1998 Toyota Tacoma Review

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Pros & Cons

  • Unique styling, Toyota reliability, and powerful engines make the 1998 Toyota Tacoma one of the most desirable small trucks on the market. Passenger side airbag shut-off switch is a nice nod toward making this truck safer for kids.
  • Extended cab models lack a third door and the redesigned front end is a bit too swoopy.
List Price Estimate
$1,278 - $2,701

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Vehicle overview

Toyota's sixth-generation compact pickup debuted 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 engines go under the hood. Toyota aimed for aggressive styling, inside and out, and Tacomas sport an excellent selection of interior fittings. Regular and extended cab bodies are available, with either two- or four-wheel drive.

A freshening of the front end occurred on the 1997 two-wheel drive Tacoma and the 1998 four-wheel drive models follow this year. Swoopy fenders, a larger bumper, aero-style headlamps and a new grille set this truck apart from its forebears. Two-wheel drive Tacomas get a 2.4-liter four-cylinder base engine, rated at 142-horsepower. Tacoma 4x4s earn a 150-horsepower, 2.7-liter four. Toyota claims that its four-cylinder engines are comparable to V6s from competitors. If those won't suffice, however, consider the 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 trounce most factory sport trucks in the stoplight dragrace.

All Tacomas have front coil springs instead of the former torsion bars, but 4x4s feature longer suspension travel to improve ride/handling qualities. Manual-shift trucks feature reverse-gear synchronization to reduce gear noise when shifting into reverse. Four-wheel antilock braking is optional on all Tacomas, and all pickups contain dual airbags with a shut-off switch for the passenger's side. In top-of-the-line Limited pickups, a One-Touch Hi-Four switch is available for easy, pushbutton engagement of four-wheel drive.

Tacomas are produced at the NUMMI joint-venture facility in Fremont, Calif., having been designed in that state. Options include cruise control, air conditioning, a sliding rear window, tilt steering wheel and moonroof.

The 1998 Tacoma PreRunner, however, is set to attract truck buyers who desire but cannot afford a 4WD truck, 4WD truck owners who don't use their 4WD as often as they expected and 2WD truck buyers who take their vehicle off-road. Historically, a "pre-runner" is a truck that pre-runs an off-road race course. Toyota's new PreRunner has benefitted from considerable suspension tuning and development work with Toyota Motorsports desert racing truck program to produce a 2WD vehicle with 4WD capabilities.

Stylistically, the PreRunner is identical to the other 1998 4WD Tacoma trucks, but the PreRunners are only available as XtraCab models with four- or six-cylinder automatic transmissions. Special details on the PreRunners include a double-wishbone independent suspension with coil springs, a 1.02-inch stabilizer bar and hydraulic shock absorbers. Standard tires are 15- by six-inch steel wheels and P225/75R15 mud and snow tires. The Toyota Racing Development off-road package offers Bilstein shock absorbers, locking rear differential on six-cylinder models, alloy wheels and other off-road enhancements.

Toyota hopes to attract buyers with the style and image of their Tacoma as well as a lower price tag. We like the Tacoma, but question the value it represents. Most of these Toyota trucks don't come cheap. Guess that's the price you pay for the peace of mind a Toyota provides.

1998 Highlights

The 1998 four-wheel-drive Tacomas receive fresh front-end styling that makes them more closely resemble their two-wheel-drive brothers. A new option package appears for 1998 as well; the TRD Off-Road Package for extended cab models is offered. On the safety front, Toyota introduces a passenger-side airbag that can be deactivated with a cut-off switch, making the Tacoma somewhat safer for children and short adults. Toyota also offers a new Tacoma PreRunner for 1998, billing it as a two-wheel-drive truck with four-wheel-drive performance.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1998 Toyota Tacoma.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

still going
headhunter130,01/04/2013
My truck has over 357,000 miles and has been through it.
I'll never sell
Luke,10/31/2010
This truck is one of the best trucks I've ever owned! Starts every time and all I do is change the oil and tires. The over all cost to get around is less that any other truck I know of. 13 years and still running like a champ! I bet I'll get 300,000 miles on this one easy. Thank you Toyota!
Taco
Alan,07/19/2007
I really enjoy my truck! I have 217,000 miles and will run it for as long as I can. Only major repair was the water pump. Still running original fuel filter, drum brakes, AC, plug wires. It drives like new and does not burn any oil. You cannot beat Toyota quality and this truck proves that.
Bullet Proof
taco ma,02/13/2010
Remember the old advertisement when the Tacoma gets hit by a meteor, then drives out of the crater?? It's a bit of an exaggeration, but not much... I just went over 200,000 miles and it is still going strong. Only problem ever was a starter. Puts all Chevy's or Ford's to shame.

Features & Specs

MPG
17 city / 22 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
190 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
16 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
150 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
17 city / 22 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
150 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
19 city / 25 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
142 hp @ 5000 rpm
See all Used 1998 Toyota Tacoma features & specs

Safety

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
    Acceptable

More about the 1998 Toyota Tacoma

Used 1998 Toyota Tacoma Overview

The Used 1998 Toyota Tacoma is offered in the following submodels: Tacoma Regular Cab, Tacoma Extended Cab. Available styles include SR5 V6 2dr Extended Cab SB (3.4L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (2.7L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.4L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (2.7L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), Prerunner 2dr Extended Cab SB (2.7L 4cyl naturally aspired 4A), SR5 2dr Extended Cab SB (2.4L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), V6 2dr Extended Cab SB (3.4L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), Limited 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (3.4L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), Prerunner V6 2dr Extended Cab SB (3.4L 6cyl naturally aspired 4A), 2dr Extended Cab SB (2.4L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), SR5 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (2.7L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), SR5 V6 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (3.4L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), and V6 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (3.4L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 1998 Toyota Tacoma?

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Should I lease or buy a 1998 Toyota Tacoma?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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