Three Generations of Tacoma: Mega Mashup

The history of the Toyota Tacoma is an interesting story, going all the way back to the 1964 Stout, and one well worth reading for any Tacoma fanboy. After the Stout came the first-generation Hi-Lux in 1969, which went through many generations – six, to be exact – before “Tacoma” entered Toyota’s lexicon. It wasn’t until 1995 that Toyota’s popular pickup adopted its current name, going on to eventually dominate sales charts in its segment. Since then, there have been only three generations of Tacoma, with the third having just been released near the end of last year. We recently had the chance to put examples from all three generations side-by-side for a comparison showing how they’ve grown and matured, as well as pit them against each other in a drag race… the results of which were very surprising. Fortunately, we managed to capture it all on film. We also performed a highway MPG test with the second and third generations, since their configurations were the most similar. Without any further ado, let’s meet the competitors:

toyota tacoma mashup

First Generation: 2004 Tacoma Xtracab V6

This truck actually belongs to Nathan Adlen, long-time TFL presenter and writer. As such, you can be sure it has been well broken-in. 2004 was the final model year of the first generation Tacoma.

Engine: 3.4L V6, 190 horsepower, 220 lb-ft of torque

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Drive: 4-wheel

Second Generation: 2015 Tacoma Double Cab Short Bed

Another TFL-staffer truck, this one is loaded up with all the off-road goodies bundled up in the TRD Off-Road package. 2015 was also the last year for the second generation.

Engine: 4.0L V6, 236 horsepower, 266 lb-ft of torque

Transmission: 5-speed automatic

Drive: 4-wheel

Third Generation: 2016 Tacoma Double Cab Short Bed

The newest (and most colorful) competitor of the three, this tester-truck came with the TRD Sport package.

Engine: 3.5L V6, 278horsepower, 265 lb-ft of torque

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Drive: 4-wheel

Check out the video below to see these siblings go at it.


Brian is an engineer by trade but his true passion is anything automotive. He wakes up every morning to search the web for the latest industry news. He enjoys taking his Tacoma 4×4 off-road in the mountains of Colorado where he spends his free time hiking, biking, and snowboarding with his wife and dogs near their Rocky Mountain home.