1st vs 2nd gen Tacoma

greenhorn

Adventurer
I have an "03 Tacoma DCab Prerunner TRD and a '99 TJ. I've got the second addition to the family due in 5 weeks. I'm running out of room in the TJ for overnight trips. I thinking of selling both and getting an '04 Tacoma 4x4 DCab or the newer style. I'm looking for the realworld differences in the two generation Tacomas, both on road and off (real world milage loaded with an arb bumper, bed cap, and OME lift/ 3.4 vs 4.0 differences/ approach, departure, breakover differences/ suspension differences/ interior room, comfort). I love my '03 Prerunner, I average 18-19 mpg, just wish it was 4wd. Wondering if it is worth it to upgrade to the newer generation while I'm at it.

This family truckster will be a daily driver of about 15K miles a year, weekend camping trips, week long trips to the mountains of N Georgia/N Carolina/TN area, and local trail rides.

Thanks
 
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nickw

Adventurer
greenhorn said:
I have an "03 Tacoma DCab Prerunner TRD and a '99 TJ. I've got the second addition to the family due in 5 weeks. I'm running out of room in the TJ for overnight trips. I thinking of selling both and getting an '04 Tacoma 4x4 DCab or the newer style. I'm looking for the realworld differences in the two generation Tacomas, both on road and off (real world milage loaded with an arb bumper, bed cap, and OME lift/ 3.4 vs 4.0 differences/ approach, departure, breakover differences/ suspension differences/ interior room, comfort). I love my '03 Prerunner, I average 18-19 mpg, just wish it was 4wd. Wondering if it is worth it to upgrade to the newer generation while I'm at it.

This family truckster will be a daily driver of about 15K miles a year, weekend camping trips, week long trips to the mountains of N Georgia/N Carolina/TN area, and local trail rides.

Thanks
Your post is a bit confusing, the two trucks your comparing are the referred to as the "3rd" and "4th" gen, the 1st/2nd being the older mini-trucks:)

My 01 has a LEER canopy, 265/75's AT's and stock gears (4.10s) and I get about 18 mpg for comparison purposes.

I personally prefer the 3rd gens for looks and you can find some great deals on clean trucks w/low miles for less than $20K.

Sorry I cant help with departure angles and specific comparisons.

You can't go wrong either way! Good luck...
 

tacollie

Explorer
I think either way you will be happy. There is a little more room in the newer ones which might be nice with a growing family. My 02 gets 17-21 loaded. I have an arb, topper, platform, winch and all the heavy stuff. With my 2.5" lift it is sweet. I would try to test drive a newer one. They drive nice. I like the older one because it is narrower, thats it.
 

LaOutbackTrail

Adventure Photographer
If you got rid of two notes(?) and the insurance, the mileage and ability to save up for more trips.....:shakin: just sayin.
 

kcowyo

ExPo Original
LaOutbackTrail said:
If you got rid of two notes(?) and the insurance, the mileage and ability to save up for more trips.....:shakin: just sayin.
What the hell are you sayin'?


4th generation Tacomas = bigger in every way
3rd generation Tacomas = smaller

Two different bodies and drivetrains with a similar suspension design (coils & leaves) It seems the 3.4ltr gets the slight nod in the MPG department based on my reading here. Some 3rd gen owners will tell you that they do not have the most comfortable seats, I haven't heard one way or another on the 4th gens.

I would prefer to have 4WD in the hills of TN, NC & GA. With kids (congrats on the impending arrival BTW) I would lean towards the larger 4th gen with 4WD if available. You can't have too much room with two kids in the backseat.
 

02tacotoy

Adventurer
personally i have an 02 ext cab and its great for camping and trail riding.
my brother has an xj and i go everywhere he goes. the approach /depart angles are going to be worse in a d-cab especially in the 05+ models
you should do a quick search over at www.ttora.com
they have tons of threads covering this topic and could answer your questions more specifically.


-i didnt realize this was my first post,wow, i have been lurking here for over a year and havent posted ;)

good luck with your new truck whatever it is!
 

greenhorn

Adventurer
Thanks, re-reading it I guess it was kinda confusing. Just call me greenhorn. I owned a '95.5 when the Tacomas first came out, and I always called the older ones just Toyota trucks. Sorry for the confusion. Ill try to fix the title.

Both are paid for, but that's true about ins. costs. The TJ is just a weekend toy, The wife has a new RAV4. Leaning torwards selling the Prerunner and the TJ for a 4x4 DCab.

Tacollie, I was looking to set it up something like yours. Thanks for the info.

Looks I might have to test drive the the 4th gen, to try it on for size.

