2005 Toyota Tacoma Review

Pros & Cons

  • Flexible and refined drivetrains, excellent off-road ability, 18 different body configurations, available stability control, solid build quality and reliability record, well-trimmed interior, unique bed features.
  • Manual gearbox still vague through the gears, awkward emergency brake.
List Price Range
$10,995 - $11,014

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The new 2005 Toyota Tacoma is far and away one of the best compact trucks ever offered to the American public.

Vehicle overview

Having made pickups for the U.S. market since 1964 (remember the Stout, anyone?), Toyota introduced its sixth-generation truck, and the Tacoma nameplate, in 1995. An all-new Tacoma debuts this year with across-the-board improvements. Whether it's engine power, interior room or safety features, the newest Tacoma has more of everything than it had before and even a few things it didn't. Like most trucks in its class, the new truck comes in regular, extended cab (Toyota calls it an Access Cab) and crew cab (or Double Cab) body styles in both two- and four-wheel drive. The Tacoma also continues with the popular PreRunner models that offer the look and suspension of the four-wheel-drive trucks sans the actual four-wheel-drive running gear. New styles for 2005 include a long-bed version of the crew cab and the high-performance access cab X-Runner street truck. All regular and access cab models are available with either four- or six-cylinder engines, while the crew cab models use the V6 exclusively. On the low end, an all-new 2.7-liter, four-cylinder engine replaces both the 2.4-liter and 2.7-liter engines used previously. Producing 164 horsepower and 183 pound-feet of torque, the new 2.7 offers a significant boost in horsepower. All V6 models now use a larger 4.0-liter engine in place of the previous 3.4-liter power plant. With 245 hp and 283 lb-ft of torque, the 2005 Toyota Tacoma measures up to every six-cylinder truck in its class and nearly matches the power of the Dodge Dakota's High-Output 4.7-liter V8. Off-road junkies will also be happy to know that the Tacoma now offers both Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Assist Control (DAC) on all models (X-Runner excepted) equipped with an automatic transmission. The X-Runner essentially picks up where the old S-Runner left off, offering a sport-tuned pickup for those who want some utility without giving up the fun. It comes as a six-speed V6 access cab only with a lowered suspension and additional structural bracing underneath that gives the truck its name. Toyota also upgraded the base Tacoma to give it a better value proposition -- never the strongest aspect of the previous model. The least expensive 4x2 regular cab in now outfitted with the kind of standard features you would expect, such as antilock brakes, a CD stereo and multiple power points. Even more impressive than the newly standard features is the overall design and comfort of the interior. With more room in every direction, the 2005 Toyota Tacoma has lost much of the claustrophobic feeling so typical of most compact trucks. There's also a new composite cargo bed that comes standard on all models and incorporates built-in storage units, adjustable tie-down anchors and even an optional 400-watt electrical outlet. Toyota seems well apprised of the fact that while the compact truck category has seen little movement in the last five to 10 years, 2005 marks a rekindling of interest in this segment, with major redesigns for most of the major players. With Toyota's excellent revamp, the Tacoma is now firmly planted in the upper echelon of its class.

2005 Toyota Tacoma models

The 2005 Toyota Tacoma comes in three body styles: Regular Cab, Access Cab (extended cab) and Double Cab (crew 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. Toyota also offers a special 2WD X-Runner access cab sport truck equipped with the V6, a six-speed manual transmission, a sport-tuned suspension and additional structural bracing underneath that gives the truck its name. Standard features on the regular cab include a CD player, a full-size spare tire and a tachometer. Access Cabs add bucket seats, air conditioning and a pair of rear access doors. On top of that, the Double Cab receives keyless entry and power windows, locks and mirrors. An optional SR5 package features color-keyed and chrome trim, intermittent wipers and upgraded interior trim. A JBL audio system with seven speakers is optional on Double Cabs. An available TRD Sport package includes performance suspension and upgraded tires, and a TRD Off-Road package features meaty white-lettered tires and heavy-duty off-road suspension.

2005 Highlights

The 2005 Toyota Tacoma has been completely redesigned.

Performance & mpg

All regular and access cab models are available with either four- or six-cylinder engines, while the crew cab models use the V6 exclusively. Standard is a 2.7-liter, four-cylinder engine producing 164 horsepower and 183 pound-feet of torque. The 4.0-liter V6 engine serves up a generous 245 hp and 283 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices include either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic for the four-cylinder, while V6 buyers can choose between a six-speed manual and a five-speed automatic. Equipped with the V6 engine, the Tacoma's maximum tow rating is now 6,500 pounds.

Safety

Antilock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and BrakeAssist are standard on all Tacomas. A stability control system is available on all models, except the X-Runner. Crew cab models also offer optional front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags. Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Assist Control (DAC) are optional on all models (X-Runner excluded) equipped with an automatic transmission. The 2005 Toyota Tacoma has not yet been crash tested.

