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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2002 Toyota Tacoma Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2002 Toyota Tacoma Overview

Descendent of Legendary Longevity

Toyota's mid-sized Tacoma truck is the direct descendent of the legendary SR-5, which has earned a cult-like following due to its incredibly long engine life (there are plenty of reports of owners with 200, 300 and even 400K miles on their original engines), near indestructible mechanicals and high reliability. So successful was the original SR5 that much of its signature styling lives on in the Tacoma; it's a look Toyota pickup driver's love and that many competitors have tried to imitate with limited success.

The Tacoma is available in a number of iterations—17 to be exact—that include a regular cab, a Xtracab and a four-door Double Cab; three trim levels include base, PreRunner and S-Runner as well as one upgrade trim level known as the TRD package. The Tacoma can be ordered with a long or short bed and offers three engine choices including two 4-cylinders and one V6. A manual/automatic transmission option is available on most trims, the PreRunner and Double Cab models do not offer a manual transmission option.

To help you sort through the many faces of the Tacoma, let's take a minute and break it all down model by model. The regular cab Tacoma can be ordered with 2- or 4-wheel drive and is powered respectively by either a 2.4-liter or 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine. A PreRunner Tacoma gets you the same big wheels, tires and ride height as a 4-wheel-drive Tacoma but on a 2-wheel-drive chassis; it also includes the larger engine and suspension options of the 4x4. PreRunner models do not offer the option of a manual transmission.

The S-Runner is a modified version of a 2-wheel-drive Xtracab that has been lowered, given a V6 engine and runs on low-profile 16-inch tires. S-Runners are available only with a 5-speed manual and offer such sporting options as a Toyota Racing Development (TRD) supercharger and special ground effects.

The TRD package was developed by Toyota's racing and off-road team; it is available on PreRunner and 4x4 models and includes upgraded shocks, springs, tires and wheels as well as a limited-slip rear differential. There is an SR5 package which adds more convenience items to the interior and a long list of stand-alone options that allow you to customize your Tacoma however you see fit.

There are the two Double Cab models, which have four doors to accommodate extra passengers, but have a shortened bed. Double Cab Tacomas are available only in PreRunner and 4x4 configurations.

OK, that takes care of all the 17 variations, now its time to talk about what the Tacoma can do. The least expensive model is the 4x2 regular cab with the 142-horsepower 4-cylinder engine. This truck's low price, good gas mileage and comfortable ride make it a favorite choice among college students on a budget and delivery fleets everywhere. The 2.4-liter engine pulls surprisingly well for its size and can actually handle a fair amount of extra weight—so long as it doesn't involve towing. A move up to the PreRunner or 4x4 version will cost a bit more, but gets you the more powerful 150-horsepower engine and a longer standard and optional equipment list.

The V6 version of the Xtracab and Double Cab are the best choice for those who will be using their truck as both weekend warrior and everyday transportation. The Tacoma's 3.4-liter 190-horsepower engine has plenty of grunt and earns the Tacoma Xtracab a payload rating of over 1700 lbs. The 4x4 models are adept off-roaders, with high and low transfer case, optional locking rear differential and over 10-inches of ground clearance.

If you don't regularly carry four adults, then the Xtracab probably makes the most sense, since it still affords you more cabin space than a regular cab yet maintains its 6-foot cargo bed, which shrinks to 5 feet on the Double Cab. If you opt for the SR5 package, you'll find your tough and rugged pickup will have a pretty cushy interior that includes such non-truck like features as air-conditioning, tilt-wheel, tachometer and full gauge package and Toyota's 3-in-1 AM/FM cassette CD six-speaker audio system. Of course you can go all out and order the Limited package, but then you might never want to take your truck off road or even near the dirt shoulder for that matter.

For the record, the Tacoma feels balanced on the road and it handles well considering its tall tires and high center of gravity. Tacomas also have performed very well in both government and privately-conducted crash tests; safety features on the Tacoma include two-stage front air bags, seat belts with pretensioners and force limiters that optimize the function of the seatbelts and head rest at all outboard seating positions.

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