel Economy - 5
Ride Quality - 5
Steering/Handling - 4
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 4
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 6

Total: 44


crew cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
121.9 202.3 70.1 67.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1674 18.5 5.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.8 37.8 42.8 33.8
ext. cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
121.9 203.1 66.5 62.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1759 15.1 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.4 35.5 42.8 27.2
reg. cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.3 184.5 66.5 61.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1914 15.1 3
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.2 NA 41.7 NA
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Tacoma reg. cab


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 2
Front Passenger Injury - 3

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 1
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 122
Injury 120
Theft 96

Trouble Spots

Exhaust system
Description: In compliance with emission-control regulations, the oxygen sensor will be replaced free at the 80,000-mile maintenance. (1995)
Vehicle noise
Description: The heat shield over the exhaust manifold rattles due to cracks. (1995-2000)

Recall History

Description: Battery may have defective weld inside positive or negative terminal, which can result in a no-start condition or explosion.
Description: Under certain conditions, front suspension support can crack.
Description: Some wheel lug nuts are defective, causing loss of torque, fatigue fracture of wheel, and possible loss of wheel.
Description: Trailer-towing wire harness may have deficient waterproofing and improper installation. An electrical short circuit will occur if water enters the converter housing.
2001-03 double cab
Description: If side impact occurs, the fuel inlet hose could be damaged, resulting in leakage and possible fire. Dealer will inspect and install a hose protector.
Description: Surface of lower ball joint in front suspension might have been scratched; joint may eventually experience excessive wear and looseness, resulting in increased steering effort and possible loss of steering control.
2001-2004 Tacoma
Description: Vehicles in certain states may have spare-tire-plate corrosion due to salt spray and insufficient anti-corrosion coating. The spare tire may come loose and drop onto the road surface.
Description: Driver’s seat belt may have incorrect markings.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.