The Best and Worst Years for Toyota Tacoma: A Comprehensive Guide

The Toyota Tacoma is a popular midsize pickup truck known for its reliability, durability, and strong resale value. Since its debut in 1995, the Tacoma has been a go-to choice for truck enthusiasts seeking a versatile and dependable vehicle.

In this blog post, we will explore the best and worst years for the Toyota Tacoma, taking into account factors such as reliability, performance, and overall satisfaction. By examining the evolution of this popular truck, you can make a more informed decision when considering a Toyota Tacoma for your next vehicle purchase.

In a hurry? The best years for Toyota Tacoma are generally considered to be 2015, 2012, and 2018, while the worst years are 2005, 2009, and 2016.

7 Best Years for Toyota Tacoma:

1.     2001

The 2001 Toyota Tacoma marked the end of the first generation, and it showcased improvements in both design and performance. The 2001 model year offered a range of engine options, including the 2.4L inline-4, 2.7L inline-4, and 3.4L V6, providing versatility for different needs.

This year was particularly known for its reliability and long-lasting nature, making it a solid choice for those seeking a dependable, pre-owned truck.

2.     2005

The 2005 Toyota Tacoma kicked off the second generation, which featured a larger, more aggressive design and improved towing capacity. The new 4.0L V6 engine option offered more power, and the interior saw significant upgrades in terms of comfort and technology.

Despite some issues (discussed below), the 2005 Tacoma remains a popular choice for those seeking a robust truck with updated features.

3.     2010

2010 Toyota Tacoma engine.

The 2010 Toyota Tacoma offered a good balance of reliability, performance, and updated features. Equipped with an upgraded 2.7L 4-cylinder engine and an available 4.0L V6, it provided a mix of fuel efficiency and power. The 2010 model year also saw improvements in safety, earning a Top Safety Pick designation from the IIHS.

4.     2012

The 2012 Toyota Tacoma showcased further improvements, particularly in the areas of comfort and technology. It featured a refreshed interior with upgraded materials, a new audio system, and the introduction of the Entune infotainment system. With its comfortable cabin and reliable performance, the 2012 Tacoma is a popular choice among truck enthusiasts.

5.     2015

The 2015 Tacoma is considered one of the best years for the model, as it marked the end of the second generation and included several enhancements. It boasted improved fuel efficiency, added a rearview camera as a standard feature, and offered the TRD Pro package for off-road enthusiasts. The 2015 model year is praised for its combination of reliability, performance, and value.

6.     2016

Despite transmission issues in some models (discussed below), the 2016 Tacoma started the third generation with a redesigned exterior, upgraded engines, and enhanced safety features. The new 3.5L V6 engine provided better fuel efficiency and performance, while the addition of Toyota Safety Sense-P as standard equipment made it an even safer choice.

7.     2018

2018 Toyota Tacoma on the road.

The 2018 Toyota Tacoma continued the tradition of reliability and performance while offering updated technology and features. The model year introduced advanced safety features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams. The 2018 Tacoma is a well-rounded truck that offers a blend of power, safety, and comfort.

5 Toyota Tacoma Years to Avoid

1.     2005

Though it marked the beginning of the second generation, the 2005 Toyota Tacoma experienced issues with the frame, leading to rust and corrosion problems. While Toyota addressed these concerns through recalls and extended warranties, it is important to ensure that any 2005 model you consider has had the necessary repairs or replacements.

2.     2006

Similar to the 2005 model, the 2006 Toyota Tacoma also faced frame rust and corrosion issues. In addition, some owners reported problems with the automatic transmission. While many of these issues were addressed through recalls, it is crucial to verify that any potential purchase has been properly maintained and repaired.

3.     2009

The 2009 Tacoma experienced a higher-than-normal rate of reported engine issues, including excessive oil consumption and problems with the head gasket. These problems can lead to expensive repairs, making the 2009 model less desirable for those seeking a reliable truck.

As with other years, make sure to thoroughly inspect and review the maintenance history of any 2009 Tacoma you consider purchasing.

4.     2010

While the 2010 Tacoma is generally a good option, it also had some reported issues with excessive oil consumption in the 4-cylinder engine. This issue can lead to engine damage and costly repairs if not addressed promptly. If you’re considering a 2010 Tacoma, it’s important to review its maintenance history and ensure the oil consumption issue has been resolved.

5.     2016

Though the 2016 Tacoma marked the beginning of the third generation and offered many improvements, it also experienced issues with the automatic transmission, particularly in the V6 models. Some owners reported hesitation and rough shifting, which can impact the overall driving experience.

If you’re considering a 2016 Tacoma, opt for a manual transmission or ensure that any issues with the automatic transmission have been resolved.

In summary, the Toyota Tacoma has a reputation for reliability and durability, but certain years have experienced issues that buyers should be aware of. By considering the best years for Tacoma and avoiding those with known problems, you can find a truck that offers a balance of performance, comfort, and dependability.

Which Toyota Tacoma Generation Should You Buy?

2023 Toyota Tacoma exterior shown.

When deciding which Toyota Tacoma generation to buy, consider your needs and preferences. The third generation (2016-present) offers the most advanced technology, safety features, and improved fuel efficiency.

