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When people shop for used cars, the two factors they typically take into account are the age of the vehicle and the number of miles it has driven. From there, the price is usually established based on those two factors. Consumer Reports tells us that yes, this is generally the case.

But Jalopnik writer Tom McParland discovered an unusually expensive market for a very specific used car recently when searching for two used trucks.

Used Toyota Tacomas are breaking the mold that we expect to see in the used car market. The older models are actually out-selling newer models.

Consumer Reports writes of this phenomenon: “For instance, one of the used Tacoma trucks McParland found was actually more expensive than a brand new Tacoma, despite being several years old and pre-loved with tens of thousands of miles. The 2013 Tacoma with 38,000 miles cost $30,000, while a new 2017 model — with an offer of $2,725 off MSRP — was listed for $28,775.” 

Why is it that a 2013 Tacoma with 38,000 miles costs almost two grand more than a new 2017 model?

Why are people paying so much for used Toyota Tacomas?

The short answer is reliability. In fact, if you look back at Consumer Reports’ ratings for the Tacoma, you’ll see it has a long-standing history of being one of the most reliable trucks ever manufactured.

The 2013 model scored a 5-out-of-5 in reliability and models from the following years — 2014 and 2015 — scored the same for reliability. Well, if that’s not reliable, then what is?

It makes sense that people are paying for a very good used truck. The interest is there. But paying more for the used version than the new one? 

Why would people pay more for a used Tacoma than a brand new one? 

Reliability, for the Tacoma, wouldn’t hold up forever. When the redesigned 2016 Toyota Tacoma came out, it scored only 1-out-of-5 for reliability. That, along with a plethora of other problems, plagued the 2016 Tacoma, which sent fans flocking back to older models that performed better.

Although it’s not entirely abnormal for a car to suffer from design problems in its first year on the market, the sheer variety of problems with the Tacoma did seem strange. Cabin noise, rattling door panels, transmission issues, and more were noticed by owners of 2016 Tacomas. How did a truck that was a mainstay of reliability have so many problems now? 

Unreliability wasn’t the only problem 

Toyota recently settled a lawsuit brought by owners of Tacoma, Sequoia, and Tundra trucks. Under the settlement, Toyota will replace rusted frames for model years 2005 to 2010 Tacomas, 2007 to 2008 Tundras, and 2005 to 2008 Sequoia trucks.

Although these trucks are older than the highly sought-after 2013 to 2015 Tacomas, safety recalls and lawsuits have a way of demotivating buyers from pursuing that brand, especially newer models until they see how everything plays out. 

There are fewer options in the new truck market

There’s another reason the Tacoma used market is booming. There are fewer options available today when it comes to small, compact trucks. 

Consumer Reports notes, “With its diverse lineup, the Tacoma can be anything from a stripped-down work truck to something that feigns luxury.” That range of options from one truck just isn’t something that we’re seeing in the current marketplace. 

Today, we can compare the Tacoma to the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Honda Ridgeline. But again, each of these models has a higher ranking than the newest Tacoma trucks.

Yet another reason that die-hard Toyota truck buyers are returning to the used market to find their model of choice. 


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