2004 Toyota Tacoma Review

Pros & Cons

  • Flexible and refined drivetrains, competent off-road, multiple body configurations, available stability control, solid build quality and reliability record.
  • Most convenience features are optional, no third or fourth door on Xtracabs.
List Price Estimate
$2,706 - $5,048

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Edmunds' Expert Review

A capable compact pickup with a variety of body styles and a strong reputation for reliability. Value is in question, however, as a short standard equipment list makes it easy to spend a bundle on options.

Vehicle overview

Tacoma. Toyota says the name is 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."

Making pickups for the U.S. market since 1964 (remember the Stout, anyone?), Toyota introduced its sixth-generation truck and the Tacoma nameplate in 1995. Designed and built in America, the Tacoma line has been well received. Since '95, Toyota has been steadily increasing the number of Tacoma variations. There are now 17 different versions, meaning the odds are good that you'll be able to find a truck to fit your needs.

Toyota hopes to attract buyers with the handsome styling and rugged image of its Tacoma as well as its reputation for quality and reliability. We give the truck high marks, but often 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.

2004 Toyota Tacoma models

The 2004 Toyota Tacoma comes in three body styles: Regular Cab, Xtracab and Double Cab. Each is available with two-wheel or four-wheel drive. Toyota also offers Tacomas with a "PreRunner" designation. PreRunners are 2WD trucks that have the looks and heavy-duty suspension of 4WD models. The Double Cab is a compact crew cab that offers four full-size doors and a longer passenger compartment for people who want a pickup and an SUV but can't afford both. In order to keep overall length reasonable for on- and off-road maneuverability, the Double Cab's bed length is shortened to 61.5 inches. Toyota also offers a special 2WD S-Runner Xtracab sport truck equipped with the V6, a five-speed manual transmission and a sport-tuned suspension. Standard features are few and far between. On most Tacomas, items like air conditioning, cruise control, bucket seats and power windows and locks are all optional. Toyota does offer two optional packages -- SR5 and Limited -- that bundle the most desired features. A TRD off-road package is also available that includes an upgraded suspension, meaty 16-inch tires and a locking rear differential.

2004 Highlights

All 2004 Toyota Tacoma models get standard Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, and V6 models can now be equipped with Vehicle Stability Control. Four-wheel-drive V6 models come with Active TRAC, a traction control system intended for off-road use, while 4x2 PreRunner models have traction control, plus a limited-slip rear differential.

Performance & mpg

You'll find one of three engines underneath the hood of a Tacoma. Two-wheel-drive Tacomas get a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder base engine, rated at 142 horsepower and 160 pound-feet of torque. Tacoma 4WDs and 2WD PreRunners are upgraded with 2.7-liter four with 150 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. Standard on Double Cab and optional on Xtracab models is a 3.4-liter V6 that whips out 190 horses and 220 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices include either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. When it comes to towing power, four-cylinder models can handle up to 3,500 pounds, while the V6 is capable of handling up to 5,000 pounds.

Safety

Antilock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution are standard on all Tacomas. Traction control is standard on V6 models (V6 PreRunners also have a limited-slip differential), and stability control is optional. In government crash testing, the 2004 Toyota Tacoma earned three stars (out of a possible five) for driver safety in frontal impacts and four stars for the passenger. In side-impact testing, it received three stars for front-occupant safety, with a high likelihood of pelvic injury. The IIHS gave the Tacoma an "Acceptable" rating for frontal offset crash testing.

Driving

Driving the 2004 Toyota Tacoma is easy enough thanks to its compact dimensions. Both four-cylinder engines offer adequate acceleration, while the V6 has a broad power band and is well suited for towing and off-roading. Ride quality can suffer if the TRD off-road package is ordered, but the payoff in terms of enhanced off-road ability is well worth it. Handling is competent on pavement, and the brakes are strong.

