I have a 2001 SR5 with a 5 speed and 2.4 liter motor. I have used it for work everyday I have had it. I have routinely overloaded it to the point it has sat almost to the floor and yet it takes it day in and day out. I actually blew the transmission at 59,900 because of excessive loading and drove the truck to the dealership. The dealership said you don't have any gears left they are gone where is the tow truck? I told them I drove it here and they simply didn't believe me. Once that one major repair was done the new trans has taken even more abuse and the clutch only has 195,000 on it for day to day hauling and the occasional red line shift just for fun. What a great truck!
It's a great truck for the work commute. About 22mpg. Then, when I need it - hauling furniture, groceries, lumber, propane, gravel, yard work, etc. There's some room for stuff behind the seat, and while a full car seat would be tight, my 4 year old fits well in a booster seat behind the passenger seat. I was also surprised to find it can haul U-Haul's largest trailer straight on the bumper, just had to buy the ball and lights. I've kept up with the maintenance schedule and have only had to replace things I've actually physically broken (advice: don't drop a tree near your truck, it may hurt the paint job.)
It's a truck. Low maintenance cost. Decent acceleration /speed (wife has one ticket, I've been lucky) Strong bumper for towing. Decent sized truck bed. Xtra cab can store stuff you don't want to expose to the elements - bread, laptop, your child.
Don't rely on the tires that came with the truck. They slip in rain. Got a set of Michelins, haven't slipped since. Clock is in a bad place. Get a net and bungy cords.
I bought this vehicle brand new in 2001 and still use it for delivery business. I have put 328000 miles on it with only minimal problems. Replaced auto transmission at 300000 but that is the only thing major gone wrong with this many miles. Still starts easily and drives perfect. Does not smoke or burn oil and runs like a sewing machine. Most dependable reliable vehicle ever owned.
My 2001 Tacoma just got totalled with 118,000 miles. Bought it used in 2002 with only 7,000 miles. Added 37,000 miles per year. NEVER HAD A PROBLEM. Was hoping to drive it for another 3 years or aprox 250,000 miles. I feel she would have got there. Started using synthetic oil @ 100,000 miles.
Its not a big truck, but its good for hauling furniture, lumber, mulch, and still have some comfort inside. So far, nothing other than regular service has been needed, other than tires. There's room behind the seat for a fair bit of stuff, too. There's even a locking ring for a car seat in the Xtra cab, but I don't know - it looks like that might be a tight fit.
Reliability. By this time, in my chevy, I had replaced the alternator 2X, battery, cylinder head (!). In my Tacoma I've only replaced the tires, plus regular maintenance.
If you buy one, and the tires slip in the rain, get a new set of tires. I haven't slipped once since I bought a better set of tires.