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Toyota Tacoma (2004 and earlier)



  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Picked up my new Tacoma this week. It is 2K3 Extended Cab, 4WD, Silver, auto, TRD, SR5 w/ color key, cruise, power pkg, sliding rear window,sunroof, and hitch. The cruise control is the Toyota add on cruise and is installed on the left side of the steering column. When I went to pick up the truck it did not have cruise and I was told it would when I ordered it. Major headache and frustration ensued and when the dust settled the dealer installed cruise. Does anyone have any comments about the Toyota non-factory cruise control good or bad?

    So far very happy with the truck. The seats are too soft for my liking and the steering wheel is slightly off center and will need to have it adjusted by dealer so that the truck will go straight when the steering will is centered but those are my only issues.
  • autonutsautonuts Posts: 138
    could someone tell me if the new Tacoma's still have the column shifter on the automatics? Thanks!
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    Nope. Auto shifters are now mounted in the center like manual shifters.
  • I have been considering buying a new Tacoma after my 1989
    Nissan 2WD was totaled. I am looking at a 4WD Xtracab
    manual transmission, but I am undecided on 4 cyl or the V6.
    The EPA estimates are 18/21 for the 4 cyl, and 17/20 for the
    V6. What is the typical mileage that people have gotten? The 2.7L
    4 cyl is rated at 150 HP, and the V6 is 190 HP, and there is only 1 mile a gallon difference? I typically got 25 mpg in my
    nissan, but that was a 2WD vehicle, of course.

    The models I have looked at have all had bucket seats. Just
    how comfortable are these seats for extended periods of time?
    The bench seat in my Nissan was dreadful for more than short
    distances. I have been driving a Honda Accord until I get my
    truck, and have been spoiled by the comfortable seats. Of course this is a truck and not a car, but I would prefer some
    comfort. This vehicle will be used as my daily driver.

    My last question is about TRD. It seems that almost all the V6 vehicles I have seen have TRD. I have seen one V6 without, however. How does this affect the ride? I really don't have serious plans to offroad, but it would be nice to have 4WD, as I have gotten stuck a couple of times on back roads in my 2WD truck, and the few times it does snow here (I live in NM),
    a 2WD truck is a pain on slick roads, especially on an incline.

    So, I guess I am probably leaning toward the 2.7 4 Xtracab w/o TRD for mileage and comfort reasons, but wanted to get some feedback from Tacoma owners.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    1. Milage: I have a 2002 V6 4WD manual. Last tank was 18mpg, all of it city driving (few 10-mile freeway runs). On highway, at 75 I get around 19-19.5, at 85 I get 18, 90-17mpg. I got 20 once, but I'm not the law-obiding type to drive the speedlimit and got it because of heavy traffic. I was doing about 70-75. As far as I4s go, they get much better gas milage. They always go into 300-mile on each gas tank, while I usually have to fill up when I hit about 280. It's not 1mpg, it's a lot more. I've heard of some getting 24mpg.

    2. Seats: to each their own. Nearly everyone in TTORA complains about how bad seats are, but I don't get it :) I drove from TX to KS few times this year (700 miles each way), and I felt fine. I also made a run from Austin, TX to Chatanooga, TN once (17 hours), and didn't have any problems. But the problem is that you have to try it out yourself and see how you like the seats. 15 minute drive won't do it. Statistically, I think, you'll find them somewhat uncomfortable.
    If you are mechanically-inclined, you could install more comfortable seats.

    3. TRD. Everybody now has TRD. 99% of people don't know what it is and don't use it. TRD is a nice package if you're going for an offroad truck. The #1 reason to get TRD is the locker. HOwever, it is available on some models as a stand-alone option...#2 reason is better suspension. Progressive coils and better shocks make ride better and firmer. Again, you have to try it yourself. I think you'll find non-TRD a little too soft. Worst case, if you don't like non-TRD setup, there's always plenty of people who sell their TRD suspension (coils and struts) brand new or very little used because they install lifts. I know because I just sold mine on ebay today for $170, complete front coils+strut setup ready to bolt on plus rear shocks.
    For more info, go to , it's a nation-wide club of Tacoma owners/offroaders. Check the message boards, ask away. You'll find loads of good info there.
  • have a 2002 tacoma 4x4 sr5 double cab, fully loaded. love it. question- what exactly does the ecm button do? i know it smehow changes the shifting, but can someone explain it better? does it wear on the engine more to run it often? anything would be helpful. the truck in every way, pulls my big boat just fine, move the clock and its flawless...
  • The ECT button does change the shifting. It actually stands for "electronically controlled transmission". What it does is when it is in the power mode indicated by the "ECT PWR" on the dash when engaged, the transmission will downshift more readily with less pedal travel on the gas and when accelerating with the pedal depressed more heavily, it will stay in the lower gear longer before upshifting. With the HP and Torque bands on the Toyota engines extending higher into the RPM range, it gives a nice boost to the acceleration on the vehicle, at the expense of gas milage if you're a bit of a lead foot.

