14th Feb 2023

This affordable compact mid-size truck packs a punch when it comes to performance, reliability, and longevity. This little guy has stood the test of time for generations, battled several competitors and won, and has even survived tornadoes. But with all this buzz we wanted to dive in today and find out just what's the hype with the Toyota Tacoma.

The Toyota Tacoma is renowned literally around the world for being the benchmark of quality and toughness. These trucks are used in even the most desolate of places on the earth, where they're used to transport everything from farm goods and mining gear to soldiers and supplies.

History of the Toyota Tacoma

If you trace the Tacoma all the way back, in 1947, Toyota began producing its very first compact pickup, the Model SB. This awesome little truck featured a 995cc engine and made a whopping 27 horsepower. The MB continued production through the ‘50s getting a few minor tweaks and refinements along the way and by the early 1960s, Toyota decided it was time to take their vehicles across the big pond and start importing them into the good ol' U.S.A. In 1964, Toyota introduced the Stout.

This truck was the size of the current generation Dodge Dakota but left a bit to be desired when it came to appearances. It featured a massive windshield, a cab that looked like it came from an International Harvester semi-truck, and turn signals that were so high on the front end that you could hardly see them. The biggest issue that faced the Stout, however, was its engine which was a bolstering 1.9 liter, single overhead cam engine that made an embarrassing 85 horsepower.

It was ugly and it was slow, but in true Toyota fashion, it was reliable. The Stout was only produced four years before Toyota determined that it was time for a change and thus, the Hilux was born. Over the next three decades, Toyota would continue to refine and redesign the Hilux, adding all sorts of awesome features, like 4-wheel drive, extended truck cabs, and even a V6 engine.

The First Generation of the Toyota Tacoma

But it wasn't until 1995, that Toyota would officially launch the Tacoma that we know today. In 1995, Toyota finally named its small truck. The Toyota Tacoma. This new generation of mid-size truck offered improved handling, ride comfort and an overall completely redesigned look. This body style would undergo several mechanical and safety changes while not really having any cosmetic updates up until 2001.

The Second Generation of the Toyota Tacoma

This all changed when Toyota overhauled the Taco and really gave it a breath of fresh air by offering styling changes, new trim packages, and my favorite part, more paint options. In 2004, Toyota ushered in the second generation of Tacoma. This new generation of Taco was sleeker, more modern than its predecessor, and it turned some heads. Fun fact for you. Motor Trend awarded the 2005 Tacoma, the Truck of the Year award which is pretty awesome if you ask me.

The Third Generation of the Toyota Tacoma

In January of 2015, Toyota again decided to kick it up a notch, by redesigning the Taco, ushering in the new third-generation Tacoma. This new generation of trucks offered a host of improvements that tamed down the Tacoma while it was on-road while still keeping the truck capable, off the pavement. This is also when Toyota began offering the TRD Pro series Tacoma which is my personal favorite.