2nd Gen Tacoma Specs and Review [2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma]

Toyotas are known for their high-reliability ratings, and the 2nd Gen Tacoma is no different. It is arguably one of the most popular pickup trucks of medium size. So, what are the main features of the 2nd Gen Toyota Tacoma?

The second-generation Tacoma is a basic yet powerful midsize pickup truck launched in 2005. It comes in three cab configurations: normal, access, and double cab. It has the same basic trapezoidal grille design as the 1st Gen Tacoma but with a more sophisticated and modern headlight design. Moreover, the second-generation Tacoma has a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with a 4.0-liter V6 option.

Read on to learn more about the second-generation Tacoma and what the main features are.

2nd Gen Tacoma Specs

2nd Gen Tacoma
2015 2nd Gen Tacoma

Medium Pickup Truck Launched in 2005

The second-generation Tacoma is a medium pickup truck launched in 2005. It has a large payload capacity, provides a comfortable drive, and comes with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with a 4.0-liter V6 option.

Significant Visual Contrast Between the 1st and 2nd Gen Tacomas

Although the differences are slight, there is a significant visual contrast between the 1st and 2nd Gen Tacomas. The basic trapezoidal grille design has been retained, but you get a more sophisticated and modern headlight design. 

Comes in Three Cab Configurations

The 2nd Gen Tacoma comes in three cab configurations: normal, access, and double cab with the following models:

  • N220
  • N240
  • N250
  • N260
  • N270.

All of these models come with a flat 5-foot bed.

Received a Slight Design Update in 2009

The 2nd Gen Tacoma received a slight design update in 2009. Toyota made further changes to the grille and replaced the taillights with LEDs. Furthermore, it comes with a 3.5mm aux jack, which is a great plus.

X-Runner

There was also a shuffling of trims on the 2nd Gen Tacoma. Toyota renamed the S-Runner trim from the 1st Gen as the X-Runner for the second-generation Tacoma.

Fast But Not for Off-roading

Both of these trims are supposed to be fast, but not in the sense of off-roading like the TRD-Pro.

Engine

Moreover, the X-Runner comes with a 4.0-liter V6 engine with a 6-speed manual transmission. It’s also been lowered two inches, and the X-brace suspension package is included.

Comes with Different TRD Trim Levels

The second-generation Tacoma comes with different TRD trim levels, allowing you to drive off-road comfortably.

It also has a 2.7-liter 2TR engine with a minor power boost (from 150 hp to 159 hp and 177 lb-ft to 180 lb-ft).

Transmission Options

The 2nd Gen Tacoma also has a few more transmission options than the 1st Gen. You get to choose between 4- and 5-speed automatic transmissions and 5- and 6-speed manual transmissions.

Can Tow up to 6,500 Pounds

Above all, 2nd Gen Tacomas can tow up to 6,500 pounds.

2nd Gen Toyota Tacoma Interior

Too High Side Stairs

The Tacoma is comfortable once you’re inside, but getting in can be difficult. 

Side stairs are supposed to make it easier to get in, but they’re too high to be useful, and the low roofline forces you to duck down uncomfortably when stepping up. But, it is easy to walk directly onto the doorsill and pull yourself in using the A-help pillar’s handle.

Adequate Rear Seat Space

The rear seat space is adequate, halfway between a small and a mid-size sedan. Flip the bottom cushions forward and the backrests down to create a flat load surface.

The dashboard controls and instrument cluster look like Toyota’s 4Runner SUV, which isn’t bad.

Exceptional Quality of Materials

The materials are of exceptional quality, and the seats include robust and supportive bolstering not often found on pickup trucks of this type.

Access Cab Model Has Dual Rear Doors

Moreover, getting into the “Access Cab” model is quite easy thanks to the dual rear doors that open wider than other models, and the backseat of the “Double Cab” is comfortable for most adults.

2nd Gen Tacoma Power

Access Cab Tacomas and Double Cab’s Engine

Access Cab Tacomas come with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with a 4.0-liter V6 option, but all Double Cab vehicles come with the V6 as standard.

Can Produce 236 Horsepower and 266 Pound-feet of Torque

Even by truck motor standards, it’s a modest engine, producing 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque.

Moves with Ease

The engine moves the truck with ease, even in full-throttle highway acceleration, when you would normally expect it to run out of breath. 

