Saving Money on a Used Toyota Tacoma Model Is Almost Laughable

Toyota Tacoma compact pickup trucks appeal to a certain crowd of truck buyers. Those that want a good reliable pickup truck that will last a long time often turn to Toyota trucks because of the reputation there for reliability. They aren’t exactly the cheapest options, though––especially if you want one of the specialized off-road trims like the Tacoma TRD Pro.

So people turn to the used market in an attempt to save money. But saving money on a used Toyota Tacoma model is almost laughable. In fact, one of the primary reasons these pickup trucks are so desirable is because they maintain good resale value. Because of this, however, used models don’t save buyers as much money as they might hope.

Is a used Tacoma a good pickup truck?

Yes, and this is part of the reason why they are so expensive. Let’s look at some used Toyota Tacoma pricing. A quick search for a used Toyota Tacoma model on Carfax reveals that a used 2018 Toyota Tacoma TRD off-road or TRD Sport costs around $35 grand. All of these prices are also rated as a ‘great value’ because they are about $1,000 – $1,500 under the market value for these trucks too.

The 2018 Toyota Tacoma driving down a dirt road. Perfect used truck
The off-road capable 2018 Toyota Tacoma | Photo via Toyota

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In fact, even the 2018 Toyota Tacoma SR models–the entry-level Tacomas––show pricing between $26 and $28 grand. If you head over to Toyota’s website and price the 2021 Toyota Tacoma SR model, it starts at $26,150. So, really buying a used model doesn’t make a whole lot of sense over just going all in on a brand new Toyota Tacoma.

Why do Toyota pickup trucks have such high resale value?

The Toyota Tundra and Toyota Tacoma both frequently win the Kelley Blue Book award for pickup trucks with the best resale value in their respective class. In fact, KBB writes that the Toyota Tacoma is the compact pickup winner for the sixth year in a row. Owners of a new Toyota Tacoma pickup truck can expect a resale value over 60% 5 years down the road.

Toyota Tundra off-roading
Toyota Tundra | Toyota

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That’s about 20% above the average pickup truck resale value. One reason for this, of course, is that Toyota is known for thinking everything through in terms of quality and reliability for each model it builds. In addition, the brand also typically waits a while before adding new features to its models. Nothing is added unless it’s been tested tried and true in advance.

A white Toyota Tacoma displayed at an auto show.
2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro on display at the 111th Annual Chicago Auto Show | Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

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Toyota Tacoma generations

On top of all that, the generations last a long time. For example, the first generation of the Tacoma ran from 1995 to 2004. Then the next generation was in production from 2005 until 2015. The third and newest generation began with the 2016 model year and it’s still going strong. Updates recently graced the 2021 Toyota Tacoma.

Because of these long generations, you can buy a used Toyota Tacoma model from the 2016 production year and it will look wildly similar to a 2021 model. This is one of the main reasons that Toyota pickup trucks hold their value. The fact that a used Toyota Tacoma model holds its value so well makes trying to save money on a used one almost laughable. If you are in the market for one of these compact pickup trucks, it may be wise to weigh your options on just going all-in on a brand new one.

A 2016 Toyota Tacoma is on display during the Washington Auto Show
The Toyota Tacoma | Kris Connor/Getty Images

While you can save a little money, the savings may not be worth springing for a used model. Newer Toyota Tacoma pickup truck models have more modern features. Yes, you might save a few bucks buying a used one. However, you may decide it’s money well spent on buying new instead.