I've always wanted a Toyota 4wd pickup, and I bought one about a year ago. It took me a while to get used to the 2.7L engine and the 5sp. But I was used to high reving engines, and this one almost runs like a diesel. Keep the revs low and change gears early, and she runs great. This is definitely a truck engine. You can feel the torque on the low end. I had an old Mazda B2000 and Nissan Frontier, and liked them both. But they would bottom out if I carried a heavy load. Not this baby! The Tacoma is made for haulin'! But don't get the 4 cyl if you're always in a hurry. It has plenty of power to haul and tow, but its not a race engine. MPG: 21-22
2.4L automatic, extended cab 2WD SR5. So far, I'm getting 25 mpg. The smallest engine available, but has perfectly adequate power. This is the first year for standard ABS, which was a hard to find option. I searched forever for these features in a used truck, really glad I found it. I hear the '05 and newer Tacomas don't have as good build quality, they're larger and don't offer the 2.4L. If you're looking for great reliability and mileage, I'd get an '03 or '04.
I have to be honest that this is the best truck that I have ever owned. It does great on gas. I never have any problem with it. I use it for hauling, loading kayaks, mountain biking. And driving all over the country. In 5 years I have put 100,000 miles on it with no problem. I plan to put another 150,000 miles on it. I just keep the oil changed brakes and tires every two years and she runs like a champ. Great looking truck to. Next time though I think I am going to buy the v6. Better for towing my motorcycle!!
I bought the truck used back in the day with less than 80K on it. It now has over 156k and only replaced the brake pads. I have overloaded this truck many times and even pulled trailers with a F250 on the back. This little truck does it all. I have the TRD package and it goes where ever you want it to go.
I bought this truck as a commuter vehicle. The test drive was great. But.. After I purchased it, and was stuck in traffic, the lack of legroom, and support in the seat quickly went from discomfort to severe pain. I'm only 6'2" but I just don't fit. First time this has ever happened to me in any vehicle. Even my daughter's Geo has more comfortable seats.