You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

1999 Toyota Tacoma REVIEW logo 4/6/2017

Con: Like most Toyotas, the price rises quickly once you start adding options that most truck buyers would require on even a basic truck.

Pro: A wide range of drivetrain and cab layout options guarantee there's a Toyota Tacoma that fits your needs.

What’s New: The 1999 Toyota Tacoma gets new front seat belt pre-tensioners and force limiters. Optional on Xtra Cab models is an AM/FM four-speaker CD audio system while 4x4s get 15-by-7-inch steel wheels. The PreRunner adds a regular cab option to its model mix. Natural White, Imperial Jade Mica and Horizon Blue Metallic replace White, Copper Canyon Mica, Evergreen Pearl and Cool Steel Metallic as color options.

Review: Toyota's sixth-generation compact pickup debuted as a 1995.5 model with an actual model name: Tacoma. It's supposed to suggest the rugged outdoors, as well as strength and adventure. Any of three potent engines go under the hood. Toyota aimed for aggressive styling, inside and out, and Tacomas sport an excellent selection of interior fittings. Regular and extended cab bodies are available, with either two- or four-wheel drive.

A freshening of the front end occurred on both the two- and four-wheel drive models during the last two model years. Swoopy fenders, a larger bumper, aero-style headlamps and a new grille set this truck apart from its forebears. Two-wheel drive Tacomas get a 2.4-liter four-cylinder base engine, rated at 142-horsepower. Tacoma 4x4s earn a 150-horspower, 2.7-liter four. Toyota claims that its four-cylinder engines are comparable to V6s from competitors. If those won't suffice, however, consider the V6 option: a DOHC, 24-valve unit that whips out 190 horses and 220 foot-pounds of torque. With V6 power, borrowed from the now defunct T100, this compact pickup can tow up to 5,000 pounds and soundly trounce most factory sport trucks in the stoplight dragrace.

All Tacomas have front coil springs instead of the former torsion bars, but 4x4s feature longer suspension travel to improve ride/handling qualities. Manual-shift trucks feature reverse-gear synchronization to reduce gear noise when shifting into reverse. Four-wheel antilock braking is optional on all Tacomas, and all pickups contain dual airbags with a shut-off switch for the passenger's side. In top-of-the-line Limited pickups, a One-Touch Hi-Four switch is available for easy, pushbutton engagement of four-wheel drive.

The PreRunner model is set to attract truck buyers who desire, but cannot afford, a 4WD truck, 4WD truck owners who don't use their 4WD as often as they expected, and 2WD truck buyers who take their vehicle off-road. Historically, a "pre-runner" is a truck that pre-runs an off-road race course. Toyota's new PreRunner has benefited from considerable suspension tuning and development work with Toyota Motorsports desert racing truck program to produce a 2WD vehicle with 4WD capabilities.

Toyota hopes to attract buyers with the style and image of its Tacoma as well as a lower price tag. We like the Tacoma, but question the value it represents. Most of these Toyota trucks don't come cheap. Guess that's the price you pay for the peace of mind a Toyota provides.


image beaconimage beaconimage beacon