What's New for 1997
Two new colors debut and the optional wheel and tire packages are larger this year. Standard models get radio prewiring, midlevel models get fabric door trim panels and SR5 models get chrome wheel arches.
When launched as a 1993 model, Toyota's larger-than-before pickup came only with a regular cab that seated three--and that center person suffered a shortage of usable space. During 1995, an extended Xtracab version joined the T100 line, in either DX or SR5 trim. So did a new, more powerful 3.4-liter V6 engine that yielded 190 horsepower, bringing towing capacity up to 5,200 pounds.
Cargo space is minimal in a regular-cab T100, but much more practical in the Xtracab, which measures 21.7 inches longer and includes forward-facing 50/50 rear jump seats for three. Unlike some extended-cab trucks whose auxiliary seats are bolt-upright, the T100's recline 15 degrees.
Toyota claims that its biggest pickup can beat some full-size domestic rivals with V8 engines in the acceleration department. Even before the arrival of the more powerful engine, a V6 pickup moved out quickly enough with manual shift, though an automatic sapped its vigor somewhat. As expected, 4x4s are slower, due largely to their increased weight. Two-wheel-drive models ride more comfortably, too, but any T100 with an empty cargo bed can turn into a unwieldy handful on the highway, its rear axle unable to remain planted in place. Only the standard 2WD, regular cab half-ton pickup comes with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine, which delivers 150 horsepower and 177 ft-lbs. of torque.
Ranking in size between Dodge's mid-size Dakota and any of the domestically-built full-size pickups, the T100 can be ordered in two trim levels; Standard, or SR5 with chrome trim, sliding rear window, tilt steering, and a tachometer. SR5 is available only on Xtracab models. This year the T100 gets higher standard equipment content and a few new colors. A driver's airbag is installed in all models, but four-wheel anti-lock braking is optional only with the V6 engine. Naturally, T100 owners get the benefit of Toyota's reputation for refinement and excellent assembly quality, as well as high levels of customer satisfaction.