For 17 years running, the Toyota Tacoma has been the nation’s best-selling midsize truck with nearly a quarter-million vehicles sold per year. Toyota Tacomas are a common sight everywhere – on streets, highways, and even remote mountain trails. While there is no question that they are one of the most beloved trucks around, does their popularity mean that Toyota Tacomas are also reliable?
Toyota Tacomas are well-known for their ability to handle rugged, off-road conditions and durability is one of their signature attributes. It is not uncommon for well-maintained Tacomas to last over 20 years and log up to 300,000 miles, earning them a well-deserved reputation for reliability.
There have only been three generations of Tacomas and they are easy to spot with their rugged good looks. In terms of longevity, Toyota Tacomas have few peers in the midsize truck category, which is why even the earliest model years are still being driven around. But before you head down to your local Toyota dealership, there are a few things you need to know about their quality and reliability.
Is the Toyota Tacoma the Most Reliable Truck?
The definition of reliability can vary from one car owner to another, but generally speaking, it means that a vehicle works as intended with minimal maintenance and repair costs throughout the course of ownership.
Put another way, reliability is a measure of how long a vehicle can be driven and the ongoing out-of-pocket costs to keep it operating.
In the case of Toyota Tacomas, they have long had a reputation for being well-built and durable. This distinction is supported by recent surveys that rank the Tacoma as one of the most reliable trucks in the midsize pickup category.
Here’s a look at how it fared in a study conducted by J.D. Power (source: jdpower.com):
- In terms of build quality and dependability (which includes manufacturing defects, vehicle malfunctions, and design faults), Toyota Tacomas received a “great” rating with a score of 83 out of 100
- In the resale value category (a metric that evaluates a vehicle’s long-term projected depreciation in value) the Toyota Tacoma fared even better, scoring 95 out of 100 and earning the “best” designation
- Overall, in terms of workmanship, reliability, drive quality, resale value, and customer service, the Toyota Tacoma ranked 2nd among all midsize pickup trucks for the recent model year
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Compared to its competitors, the Toyota Tacoma ranked lower in the categories relating to driving quality, ride comfort, technological features, vehicle options, and customer service. But in terms of build quality, durability, and longevity, the Toyota Tacoma excelled.
The key takeaways are that America’s best-selling midsize truck may not be as pleasurable to drive or comfortable to ride in compared to its competitors, but as far as long-term value and reliability are concerned, the Toyota Tacoma is in a class of its own.
Here’s a cool video showing the Tacomas long term reliability:
Are Toyota Tacomas Good Quality?
For 17 straight years, the Toyota Tacoma has been the nation’s best-selling midsize pickup truck, far outselling its closest competitor by over a 2 to 1 margin (237,323 Tacoma trucks sold in 2022 compared to 89,197 for the second-place finisher).
While sheer sales volume alone may not necessarily equate to good quality, it is safe to say that the popularity of Toyota Tacomas can at least be partially attributed to the fact that they are dependable and built to last. Here are a few notable evaluations
- MotorTrend gives the Toyota Tacoma a 9 out of 10 rating for value (source: motortrend), based on criteria including maintenance costs, long-term repair expenditures, and insurance premiums
- According to Kelley Blue Book, the Toyota Tacoma is the best buy in the midsize pickup truck category (source: kbb.com), based largely on how well it is built, the relatively low cost of ongoing maintenance, and its excellent resale value
- Edmunds gives the Toyota Tacoma high marks for reliability, dependability, and build quality (source: edmunds.com)
- Cars.com lists the Toyota Tacoma’s high resale value (source: cars.com) as a strong indicator of quality and long-term value
Quality and reliability are recurring themes when it comes to Toyota Tacomas and judging by nearly two decades’ worth of dominance in its market segment, this truck has a strong and loyal following.
While millions of Tacoma owners have purchased this truck for a variety of reasons through the years, what they have in common is a shared belief that they have made a smart buy and a good long-term investment.
How Long Do Toyota Tacomas Last?
Toyota Tacomas have a reputation for being tough and rugged. They are durable enough to take on the most challenging of driving conditions and are the true workhorses of the midsize pickup truck category. Another well-known attribute of Tacoma trucks, and perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of owning one, is their longevity.
The high resale value of Toyota Tacomas is a strong indicator of their reliability. The fact that a pre-owned Tacoma could command a premium price on the used truck market is a testament to its strong reputation for providing a long service life. Here are a few noteworthy statistics to consider:
- It is not uncommon for Toyota Tacomas to last for 200,000 miles and some well-kept trucks can be driven for up to 400,000 miles
- Based on an annual mileage of 10,000 to 15,000 miles, a Toyota Tacoma can be expected to provide 20 to 25 years of service (provided that it has been properly maintained)
While a Toyota Tacoma will never look nicer and shinier than when it is parked on the showroom floor of a dealership, nothing will inspire more confidence in this truck’s reliability and longevity than seeing older models and earlier generations driving around on streets, highways, or better yet, on a bumpy trail off the beaten path.
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In the world of midsize pickup trucks, Toyota Tacomas are no-nonsense, blue-collar workhorses. Their track record as rugged performers, particularly under challenging, less-than-ideal conditions, speaks for itself and their reputation as reliable, low-maintenance vehicles is well-deserved.
If you’re looking for a refined ride with a cabin full of cutting-edge features, you might as well look elsewhere. But if dependability and longevity are what you’re after, then a Toyota Tacoma is worth a serious look.