Also, the five-speed automatic transmission performs quite well compared to other vehicles.

Fuel Consumption

The fuel consumption of the second-generation Tacoma is about 14.8/11.6 L/100 km (city/highway). That is an average of 16.5 L/100 km in city driving. 

2nd Gen Tacoma Performance 

Popular for Its Off-road Capabilities

The 2nd-generation Tacoma is well-known for its off-road capabilities. Many models allow you to comfortably drive in the mud, with the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Series leading the way in this.

As far as the four-wheel-drive hardware is concerned, it varies from a simple locking center differential to highly specialized setups with increased ride heights, special shocks, and skid plates.

Its modification options go far beyond the typical modest off-roading.

Handling Is Rather Weak

The 2nd Gen Tacoma sometimes struggles to give you full control. Its handling is rather weak, as it is more easily pushed off course by rough roads than other trucks of its size.

Has Heavy-hauling Capability

Although you usually give up some ride comfort and nimbleness in exchange for heavy-hauling capability, the ride here can be a bit harsh with the 2nd Gen Tacoma, and its handling is not much better than a full-size truck.

2nd Gen Tacoma Engine Options

2nd gen tacoma years

The 2005-15 Toyota Tacoma has two engine options: a 2.7L 4-Cylinder and a 4.0L V6:

2.7L 4-Cylinder

This was a brand-new engine for the Tacoma, with 159 horsepower and 180 ft-lbs of torque. Still, some people say it is too weak for a truck of this size.

The connecting rods are forged, and the block is made of iron.

4.0L V6 Engine

This one produces 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. The Land Cruiser, 4Runner, Tundra, and FJ Cruiser utilized it. 

Like the four-cylinder engine, it has an aluminum block and forged connecting rods.

Because both engines use a timing chain, you don’t need a belt change every 100,000 miles. 

Now, both engines are extremely dependable. The 2.7L is more fuel-efficient, but the 4.0’s performance will come in handy if you plan on doing a lot of towing and carrying.

Second-generation Tacoma Fuel Economy

Although the option of a four-cylinder engine helps the 2nd Gen Tacoma get slightly better ratings than you would expect, fuel economy is not generally a strength for pickups.

Moreover, if you plan to push the four-cylinder model to its maximum, your real-world mileage won’t be any better and may even be lower than that of V-6 vehicles. 

Better Fuel Economy for Light Commuting

However, your Tacoma may provide a better fuel economy if you only do light commuting.

2014 Tacoma

According to the EPA, the 2014 Tacoma gets up to 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. This makes it a better choice than other trucks of its size.

Chevy V-6 Ram 1500’s vs. 2nd Gen Tacoma

To put it into perspective, the V-6 Ram 1500, which comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and a lot more space, is rated at 17/25 mpg. With the V-6, the 2nd Gen Tacoma achieves 17/21 mpg, or as low as 16/19 mpg with a four-wheel drive.

How Comfortable Is the 2nd Gen Toyota Tacoma?

One of the Least Comfortable Vehicles Among Its Competitors

The second-generation Tacoma is one of the least comfortable vehicles among its competitors, although there are not many midsize trucks available on the market.

Two Body Options

There are two body options available for the 2nd Gen Tacoma. The four-door Double Cab and the Access Cab have extra room behind the front seats. The four-door Double Cab has plenty of space and comfortably fits four adults.

Inconvenient Vertical Backrest

However, the back seats have a vertical backrest that is inconvenient on long trips, and there is not much headroom back there or in the front.

Accessibility

Getting into the Tacoma is considerably more difficult if taller than 5′ 10″. The roof is low, and the floor is high, so you will have to dive into the cabin rather than step in.

Front Seats Are Not for Longer Trips

There is enough room for two youngsters in tiny jump seats in Access Cabs, which feature smaller back doors and seating. The flimsy, short, and flat seats in front of any models will not win you over for longer trips.

Tough Cabin

The engine is a bit louder than you would expect. The cabin seems tough with a solid feeling. You also get Toyota switchgear and easy to hold hefty climate controls.

The 2nd Gen Tacoma’s cargo bed is built of a composite material lighter than steel and resistant to corrosion.

Most Common 2nd Gen Tacoma Problems

1. Faulty A/F Sensor

A defective air/fuel sensor (A/F sensor) is often the main cause behind the check engine error code P0135.

