Vehicle Overview
All Tacomas get a new A-pillar assist grip for 2002. A moonroof will not be available on PreRunners, and the S-Runner’s side door badging is color-keyed.

The Tacoma’s front end was restyled with a raised hood and multireflector headlights last year. Toyota also launched its first pickup with four conventional, front-hinged doors in 2001. The Tacoma Double Cab competes with four-door crew-cab models from Chevrolet, GMC and Nissan, as well as with the Ford Explorer Sport Trac — a four-door sport utility vehicle with an open cargo bed. For 2002, Double Cab pickups can be fitted with a fiberglass Super Sport Shell that fits over the bed to keep cargo dry and secure. Regular-cab and extended-cab Xtracab models of the compact Tacoma also remain available.

Another 2001 entrant was the sporty S-Runner Xtracab, a two-wheel-drive truck with its height reduced by 2 inches to display a “low-rider” stance. The S-Runner includes a body-colored grille, front and rear bumpers, lower side trim, door handles and mirrors.

Regular-cab models are 184.4 inches long on a 103.2-inch wheelbase. Riding a 121.9-inch wheelbase, the Tacoma Xtracab measures 203 inches long overall. Both versions have a 6.2-foot cargo bed. The Tacoma Double Cab is the same size as the Xtracab, but because it has a larger interior, the cargo bed shrinks to just 5 feet long.

PreRunner models are decorated to look like 4x4 off-roaders. Buyers get higher ground clearance, mudguards and all-terrain tires. A TRD (Toyota Racing Development) Off-Road Package is available for most four-wheel-drive, PreRunner Xtracab and Double Cab models. This package includes modified rear leaf springs, a larger stabilizer bar, progressive-rate front coil springs, overfenders and five-spoke, 16-inch aluminum wheels.

A three-place bench seat is standard in basic Tacomas. Bucket seats are standard in the Xtracab Limited and Double Cab models and come as optional equipment in other Tacomas. Xtracabs add two rear jump seats, while the Double Cab has a split, three-place rear bench that folds down to produce extra cargo room. A StepSide cargo bed is available on regular-cab and Xtracab models.

The dashboard is well-designed, but it has one flaw: The slide-out dual cupholders block the climate controls when they are extended.

Under the Hood
Tacomas come with three engine choices. A 142-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder serves as the base engine. The midrange power plant, which comes standard in the PreRunner and 4WD models, is a 150-hp, 2.7-liter four-cylinder; it is claimed to be the most powerful four-cylinder engine in the compact pickup segment. Topping the list is a 190-hp, 3.4-liter V-6, which is standard in the S-Runner. A five-speed-manual transmission is standard, and a four-speed automatic is optional.

Toyota Racing Development can supply a dealer-installed supercharger for the 3.4-liter V-6, which boosts output to 260 hp. Tacomas equipped with the V-6 engine can tow a 5,000-pound trailer. Payloads range from 1,480 to 1,810 pounds.

Pickups with 4WD have Toyota’s 4WDemand system, which permits shifting into 4WD High at speeds of up to 50 mph. This action is performed using a floor-mounted transfer-case lever. A Hi-4 dashboard switch to engage the 4WD system is optional on V-6-powered Xtracab and Double Cab models. Four-wheel antilock brakes are optional on all models.

Reported by Jim Flammang  for
From the 2002 Buying Guide