Driving

While the standard four-cylinder is certainly adequate, the 4.0-liter V6 is a terrific all-around performer, with plenty of guts down low and a willingness to spin into the upper rev ranges without getting thrashy. In terms of handling, the feeling behind the wheel is of a truck that is well planted at every corner, predictable when pushed and surprisingly agile considering its size.

Interior

The design of the dashboard controls and instrument cluster mimics Toyota's 4Runner SUV, which isn't a bad thing. The quality of the materials sets a new standard for the class, and the seats have the kind of firm, supportive bolstering not typically found on trucks of this type. Getting into Access Cabs is easier now, thanks to dual rear doors that open wider than before, while the backseat of the Double Cab is now comfortable for full-size adults.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2005 Toyota Tacoma.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Me and my Taco
Stacey,03/13/2016
4dr Access Cab PreRunner V6 Rwd SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
This has been a great truck. I've put 200,000 miles on the odometer and the truck runs and drives like the day we met. I'm going to miss this truck.
Unbeatable little truck.
Dave in NC,08/23/2018
4dr Double Cab V6 4WD SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M)
I've owned this Tacoma for 13+ years and have not had a single problem. It gets regular oil and filter changes, period. I haven't even needed to replace the brakes at 73,000 miles. I have but two complaints: the CD player quit a few years ago, and the headlight lenses for this year are plastic, not glass, so they react to sun light by appearing to be "foggy" though I don't have a problem driving at night. In addition to this being the most reliable vehicle I've ever owned, it has sustained a much higher resale value than anything else on the road. In 2005 Motor Trend magazine named this Light Duty Truck of the Year; it's sure lived up to their rating. Dave in NC.
My Tacoma
Brenda Evans,11/16/2005
4dr Double Cab PreRunner V6 Rwd LB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
My former truck was a V-8 Tundra, till my son put it through two trees doing 65MPH and managed to walk away. My Tacoma is a shortbed. Gas mileage isn't great but better than the Tundra, and it seems just as powerful with the new V-6. I've got the towing package and have towed with it happily a couple of times. 7000 miles so far and very pleased. My only objection is that I would have liked to have a manual transmission and Toyota doesn't put them in their double cabs. The composite bed is very nice, and I've already used the rails and removable clips several times. I also like the storage compartments behind the seat in back.
05 Tacoma
VN,05/05/2006
4dr Double Cab V6 4WD LB (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
This is my third Toyota pickup: 94 Hilux; 03 Tacoma; 05 Tacoma. My dealer is driving the 94 Hilux, a guy in town has my 03, and I am happy with my 05 Tacoma. These trucks never quit! I installed an aftermarket moon roof and the Dee Zees to offset the looks. Truck has good starting, no hesitation in acceleration, and offers a very smooth ride (I have the long bed double cab which has plenty of room).

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    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
    Marginal
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2005 Toyota Tacoma
More About This Model

The latest Toyota Tacoma was, claim its engineers, designed using a "go and see" approach. By this they implied that they went where their customers were and watched them as they used the Tacoma in their daily lives. Whether it was on the job getting beat up by workmen or on the sand serving as a portable beer cooler, they wanted to see firsthand exactly how the Tacoma was used.

After sampling several versions of the new Tacoma, it seems as though Toyota may have left off the latter part of its development mantra, the part that said, "Go and see what your competitors are doing, and then crush them mercilessly with a vastly superior truck that will embarrass lesser pickups into oblivion." It may not have been quite that colorful, but there's no denying the fact that the 2005 Toyota Tacoma is far and away one of the best compact trucks ever offered to the American public.

Toyota has had a long history of selling compact trucks in the U.S. and the passion these trucks inspire among their owners is every bit as rabid as that of their domestic competitors. Since becoming the Tacoma in 1995, Toyota's compact pickup has consistently attracted some of the youngest buyers in the category thanks to sharp styling, a bulletproof reliability record and its image as the perfect complement to a pair of dirt bikes or WaveRunners. It wasn't always the biggest or most powerful truck in its class, but when it came to delivering a complete package, the Toyota Tacoma rarely let its buyers down.

Giving the Tacoma a full redesign didn't require drastic measures — just a little more of the stuff it already had, along with a few surprises mixed in, to keep it on top of its game. The all-new Toyota Tacoma does just that with a round of across-the-board improvements that boosts its standing among its peers in almost every category. Whether it's engine power, interior room or safety features, the 2005 Tacoma has more of everything than it had before and even a few things it didn't. After driving several different models in various configurations, it's safe to say that the Tacoma has everything it needs to dominate the category.

