The 5 Best Toyota Tacoma Years (and the 5 Worst)

The Toyota Tacoma has been a popular choice among truck enthusiasts for its reliability, versatility, and impressive performance. If you’re in the market for a used Tacoma, it’s essential to know which model years are considered the best and which ones to approach with caution. In this article, we will explore the five best Toyota Tacoma years and the five worst, based on reliability, features, performance, and owner satisfaction.

The 5 Best Toyota Tacoma Years

1. 2016 Toyota Tacoma

The 2016 Tacoma marks the last model year of the previous generation before the truck underwent a significant redesign. It offers a well-rounded package with a reputation for durability, off-road capability, and strong resale value. The 2016 Toyota Tacoma introduced the TRD Off-Road and TRD Sport trims, appealing to both off-road enthusiasts and those seeking a sportier driving experience.

2. 2019 Toyota Tacoma

The 2019 Tacoma received several updates, including refreshed styling, an upgraded infotainment system, and additional safety features. It offers a comfortable interior, strong off-road performance, and a choice between a capable V6 engine or a fuel-efficient four-cylinder option. The 2019 model year is a solid choice for those seeking a balance of utility, comfort, and modern technology.

3. 2020 Toyota Tacoma

The 2020 Tacoma builds upon the strengths of its predecessors with improved technology integration, including standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. It retains its off-road prowess and robust construction, making it an excellent option for adventure seekers and daily commuters alike. The 2020 Tacoma offers various trim levels, ensuring there’s a configuration to suit different preferences and budgets.

4. 2021 Toyota Tacoma

The 2021 Tacoma received a refreshed exterior design and further enhancements in safety features. It combines the ruggedness and capability expected from a Tacoma with a comfortable cabin and user-friendly technology. The 2021 model year offers an array of options, from the basic work truck to the more upscale Limited trim, providing versatility to meet different needs.

5. 2023 Toyota Tacoma (Current Year)

As the latest model year, the 2023 Toyota Tacoma benefits from the most recent updates and improvements. It boasts advanced safety features, modern connectivity options, and an available hybrid powertrain for improved fuel efficiency. The 2023 Tacoma retains its off-road prowess and reputation for dependability, making it an attractive option for those seeking a contemporary and capable truck.

The 5 Worst Toyota Tacoma Years

1. 2005 Toyota Tacoma

The 2005 Tacoma faced issues with its automatic transmission, resulting in potential reliability concerns. While the overall reliability of Tacomas is typically commendable, the 2005 model year stands out as one to approach with caution due to the reported transmission issues.

2. 2001 Toyota Tacoma

The 2001 Tacoma experienced problems with frame rust, which could affect the structural integrity of the vehicle over time. Buyers considering a used 2001 Tacoma should carefully inspect the frame and seek professional guidance to ensure it’s in good condition.

3. 1999 Toyota Tacoma

The 1999 Tacoma had several recalls, including concerns related to the suspension and the potential for engine stalls. Buyers seeking a used Tacoma should consider newer model years for improved safety and reliability.

4. 1996 Toyota Tacoma

The 1996 Tacoma had reported issues with head gaskets, which could lead to engine overheating and potential damage. While these issues might have been addressed through repairs or recalls, it’s advisable to choose a more recent Tacoma model year for peace of mind.

5. 1995 Toyota Tacoma

The 1995 Tacoma, being one of the earliest model years, may lack some of the refinements and advancements found in later generations. While it still offers the Tacoma’s legendary durability, buyers should be aware that newer model years provide a more comprehensive range of features and improved technology.


When searching for a used Toyota Tacoma, it’s crucial to consider the model year’s reputation, reliability, features, and performance. The five best Toyota Tacoma years include the 2016, 2019, 2020, 2021, and the current 2023 model year. These years offer a combination of durability, off-road capability, modern features, and strong owner satisfaction. Conversely, the 2005, 2001, 1999, 1996, and 1995 model years are considered the five worst due to reported issues and potential concerns. By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision and find a Toyota Tacoma that meets your requirements and delivers a satisfying ownership experience.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the towing capacity of the Toyota Tacoma?

The towing capacity of the Toyota Tacoma can vary depending on the specific configuration and engine option. Generally, a properly equipped Tacoma can tow anywhere from 3,500 to 6,800 pounds. It’s important to consult the vehicle’s owner’s manual or contact a Toyota dealership for the towing capacity of a particular Tacoma model and trim level.

2. Does the Toyota Tacoma come with a standard backup camera?

Yes, starting from the 2014 model year, all Toyota Tacoma trucks come standard with a backup camera. The backup camera enhances safety and convenience by providing a clear view of the area behind the vehicle while in reverse. It helps to prevent accidents and makes parking and maneuvering easier.

3. Are Toyota Tacomas good for daily commuting?

Yes, Toyota Tacomas are well-suited for daily commuting. They offer a comfortable and refined driving experience, especially in the newer model years, with features like advanced infotainment systems, smartphone integration, and comfortable seating. Additionally, Tacomas provide good visibility, a smooth ride, and the option for fuel-efficient engine choices, making them practical and enjoyable for daily use.

4. How does the fuel efficiency of the Toyota Tacoma compare to other trucks?

While the Toyota Tacoma is primarily known for its off-road capabilities and durability, its fuel efficiency is competitive within the midsize truck segment. The specific fuel efficiency will depend on the engine, drivetrain, and transmission configuration. Generally, Tacomas equipped with the four-cylinder engine tend to offer better fuel economy compared to those with the V6 engine. However, it’s important to note that trucks in general have lower fuel efficiency compared to smaller vehicles, as they are designed for hauling and towing capabilities.

5. Can the Toyota Tacoma handle off-road trails and rugged terrain?

Absolutely! The Toyota Tacoma is renowned for its off-road capabilities. With features like high ground clearance, off-road-tuned suspensions, available locking rear differentials, and advanced four-wheel-drive systems, the Tacoma is designed to tackle off-road trails and rugged terrains with ease.

Additionally, certain trims, such as the TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro, offer additional off-road enhancements such as skid plates, all-terrain tires, and crawl control. Whether it’s for recreational adventures or challenging work environments, the Tacoma is a reliable and capable choice.