Video: Finally, Our Budget Toyota Tacoma Is Here!

Watch as we build "Baby Yota" into a sweet overlander for charity.

Baby Yota

Here at TFL we frequently test new vehicles to see how they stack up against the competition. Sometimes that even includes purchasing new trucks for extensive, long-term testing. Such is the case with our new F-150 Raptor, and incoming Ram TRX.

However brand new performance trucks that cost almost $100,000 aren’t really relevant to most people. As cool as they are, new trucks are too expensive for most of us. That’s why we bought this 2002 Tacoma for $7,700.

The Specs

Our truck, now named “Baby Yota,” sports a 2.7-liter four cylinder. When new, the 2.7 put out 150 horsepower and 177lb-ft of torque. That may not sound like much, but the little 3,500 pound Tacoma doesn’t need a lot to get going.

Though our truck may not have a locker or a manual transmission, it is at least four-wheel-drive. Plus, with such a small footprint and light weight, the Tacoma should easily hop and skip over most off-road terrain.

2002 Tacoma Baby Yoda

Game Plan

The plan is to turn Baby Yota into a cheap overlander. With a total budget of $10,000, we still have $3,300 to spend on upgrades. Some of these will include a soft topper, air mattress, and a hand made storage solution to sit under the mattress. Our American Racing wheels are begging for more aggressive tires, and maybe even skid plates to match.

Luckily our good friend David Morrow has the skills to help us build such a machine. Once the build is finished, the Toyota will be auctioned on to benefit Mountain States Children’s Home, just like Project Gunsmoke.

First things first, we need to do some basic maintenance and cosmetic fixes. The headlights are hazy, and the chrome grille is pitted. Beyond that, the truck is in pretty great shape. Both the interior and exterior need very little work. That allows us to spend most of our budget adding cool details like off-road lights and better running gear.

To see our 2002 Tacoma in greater detail, check out the video linked below. For more videos on the Tacoma build, stay tuned to TFLclassics where we will document all of the modifications and take our truck off-road.