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This a Toyota pickup truck is designed for workhorse purposes and has become something of a household name when it comes to outdoor adventure. It’s a bonafide rock crawling machine, especially in the purpose-built TRD-tuned versions. However, it’s also a pricey compact pickup truck. For many, buying a used Toyota Tacoma pickup truck is more practical for their budget. Read on for more information on some of the best Toyota Tacoma model years for used trucks.

Is the Toyota Tacoma a good compact pickup truck?

A 2023 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck driving in the mountains. This is one of the best Toyota Tacoma model years.
2023 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

Yes, the Toyota Tacoma is a good compact pickup truck option. The first generation was released in 1995. From the first model year to the present, it’s not a truck that gleans compliments for a smooth and quiet ride. Though sometimes called “jittery” or “primitive,” the legendary Taco is known for both reliability and durability.

There is a reason older models of these pickups still sell for thousands of dollars. In fact, the resale value is part of what makes these trucks desirable. Because of their durability, you can still sell your Tacoma after several years and hundreds of thousands of miles. The owner after you is still getting a great truck that will likely have plenty of life left to give its new owner.

But what if you are the one searching for a used Toyota Tacoma compact pickup truck? What are the best years to look for? We’ve cross referenced sources like J.D. Power and Kelley Blue Book to make this list of Taco years to hunt down.

First generation Toyota Tacoma: 1995-2004

If we take a glance at the ratings we see that 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2004 all have a high reliability score.

That being said, when buying older used pickup truck models it’s important to check the vehicle history. You’ll want to know whether it’s been in any accidents check maintenance information to verify that the truck has been taken care of properly. For used Toyota Tacoma models, it’s not out of the ordinary to find trucks that have been loved and babied for a decade or more by the same owner.

Second generation: 2005-2015

In general, the verdict is good for the second generation of the legendary Toyota Tacoma. But if you want one of the best from the second generation, a few stand out. The 2008 model year is a standout with impeccable reliability ratings from J.D. Power. The 2005 model Tacoma truck has high consumer satisfaction scores.

However, it looks like models from 2005 – 2010 had some issues with frame rust. A class action law suit was filed and any owners with damage were able to repair their trucks free of charge. This is important to be aware of when shopping for a used Toyota Tacoma model from the second generation. If the truck had issues and already had repairs, it’s likely a solid truck worth taking a look at. But it may not be worth considering a used Taco from this era if there are signs of rust, or if the damage occurred outside of the 15 year time frame outlined by the settlement in 2016.

What about a used Toyota Tacoma pickup truck from the third generation?

Third gen Tacomas have continued outselling rivals and holding resale value like their predecessors. The new 2024 Toyota Tacoma has been revealed, so used Taco shoppers may start looking at the later model years of the third generation in the hope of saving a bit of cash on a newer truck. The 2019 and 2018 model years have great reliability ratings. In fact all of the third gen models boast high praise for reliability and dependability, with above average scores – the 2020 model year has a lower reliabilty score (just barely above average).

Take a look at the video above to learn more about our experience with the 2023 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro. Or, check out the video below for more information on the first model year of this midsize truck’s all-new fourth generation: the 2024 Toyota Tacoma.

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