The Best 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. For many, buying a used Toyota Tacoma pickup truck is more practical for their budget. These are the best Toyota Tacoma model years for used trucks, according to Consumer Reports.

Is the Toyota Tacoma a good compact pickup truck?

A silver 2020 Toyota Tacoma compact pickup truck, with many of the best Toyota Tacoma model years, parked on display outdoors.
2020 Toyota Tacoma on display | Photo via Toyota

Though sometimes called “jittery” or “primitive, the Toyota Tacoma is a good compact pickup truck option. Consumer Reports shows data all the way back to the 2000 model year. However, 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.

The Toyota Tacoma is renowned for its impeccable reliability scores. There is a reason older models of these pickups still sell for thousands of dollars. In fact, the resale value makes these trucks even more 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 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 years to look for? According to Consumer Reports, these are the ones to hunt down.

First generation Toyota Tacoma: 1995-2004

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Consumer Reports only goes back as far as the 2000 model year. So, if we take a glance at the ratings we see that 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2004 all have a perfect reliability score. However, the 2004 model year shows lower owner satisfaction ratings than the other first-gen models.

Second generation: 2005-2015

If we look at Consumer Reports, 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. 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 all have perfect reliability ratings.

So there is a lot to choose from. However, it looks like the owners of the 2005 model year were generally more pleased with their Tacoma. The 2005 Tacoma has the highest Consumer Reports satisfaction rating in the entire generation with a near-perfect score.

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

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

Consumer Reports show that even the 2016 model year has an average retail price between $20,000 to $32,675 as of 2020. Still, the best used Toyota Tacoma model year in the current generation is the 2019 model. This one received a near-perfect score for reliability and owner satisfaction. If you want a newer one, this may be the way to go.

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