Toyota Tacoma Overview
If you’re looking for a top-selling truck with consistently high resale value and a huge, loyal fan base, you just described the Toyota Tacoma word for word. Today, we’re digging into the history of the legendary Toyota Tacoma through the years. Since its birth in 1995, the Tacoma has evolved slowly, as fans have fallen so deeply in love with Toyota’s compact/midsize truck formula. Today, the Tacoma is still knocking it out of the park with truck buyers. To see the origin of this truck, you have to look way back to 1964.
Toyota Tacoma Through the Years
- Before the Tacoma, the Toyota Stout was the first Toyota pickup sold in the US.
- The Stout was sold between 1964 and 1967 with minimal success, due to poor styling and a weak engine.
- In 1969, Toyota introduced the smaller Toyota Hilux, initially offered with the same 1.9L 4-cylinder engine as the Stout.
- The Hilux did better when equipped with a newer 2.0L engine that produced 109 hp.
- By 1979, the “Hilux” name was dropped in favor of “Truck.” Creative, right?
- The Hilux is still sold to the rest of the world.
- Toyota Truck was finally renamed Toyota Tacoma in the 1995 model year.
1st Generation (1995 – 2004)
- Although the ’95 Tacoma was a descendent of the Toyota Hilux, it was truly all-new.
- The 1995 Toyota Tacoma featured new sheet metal, engines, suspension, frame, and more.
- Available engines included a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine rated at 142hp, a 2.7L 4-cylinder that produced, and a 3.4L V6.
- Transmission options included a 5-speed manual and a 4-speed auto.
- In 2001, Tacoma design was refreshed with a trapezoidal grille and wider mouth.
- Interior design was also updated, adding rotary AC/heat vents, a 4-spoke steering wheel, and more.
- Also in 2001, Toyota added the Double Cab and S-Runner models.
- The S-Runner was a sport truck that utilized the V6 engine, 1 inch lowered suspension, different tires, tuned & chrome-tipped exhaust, and more.
- The Tacoma finished out the generation with relatively few changes and great sales numbers.
2nd Generation (2005 – 2015)
- By 2005, Toyota offered a bigger, more competent Tacoma.
- It was available in 18 different configurations: 3 cabs, 4 transmissions, 2 engines, and 2 bed lengths.
- There was a 2.7L 4-cylinder engine that produced 159 hp, and a 4.0L V6 that produced 236 hp.
- Toyota also added an X-Runner Tacoma (replaced the S-Runner) sport truck.
- Toyota also offered TRD (Toyota Racing Development) packages: TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road.
- By 2009, the Tacoma’s grille was updated with LED headlights.
- The interior was also updated with a lower center stack, new door panels, power windows, power locks, aux.jack, redesigned rear seats, and more.
- Also in 2009, Toyota added safety features like active front headrest and curtain side airbags, earning the Tacoma an IIHS Top Safety Pick rating.
- In 2011, Toyota added new TX and TX Pro packages, combining TRD off-road
- The Tacoma was refreshed again in 2012, with new headlamps, grille, bumper, hood, and more.
- Inside, the Tacoma added a new steering wheel, new instrument panel design, new gauge cluster, and more.
- In 2015, Toyota rolled out the TRD Pro Series Tacoma, featuring a 2” lift, all-terrain tires, matte-black grille with Toyota letters, and more.
3rd Generation (2016 – )
- Toyota’s best-selling truck looks pretty much the same in this new generation, but the interior is much more modern.
- There are still 2 engine options, the same 4-cylinder and a more efficient and powerful 3.5L V6 that produces 278 hp.
- Notable available features in 2016 include 7-inch touchscreen, wireless phone charger, blind spot monitors, cross traffic alters, keyless entry, HD traffic, HD weather, HD navigation, and much more.
- With the new V6 and towing package, the Tacoma can pull up to 6800 lbs.
Toyota Tacoma Fast Facts
- The Tacoma is known as the best-selling compact pickup in America, and it’s known for having one of the best resale values of any vehicle.
- Christian Bale and Pamela Anderson have both been spotted driving Tacomas.
- Some call Tacomas “Tacos” for short.