Questions About the Toyota Tacoma? Check This Out

Tacoma Motion 1 II

If aliens landed on Earth tomorrow and saw all the types of vehicles humans drive, no doubt one of their first questions would be about the smallish Toyota Hilux pickup seen in almost every country except the U.S. And their second question, no doubt, would be about the mid-size Tacoma seen only in the U.S.

To help us — and any interested space aliens — better understand the differences with the six generations of the Toyota Tacoma, our friends at Project LM, makers of military-grade lighting products, sent us their latest spotter's guide. It's specifically designed to help us see the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between the six generations of the Tacoma. We thought you might like to see it as well. See below. 

Feel free to offer your own addendums to the guide in the comment section below.

Project LM infographic; photo by Angela Conners


Tacoma-spotters TLM Graphic 1 II



Great trucks, too bad it doesn't come with a Hemi.

CAFE have ruined trucks like the Tacoma. They're just too big now and are struggling to get the same gas mileage as full
Size. If they were smaller like the first gen I'd be interested. I had a first and second gen Tacoma, won't own a 3rd gen. Too big and too many problems I'm hearing about. I'll keep buying F-150's.

Way more problems with the F150 than the Tacoma.

Those 1995-98 Tacoma's looked great and are the ones I see most still on the roads these days. A testament to how well built they were.

I like the pre-Tacoma trucks better. They were smaller, and still very capable. I think you could get a little 1986 Toyota truck with a payload capacity exceeding 2000lbs.

Find one of those HD dually toyota trucks that uhaul and rv uses. Take the box or camper off and you got yourself a HD compact truck.

Same old rust bucket with minor cosmetic changes over a 21 yr period?!...I guess there are more suckers out there that believe toy makers reliability reputation than ISIS...

I'm gonna tell you about my little brothers 2001 shaky silvera well my brother has been into some problems lately with his truck first of all his engine knock like hell why? Because of the piston slap and then like 3 months ago his transmmission went out now he is selling the truck he says he doesn't want no trouble. he was telling me that he wants to get a 2014 ford f150 fx4 with the eco- boost engine. Good for him finally he realized that that truck wasn't good to be spending money on it.


No more junk for him hahahah.

@ CHINGON - You said no more problems for him, what are you talking about ?
You said he was buying a 2014 ford f150 fx4 with the eco- boost engine, well now the real problems are about to begin. Why would he buy Trash Motors Companys worst garbage made, Is he overweight and needs to do lot's of walking because thats whats going to happen.
Remember at Ford ,Quality is job none.

Well atleast the ford will not be 16 yrs old

Yeah, it will never last that long.

I had a 1974 Datsun truck and my roommate had a 1975 Toyota truck. both about 100hp, we pulled boats, dune buggy's, did a lot of hunting and fishing and hauled lots of stuff with those trucks...

I purchased this truck March 2016 based on the great look and body style. I traded it in six months later due to the vehicle would jump forward like someone taps the acceleration. One time in a indoor car garage it was tight quarters trying to park and the truck jumped forward and struck a concrete pole, even with my foot on the brake. The RPMs would raise 5 to 6 hundred when it jumps. Once it exccelerated aproching a red light as soon as it downshift to first. Other problems with the 2016 is the engine is unbelievable loud and the transmission will consently up shift and down shift when on cruse control. The truck looks good, great options but the engine and transmission sucks! Toyota denies there is problems. FYI- I test drove another 2016 Tacoma and the same thing.

Ray Dalinsky
Back in 2011 I also traded in my new Tacoma after 6 months cause the Toyota refused to repair all 3 problems under warranty.
heater blower motor
rust bubbles on the interior doors
rusted and pitted alloy wheels

I was forced to pay for a heater blower motor and install myself cause I couldn't drive the truck in the winter w/o heat or defrost. The Toyota Dealer said I abused it by dropping a pen or pencil down the defroster opening, but when I had it apart myself didn't see any objects in there and the blower fan wasn't damaged, the motor was frozen up or seized.

I simply traded it in cause I wanted to get the most of the resale value I could get for it cause I didn't want a new truck with all those problems knowing I had to pay to fix.

2017 SR dbl. door 4WD 6cyl W/tow pkg. Same findings as Ray regarding the transmission. Had Toyota re-prg. computer, a bit better but still downshifts majorly going downhill to a red light. No anticipation going up it just down shifts and keeps going! Slappy stick helps? Projector beams are great on flats/city driving but on back roads in the country they are terrible. Cannot see next hill top while going down the previous one. Lends to missing possible obstruction on the next hill. Wiper well should not be! Fills with ice and snow and is miserable to clean out, tarp looks real good over the area to protect! Ride is very comfortable and roomy after a RAV4 (wife and 2 dogs), will see how it handles a small popup camper this spring. Mileage is another story.