02tacotoy- Glad to see another long time lurker, new poster, fellow Floridian!
 
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Jacket

2008 Expedition Trophy Champion
kcowyo really summed it up well - it's really a size difference - plus a performance difference. The 4.0 is a really nice engine - responsive, peppy, and more than enough to get you where you want to go. Having owned the 3-slow and 3.4 in previous vehicles, Toyota finally got the performance part right this time with their V6.

I've got an 06 Dbl Cab, and chose it over the 01-04 because I felt like I needed the extra room even though I knew it wouldn't be as nimble on the trails. I like the 3rd gen for a lot of reasons, but felt like I'd grow out of it quickly. With my 06, I pack up the 4 of us in the cab, load up the bed with all the gear, and I feel like we can travel in comfort for many hours on and off road.

Now - to some of your specifics:
- I was able to get 22 mpg on 90+% highway when the truck was stock. Now I get 15-19 (djusted), with ARB, winch, sliders, bigger tires, etc. I think its pretty comparable to the 3.4. I convoyed with a guy that has an 03 access cab, and we were within 1 mpg over the 7 hour, 400 mile drive.
- I don't have all the angle metrics, but there on the Toyota website. The ARB doesn't do much for the approach angle, but it probably gains a little, and more importantly gives more clearance to the front tires to be able to put one on a rock to climb. But the ass end is what gets you every time, and there's not too much you can do about it unless you bob the bed. And while the 3rd gen is slightly shorter than the current Tacoma, the proportions are pretty much the same, so you'll be dragging your trailer hitch on the ground a lot either way.
- And someone mentioned seats - the Sport seats in the new Tacomas that come with the TRD Sport and TRD Off Road packages are REALLY nice! Other than the e-locker, my seats are the only other reason I could justify the TRD package to myself. Sit in both trucks, and you'll feel the difference.
- ANother difference is the electronic transfer case versus mechanical shifter in the older model. At this point, it's just a "modernization" I can deal with, unless some day far in the future the electronics crap out. I don't expect that to happen though, and I've heard from older LC owners that have had good longevity with their e-schwag.

Definitely sit in both, and take both for a test drive. Either way, you'll have a great truck.
 

peekay

Adventurer
having had both a 01 and 07 Tacoma D-cab with identical specs, I can offer some insight.

The 01 is better offroad, narrower, and more nimble. Generally, a better feel of the terrain.

The 07 is much better onroad. Engine and tranny are smoother. Way better MPG's. I get about 22-23 mpg on flat lands going about 70mph. The 01 got about 17-18mpg's on a good day.

Seats are way better on the 07 with TRD. Lumbar support and better cloth material.

07 is way too complicated. Electric master cylinder, VSC, ATRAC, TRAC, Auto LSD, etc. The whole thing is a pain in the butt so far. Lots of electronics to go wrong. I do not want to be around when this thing is 10+ years old.

In my opinion, an 01-04 with the 4.0 engine and tranny would be PERFECT......
 

Jacket

2008 Expedition Trophy Champion
peekay said:
07 is way too complicated. Electric master cylinder, VSC, ATRAC, TRAC, Auto LSD, etc. The whole thing is a pain in the butt so far. Lots of electronics to go wrong. I do not want to be around when this thing is 10+ years old.
Keeping in mind that all those are options you can choose not to buy, and that work on top of the existing, mechanical functions. The only things you are "stuck" with are the e-locker and e-transfer case.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
Greenhorn: Re the "generations", I would use your terminology, i.e. the 95.5-04 is the first generation and the 05-up is the 2nd generation. There were some minor differences in the first gen Tacos but except for the front end they're pretty much the same. Not sure about the engined and drivetrains, although I do see some of the older 1st gen Tacos had manual hubs (my '04 does not.)

In any case, if you look at them side by side, the first major difference you'll notice is how much bigger the '05 is than the 95.5-04. This could be a plus or a minus, depending on your needs. I don't have a DC, so I can't specifically comment on MPG and performance, but my X-cab with a 5 speed does great on the highway, even with three adults in the cab (one riding "sidesaddle" in the area behind the seats) and for my driving style returns me 19.5-20.5 mpg in the city and 22-24 on the highway (this is a 4x4 with the v-6 and a Leer topper.) Of course, I have the 5 speed which was not available in the 01-04 double cabs. Also, IIRC the auto-tranny equipped 01-04 models do have an electronic T-case. Actually, it's what I would call a semi-electronic T-case: Shifting from 2wd to 4wd and back is done electronically, while shifting from high to low is done "mechanically" with the shift knob.

