2001 Toyota Tacoma Review
Pros & Cons
- Powerful engine choices, attractive styling, competent off-road capabilities, crew-cab configuration.
- Uncomfortable seats, high prices, aging design, no third or fourth door on Xtracabs.
Edmunds' Expert Review
A capable compact pickup with a variety of body styles to suit most buyers. The 2001 Toyota Tacoma has a reputation for reliability, but value in question due to high asking prices.
Toyota's sixth-generation compact pickup debuted seven long years ago with a new name: Tacoma. It's supposed to suggest the rugged outdoors, as well as strength and adventure, but a friend of ours once quipped, "Obviously, nobody from Toyota has actually been to Tacoma."
Regular Cab, Xtracab and new-for-2001 Double-Cab bodies are available, with either two- or four-wheel drive. Double-Cab models are exclusive to North America, and are not dressed-up versions of the company's four-door commercial truck sold in overseas markets. Double-Cab features 11 inches of ground clearance, and a 61.4-inch long cargo bed. Also new this year is a StepSide bed option package for 2WD Tacomas, and the sporty S-Runner model. S-Runners, offered only with 2WD, include special trim, wheels, a 190-horsepower V6 and a sport-tuned suspension.
Tacoma is aggressively styled, inside and out, and for 2001 a fresh front look ties the truck more closely to its larger Tundra brother. Available in base, mid-grade SR5, sporty S-Runner or upscale Limited trim, Tacomas can be dressed in chrome or body-color accents, as the buyer wishes. Interiors are industrial in design, failing to appear modern, but are constructed of high-quality materials. Seat comfort, however, is not best in class.
The PreRunner model is available with SR5 or Limited trim. It is designed 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 racecourse. Toyota's PreRunner has benefited from considerable suspension tuning and development work with Toyota Motorsports desert racing truck program to produce a 2WD vehicle with 4WD capabilities.
Any of three potent engines go under the hood. Two-wheel-drive Tacomas get a 2.4-liter four-cylinder base engine, rated at 142 horsepower and 160 foot-pounds of torque. Tacoma 4x4s and 2WD PreRunners earn a 2.7-liter four with 150 horsepower and 177 foot-pounds of torque. Standard on Double-Cab and optional on Xtracab models is a DOHC, 24-valve V6 that whips out 190 horses and 220 foot-pounds of torque. With V6 power, the Tacoma can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. A supercharger is available from Toyota Racing Development (TRD) for the V6, boosting output to 260 horsepower. Ask your dealer for details.
All Tacomas have front coil springs instead of torsion bars, but 4x4s and PreRunners feature longer suspension travel to improve ride/handling qualities. Four-wheel antilock braking is optional on all Tacomas, and all pickups contain dual front airbags with a shut-off switch for the passenger's side.
Toyota hopes to attract buyers with the handsome styling and rugged image of its Tacoma as well as its reputation for quality and reliability. Generally, 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.