    Hope this helps.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    I also had a Nissan 2wd that was recently totaled. Mine was a 1990, however. I replaced it with a 1996 Tacoma V6, extended cab, 2wd.

    The seats in the Tacoma are a big improvement over the bench seat in the Nissan. The side bolsters, center armrest and adjustable seatback angle all are major improvements over a fixed-angle bench. The taco seats are still firm after 83,000 miles. I just made a 300 mile (one way) Thanksgiving trip and have no complaint with the seats. I don't like the door mounted armrest though.

    Gas mileage for the trip with the 6 cylinder was 21 MPG. My Nissan was getting about 22 with the four banger and a smaller, lighter truck (std cab). If you go with the 4x4, you will naturally take a hit on the gas mileage.

    I have to say that the V-6 is really nice... smooth and torquey. It effortlessly climbs hills in 5th that the Nissan needed 4th to hold its speed. The newer Toyota 4 is more powerful than my old Nissan (134 HP), but the six is soooo nice.

    One thing that I miss about the standard-cab Nissan is the nimble handling. The long wheelbase of the ex-cab Toyota makes for a much larger turning diameter and far less agile feeling handling.

    Whatever version of the Tacoma you choose, I don't think you can go wrong. They are well designed, solidly built trucks.

  • Got a 4x4, ext cab trd v-6 5 spd, 1998 model Tacoma. 156K miles, never less than 17 mpg (towing) and never more than 22 mpg (windows up, 67 mph, air off, 36 psi, interstate). I can tell you that if you're going to be above 40 mph for extended periods, it actually saves fuel by running the air and leaving the windows up. Tailgate down has no noticeable effect. Below 40, the drag penalty is negligible and windows down is better. BTW, I have checked and recorded mileage since I owned the truck.
    Seats are buckets and I like them fine for any length of trip. TRD is hard ride, but doesn't bother me.
    I have been stuck in it three times, all on inclines with wet grass only. Dropping into 4HI allieviated the problem.
    I like the Pre-runner for its ride height, but the automatic transmission totally bores me, so I had to go 4x4.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    Mine's still cooler :)

    Mine's 2002:

    Here (At Tellico, NC)

    Here(At San Antonio)

    And here (closeup of tonneau cover :)

    All those pix are of the stock height, I just had it lifted, no pix of that yet.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    I like the picture with the truck sideways and also all muddy. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

    A little background about my Tacoma. During the past 5 years I have tried to purchase a Tacoma 3 times and could not get a dealer in my region to get the equipment I wanted. The two problem issues were ABS and Sunroof. I must have tried 20 plus dealers in the Midwest area.
    In 2003 ABS is standard so all I really needed was to find a truck with sunroof and color key. I again found that midwest dealers could not get the truck but that West Coast and Southeast dealers had trucks equipped the way I wanted. Since I wanted color key I was limited to Silver, Black, Red and Dark Red. First choice was dark red but I ended up finding a silver one since there really does seem to be more Silver Tacomas than any other color.

    Did a dealer lookup for major cities in the Southeast and checked their inventory. Emailed about 8 dealers in the Atlanta area and ended up making a deal on the Silver truck that I posted a picture of earlier.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Once a price was agreed to (about $23,500 on a $26,500 MSRP) I waited for the dealer to get the truck from port. Then I got a call that the truck was damaged during delivery and the dealer refused it. Arggg!

    They found another truck and last week I flew to Atlanta and picked up the truck and drove it to Chicago area. I am very happy with the truck and plan to keep it until it falls apart.

    The thing that really makes me angry about Toyota is not being to order what you want from the options available. What makes it worse is that Toyota was building the exact trucks I wanted but would not sell that option combination in the region I live in.

    Something else odd is that the dealers I spoke to in the Southeast all told me that the sunroof was hard to get and when they did get a truck with a sunroof it sold quickly, yet Toyota's line on the sunroof is that it is not a popular option. Hmmm, if you don't make many you won't sell many. There were over 30 Tacomas available w/ sunroof in Southeast region port 3 weeks ago and now there are zero.