Personally, I have an intense dislike for electrically shifted T-cases, and one of the reasons I got an 04 with a manual tranny was that I wanted the manual T-case shifter. I'll admit that it's a personal prejudice of mine, since there are plenty of folks with electrically shifted T-cases who say they work fine (although go over onto the TTORA board and you'll find at least one guy whose 01-04 DC would not go into 4wd when it was wet, due to an electrical malfunction.) In any case, if you go with an '05-up you'll get the option of a 6 speed manual with the Double Cab, though only with the shorter bed. The 05-ups also have some cool stuff like 110v and 12v power outlets in the bed, which could be great for an expedition rig, especially if you have a shell.

I found my '04 Taco to be an amazing off-roader. On the moderate trails I run I have no problem keeping up with the TJs, so that should tell you something. I've never really done any long trips so I can't comment on all-day comfort, other than around town. Hopefully I may be taking a road trip later this month and if I do, I'll report back the long-distance ride comfort. My previous vehicle, a Subaru Outback, had a badly worn driver's seat and so it was not comfortable on long trips, so if this one is better (and I assume it will be) it will be perfectly fine for me. Nice thing about Toyotas, of course, is the ample aftermarket and the compatibility with the more luxed-up 4-runner. If I don't like my seats it shouldn't be too difficult to swap them out for 02-down 4runner seats since they're basically the same platform.
 

Lost Canadian

Expedition Leader
I've owned both as well. Here's my brief take.

95.5-04:
Pros- More nimble, better ground clearance, more fun, bullet proof reliability, better aftermarket support.

Cons- Somewhat cramped, and uncomfortable for long hauls.



05+:
Pro's- Strong engine, beefed up front drive line, comfortable, great suspension articulation for IFS, reliable (so far), great daily driver, more user friendly???.

Con's- Cumbersome on tight trails, forward visibility not as good, less ground clearance, a fair number of complaints about the 6 speed manual not being one of Toyota's better manual offerings with various reasons and opinions being offered up.



Toss ups:
Year to year mileage is almost identical. An odd observation I've made though, in winter my 05 gets worse mileage then my old truck did, but in summer it gets better. Come year end it's a toss, but I've wondered if the aluminum vs cast block has had anything to do with it.

Ancient 8" elocker rear on the Off Road models. It needs to beefed up, it's a 20 year old design, time to retire it Toyota.

Approach and departure angles are the same, but breakover angle is better on the earlier models.
 

greenhorn

Adventurer
Thanks for all the great info on the 3rd vs 4th gens. I drove an '06 6sp yesterday and it was a nice truck. It felt a little wider in the cab, but not a whole lot. My '03 only has 44K miles on it and still feels like new, so I hate to drop $4K-$5K with truck difference plus tax, tag, title. I'm looking at the 4wd conversions now. I found a couple of good write ups on TTORA. We'll see. If I can get a deal on a 4wd '03 or '04, We'll see what happens.

http://www.tacomaterritory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=63598

http://www.tacomaterritory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=27216

http://www.ttora.com/wiki/index.php/Prerunner_to_4_wheel_drive_conversion
 

BogusBlake

2006 Expedition Trophy Champion
Martinjmpr said:
Also, IIRC the auto-tranny equipped 01-04 models do have an electronic T-case. Actually, it's what I would call a semi-electronic T-case: Shifting from 2wd to 4wd and back is done electronically, while shifting from high to low is done "mechanically" with the shift knob.

Not true. It's the 4runners from around the turn of the century that have that T-case. My '04 DC Taco (only availible with AT) has a fully manual T-case. In fact, that's one of the many reasons I bought it.


Also, this "Gen" thing you guys have been getting wrong has been bugging me.

Pickups
1st gen= '79-84
2nd gen= '84-'88
3rd gen= '89-'95

4runners
1st gen= '84-88 (looks like 2ng gen pickup)
2nd gen= '89-'95 (looks like 3rd gen pickup)
3rd gen= '96-'03 (looks like 1st gen Taco)
4th gen= '03 and up

Tacoma
1st gen= '95.5-'04
2nd gen= '05 and up

Here's a link to some more history: History of Toyota Pickups and 4runners
 

calamaridog

Expedition Leader
First of all, you are right about calling them 1st and 2nd generation TACOMAS. Second of all, it will be tight in the 1st generation Tacoma with two kids.

The 4wd conversion is more trouble than it is worth. Sell your prerunner and just buy yourself a 4x4. You won't be out very much money or time that way. The only time I feel the conversion is worth the effort is when you have already done tons of mods to the prerunner.
 
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