PUTC sure chose the Dodge Neon of pickup trucks to write about! If I was forced to own a smaller truck, I'd be focused on finding a solid S10 or an old Ranger to fix up and go from there.

The old school Nissan and Toyota trucks were too small and too underpowered to interest me much. When the mid sized versions of these trucks came along about 10 years ago things improved some, but the compact trucks they were building during the 80s and 90s were death traps and had very little in the way of utility and function (unless you were delivering flowers, auto parts or pizza for a living).

Hopefully the mid size trucks will grow in their load carrying abilities and horsepower.

2012: should have had a 6 speed automatic.
2017: should have had an 8 speed automatic.

I owned four different Tacomas. Best truck I ever had. My last Tacoma I gave to my grandson It had 450,000km. Replaced one battery one set of breaks one timing belt These Trucks were trouble free. The first two trucks had rust problems. But the last two stood up great.

I think Toyota should kept the Tacoma a compact, they should have kept the Compact and made new Mid Size. Just my thoughts.

I had an old '78 Toyota Truck that overheated and blew up, however, I learned how to drive manual shift at an early age with it. It was my second truck at 16. Loved it.


Lol, agreed.

Same old rust bucket with minor cosmetic changes over a 21 yr period?!...I guess there are more suckers out there that believe toy makers reliability reputation than ISIS...

Posted by: Lionel | Mar 2, 2017 5:01:42 PM

Speaking of suckers. Is taking off work or not being able to use your vehicle from all the recalls into your personnel ratings or is that just factored in when you buy a Ford?

@Papajim: a Dodge Neon was a lot better even in its first few years than a Chevy Cavalier. Lol.

After the head gasket issue was fixed around 1999 2000, they were very reliable.

Meanwhile the Chevy Cavalier was just hoo-hum. So they renamed it the Cobalt and even that didn't last.

My 2001 Tacoma Double cab's frame rusted in several pieces. They replaced the complete frame along with rear springs and it is still going strong. Frame rusting out is a known issue from 1996 to 2004

Oh well, the Hilux is also famous for rust worldwide except maybe you're in the desert with dry air - I guess reason why these trucks are so popular with ISIS...until a drone shows up;

An interesting article on cheapest trucks out there;

I am i die hard ford man but i think that it is commen knowledge toyota is the most reliable vehicle right behind FORD!!!!


It isn't all about you.

This site has its own technical issues from time to time--so do all websites. Get over yourself!

Had a 1984-1/2 (yes, and-a-half) 2wd Toyota "truck" in college: Great mileage/reliability...5th went out of the transmission after 400,000 miles and I traded it off.
A few vehicles later I had a 1995 T100: other than a broken clutch pedal bracket (easily replaced), nothing ever broke on that.
I traded that for a 2000 Tacoma: absolutely trouble-free...EXCEPT for the tiny rust hole in the frame. The silver lining there is at least Toyota bought it back for 120 bucks more than I paid for it (6 years and 60,000 miles later).
***after that I bought a 1999 Chevy and drove that for around 50,000 miles...Engine and tranny were trouble-free, but the REST of the truck absolutely disintegrated...Frame rusted/broke in two places...Chevy gave me nothing...NEVER AGAIN...
Recenty bought a 2008 Tundra...Trouble-free, so far.

My favorite Toy is the 1983. My uncle totaled his but i love the body style.

I'm not racist as my '11 Tundra ownership experience fuels my beef with Toyota--and that is Toyota's fault not mine.

Rusty underpowered trucks.

I had been buying Toyota pickups for years. My last pickup a 1993 developed a stress crack on the drivers side from the top of the windshield. I had to wait until the factory rep showed up at the dealership to get it approved for replacement. The rep blamed the crack on a micro chip at the bottom of the passenger side of the windshield and he denied to authorize a replacement. I replaced the windshield through my insurance. After I replaced the windshield I traded the Toyota in and bought a Nissan Frontier. I have never purchased a Toyota product since. Toyota won the battle and ended up losing the war.

All those models.. and they can't make a Tacoma that has rear disk brakes.

All those models.. and they can't make a Tacoma that has rear disk brakes.

Posted by: DB | Mar 7, 2017 7:39:48 PM

Why don't you ask long-time Tacoma owners, we really do not care if it has rear disc's or not. The system is flawless and reliable and stops just as good as having rear disc's, so why bother adding the weight and cost when the drums get the job done just as good but is more reliable!

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