Here Are The Toyota Tacoma Best Years and Most Reliable Used Models

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you ready to hit the road in a truck that can handle anything you throw at it? Look no further than the Toyota Tacoma.

This powerhouse pickup has earned a reputation for its rugged durability and unbeatable reliability, making it a top choice for truck enthusiasts everywhere.

But with so many model years to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? Fear not – we’ve done the research for you.

According to Consumer Reports, the 2019 Tacoma boasts an almost perfect score for reliability and owner satisfaction.

And if you’re on a budget, don’t overlook the earlier models from 1995 to 2004, which have proven to be just as dependable over time.

Whether you’re hauling heavy loads or cruising down the highway, the Toyota Tacoma has got you covered.

toyota tacoma best years

Best Years for Toyota Tacoma

First Generation: 1995-2004

The first generation of Toyota Tacoma (1995-2004) is well-known for its reliability, with very few reported complaints.

Most issues in this generation tended to surface after 100,000 miles, and even then, they were often minor defects.

There is a slight chance that a flaw could appear within the first 50,000 miles, but if so, the repair cost will likely be low.

These years are often praised for their solid performance and durability, so you can feel confident in choosing a Tacoma from this era.

Second Generation: 2005-2015

Moving on to the second generation (2005-2015), Toyota continued to refine the Tacoma.

Some standout years for reliability within this range are the 2013 and 2015 models, which received 86 and 85 ratings from J.D. Power, respectively.

While other years within the second generation are still considered reliable, late second-generation models offer improved safety features and performance compared to their early counterparts.

When considering a second-generation Tacoma, it is important to note that some of these vehicles experienced issues with frame rust.

Third Generation: 2016-Present

The third-generation Toyota Tacoma (2016-present) further improves upon the design of its predecessors.

The 2019 model is noteworthy for its near-perfect score in reliability and owner satisfaction.

Models like the 2016 Tacoma may have a lower retail price but are sometimes criticized for early-ownership issues that were later resolved in the following years.

For the latest Tacomas, the 2023 model received a 4.7 / 5.0 rating from Edmunds and an 82 / 100 rating by J.D. Power.

If you are willing to invest in a newer model, Tacomas from 2018 and beyond are equipped with more safety gear, making them excellent choices for those who prioritize the latest features and technology.

When choosing your Toyota Tacoma, knowing the best and Toyota Tacoma years to avoid will help ensure you make an informed decision.

Toyota Tacoma Reliability by Year

Toyota Tacomas between 1995 and 2004 showed high reliability, with few reported complaints. Many of the issues were minor defects and didn’t impact the truck until after 100,000 miles on average.

Some of the best years for the Tacoma’s reliability include 2013-2015 models and models from 2018 to the present.

However, you may want to avoid 2005-2010, 2012, 2016, and 2017 models, which experienced some engine issues.

For the current generation, the 2019 Toyota Tacoma stands out with a near-perfect score for reliability and owner satisfaction.

If you’re seeking a newer model, this excellent score should put the 2019 Tacoma at the top of your list.

To help you visualize the reliability of various Tacoma years, here’s a table summarizing some key facts:

Model Year Overall Reliability Notable Issues
1995-2004 Highly Reliable Very few complaints
2005-2010 Less Reliable Engine issues
2011 Good Reliability
2012 Less Reliable Engine issues
2013-2015 Best Reliability
2016 Less Reliable Engine issues
2017 Less Reliable Engine issues
2018-Present Good Reliability High owner satisfaction and few complaints
2019 Near-Perfect Reliability

Popular Models and Trims

The 2023 Toyota Tacoma is considered one of the best, benefiting from two decades of fine-tuning and offering the latest tech and safety features.

On the other hand, the 2019 Tacoma received near-perfect scores for reliability and owner satisfaction, making it an excellent choice if you’re looking for a slightly older model.

Now, let’s dive into some popular trims:

  • Double Cab: This spacious cabin option accommodates up to five passengers while offering ample storage and legroom in the rear seating area. The Double Cab is available across various model years and trim levels.
  • Access Cab: The Access Cab offers a smaller rear seating area than the Double Cab but compensates with a larger bed size for increased cargo capacity. This trim is suitable for those who prioritize cargo space over passenger comfort.

Among the Tacoma lineup, the TRD Pro stands out as a highly sought-after trim. Here are some reasons why:

  • Off-Road Performance: The TRD Pro comes equipped with features such as skid plates, high-performance off-road suspension, and unique off-road tires, making it ideal for those who love off-road adventures.
  • Exclusive Styling: With its distinctive grille, unique badging, and leather-trimmed seats, the TRD Pro looks as good as it performs.

Each model year has its advantages and drawbacks, but keep in mind the 2017 model seems to be a well-rounded option with solid performance and technology updates.

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma may also be worth considering, as it marked the beginning of the third generation and provided a significant revamp of the model’s features and design.

Performance and Transmission

Over the years, the Tacoma has offered a variety of engine options and transmission types, providing potential buyers with options to suit their preferences and needs.

In recent years, the Toyota Tacoma has been praised for its performance. The 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018 models, in particular, have received positive reviews.

These newer models are equipped with a V6 engine, offering more power and improved efficiency compared to the four-cylinder engine found in previous models.

The transmission options in the Toyota Tacoma lineup include both manual and automatic transmissions.

Manual transmissions have often been praised for their durability, making it a great choice if you’re looking for long-lasting performance. Meanwhile, the automatic transmission provides a smoother and more convenient driving experience.

However, some owners of the 2016 and 2017 Tacoma models reported transmission issues. These issues may include hesitations to shift from park to drive and occasional vibrations while driving.

Keep in mind that these problems may not affect all vehicles from these model years, but it’s essential to be aware of these possibilities when making your decision.

To summarize, consider the following points when evaluating the performance and transmission of a Toyota Tacoma:

  • Recent models (2018 to present) generally offer improved performance and reliability.
  • Choose between a V6 engine for a more powerful performance or a four-cylinder engine for better fuel efficiency.
  • Both manual and automatic transmissions are available, so consider your preferences and driving needs.

Technology and Comfort Features

Over the years, Tacomas have seen significant improvements in these areas, making driving more enjoyable and convenient for you.

One standout feature found in recent models is the backup camera, which makes parking and reversing a breeze.

With a clear view of what’s behind your truck, you can avoid potential obstacles and park with confidence.

Toyota Tacomas also come with great infotainment features, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

These systems allow you to connect your smartphone to the truck’s infotainment system, giving you access to your favorite apps, navigation, and entertainment options.

This integration means you can stay connected and entertained while on the go.

Another important feature in Toyota Tacomas is Bluetooth connectivity. With this feature, you can pair your smartphone to your truck, allowing you to make hands-free calls and stream music wirelessly.

Bluetooth connectivity provides both convenience and safety, letting you stay in touch without taking your eyes off the road.

The Tacoma has grown to include even more advanced technology in recent years. Examples of these features are adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring.

These systems help enhance your driving experience by providing added safety and convenience.

In summary, the Toyota Tacoma’s technology and comfort features have improved greatly over time, making it an ideal choice for those who want a comfortable and connected driving experience.


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