This truck is the most complete and downright solid truck I have ever owned and probably ever will own. I bought this truck used because I liked the second generation body style better than the new ones, and it has not disappointed in any way. I've wanted one since I was in high school, back when I drove a '96 Nissan hardbody pickup, and about 8 years later, I had a TRD 4 door in my driveway, ironically almost the same color (Impulse Red Pearl) as the Nissan. I never thought I'd find a better truck than my first, but I was wrong. This truck is perfect in every way and never lets me down. It has about 108K on the odometer and many miles to go. Keep up the good work, Toyota!
The styling of this truck is probably my favorite feature, followed closely by its reliability. It was the look of this body style that made me choose it over the new model. I love the look of the fender flares fitted over the larger off-road tires, the rounded styling of the hood, grille, and body, and the way it sits high off the ground even though it is a smaller truck. The interior is comfortable and clean, and despite me liking the newer Tacoma interior a bit more, this one has been more pleasing than I thought it would be. Road trips have been very comfortable every time. Above all, it is a tough truck, and takes a beating, even though I usually tend to baby it (as it is my baby).
The only things I would improve on this truck would be the placement of the clock (it is mostly hidden by the steering wheel when you are driving), and maybe adding a little more power (although the 190 horsepower V6 does very well, no doubt). The new Tacoma V6 has about 235 horsepower, which I sometimes wish this truck had. I plan to add a TRD supercharger someday which should put it easily in the mid-200hp range, as well as a 3" lift, slightly larger tires and custom wheels, nothing larger than 17", and chrome nerf bars. Other than that, this truck needs no improvements. It is a model for what other trucks should be.
I have owned this truck since it was new. 4 cylinder, full 4-door model. The fuel economy sits around 19mpg highway fairly consistently. For the first 53k miles I abused the heck out of this truck. It is a gutless 4banger so I would push it to just over 100mph by pushing the OD/off on the shifter to drop a gear in order to get over 100. This was nearly every day for my commute because I literally am always running late. The minimum was 90mph (toll road 17 miles to work). Under the powertrain warranty I carved out cylinders 1 and 3, so I was given a new short-block and new lease on life. Ever since, I don't even let this thing slip into overdrive and baby her. See (improvements)
My boat weighs around 3500 lbs with the trailer and this 4 cylinder can pull it out of the water on the boat ramp! Emergency brake on, slow release with gas applied and she creeps out every time (steep ramp). I don't tow it far (1 mile) and really take er' easy under way. I'm pretty impressed.
The 4 cylinder is over-weight and under powered. I would have opted for the 6 if I could do-over. I never wash this thing but the finish is holding up very well. I have done nothing to this vehicle other than oil change and an A/C charge thus far. Transmission needs flushing I'm sure! 130,500 miles!
I had lusted a red Toyota 4x4 Xtracab since I was in college, and my wife and I could finally afford to buy this one new TRD off the lot. We've taken into the most inhospitable places in the Colorado high country, moved out of two houses with it, landscaped innumerable lots with it, and added kids to the mix in between all the rest. It's been flawless overall, and we still love it dearly after 8 1/2 years. Given, the interior is small for a child seat and two 5'10 and over adults. Yes, there are a few rattles, it gets < 20 mpg, and rides like a buckboard wagon. But, it's a go-anywhere truck that always works. We've never regretted buying it, even once.
Goes anywhere. Carries lots. Always works. What more could we want?
None. The '02 was the pinnacle of the Tacomas. The new ones only have 9" or so of running clearance; the older style like ours has almost 12". Toyota at its best.
2002 Toyota Tacoma 2dr Xtracab 4WD SB (2.7L 4cyl 4A)
Put most of the miles on it during the past 6 years (highway miles) driving 300 miles one way every 3-4 weeks. Since January 2010 have only put about 1200 miles on it. Comfortable for a tall person like me, and handles well. Economy was between 22-24 MPG, but got 26 a couple of times when my driving was below 60mph. Averaged 20 mpg around town. Height of truck bed low enough for carrying small loads and loading fertilizer, chicken feed, mulch in (50-60 pound bags). Selling it at 115,000 miles. Transmission went out at 78,900, but had purchased extended waranty, which covered replacement and rental car. Enjoyed truck, but can't carry new grand kids in it.
Handling, comfort, legroom, 6 speaker sound system (SR5 package), ease of getting in and out of cab, truck bed height. Choose truck due to J D Powers rating for this year, not disappointed.
Put K&N filter in it after 15,000 miles (made big difference in pickup and gained .5 mpg). Payload capacity could be improved. Pretty much satisfied.