Used 1997 Toyota Tacoma

Style:
1997 Toyota Tacoma
List price range

Pros

  • Powerful, rugged, and reliable.

Cons

  • Luke-warm about the revised styling. Dangerously close to full-size truck prices.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Toyota's sixth-generation compact pickup debuted in April, as a 1995.5 model, with an actual model name: Tacoma. It's supposed to suggest the rugged outdoors, as well as strength and adventure. Any of three potent new engines goes under the hood, and the pickup rides an all-new chassis. Toyota aimed at aggressive styling, inside and out, and Tacomas sport an excellent selection of interior fittings. Regular and extended Xtracab bodies are available, with either two- or four-wheel drive. A deep-sculpted grille/hood/fender structure imparts a sporty personality to the truck, to attract customers who select their 4x4s on non-utilitarian grounds.

Two-wheel-drive Tacomas get a 2.4-liter four-cylinder base engine, rated 142 horsepower (26 more than the prior generation). Tacoma 4x4s earn a 150-horsepower, 2.7-liter four. Toyota claims that its four-cylinder engines are comparable to V6s from competitors. But if those won't suffice, consider the latest V6 option: a dual-overhead-cam, 24-valve unit that whips out 190 horses and 220 foot-pounds of torque. With V6 power, borrowed from the bigger T100, this compact pickup can tow up to 5,000 pounds and soundly whip any factory sport truck in the stoplight dragrace. In contrast, the V6 engine available in the prior-generation pickup delivered only 150 horsepower and 180 foot-pounds.

All Tacomas have front coil springs instead of the former torsion bars, but 4x4s feature longer suspension travel than before, to improve ride/handling qualities, whether on- or off-road. Track width has been increased, too, for a more stable ride. Rack-and-pinion steering replaces the old recirculating-ball layout, for better feel and response. Manual-shift trucks feature reverse-gear synchronization, to reduce gear noise when shifting into reverse. Four-wheel antilock braking is an option, but all pickups contain an airbag for the driver. In top-of-the-line SR5 Xtracab pickups, a One-Touch Hi-4 switch is available for easy, pushbutton engagement of four-wheel-drive. By redesigning and lowering the floor by 1.6 inches, Toyota makes 4x4s easier to enter.

Tacomas are produced at the NUMMI joint-venture facility in Fremont, California, having been designed in that state. Options include cruise control, air conditioning, a sliding rear window, tilt steering wheel, and moonroof. We like the Tacoma, but question the value it represents. These new Toyota trucks don't come cheap. Guess that's the price you pay for the peace of mind a Toyota provides.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Toyota Tacoma.

Bury me in my Tacoma!
jgpaige, 1/25/2011
I bought my Tacoma new in December of 1996. I confess that I haven't been the most responsible owner regarding regular maintenance and the like. It doesn't seem to matter, though. My Tacoma, now at 198,000 miles, turns over and purrs like a kitten every morning. I have driven it cross-country 7 times and would still have the confidence to do it today at its current mileage. I've used it for hauling construction debris, towing a loaded U-haul trailer up a mountain, and even fit two men over 6' tall in the regular cab with me. I've proven it can run on no oil (per my mechanic's chagrin) and an empty gas tank. This machine is truly remarkable and, at times, even miraculous.
Most basic truck
dexyuen, 10/25/2011
Maybe my truck is just having it's time and I probably would have rated higher if I had it earlier but It's been Ok truck I bought it with 237,000 miles and I have 320,000 on it since I've owned it I replaced the radiator, dropped a K&N filter in replaced the transmission gasket (I have an auto), the electrical, tires, ball joints, bearings, front calipers, CV boots, alternator, this all happened within 3 months of owning it so @ about 250,000 I replaced all this and lasted to 320,000 I hope it just last now I did most of the work myself so it was some what worth it. I love parking this thing in the city though when I'm working out there.
What a junker
jjb, 10/30/2002
This peice of junk was never any good from day one! Its just one thing after another. Then you take it in to be repaired and they can't figure out what is wrong! I will NEVER BY A TOYOTA AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!
1997 Toyota Tacoma
jenaka, 7/8/2002
My experience with this vehicle has been great. The vehicle is reliable, sturdy and fun. The body has endured minor damage well and I have had no mechanical problems at all. I have always felt safe in my vehicle. The cab is spacious enough for 4 people if necessary but is more appropriate for 2 people and cargo.
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Features & Specs

MPG
15 city / 18 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
190 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
20 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
142 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
16 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
150 hp @ 4800 rpm
See all Used 1997 Toyota Tacoma features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver2 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1997 Toyota Tacoma
Used 1997 Toyota Tacoma Overview

The Used 1997 Toyota Tacoma is offered in the following submodels: , . Available styles include 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB, V6 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB, 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB, V6 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB, 2dr Extended Cab SB, 2dr Regular Cab SB, SR5 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB, and V6 2dr Extended Cab SB.

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