1st or 2nd Gen Tacoma?

huntsonora

Explorer
Which do y'all like and why? It's probably been discussed ad naseaum here but I did a search and couldn't turn anything up.

I'm looking at a 2002 double cab with 81,000 miles for $13.5 but am worried about being comfortable. I am 6'4" and 240lbs. I like the price but don't know if I should hold out for a 2nd Gen

I thought I would ask the experts, what are the differences in reliability, driveability, economy etc...

Thanks!
 

Rando

Explorer
I personally much prefer the first generation. The second gen is significantly larger and is no longer what I would consider a 'compact pickup'.
 

RabidRover

Observer
try the seats ...

Biggest discomfort for me is the seats in my '02 ... find that they are too short in the leg and hard on the back for any long distances. I am 6 feet and a little over 2 bills ... I will be going to after market because I like the size of the truck vs. the bigger 2nd generation. Both are good trucks. Otherwise than that - no complaints.
 

frgtwn

Adventurer
[QUOTtE=Rando;782557]I personally much prefer the first generation. The second gen is significantly larger and is no longer what I would consider a 'compact pickup'.[/QUOTE]

I find that funny, as that is the very thing I said about the "new" Tacoma back in 95-96. (And now I drive a '98)

As a general rule, the newer Toyota trucks have lost some off-road advantages, but have gained comfort and driveability in the process.

There are many who will claim, and reasonably so, that "their" truck will go anywhere. Although a new truck can do some amazing things, it is very difficult to put comfort back into an older truck.

I would still guess, that at your stated height and weight, you would find the 05+ seats wearing on you after a time, and would be looking at replacements.
 

Accrete

Explorer
my wife and i had a 2nd get (2007) TACO TRD 4x4 Sport Access regular bed. It was a nice rig and we liked the drive and quality of the build but... One trip from our home on the northern most tip of the Oregon Coast to central California, then over to Reno, and back home in a week's time and our butts were dreading climbing back into the cab of the truck in the stock seats. Even my 1st gen had a more comfotable seat imo from what i remember. And yea, the trails i drove in the sierras with my 1st get it seemed like i had plenty of wiggle room, but not with the larger 2nd gen.
 

Plannerman

Wandering Explorer
I'm driving a second gen now. I first sat in one in 2005 shortly after they were introduced and, after years of being uncomfortable in previous vehicles (Rangers, Explorers, Cherokees, Wranglers), I found my perfect fit (I'm about 6', 200 lbs). I absolutely love my truck and am very comfortable in it. The truck is a bit bigger than the first gens, but I haven't yet had any trouble with trails in the San Gabriel Mountains and Southern California deserts. Toyota also did a hell of a job with its new electronic traction control (introduced in 2009). Almost eliminates the need for the electronic rear locker that came stock from the factory. I am a bit leary about the composite bed. We've really worked the bed over with multiple trips and lots of construction materials (concrete block, etc.) and it has held up surprisingly well.

Either truck will be very, very good. I'd say try sitting in both, and let your butt speak for you.
 
I like both generations of tacomas but went with a 1st gen because of price. I am 6'6" 240lbs and I do not find the 1st gen to be cramped. I have also owned small toyota trucks so I have never got used to tons of rooms. Try them both out before you buy them.
 

TangoBlue

American Adventurist
You'll even find years within generations to be hotly debated. For example, within 2001-2004 series Tacomas you'll find changes such as ABS, throttle by wire, and push-button 4WD to be contested as advantageous.

You have a good year - stick with it.

I sport about the same dimensional characteristics and I find the seating comfortable. Not discounting your discomfort, but it's funny how people are different.
 

juicebox

Adventurer
Sorry for bringing this thread back from the grave...

I was wondering if anyone here has actually owned each (1995-2004 vs. 2005+), and would offer their thoughts about each. Basically an unbiased comparison. I have always said that I would never sell my current truck ('02 ex. cab), but I don't know what I am going to do when I have kids and want to take them on trips...

So now I am kicking around the idea of a second gen doublecab tacoma. More room, the 6 speed seems like it would be nice, I have heard they get similar gas mileage but way more power with the 4.0, etc.


Edit, found this ----> http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/8523-1st-vs-2nd-gen-Tacoma

I still think some updated feedback would be awesome, given that thread is 5 years old...
 
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TangoBlue

American Adventurist
I have not owned each but the choice for me would be simple, given your situation. Go bigger. My kids are grown and out of the house, but if I had young ones and wanted to share these experiences, I'd sell it in a heart-beat. You already know the answer though...
 

