Video: Old vs. New: How Much Better is the Toyota Tacoma Over the Past 20 Years?

2021 toyota tacoma trd pro 2002 generation

The Toyota Tacoma has evolved over the past 20 years – a lot.

Our project Toyota Tacoma is a 2002 model with over 180,000 miles on the clock, and a ton of potential. In the near future, we will turn it into a fun little overlander, and auction it off on for charity. We were curious about all of the significant changes the Tacoma has gone through over the last 20-years, so we compare it against a 2021 model (about 20-years newer…) to have a look at the changes.

A legend among Taco (Tacoma) fans:

Our 2002 Tacoma known for its rock-solid reliability, the single-cab 4×4 we have is a bit of a unicorn. There are a lot of Tacoma fans “Taco fans” who would give their left arm for one of these. Off-road enthusiasts love the little Taco’s approach, departure, and breakover angles. They dig the truck’s simplicity and light curb weight. In fact, the only thing we missed out on – preventing Taco fan riots – was a (preferred) five-speed manual transmission. Our Baby Yota project truck has a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine a four-speed automatic transmission.

When we finish with this Baby Yota project pickup truck, it will be a better off-roader and overlander too.

Still a sales leader – for a reason:

Tommy takes us through a tour of the 2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, which we placed next to its ancestor. These are two completely different trucks. Between their size, payload, towing, and powertrain differences, the newest Tacoma looks almost like a half-ton full-size truck, by comparison. Still, there is something to be said about both trucks’ sterling reputation for toughness, reliability and utility.

You can’t deny the new Taco’s good looks, and outstanding drive ability.

This 2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro represents the best selling midsize truck in North America. Despite now being one of the older pickup trucks competing in our market, it still sells like hot-cakes. The question is: how long will Toyota continue with this version of the Taco before they are forced to “up” their game. Remember: there’s a new Frontier on the way, along with an updated Ranger, competitive Gladiator, and more.

Check out this fun video for all the differences and some similarities between the two!

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.