Interior

The Tacoma's interiors are industrial in design and look dated, but are constructed of high-quality materials. Switchgear is logically placed and easy to use. The seats are generally comfortable, but larger drivers might find them short on room.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2004 Toyota Tacoma.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Tremendous Vehicle
dennis_rhodes,05/18/2013
My dad bought me a brand new 2004 Toyota Tacoma regular cab extended cab when i graduated high school, that was now 9 years ago and this thing is still running, i have 335078 miles on it and it still feels like it did the day i came home and saw it in the drive way. i have only had to change the oil and rotate the tires, i have had no mechanical or any other problems for that matter. I LOVE THIS TRUCK
The Truck I've Alway's Wanted!!!!!
Jamie Crawford,12/06/2016
4dr Double Cab V6 4WD SB (3.4L 6cyl 4A)
I've owned several trucks in my life. But, when I was in the Army I bought an older base model 2wd Toyota truck. It had the Manual Transmission which was a blast to drive. I put that little truck through it's paces, especially when I went Deer hunting. After I got out of the Army and got into Law Enforcement, the idea of owning another Toyota never left my mind. I'm a big fella with 5 children, so I knew if I was going to get another Toyota, it would have to be the 4 door model. I also wanted a 4x4. So I finally found one back in 2013. It's a 2004 Tacoma, 4 Door and 4x4. Since I've had it, I know that I will never own another truck unless it's a Toyota. Now that I'm a single Father of 5 children, ages ranging from 14 to 4, all of us fit comfortably even with my 4 year old's seat. The previous owner had placed an alarm on it, which made it make that aggravating sound every time I used the remote to lock it, so I quickly disabled it. But other than that, I absolutely LOVE my truck. I've only had to use my 4 wheel drive "low" a couple of times when Deer hunting. It's amazing, of course the turning radius while in 4 wheel low isn't the greatest, but I think that's the case in most 4x4 trucks. But I was pleasantly surprised when I had to use the 4 low, and how easy it was to get me out of my situation's. The only negative thing I can think of about my truck is the clock location. It's located a little lower than the steering wheel and if I need to see what time it is, I have to look around the steering wheel to see it. Other than that, I think it's common knowledge that a Toyota vehicle is reliable and with regular maintenance, will last you for a very long time. I wished I could afford a new model, but maybe after I win the lottery, I guess I should start playing it first. But like I said, when it's time to pass my truck down to my boys, I will not buy anything other than a Toyota. They look great, run great, have good safety features, are fairly economical and will last it seems like forever, depending on how the owner drives it and maintains it. I'm a Patriot and I buy American made products when I can, but in my opinion there isn't an American made truck that's half as reliable as a Toyota. So drive safe, wear that seat belt, and I hope that whomever reads this has a blessed day. God Bless America and I hope God Blesses each and everyone of you.
I can't believe how bad the gas mileage is on this truck.
nycbugkiller,12/09/2010
2dr Xtracab 4WD SB (2.7L 4cyl 4A)
I bought this truck with 78,000 miles used in 2008. I have to say it is very reliable and it starts every time I try and fire it up. Of course it bounces all over the road like a typical small size truck does on bumpy roads. I just bought new Monroe shocks and struts that have to be installed. I'll see if that changes the ride. Regardless, when I first got it I was getting 16mpg. Don't ask what happened but I am at 142,000 miles and for some strange reason, I am now getting like 13. I have changed the spark plus, got a new air filter, new tires, I keep the air in the tires at the right poundage and I still can't understand it. And it's a 4 cylinder.
An excellent vehicle!
Corey Dulan,02/07/2016
4dr Double Cab PreRunner V6 Rwd SB (3.4L 6cyl 4A)
Ive had mine for ten years. I bought it in '06 with 27k miles. Loved it the moment I drove it, its a great all around vehicle. Ive NEVER broke down. Only thing that has gone out on its own was the A/C compressor at 148k miles, it has 202k as of 2/6/16. Gas mileage is ok but this truck is solid and well worth the investment. I wont drive anything but a Toyota after having this incredibly reliable truck. Cant say enough good things about it except I wish I had another one or three.

Features & Specs

MPG
19 city / 23 hwy
Seats 3
4-speed automatic
Gas
142 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
16 city / 19 hwy
Seats 3
4-speed automatic
Gas
150 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
17 city / 20 hwy
Seats 3
4-speed automatic
Gas
150 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
20 city / 25 hwy
Seats 3
5-speed manual
Gas
142 hp @ 5000 rpm
See all Used 2004 Toyota Tacoma features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • 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
    Rollover4 / 5
    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
    Acceptable

More about the 2004 Toyota Tacoma

Used 2004 Toyota Tacoma Overview

The Used 2004 Toyota Tacoma is offered in the following submodels: Tacoma Xtracab, Tacoma Regular Cab, Tacoma Double Cab. Available styles include 4dr Double Cab PreRunner V6 Rwd SB (3.4L 6cyl 4A), 4dr Double Cab V6 4WD SB (3.4L 6cyl 4A), 2dr Xtracab V6 4WD SB (3.4L 6cyl 4A), 4dr Double Cab PreRunner Rwd SB (2.7L 4cyl 4A), 2dr Regular Cab Rwd SB (2.4L 4cyl 4A), 2dr Xtracab 4WD SB (2.7L 4cyl 4A), 2dr Xtracab Rwd SB (2.4L 4cyl 4A), 2dr Xtracab PreRunner V6 Rwd SB (3.4L 6cyl 4A), 2dr Xtracab V6 4WD SB (3.4L 6cyl 5M), 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (2.7L 4cyl 4A), 2dr Xtracab PreRunner Rwd SB (2.7L 4cyl 4A), 2dr Regular Cab PreRunner Rwd SB (2.7L 4cyl 4A), 2dr Xtracab S-Runner V6 Rwd SB (3.4L 6cyl 5M), 2dr Regular Cab Rwd SB (2.4L 4cyl 5M), 2dr Xtracab Rwd SB (2.4L 4cyl 5M), 2dr Xtracab 4WD SB (2.7L 4cyl 5M), and 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (2.7L 4cyl 5M).

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    Should I lease or buy a 2004 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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