DonL100

New member
I've owned an '89 Toyota truck, a 97 Tacoma and an '08 Tacoma. I like the larger '08 and the 4.0 engine is great. But in my opinion the body integrity of the '89 and '97 was far better. My '89 and '97 never had a rattle or a squeak even at a 100K. My '08 has rattled since day one. DonL
 

juicebox

Adventurer
Yeah, I'm probably jumping the gun even thinking about it. We aren't planning on having kids for years and years, I mostly was thinking about getting a newer one with lower miles and keep it forever. The only reason I was thinking of getting one sooner rather than later is so I wouldn't be buying someone's toy they beat up and traded in. Then I'd know the majority of the history of the truck, and I was thinking that reason may be reason enough to bite the bullet. I'm sure by the time I made up my mind, the truck that sparked this whole idea will be sold. ('07 red d-cab trd, 255/85r16 km2's, CBI? Rear bumper, really clean 45k miles, 24k asking price from Toyota dealer.)
 

Danimal

Adventurer
Yeah, I'm probably jumping the gun even thinking about it. We aren't planning on having kids for years and years, I mostly was thinking about getting a newer one with lower miles and keep it forever. The only reason I was thinking of getting one sooner rather than later is so I wouldn't be buying someone's toy they beat up and traded in. Then I'd know the majority of the history of the truck, and I was thinking that reason may be reason enough to bite the bullet. I'm sure by the time I made up my mind, the truck that sparked this whole idea will be sold. ('07 red d-cab trd, 255/85r16 km2's, CBI? Rear bumper, really clean 45k miles, 24k asking price from Toyota dealer.)
Hmm... My opinion; keep your truck until it's time. I personally don't think you should worry about all of the Tacomas out there getting "all used up". You'll always be able to find a well maintained truck if you're willing to search. You also never know how your priorities could change in a few years once the kiddos start coming. You may find yourself wanting/needing something completely different.

Either way, good luck!

Dan
 
I have had a 91 regular cab, a 95 extended cab, then an 02 tundra extended cab(loved the power), then a 90 regular cab, and now an 05 double cab taco 6' bed. I enjoyed them all! I finally bought the double cab when my children got old enough to make it easier to travel to fun places. We then sold our second vehicle... a sienna awd van and have had the tacoma as our only vehicle for 3 years now..... It really makes the best compromise of all possible vehicles in my life.

I did have to add an extra leaf to the feeble rear leaf springs.... but we use it non stop for everything a skiing, hiking, boating, biking family needs.

I must admit I have never tried after market seats, but all the toyota truck seats have been fine for me..... 6'4" and 200lbs.
 

T O Double D

New member
I've owned a '98 and an '01 reg cab 4 cylinder Taco. They were great trucks in my 20s, cheap on gas and maintenance, plenty capable stock with good tires, and small and easy to drive off road while I was still new at it. My girlfriend and I explored all over the Sierra and Mojave desert in those trucks. (the only reason I had two trucks was my first was totaled when somebody rear ended me.)

Well I'm 36 now and we have a dog and were getting sick of the cramped quarters of the 1st gen Tacos, especially the reg cab. I bought a brand new '10 4x4 AC 4cylinder which we immediately fell in love with. Plenty of room between us with lots of storage space in the cab fir things like maps, guide books, and cameras plus the dog has her own area behind us. I have to say that the 4 cylinder worked fine in the older Tacos, but it sure doesn't work in the newer ones with bigger tires, 265/75/r16s. Going over the Sierra I was often in first or second gear with the pedal mashed to the floor and the gas mileage went way down, 17-19. Sand wasn't much fun either. I was hesitant to finish the planned upgrades (small lift, rock armor, etc...) as I thought the added weight and height would further undermine the already underpowered engine. So what to do... Yep, bite the bullet and trade it in on a '12 6 cylinder TRD Off Road and this time get an auto tranny, my first ever. The 6 speed tranny is not an easy one to use and gets worse mileage.

Now I couldn't be happier. We're finishing up our first trip with the new truck right now in Joshua Tree NP. The truck is bone stock with the exception of a camper shell. I have zero complaints with this truck. It's got plenty of power and the auto tranny makes rocks easy, I still prefer a manual for street driving though. The width of the truck makes certain situations tricky while off road compared to the first gens, but I'm a much better driver now and take things very slowly. I prefer the added space over the first gens ease of use of road. I cant wait to get some better tires and a lift on this truck.
 
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