The 18 Best Years for Toyota Tacoma to Buy in 2024

Tacoma is a midsize pickup truck manufactured by Toyota since 1995.

It is one of the most reliable trucks, providing the most comfortable driving experience, especially off-road driving.

Tacoma is available in various configurations, such as two-wheel and four-wheel drive, crew cab, extended cab, and regular cab.

It has two engine options: a 4.0-liter V6 engine and a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine.

Toyota Tacoma Generations by Year

Currently, the Toyota Tacoma has three generations:

  • First Generation [1995–2004]
  • Second Generation [2005–2015]
  • Third Generation [2016-present]

All of Tacoma’s model years are not equally reliable, and a few of them are problematic.

It is best to avoid the problematic model years and choose the best ones instead.

In this article, I have discussed the best years of the Toyota Tacoma and why they are so good.

Best Year for Toyota Tacoma

Toyota Tacoma’s best years are 2020, 2019, 2018, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2010, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, and 1995.

These Toyota Tacoma model years are the best ones so far, both new and used.

New model years such as 2023, 2022, and 2021 are doing well and have had relatively few complaints.

Toyota Tacoma 1995-1999

best year tacoma

The excellent performance of the Tacoma 1995 won the hearts of most of its users.

The model year’s overall rating is 4.9 out of 5 stars, while the reliability rating is 4.0 out of 5.

The 1996 Toyota Tacoma was the second year of the first generation of the Tacoma.

The model year has many improvements, including a powerful engine, a comfortable interior, and a modern exterior design.

The 1996 Tacoma gets four-wheel drive for the first time.

There are no significant differences between the 1997 Tacoma and the 1996 Tacoma.

However, Toyota introduced the V6 engine in Tacoma in 1997.

The 1998 Tacoma received a few updates, such as an updated rear fascia and interior.

The 1999 Tacoma also received a few updates, including a new engine cover and interior.

According to some independent research sources, Tacoma’s average reliability rating from 1995 to 1999 is 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Toyota Tacoma 2000–2005

tacoma best year

The 2000 Toyota Tacoma features an updated grille and interior.

The model year included a redesigned front end, improved aerodynamics, and a more modern appearance.

The 2000 Tacoma has a more modern look than the 19’s and introduced a new crew cab configuration and additional passenger spaces.

The 2001 Tacoma introduced a double-cab variant.

Additionally, it offers a Bluetooth hands-free phone system.

The 2002 Toyota Tacoma is nearly identical to the 2001 model year, but the 2002 Toyota has improved handling and performance.

In 2002, the Tacoma was also available with a backup camera for the first time.

The 2003–2005 Tacoma model years are almost identical.

These are the last years of Tacoma’s first generation.

These model years offer notable features, such as an airbag safety system, a 2.7L four-cylinder engine, and a five-speed automatic transmission.

Tacoma’s average reliability rating from 2000 to 2005 is 4.3 out of 5.

Toyota Tacoma 2010

what are the best years for a toyota tacoma

There are many issues with the Toyota Tacoma 2006–2009.

After four years, Toyota finally upgraded the 2010 Tacoma.

Among the second-generation Tacoma model years, the 2010 Tacoma is the first with fewer problems and high-reliability ratings.

It offers a 4.0-liter V6 engine, which provides 236 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque.

Toyota Tacoma 2013–2015

best years for toyota tacoma

These are the last years of the second-generation Toyota Tacoma.

These model years offer a range of features, including a premium interior, new limited trim, advanced infotainment options, a blind spot monitoring system, a comfortable ride, and many more.

These model years received average reliability ratings of 4.0 out of 5 stars.

According to J.D. Power, the average reliability rating for the 2013–2015 Toyota Tacoma is 83 out of 100.

Toyota Tacoma 2018-2020

best years of toyota tacoma

As the latest generation of the Toyota Tacoma, the 2018–2020 model years come with many upgrades.

These model years feature luxurious exterior and interior designs.

The 2018–2020 Toyota Tacoma has an average reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.

If you want to buy a used Tacoma, consider the 2021–2023 model years.

Worst Years for Toyota Tacoma

Here are the eight worst Toyota Tacoma years:

  1. 2006 Tacoma
  2. 2007 Tacoma
  3. 2008 Tacoma
  4. 2009 Tacoma
  5. 2011 Tacoma
  6. 2012 Tacoma
  7. 2016 Tacoma
  8. 2017 Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma model years listed above have many problems.

Common problems with these model years are peeling exterior paint, transmission, starter, and lower ball joint issues.

It is wise to stay away from the listed Tacoma model years.

What to Look for When Buying a Used Toyota Tacoma

When purchasing a used Toyota Tacoma, it is critical to inspect several key factors to ensure a wise and informed purchase.

Here are 8 important tips that you should follow before purchasing a used Toyota Tacoma:

  1. Select the model year listed as the best model year and avoid the worst model year. The best model years provide trouble-free service.
  2. Set a budget and research a model year based on your budget.
  3. Check the vehicle’s history using the vehicle identification number (VIN).
  4. Thoroughly check the vehicle’s condition. Examine the interior and exterior for signs of rust, damage, or poor maintenance.
  5. Ask and check vehicle service records. Give preference to a regularly maintained vehicle.
  6. Take the vehicle for a test drive.
  7. Get a pre-purchase mechanical inspection. This is the best method for discovering underlying, severe problems with a vehicle.
  8. Check the vehicle’s warranty too. Based on the warranty, vehicle prices vary.

What is the Annual Maintenance Cost for Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma’s annual maintenance cost is around $480 to $640.

This is the average maintenance cost for most brands in this class.

Maintenance costs depend on the model year, location, and mileage.

If the Tacoma covers a lot of miles, it obviously costs quite a bit for maintenance.

Final Thoughts

The Toyota Tacoma has established itself as a top contender in the midsize pickup truck segment over the years.

Most of its model years are reliable, but a few are problematic.

Most second-generation Tacomas are problematic, whereas pre-2000 and recent years have fewer issues and are more reliable.

If you want to buy a used Toyota Tacoma, look for the best model years and follow my inspection guidelines mentioned in this article.

Want to explore other vehicles best model years? Check out the following articles:

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