Toyota Tacoma X-Runner: Best High-Performance Cheap Truck

The Toyota Tacoma X-Runner has been gone for years. But when Toyota made it available it was a great high-performance pickup. Now, it’s still a great high=performance pickup but now you can add “cheap” to the equation. So what is the Tacoma X-Runner and how much are they?

Toyota’s X-Runner was a high-performance pickup back when the performance truck thing was happening. The X-Runner was a response to the other muscle trucks popping up from the other manufacturers. Built from 2005-2013 the X-Runner was based on the Tacoma that first hit our shores in 1995. 

At the time the X-Runner was one of the fastest imported pickups

2005 Toyota Tacoma X-Runner rear
2005 Toyota Tacoma X-Runner rear | Bring a Trailer

At the time it was one of the fastest of the imported pickups with 0-60 times under 10-seconds. It had similar numbers to the Ford SVT Lightning. The punch was from a 236 hp V6 with 266 lb-ft of torque. If that wasn’t enough a supercharger option upped that to 304 hp. It was paired with a short-throw six-speed manual transmission. In the back was a limited-slip locking diff, and overall it was sitting two-inches lower than a stock Tacoma. Besides all of the power numbers, there were numerous suspension mods available from Toyota to further increase the track-friendliness of the whole package. 

With all of this behind it, the X-Runner didn’t sell well. In the nine years, it was offered it sold around 3,500 per year we think. Toyota does not break out sub-models so we will probably never know. Numerous reasons have been speculated about over the years. Some think it didn’t sell because it was not more off-road capable. But neither was the Colorado SS or the Ford SVT Lightning. The other was that in spite of all it offered the X-Runner did not hold its resale value well. 

One complaint is that because the X-Runner is lowered it doesn’t absorb the pits and potholes

1997 Toyota Tacoma 4x4
1997 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 | Bring a Trailer

When you look at the Taco forums one complaint is that because the X-Runner is lowered it doesn’t absorb the pits and potholes. A rugged 4×4 takes uneven surfaces in its stride, but nos so the lowered truck. Others didn’t like the lower bed, low seating, and that feeling you get when everything around you is bigger and taller. Early years of the second-gen Tacomas were susceptible to rust and paint issues, too. 

The X-Runner straggled the line between a sports car and a truck. In many ways, it was like a slightly more rugged El Camino or Ranchero. Except the bed was separate from the body. It was car-like in some ways and truck-like in others. Pickups have gotten more luxurious and manufacturers have found ways to make them ride better while still being able to haul sod or cordwood. All of those factors have made a truck like the X-Runner more niche-like and less practical. 

Now Tacoma X-Runners rare, unique, and both sporty and practical

A Toyota Tacoma on display at an auto show
A 2013 Toyota Tacoma on display | Getty

The Toyota Tacoma X-Runner Was a Japanese Ford Lightning That Could Handle

Now, Tacoma X-Runners are cheap. They’re rare, unique, and both sporty and practical. But, you have to watch out for what has been done to them over the years. More than likely they have had some questionable mods and have been beaten up. It is typical of high-performance vehicles as they age. So finding a clean X-Runner may be difficult. Bring a Trailer has had some over the years. And doing a Google search will likely land on a couple for sale. It might be worth your time to check it out while they are still affordable.