There was a time before the Tacoma.
The Toyota Tacoma has rightly become synonymous as the near perfect mid-size pickup truck. We say "near perfect" because no vehicle has ever mastered perfection; there are always at least a couple of negatives. But the Tacoma's many achievements should still be celebrated. Toyota has proven it knows how to build pickup trucks the world wants, but its most celebrated truck is the mid-size category. And here's something some of you are too young to know: there was a time before the Tacoma.
Although Toyota built a mid-size pickup, it wasn't called Tacoma. In fact, it didn't have a so-called name at all, but rather just Pickup Truck. In some markets, however, it was and continues to be called Hilux. We'll get back to that shortly.
The Hilux/Pickup Truck, above all, remains a respected icon to this day. Prior to the first generation Tacoma's 1995 arrival, the Toyota Pickup Truck had been in existence since 1968. A number of complete redesigns took place over the years and when the Tacoma's immediate predecessor arrived on the scene, it had entered its fifth generation. The year was 1988.
The outstanding reviews were nearly instant. Motor Trend named it Truck of the Year that year, for example, and sales quickly took off. Production took place in a number of countries, including Japan, Argentina, New Zealand, and the US. The truck was adapted slightly for each market, specifically with engine offerings. Both diesel and gasoline were offered as well as two- and four-door body style configurations. There were also Regular and Xtra cabs.
For America, the Pickup Truck came powered by a 3.0-liter V6 with 150 hp. By today's standards, that's not much oomph but it did the job nonetheless. Those engines, specifically the V6, are literally bulletproof. Even the transmissions, the four- and five-speed manuals and four-speed automatic, are known for their durability. When it came time to retire the fifth-gen truck, Toyota made a significant decision: split the truck line between North America and the rest of the world. The Tacoma was born and Hilux lived on elsewhere. This remains the case to this day.
Like classic 4Runners and Land Cruisers (particularly the latter), fifth-gen Toyota Pickup Trucks are beginning to find a new and much younger generation of buyers who might remember them from their youth. They also dig the simple yet rugged styling and no-frills attitude. You know, the way a pickup truck should be.
Right now on Craigslist Los Angeles there's a 1994 Toyota Pickup Truck up for grabs for an asking price of $11,995. No, there is not extra digit in there; these things retain their value just like today's Tacoma. This example has 234,000 miles on its clock which may sound staggering to a majority of people, but anyone who is familiar with Toyota trucks and SUVs won't be in the least bit surprised. This truck appears to be in pretty decent shape. Its V6 supposedly runs just fine and it looks very clean, there's no rust, and it comes with a clean Carfax report. The interior shows a bit of wear and tear which can be expected.
Overall, this blue '94 Toyota Pickup Truck has already proven itself time and again for previous owners and it's looking to do so again for someone else.