I now have over 300,000 miles on this SR5 4x4 and other than regular maintenance, the only problem was the starter. Still shines like new, the ABS works great, all electrical is working and I know it will start every time I want to use it. I have hauled, towed and loaded this truck to the max and it has never let me down. This is my fifth Toyota product and I have yet to have any in the shop which is better on my wallet as well as peace of mind.
I got this 1997 Tacoma 3.4L 4x4 Xtra Cab with 37k on it in 2007. From the beginning, the clutch master Cyl has been problematic. The first owner had replaced the factory master and the after-market master failed me on the way from the dealership. The dealership did nothing to correct the problem. They topped off the fluid and I was stranded a few days later in the middle of nowhere. I stock all fluids under the hood so I got out of the swamp. I have replaced the clutch master 4 times in the last 8 years. Other than that this truck has been bullet proof. This truck is a good truck. I have kept up with 5k oil changes. I don't hole-shot it but when I have needed it to get out of the way of something or pull itself out of some mess, it has not had any issues. It gets the advertised mileage even with 240k (update 5/17, 264+00). It looks good but for some dings that were on it when I got it. The paint suffers from being under trees and I might repaint it. (update Nov 2016; prepped the truck as if I were going to shoot it in a paint booth and then painted it with Rustoleum Bedliner. It has worked out well. The surface is strong and the underbrush hasn't scared it at all. Big positive is that this paint cures in 72 hours unlike standard automotive or hobby paint which can take up to 30 days) I recommend anything from the Toyota truck line. I have friends with 2003, 2014 and 2016 Tacomas -- none of them are any less reliable. I have replaced the starter, alternator, clutch, serpentine belt, timing belt, water pump, radiator, front and rear breaks with rotors, front struts, rear shocks and floor mats. Note that the recoil on the seatbelts will not be strong enough to retract the belt unless you feed it back. It has quick trap lock on the belt but if you pull the belt too fast it will lock before you can fasten it. I spent years at sea as a captain and so I tend to look ahead on maintenance. I am sure I would have been just as well without a lot of the renewed parts... but I am very confident in this truck.
My tacoma has 190k on it and it has started and gotten me where I needed to be every day. Motor still runs like new, the only thing I have ever had to do to the truck was put brakes on, replace shocks and CV boot covers, and replace a rack and pinion mounting bushing, I've probably only spent around 500 dollars on maintenance on this truck and have owned it for 6 years, with 190+ K miles on it. I honestly think it would run forever.
This truck is a great value. It's tough, dependable, reliable, and considering these trucks are "Built to last" many years, the slightly higher price is well worth it. Very low and easy maintenance- have owned since new (currently 135K mi), mainly just change oil, add gas, and drive!!. The only repairs of concern were A/C and a new fuel injector. The 4cyl. manual is suprisingly powerful, the hauling capacity is "at least" 1/2 ton, and the 4x4 system is, from what I've heard...superior to all others. Right now for small trucks, the Tacoma is the only one I'd consider.