Old vs. New: 1995 Toyota Tacoma vs. 2016 Toyota Tacoma


The 2016 Toyota Tacoma is either all-new or a serious refresh depending on how you look at it, but it is still the best selling midsize pickup truck in the country.

But back in 1995, the first year of the Tacoma, Toyota took a big gamble and separated the global Hilux truck – which was sold here as the plain old Toyota Truck – from the North American Tacoma.

While the Hilux soldiered on with the same basic chassis, the Tacoma and its SUV sister, the 4Runner, were now based on the Land Cruiser Prado, a smaller version of the venerable off-roader not sold here. Toyota wanted to cater to the American market where trucks were more than just work vehicles, they were daily drivers.

1995 Toyota Tacoma (SR5 shown)

So how does the original Tacoma compare with the latest one? For this comparison, the 1995 Tacoma is a base 4×4 Xtra Cab, while the 2016 Tacoma is the SR 4×4 Access Cab. Both come with a four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission.

Looking at the chart below, the first thing that is noticed is how much hasn’t changed. The engines in both Tacomas have an identical displacement of 2,693 cc (2.7 liters), and their power numbers are remarkably close. The modern Tacoma bests the old by only nine horsepower and three lb-ft of torque.

Fuel economy numbers are close, but again the modern Tacoma wins out by three mpg city, but only one mpg highway.

2016 Toyota Tacoma (SR5 shown)

The biggest change, of course, is size. While the original Tacoma was no longer a Hilux, it was still considered a compact pickup. But time moves on and, as is typical of most models, each successive generation is larger than the last. Now considered a midsize pickup, the new Tacoma positively dwarfs the old one.

The 2016 truck is longer and wider than the 1995 and has a longer wheelbase. As expected, it’s also heavier. But what those dimensions give is passenger space. Headroom, legroom and shoulder room are all up, and by significant amounts.

One interesting dimension is ground clearance. The old Tacoma has nearly one and a half inches more ground clearance than the old car, making it ostensibly better off-road from the factory.

1995 Toyota Tacoma vs. 2016 Toyota Tacoma

1995 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 Extended Cab 2016 Toyota Tacoma SR 4×4 Access Cab
Price: $18,028 ($28,135 in 2015) $26,205
Engine: Inline-4 Inline-4
Displacement: 2,693 cc 2,693 cc
Horsepower: 150@4,800 rpm 159@5,200 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 177@4,000 rpm 180@3,800 rpm
Fuel economy (city/hwy): 16/20 19/21
Transmission: 5-speed manual 5-speed manual
Wheelbase: 121.9 in 127.4 in
Length: 199 in 212.3 in
Width: 66.5 in 74.4 in
Height: 66.3 in 70.6 in
Weight: 3,877 lbs. 4,195 lbs.
Ground clearance: 10.8 in 9.4 in.
Headroom, front: 38.4 in 39.7 in
Shoulder room, front: 54.1 in 58.3 in
Legroom, front: 42.8 in 49.2 in


Check out this TFLtruck first drive video review of the 2016 Toyota Tacoma:

John’s love of cars started an early age. He bought his first issue of Road & Track at age 12, and has wanted to be an automotive writer ever since. He believes in the old adage that it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow. When not writing about cars, John is a professional computer geek and lives with his wife and dogs on the high plains of Wyoming.