1999 Toyota Tacoma SR5 TRD 4WD 2.7 petrol from North America
Everything needed in a light-duty 4x4. Economical and versatile.
Purchased with extensive suspension and steering problems. These were resolved in short order. Nothing else has gone wrong.
The engine is a good one for a small truck. Acceleration is fine in cities, though weak when overtaking on the highway. There's no issue with hauling a few thousand pounds on a trailer or a few hundred in the bed, but forget towing large loads uphill in 5th, or even 4th gear. However, this isn't a diesel, and if you need a HD work truck then you're not reading this. All of that said, in subjective terms, I sense less torque to the 3RZ than the identically powered 3.0 V6.
The transmission is the great r151f. No complaints with this or with the strong, responsive clutch.
4lo and the electronic differential locker both function just as one expects from Toyota: fantastically.
Suspension is all aftermarket at this point, so no comment (though ARB is great, basic off-road suspension).
The rack and pinion steering is responsive, especially for a pickup, and feels almost sports car-like. The steering rack doesn't seem particularly strong, but thankfully is relatively cheap to replace.
After carefully tracking, I see 19.5/23.5 MPG (city/HWY) which bests the EPA predicted economy, even after all those miles on the odometer. Zero complaints there.
Finally, the construction quality is a step down from previous generation Toyota pickups/Hiluxes. Sheet metal gauge is thinner, and many components lack the satisfying sense of overbuilt perfection that I like in older models. Still, this first-gen of Tacomas is well-built by the standards of many other manufacturers.
At this point, in 2015, these trucks are getting older but still command quite a resale price in the US. For that reason, they are not the best '3rd car' for dump or DIY store runs -- you could spend a lot less. But, because of the powertrain reliability and the eager off-road performance, this truck is more versatile than most alternatives. The decent fuel economy even allows for tolerable commuting.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd November, 2015