    Bottom line is I highly recommend a Tacoma even with the hassles of obtaining one the way I wanted it equipped. Majority of people would not be a stubborn about specific options as I was and can get one from their local dealer.
  • Man i envy all of you!! I just recently traded my 2000 Taco v-6 4X xtra cab Limited for a new Jeep Liberty. Let me give you all some advise, don't ever trade your Toyota's! I have driven so many cars, trucks, and SUV's looking for somthing that my wife and I could agree on, and for the money, NOTHING compares to my Taco. I feel so empty without my truck!!
  • He LOVES Jeep Liberty's and would be glad to tell you how great they are.

    Maybe he could help you get over (i doubt it) the loss of your Tacoma?

  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    With his hardcore does-not-compare-to-anything-you-can-put-on-your-Tacoma
    OTT lift, yeah, he'll help him get over it:)

    Why Liberty? If you had a 2000 Ltd Taco, you could have easily traded for a 4Runner.
  • the Liberty was about $8500.00 less than the 4Runner, with the same equipment. And, it was the best car that my wife and I could agree on. Don't get me wrong, I like the liberty, but when comparing it to the Taco....well, let's just say I miss my truck a whole lot!
  • lariat1lariat1 Posts: 461
    Earlier today I walked past a Tacoma ex-cab TRD and the rear fenders on it were bulged out sort of like they wanted to make it a stepside but only got halfway there. I was wondering if that is an option or if it is standard on all Tacomas. I thought it looked pretty good on the little truck.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    TRD comes with fender flares, they are about 2.5-3" wide. That's probably what you saw.
  • smgillessmgilles Posts: 252
    Yes. Toyota makes a "step-side" version of the Tacoma and I agree with you that they look nice. It is not a standard option as far as beds are concerned, you would have to order one or be lucky enough to find one at a dealership.
  • b10751b10751 Posts: 14
    First time poster here, but i've been following the group for a while. I just purchased a 2003 double cab prerunner, with trd and limited package. I've owned several toyotas in the past and i'm happy (so far) to be back in one. Thanks to all for posting their own experiences with their tacoma. I will be sharing mine in the future.
  • sc0rpi0sc0rpi0 Posts: 897
    Yeah, I think I've read same rants from Chevy owners. Why don't you try to apply the lemon law b/c obviously you got one there. I've had a 2002 Tacoma for maybe 13 months now, 22K miles, offroaded it, and I'm yet to find a problem with it. Yeah, I tore a CV boot offroading, but it was replaced under warranty.
    Once again, quit complaining and talk to a lawyer about lemon law.
  • jf01jf01 Posts: 88
    I remember reading somewhere that there's a way to get a mid adjustment on the stock toyota headunits that don't have it at first. Does anybody know of the buttons to push or what to do in order to get the mid? Thanks.
  • b10751b10751 Posts: 14
    I just bought a tacoma and am not thrilled with the stock unit. I remember seeing in the Highlander topic about how to adjust the mid range. I have not tried this yet, but I will..The text of that message was:

    When the stereo is on, press and hold (~10 seconds) the tuning button (the one on right) until you hear beep tone. Then let go and step through the adjustment for bass, and now a new option "mid" and make adjustment to the desired level. It helps a little but not a lot. Be sure to turn the stereo off prior to turning off the ignition. Otheriwse it will be lost.

    I'm going to try it when i leave the office today and will let you know if it worked for me. Good luck!
  • b10751b10751 Posts: 14
    The procedure described in message 58 works...It only helps the sounds marginally, though.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    3,000 miles now on my new Tacoma. I'm very happy with it. No problems at all. It was more expensive than it's competitors but is certainly worth the money.
  • ultimaultima Posts: 96
    Is it just me, or do ALL trucks these days seem to get much worse mileage than they did say 10 years ago?
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    More HP, more weight, larger size, V6 and V8 instead of 4 Cyl. Yes, a lot of compact trucks get worse mileage. Some of the full size are getting better mileage though.
  • My Taco Xtra-Cab V6 5spd. man. just came in Friday.
    Won't get take possession until Tuesday as they are installing a sunroof. I did get to drive it. What a difference from the 22RE to the V6! I am glad I bought it. The interest just dropped to 4.75% and since most of the kinks are ironed out of the Taco from 95 - 2003, I hope it is as iron-clad as my 94 was.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Congratulations on the new truck. What type of sunroof are you having installed? I have the factory sunroof on my Tacoma.
This discussion has been closed.