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Toyota Tacoma History

The following historical data of the Toyota Tacoma, manufactured by Toyota, were retrieved from many sources.

The Toyota Tacoma is a compact pickup truck produced and manufactured by the Toyota Moto Corporation since 1995. In 2005 the Toyota Tacoma was Motor Trend Magazine’s Truck of the Year for 2005. The Toyota Tacoma is named after the city of Tacoma, Washington.

First Generation (1995-2004)

The Tacoma name was introduced in 1995, originating from the worldwide Hilux. Previous to this, the Hilux was marketed in the US under the name Toyota Pickup.

There were a total of three engines available for the Toyota Tacoma: the 2.4L four cylinder, the 2.7L four cylinder, and the 3.4L V6. Two-wheel drive Tacomas had 5-stud wheel lug patterns. The 2.4L and 3.4L engines were available in this vehicle depending on options. Automatic and manual transmissions were available.

Four-wheel drive Tacomas had six-stud wheel lug patterns, which had been used on the prior pickups. The truck’s frame is fully boxed until immediately after the front leaf spring mount bracket where it transitions into a c-frame section. The 3.4L V6’s manual transmission was an R150F while the automatic transmission was an A340F. From 95-97 single cab Tacomas had the option of a manual transmission with the 3.4L V6 engine. From 98 on, the single cabs only got a 2.7L or a 2.4L four cylinder from the factory. TRD packages started in 98.

Prerunner models started in 98. They share the same front and rear suspension parts and geometry, frame, styling and engine options as the 4x4 Tacomas of this year range. Prerunner Tacomas also had the option of the TRD Off-Road package which got a rear differential locker if it was a V6 model. One downside is there was not option of a 5-speed transmission. The V6 Tacoma automatic transmissions were A340E. Because of the similarities in the Prerunner and 4x4 models, it is possible to use stock parts to convert a Prerunner to a 4x4.

In its first couple of years of production the Tacoma sold well, attracting many young buyers. The first generation Tacoma underwent a total of two cosmetic facelifts: the first in 1998, and the second in 2001. The facelifts mainly entailed new headlights and grilles. Mechanical changes included a switch to distributorless ignitions in 1997 and in 1998 longer rear leaf springs. A passenger side air bag was added for 1998, and the driver’s side air bag was depowered. All 4x4 models came with Toyota’s Automatic Differential Disconnect system after the 2000 model year.

The only extra feature in 2001 was a new crew cab model added to the lineup. The crew cab featured four doors, while the extended cabs still opened with two doors. The extended cab featured a 6’ bed while the crew cab featured a 5.5’ bed. Many customers were upset with small crew cab beds, but most competitors shared this shortcoming.

In 2001, along with the front facelift, Toyota had also unveiled an S-Runner trim package which included the 3.4L V6 engine. It came with 16-inch alloy wheels, and a 5-speed manual transmission with Tokico gas shocks. There were only 200 produced each month from 2001-2004. By 2003 the Tacoma had gained 16.5 percent sales from its previous years. The Tacoma’s popularity only increased in the next few years. By 2004 it was ahead of the Nissan Frontier, and Dodge Dakota, but still 2.2 percent behind in sales to the Ford Ranger.

Second Generation (2005-Present)

At the 2004 Chicago Auto Show, Toyota unveiled a bigger and more powerful Tacoma. This new Tacoma was available in eighteen different configurations that included three cab configurations, four transmissions, two engines, and two bed lengths. The Tacoma’s 4.0L V6 took the place of the original 3.4L V6. The new V6 had many enhancements, such as a new 6500 pound tow rating, and a payload capacity of 1650 pounds.

Toyota also introduced an X-Runner trim, which replaces the slow selling S-Runner trim from the previous generation. The X-Runner features the 4.0L V6 paired to a 6-speed manual transmission, 18-inch alloy wheels, lowered two inches from the factory and included an X-Brace suspension package. Toyota also included a Down-Hill Assist Control and Hill-Start Assist Control, with models that were equipped with the optional TRD Off-Road Package. DAC automatically applies braking during downhill while HAC prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards on hills. Every Tacoma was manufactured with a composite inner bed that includes a deck rail system with four tie down cleats, hook-pins, storage boxes, and a power outlet.

The 2006 model Tacoma was a bit different from the 2005 model. The 2006 model made some options standard. Toyota also added two interior colors for 2007 model year. 2008 models are carry ons from 2007. For 2009 safety features were added and the Tacoma no longer offers a mechanical limited slip differential rather an open differential which uses individual wheel braking to simulate a mechanical LSD or Auto-LSD. TRD Off-Road models continue to come equipped with a locking rear differential. The second generations Tacomas are assembled in Tijuana, Mexico and Fremont, California while the plastic/composite beds are built in Mexico. However, in August 2009 Toyota announced that it would relocate Tacoma production form Fremont to San Antonio, Texas, consolidating it with its Toyota Tundra production line and thus having all American-made Toyota pickups manufactured at one facility.

A minor facelift came for 2009, including a slightly revised grille on some new models, new LED tail lights, and on the X-Runner, TRD Off-Road and TRD Sport models includes smoked headlamp trim. Auxiliary audio input now comes standard. The Access/Double Cab trucks have two new ceiling mounted speakers and available back-up monitor. Four new exterior colors are also added to the Tacoma line.

In 2010, like many of its competitors, the Tacoma is expected to be redesigned and re-engineered, two years after the release of the new 4Runner.

[Source: Wikipedia and Toyota]