Manufactured in the US since 1995, the Toyota Tacoma Pick Up comes in a compact model for the first generation and a mid-size version for the second generation. This award-winning pick up was named Truck of the Year by Motor Trend for 2005.
1995-2004: The first generation Toyota Tacoma
The Tacoma was released in the US market in February of 2005. Named after the city of Tacoma, the first generation Toyota pickup replaced the Hilux. Tacoma has better automotive engineering and design than the Hilux and offers better ride quality, comfort, safety, and handling. It was designed with the North American market in mind, marketed as a personal vehicle since compact and mid-size pickups in the US and in Canada were used more for this purpose. The first generation Tacoma has three options for the engine: the 2.4L 4-cylinder rated at 142 hp and 160lb.-ft. of torque, 2.7L 4-cylinder rated at 150 hp and 177 lb.-ft. of torque, and 3.4L V6 rated at 190hp and 220 lb.-ft. of torque. The Tacoma is available as a two-wheel or four-wheel drive and as manual or automatic. Prerunner models were later introduced in 1998. These models have some of the features of 4x4 Tacomas, such as the geometry, engine options, and style of the frame, among other things. The Prerunner can, in fact, be converted into a 4x4 using some stock parts.
The first generation Tacoma pickup went through some upgrades. In 1997, flush headlights were used. Some facelifts were also done in 1998 and 2001. The upgrades include the entailed grilles, tailgate badging, and emblems. Mechanically, the vehicle was converted to distributionless ignition in 1997. In 2001, the line up welcomed a new crew cab model and the S-Runner trim package was introduced. The package features the 3.4L V6 engine and 5-speed manual transmission.
The Tacoma's first couple of years went smoothly. It did well in terms of sales. In 2003, the pickup model even marked better sales. The Tacoma became popular through the years. In 2004, it surpassed the sales of Dodge Dakota and Nissan Frontier and stayed close to the Ford Ranger in terms of popularity.
2005-present: The second generation Toyota Tacoma
The second generation Tacoma made an appearance at the Chicago Auto Show in February of 2004. From a compact pickup, the Tacoma was transformed into something larger and more powerful. The mid-size pickup came with various configurations: two engines (4.0-liter 1GR-FE V6 and 2.7-liter 2TR-FE 4-cylinder), two bed lengths (6 ft. long bed and 5 ft. short bed), three cab models (regular cab, access cab, and double cab), and four transmissions (4-speed automatic, 5-speed manual, 5-speed automatic, and 6-speed manual).
The X-Runner trim was also made available by Toyota for the second generation Tacoma. The optional Toyota Racing Development (TRD) Off-Road package featured the Down-Hill Assist Control (DAC) and Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC). Optional features include a rear locking differential and limited slip differential. In the 2005 Tacoma model, some options became standard, while in the 2007 model, two new interior colors were made available. Tacoma 2009 models were given better safety features and had some minor facelift. The 2012 Tacoma came with a restyled front bumper, hood, grille, and headlights, among other upgrades. Meanwhile, the 2013 model was equipped with a touch screen audio system.