With the new 3.5L V6 engine, updated interior, and Toyota Safety Sense-P, this generation provides a more modern and comfortable driving experience. However, be cautious of the 2016 model due to transmission issues.

The second generation (2005-2015) is a popular choice for those seeking a more budget-friendly and proven option. With various engine choices, comfortable cabins, and improved towing capacity, this generation offers reliability and versatility.

The 2015 model is especially recommended, as it marked the end of the second generation and included several enhancements.

What Year is the Most Reliable Toyota Tacoma?

The 2015 Toyota Tacoma is often considered the most reliable model year. As the final year of the second generation, it benefits from various improvements and refinements made over the years.

The 2015 Tacoma offers a blend of reliability, performance, and value, making it an attractive choice for those seeking a dependable truck.

What Are the Most Common Problems with Toyota Tacomas? (List 5 problems)

Some common problems with Toyota Tacoma include:

Corrosion of metal on a car body.

1.     Frame rust and corrosion (2005-2006 models)

These issues led to recalls and extended warranties. It’s essential to ensure any affected Tacomas have received necessary repairs or replacements.

2.     Excessive oil consumption (2009 and 2010 models)

This issue can lead to engine damage and expensive repairs if not addressed promptly.

3.     Automatic transmission issues (2016 V6 models)

Some owners reported hesitation and rough shifting, affecting the driving experience.

4.     Leaf spring problems (2005-2010 models)

Issues with the rear suspension, including broken leaf springs, led to recalls and replacements.

5.     Paint peeling and bubbling (various model years)

Some owners have reported paint quality issues, which can lead to rust and corrosion if not addressed.

How Many Miles Will a Tacoma Last?

A well-maintained Toyota Tacoma can last for over 300,000 miles. Tacoma’s reputation for durability and reliability contributes to its high resale value.

Regular maintenance, including oil changes, fluid checks, and timely repairs, will ensure your Tacoma stays on the road for many years.

What Year Tacoma Has The Least Problems?

The 2015 Tacoma has the least reported problems, making it a popular choice for those seeking a reliable and problem-free truck. As the last model year of the second generation, it benefits from various improvements and refinements, providing a balance of performance, reliability, and value.

What Year Did Toyota Tacoma Have Transmission Problems?

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma, particularly the V6 models, experienced issues with the automatic transmission. These issues included hesitation and rough shifting, which negatively impacted the driving experience. Buyers should consider manual transmission options or ensure that any automatic transmission issues have been resolved.

What Are The Closest Competitors To The Toyota Tacoma?

The closest competitors to the Toyota Tacoma are the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Ford Ranger, and Honda Ridgeline. Each truck offers different strengths and weaknesses, so it’s essential to compare features, performance, and reliability to determine the best fit for your needs.

How Long Do the Transmissions Normally Last on These Models?

The transmissions on Toyota Tacomas can last between 150,000 to 250,000 miles or more, depending on maintenance and driving conditions. Regular transmission fluid changes and checks, as well as addressing any issues promptly, can help prolong the life of the transmission.

Are Toyota Tacomas expensive to maintain?

Toyota Tacomas are generally considered to have relatively low maintenance costs compared to other vehicles in their class. Tacomas are known for their reliability and durability, which help keep repair expenses down.

Car mechanic examining car wheel brake.

Regular maintenance, such as oil changes, brake inspections, and tire rotations, can help prevent more significant problems and ensure the longevity of your Tacoma. As with any vehicle, adhering to the recommended maintenance schedule will minimize costs in the long run.

How Fuel-Efficient Are Toyota Tacomas?

Fuel efficiency in Toyota Tacomas varies depending on the model year, engine type, and transmission. Generally, newer models offer better fuel economy due to advancements in engine technology.

For example, the third-generation Tacomas equipped with the 3.5L V6 engine and automatic transmission offers an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. The 2.7L 4-cylinder engine option provides slightly better fuel economy, with an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.

What Is The Towing Capacity Of A Toyota Tacoma?

The towing capacity of a Toyota Tacoma depends on the model year, engine type, and configuration. Generally, the towing capacity ranges from 3,500 pounds for 4-cylinder models up to 6,800 pounds for V6 models with the proper towing package. When selecting a Tacoma, consider your towing needs and choose a configuration that offers the necessary capacity.

Are Toyota Tacomas Good For Off-Roading?

Toyota Tacomas have a reputation for being capable and versatile off-road vehicles. With features such as high ground clearance, robust suspension, and available four-wheel drive, Tacomas are well-suited for off-road adventures.

2023 Toyota Tacoma Trail Crew cab pickup wheel.

The TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro trims are specifically designed for off-roading, offering features like locking rear differentials, off-road-tuned suspension, and advanced terrain management systems.


In conclusion, the Toyota Tacoma is a popular and versatile midsize pickup truck with a reputation for reliability, durability, and strong resale value. When selecting a Tacoma, consider factors such as model year, engine type, towing capacity, and off-road capabilities to find the truck that best meets your needs.

By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different Tacoma models and generations, you can make a more informed decision and enjoy the benefits of owning a dependable and capable pickup truck.

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About Brock Rangel

Hi, I am Brock, and I am the lead editor/photographer for TheCarColony. I have been a mechanic for over 14 years now, and I am here to spread my car knowledge across the web!