A/F sensors vary in price from $50 to $75 and are relatively easy to repair. Keep in mind that when replacing the A/F sensor, you need to check and clean the sensor connector.

2. Pedal Entrapment 

The floor mats in the Toyota Tacoma 2nd generation tend to shift around and adhere to the accelerator pedal, ending in pedal entrapment. 

This is a safety issue, especially if the floor mats shift and press on the accelerator pedal while driving.

The mats’ plastic anchors on the bottom can break, and this can cause them to slip. Toyota will replace the accelerator pedal and floor mats to resolve the problem.

Toyota will install a new accelerator pedal and floor mats to fix this issue.

3. Cracked Headlights 

Overheating side marker light bulbs can distort the headlamp material over time. You can solve this problem by replacing the headlights, which is something you can do yourself at home.

4 Frame Rust

While many Tacomas come with pre-coated frames for protection, a huge proportion of Tacomas’ coatings do not provide adequate protection from the weather, leading to rusting.

This is a common problem with the 2nd Gen Tacomas, and it is one you should never ignore. You can either repair the frame yourself or reapply a coating.

5. Broken Leaf Springs 

Leaf springs in 2nd Gen Tacomas are prone to flatten and potentially crack with time. A broken leaf spring can cause damage to other parts of the vehicle, such as the gas tank or tire. 

Even if the load weight is below average, defective leaf springs might cause a stiff ride, or the load weight sags the truck bed.

If the leaf spring breaks, you can change it, but keep in mind that you will need to replace the entire assembly, including the u-bolts.

If this problem happens while driving, the consequences can be disastrous, so always inspect your leaf springs beforehand.

Again, are 2nd Gen 2 Tacomas reliable? Regardless of model year or configuration, the 2nd Generation Toyota Tacoma is reliable and built well.

2nd Gen Toyota Tacoma Yearly Updates

2nd gen tacoma interior

2006

Toyota installed a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) on all five wheels (including the spare one). It also installed an air filter for the HVAC blower.

2007

  • This year saw the addition of a cabin air filter.
  • Toyota also installed a “VSC Off” switch in place of the “Auto LSD” switch
  • An “RSCA Off” switch has been added to the “Rollover Sensing Curtain Airbag” system
  • Toyota also updated catalytic converters on both 4 and 6 cylinder vehicles

2008

Toyota just did a minor upgrade to the “Tire Pressure Monitoring System” with this model year.

2009

This model year saw a lot of upgrades:

  • LED taillights and smoked headlight housings added
  • Interior door panels that have been updated
  • Aux jack and WMA/MP3 compatibility have been added to the radio, with Bluetooth as an option
  • Updated grille design
  • Added a rear console storage box to access cab variants
  • Toyota also attached a rearview camera to the tailgate handle
  • Updated fuel cap 

2010

Toyota updated the cup holder design and changed the frame, active headrests, and Access cab door locks to improve collision performance.

2011

  • Updated horn
  • JBL sound system
  • The grille has been updated once more

2012

This year also saw lots of upgrades and new features:

  • A new bumper, grille, and headlights to the front end
  • The dashboard, steering wheel, and shift knob have all been replaced
  • New seat fabric and wider rear headrests are now available
  • Daytime running lights
  • An optional rear leaf spring
  • An update to the rear console storage box
  • A Homelink garage door opener
  • Navigation system
  • Added extra tie-down hooks to the bed
  • A smaller oil cooler
  • Trailer sway control

2013

It comes with an updated head unit with new steering wheel buttons. Toyota also installed a heater on the emissions air pump.

2014

The head unit now includes “Toyota Entune,” and you can easily navigate without using JBL speakers.

2015

  • The “TRD Pro” package added
  • Toyota removed the clock, and it is now shown on the head unit
  • The regular cab has been phased out
  • Toyota installed a new GPS antenna
  • It is no longer possible to order an “Access cab” without rear seats

2nd Gen Tacoma Trim Levels

The 2nd Gen Tacoma comes with several trim levels:

1. Base Model

This is exactly what it sounds like: a bare-bones Toyota Tacoma. 

The presence of black bumpers and fender flares is the easiest way to identify a base model. You also get steel wheels.

The base model also has power door locks, windows, and mirrors.

