I bought my Tacoma brand new it was what I could afford. Now years later and even farther down the rabbit hole that is building any Overland rig, I am left asking the question we all wonder from time to time… Would I buy this same truck again? Short answer is yes, but let’s examine why in more detail. Disadvantages are a good way to start this article, so let me address those. I think the two biggest issues are overall capacity and fuel range.
The Tacoma is a light truck and mine has the very thirsty 4.0 V6. These shortcomings are most evident in the southwestern United States and places like the Yukon and Northwest territories where fuel stops are not only far but also more expensive the more remote you get. I have yet to address this issue in any real way, but for my Moab trip I used a couple of dirt bike fuel cans that I had in the garage. Which, if I’m being honest, did the trick. Even if it didn’t look as sexy as some overpriced rotopax would have on the roof rack. After looking at the incredible lack of long range fuel tanks (DOT compliant), I have come to the conclusion that I will be buying some jerry cans and hoping that my friends are willing to share if and when I do Alaska/Yukon.
Capacity…. It’s a midsized truck and that’s a good thing! It does mean that sacrifices have to be made with the amount of stuff it hauls. Far too often I see Toyotas on IG that are way overloaded and are struggling under the weight of all that armor and gear. The simple answer is to use the truck and see what you need. I am just now starting to add armor to the truck after countless weekends around the US. Bumpers look amazing but are often not necessary or at least as much as you think. My armor selection will include skid plates and rock sliders for starters with the addition of a rear bumper sometime in the future. Good route selection is often the solution! Only other suggestion for people is start with what you take backpacking and then build from there. You’ll be amazed how much you don’t need.
So now the good! First and foremost, it’s a Toyota and therefore is very reliable! I have had no mechanical failures on the trail and the only maintenance issues are from aftermarket upgrades. I also love the size, especially for the mountains of the east coast where I find myself for the time being. I am more than willing to cut some weight to be able to fit most places I need to get!
Other options… RAM, and the Ford Raptor are obvious contenders, but are cost prohibitive on my salary. I don’t like the 3rd Gen Tacoma’s engine and still am waiting for them to release a diesel option like the ZR2 Colorado. If money was no object I’d run out and buy an AEV Ram… but until I get out of the Navy I think Ill stick with the SR5 2nd Gen Tacoma.