The Best Used Toyota Tacoma Model Years According to Consumer Reports

The Toyota Tacoma’s road manners are rarely praised. It’s a Toyota pickup truck designed for workhorse purposes. Plus, it’s a bonafide rock crawling machine, especially in the purpose-built TRD-tuned versions. However, it’s also a pricey compact pickup truck option. For many, buying a used Toyota Tacoma pickup truck is more practical for their budget. These are the best used Toyota Tacoma model years according to Consumer Reports.

A silver 2020 Toyota Tacoma compact pickup truck parked on display
2020 Toyota Tacoma on display | Photo via Toyota

Is the Toyota Tacoma a good compact pickup truck?

Though sometimes called “jittery” or “primitive, the Toyota Tacoma is a good compact pickup truck option. CR shows data all the way back to the 2000 model year. The first generation, however, released in 1995. From the first model year to present, it’s not a truck that gleans compliments for a smooth and quiet ride.

The 2018 Toyota Tacoma driving down a dirt road
The off-road capable 2018 Toyota Tacoma | Photo via Toyota

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The Toyota Tacoma is a real truck. It performs like a truck, it feels like a truck. Plus, it’s renowned for its impeccable reliability scores. There is a reason older models of these pickups still sell for thousands. In fact, the resale value makes these trucks even more desirable. Due to the fact that they are so durable, 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 last a hundred thousand miles more.

But what if you are the one searching for a used Toyota Tacoma compact pickup truck? What are the best model years to look for? According to Consumer Reports, these are the ones to hunt down.

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First-gen Toyota Tacoma: 1995-2004

Consumer Reports only goes back as far as the 2000 model year. So, if we take a glance at the ratings for the best used Toyota Tacoma model years of the first-ten Taco we see the 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2004 model years all have 5 out of 5 reliability verdict ratings. However, the 2004 model year shows lower owner satisfaction ratings than the other first-gen model years.

1998 Toyota Tacoma vs 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro battle for both capability and reliability
1998 Toyota Tacoma vs 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro | Autoblog via Instagram

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Second-gen: 2005-2015

If we look at Consumer Reports, the verdict is good for this generation of the legendary Toyota Tacoma. But if you want one of the best used Toyota Tacoma model years from the second generation, a few stand out. 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 all have perfect reliability verdict ratings.

So there are a lot to choose from. However, it looks like the owners of the 2005 model year were generally more pleased with their Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. The 2005 Tacoma has the highest Consumer Reports satisfaction rating in the entire generation––4 out of 5.

A Toyota Tacoma on display at an auto show
A 2015 Toyota Tacoma on display | Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

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

Judging by its more recent scorings from Consumer Reports, the current-gen Toyota Tacoma pickup truck isn’t exactly the publication’s favorite vehicle. Plus, because of the way these trucks hold their value, they are still expensive.

2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is a capable champion boasting great reliability ratings
2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro | Toyota

Consumer Reports shows that even the 2016 model year has an average retail price between $20,000 – $32,675. Still, the best used Toyota Tacoma model year in the current generation is the 2019 model. This one received a 4 out of 5 for both reliability and owner satisfaction. If you want a newer one, this may be the way to go.