Much like their full-size cousins, compact trucks derive much of their practicality from their numerous configurations, and the Toyota Tacoma now offers more styles than ever before — 18 in all. Like most trucks in its class, the new Tacoma comes in regular, extended cab (Toyota calls it an access cab) and crew cab body styles in both two- and four-wheel drive. The Tacoma also continues with the very popular PreRunner models that offer the look and suspension of the four-wheel-drive trucks sans the actual four-wheel-drive running gear. New styles for 2005 include a long-bed version of the crew cab and the high-performance access cab X-Runner street truck.

Regardless of which body style you choose, all Tacomas are larger in most dimensions compared to the previous model. On the outside, the Tacoma is nearly half a foot longer, four inches wider and roughly two inches taller, depending on the model. Most interior dimensions have increased as well, with crew cab models demonstrating the most improvement as their backseats are now comfortable for adult passengers.

All regular and access cab models are available with either four- or six-cylinder engines, while the crew cab models use the V6 exclusively. On the low end, an all-new 2.7-liter, four-cylinder engine replaces both the 2.4-liter and 2.7-liter engines used previously. Producing 164 horsepower and 183 pound-feet of torque, the new 2.7 offers a significant boost in horsepower and torque while maintaining equivalent fuel efficiency. All V6 models now use a larger 4.0-liter engine in place of the previous 3.4-liter power plant. With 245 hp and 283 lb-ft of torque, the 2005 Tacoma trounces every six-cylinder truck in its class and nearly matches the power of the Dodge Dakota's High-Output 4.7-liter V8. Equipped with the V6 engine, the Tacoma's maximum tow rating is now 6,500 pounds — up from 5,000 pounds in the previous model.

All the trucks we drove were equipped with the big V6 engine, and it makes itself known from the first punch of the pedal. With plenty of guts down low and a willingness to spin into the upper rev ranges without getting thrashy, this engine is a terrific all-around performer. It comes mated to either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic, giving it all the gears it needs to make the Tacoma move out in a hurry. The base four-cylinder continues with a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic. Toyota claims that a 4x4 V6 equipped with the automatic transmission can run from zero to 60 mph in just 7.5 seconds, and we don't doubt it after our test-drive. Although the six-speed manual promises even better performance, its action is still typical of a truck — clunky and awkward through the gears with little incentive to use it more than you need to.

It's too bad that the manual is still so clunky, as the X-Runner sport model is an excellent handler for a truck. All new for 2005, the X-Runner essentially picks up where the old S-Runner left off, offering a sport-tuned pickup for those who want some utility without giving up the fun. It comes as a six-speed V6 access cab only with a lowered suspension and additional structural bracing underneath that gives the truck its name. Retuned Bilstein shocks, firmer springs and thicker sway bars are also included along with a set of 18-inch wheels and tires for added stick.

Apart from the gangly shifter, the X-Runner is an impressive performer. Although we barely probed its limits during our brief test-drive, the feeling behind the wheel is of a truck that feels well planted at every corner, predictable when pushed and surprisingly agile considering its size. The torque of the V6 motor helps give it the punch it needs to back up the handling and a standard limited-slip differential puts the power to the ground in an efficient manner. For those who intend to really push their X-Runner to the limit, Toyota is also offering a Big Brake kit that upgrades the X-Runner with larger 13-inch rotors, four-piston forged calipers, larger brake pads and steel-braided brake lines.

The X-Runner isn't the only model to offer special option packages, however, as Toyota Racing Development (TRD) also put together two additional packages that are available on V6 models only. The TRD Sport Package puts together larger wheels and tires, a retuned suspension, a limited-slip differential and several cosmetic dress-up pieces to give the Tacoma the look of a customized street truck. The TRD Off-Road Package adds retuned springs and shocks, a thicker front sway bar, oversized BF Goodrich tires, foglamps and a locking rear differential. Off-road junkies will also be happy to know that the Tacoma now offers both Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Assist Control (DAC) on all models (X-Runner excepted) equipped with an automatic transmission.

For those with tastes that skew toward a more mainstream truck, Toyota did its part to make the standard models more value-oriented — never the strongest aspect of the previous model. The least expensive 4x2 regular cab in now outfitted with the kind of standard features you would expect, such as antilock brakes, a CD stereo, multiple power points and a coolant temperature gauge. A revised lineup of option packages makes it easier to upgrade the Tacoma without getting lost in an endless sea of codes and constraints.

Even more impressive than the newly standard features is the overall design and comfort of the interior. With more room in every direction, the Tacoma has lost much of the claustrophobic feeling so typical of most compact trucks. The new truck's spec sheet shows impressive gains in head-, shoulder and hiproom, while its available legroom has tightened up a bit. Getting into access cab models is easier now, thanks to dual rear doors that open wider than before, while crew models are now comfortable for full-size adults in the backseat, thanks to a more relaxed seat back angle and substantial increases in hip- and shoulder room.