2. TRD Sport 

The TRD Sport builds on the SR5 by adding the following:

  • A non-functional hood scoop,
  • Color-matched bumpers,
  • Smoked headlights,
  • Door handles,
  • Sports seats,
  • Steering wheel radio controls, and
  • 17-inch wheels. 

There is also a label that says “TRD Sport” on the bedside.

3. TRD Offroad 

The trim features an automated rear locker, beefier skid plates, Bilstein shocks, and BF Goodrich all-terrain tires. 

4. Tacoma Limited

The Tacoma Limited is the trim for those who prefer to stay safe on the road. It features heated leather seats, 18-inch wheels, optional navigation, JBL audio, and HomeLink.

5. TRD Pro

It features 16-inch simulated bead lock wheels with BF Goodrich all-terrain tires, a hood scoop, black housing headlamps, a special TRD Pro grille with a throwback Toyota logo, black emblems, and a TRD exhaust.

2nd Gen Tacoma 4×4 System

Available in Both 2WD and 4WD Configurations

Second-generation Tacomas are available in both 2WD and 4WD configurations. The 4WD models work the same way as the other Toyota trucks. The engine option has no bearing on the type of 4×4 system. In other words, they’re all the same in 2nd Gen Tacomas.

Three Dashboard Settings

Moreover, you will find three settings on the dashboard: H2, H4, and L4. This is 2WD, 4Hi, and 4Lo.

It is essential to exercise your Tacoma’s 4×4 system at least once a month, just like any other electronically controlled 4×4 system. 

Failure to do so can affect the actuator over time. It is a case of “use it or lose it.”

FAQs

What Is It Like to Drive a Second-generation Tacoma?

The 2nd Gen Toyota Tacoma has the feel of a ten-year-old pickup. The ride is harsh, more so than any other pickup truck, almost to the point where driving over broken grounds will require constant steering corrections to keep it in one lane.

What Is the Towing Capacity of 2nd Gen Tacomas?

Toyota claims that the second-generation Tacoma can tow 2,900 kg (around 6,400 pounds) and has a payload capacity of 475 kg (1,050 pounds) when properly equipped. This is not bad, mainly if you use the truck to pull or haul items daily.

How Does the Suspension Work on the 2nd Gen Tacoma?

The suspension on all 2nd Gen Tacomas is the same. Plus, the Tacomas have a solid rear axle and independent front suspension. Other trucks, like the FJ Cruiser and 4Runner, share the front suspension too. 

But, unlike other trucks, the rear suspension of the 2nd Gen Tacoma is made out of leaf springs rather than coils. Plus, one of the most common Toyota Tacoma upgrades is a suspension increase. 

What Are the Bed Length Options for the 2n Gen Tacoma?

Plastic beds (not metal) are standard on all second Gen Toyota Tacomas, and they come in two sizes: short (5 feet) and long (7 feet). The bed can hold up to 220 pounds.

The Regular cab comes with a short bed, while the Access cab comes with a long bed. However, the Double cab is available with either a short or long bed.

What Are the 2nd Gen Tacoma Cab Options?

The 2nd generation Tacoma comes with three distinct cab options. Regular cab, Access cab, and Double cab. With a limited back seat area, the Access cab is considered an “extended cab” by many.

The ” Double cab ” is more of a ” crew cab with a full set of rear doors and an extra back-seat space; the “Double cab” is more of a “crew cab.” 

How Safe Is the Second-generation Tacoma?

The 2nd Gen Tacomas come standard with antilock brakes, “Electronic Brakeforce Distribution,” and “BrakeAssist.” 

All 2nd Gen models have a stability control system except for the X-Runner. Front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags are available on crew cab versions. 

Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Assist Control (DAC) are also available on all automatic gearbox models. 

Conclusion – 2nd Gen Tacoma Review

You can’t go wrong with a 2nd Gen Tacoma. This capable yet straightforward pickup truck has a huge payload capacity of 1,050 pounds and can tow around 6,400 pounds.

It has two engine options: a 2.7-liter four-cylinder and a 4.0-liter V6. It has the same basic trapezoidal grille as the first-generation Tacoma but with a more refined and modern headlight design.

In a way, 2nd Gen Tacomas are the little brother of the full-size Toyota Tundra and have carved out their niche in the market over the years.

The demand for 2nd Gen Toyota Tacomas is high, and for a good reason. They hold their value pretty well.

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