When you think about a Toyota, you typically think about a cheap, fiberglass, sedan like a corolla, and to be perfectly honesty with you: I hate Toyota’s. They are ugly, bulky, and are usually extremely under-powered (Apart from a Supra). I should probably make it clear that anything bad I say about Toyota is granted with one exception: The Supra. Anyway, the first time I ever drove a Toyota Tacoma was in 2018 when I worked maintenance for a golf course/country club. We used to use it to de-root trees, haul stuff, clear debris, blah blah blah. It never failed us. When I say NEVER, I mean NEVER. That thing had about 280,000 miles on it and was still running the same stock transmission it was born with. I’ve loved her ever since. The Tacoma was released in 1995 and was the successor to the Hilux, a previous Toyota pickup model that was popular for workmen and rugged adventures, but not quite a consumer vehicle in the US, however were extremely popular (and still are) in my home country.
The 1995 Tacoma was the first generation of semi-luxury-functional Toyota pick-ups and it HIT the market RUNNING. It is still in the top 5 best selling trucks in the US to this day. For readers sake, I’ll only be discussing the top of the range model and engine specs etc. The first generation (1995-2004) Toyota Tacoma had a 3.4L V6 with a manual 5 speed transmission. Simple and Reliable. It put out slightly less than 200 Horsepower but was available with a supercharger package which produced close to 260. This was her:
The second generation ran from 2005-2015 and upgraded to a 4.0L V6 with a 6-speed manual transmission. Big is better in America, yikes. The 4.0L engine boosted the base horsepower to 236, without a supercharger.. impressive. However, like most cars in the 2000’s they went away with the boxy appearance (which I love dearly) and borught forth a rounded, smooth appearance (which I hate, but is common in Asian models. Any, this was her:
In 2016-present, the third generation Tacoma was introduced. It had a 3.5L V6 with DIRECT INJECTION and a 6-speed manual. This made the truck faster, more agile, greater torque, greater acceleration, more…. track-like, and it looked like it too. This engine gave the Tacoma around 280 Horsepower. It was also close to 1000lbs heavier.. hmmm.. anyway, this is her: Drool @ the offroad package.
With the Tacoma only getting better from generation to generation; I can’t wait to see what they look like in 2026 with the 4th Generation. I really want to get a V6 or a V8 truck when I’m finished with my Rubicon, so maybe they’ll even come out with a V8 engine. That would be sick. Anyway, the Tacoma was the first ever truck I drove, and it could be the first ever truck I own. With Toyota and their reputation for reliability, I think it is the right direction to go in. Tacoma’s are technically classified as “light trucks” or “small trucks” but they definitely pack a punch and never die. Here’s a video of the “Loaded Taco”: a supped up Tacoma that drag races muscle cars, if you are interested in the in depth specs of this mod. Crazy Stuff!