The design of the dashboard controls and instrument cluster mimics Toyota's 4Runner SUV, which isn't a bad thing given that it was just redesigned for 2003. There's nothing overly sophisticated about the interior design, but compared to GM's Colorado/Canyon twins the Tacoma looks like it cost $5K more. The quality of the materials sets a new standard for the class, and the seats have the kind of firm, supportive bolstering not typically found on trucks of this type.

Functionality and safety are two more areas where the Toyota Tacoma scores big. In addition to the typical stuff like a big center console and plenty of storage bins, the Tacoma also features storage under the seat in extended cab models and built-in cargo compartments behind the seat backs of crew cab models. There's also a new composite cargo bed that comes standard on all models and incorporates built-in storage units, adjustable tie-down anchors and even an optional 400-watt electrical outlet.

On the safety side, the Tacoma comes standard with antilock brakes fortified with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution for smoother stops and BrakeAssist for improved performance during panic situations. While all Tacomas get advanced dual-stage front airbags, crew cab models also offer optional full-length head curtain and front-seat side airbags. The Tacoma is also the first compact truck to add electronic stability control to the options list. An available option on all models, except the X-Runner, Toyota's Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) works in conjunction with an electronic traction control system to provide an added level of vehicle control in panic maneuvers and low traction situations.

If it seems like the Tacoma has a lot of firsts in the category, that's because it does. Toyota seems well apprised of the fact that while the compact truck category has seen little movement in the last five to 10 years, 2005 marks a rekindling of interest in this segment. In addition to GM's new compact trucks that went on sale last fall, both Nissan and Dodge are introducing all-new trucks of their own, and both are promising similar levels of power and features. While there's no doubt that Dodge and Nissan will have competitive products, they're going to need some pretty special trucks to top the Tacoma this time around, as Toyota's "go and see" approach has yielded a truck with few faults. We'll conduct a proper comparison test to see which compact truck is the real class of the class, but until then, the Toyota Tacoma looks like the clear favorite.

Used 2005 Toyota Tacoma Overview

The Used 2005 Toyota Tacoma is offered in the following submodels: Tacoma Access Cab, Tacoma Regular Cab, Tacoma Double Cab. Available styles include 4dr Access Cab V6 4WD SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), 4dr Double Cab PreRunner V6 Rwd SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), 4dr Double Cab V6 4WD LB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), 4dr Access Cab 4WD SB (2.7L 4cyl 5M), 4dr Double Cab V6 4WD SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), 2dr Regular Cab Rwd SB (2.7L 4cyl 4A), 4dr Double Cab V6 4WD SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), 4dr Access Cab PreRunner V6 Rwd SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), 4dr Access Cab Rwd SB (2.7L 4cyl 4A), 4dr Double Cab PreRunner V6 Rwd LB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), 4dr Access Cab X-Runner V6 Rwd SB (4.0L 6cyl 6M), 4dr Access Cab PreRunner V6 Rwd SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A), 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (2.7L 4cyl 5M), 2dr Regular Cab PreRunner Rwd SB (2.7L 4cyl 5M), 4dr Access Cab PreRunner Rwd SB (2.7L 4cyl 5M), 4dr Access Cab Rwd SB (2.7L 4cyl 5M), 2dr Regular Cab Rwd SB (2.7L 4cyl 5M), and 4dr Access Cab V6 4WD SB (4.0L 6cyl 5A). Pre-owned Toyota Tacoma models are available with a 4.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 245 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2005 Toyota Tacoma comes with four wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed manual, 5-speed automatic.

What's a good price on a Used 2005 Toyota Tacoma?

Price comparisons for Used 2005 Toyota Tacoma trim styles:

  • The Used 2005 Toyota Tacoma Base is priced between $8,499 and$11,014 with odometer readings between 125079 and187046 miles.
  • The Used 2005 Toyota Tacoma V6 is priced between $15,000 and$16,989 with odometer readings between 129504 and179009 miles.
  • The Used 2005 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner V6 is priced between $13,888 and$13,888 with odometer readings between 113710 and113710 miles.

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Which used 2005 Toyota Tacomas are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2005 Toyota Tacoma for sale near. There are currently 6 used and CPO 2005 Tacomas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,499 and mileage as low as 113710 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2005 Toyota Tacoma.

Can't find a used 2005 Toyota Tacomas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Toyota Tacoma for sale - 5 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $21,264.

Find a used Toyota for sale - 9 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $17,199.

Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota Tacoma for sale - 5 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $9,273.

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Should I lease or buy a 2005 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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