Tacoma is a workhorse, but a poor choice as an everyday passenger vehicle, although it has a fairly refined and efficient powertrain, competent brakes and reasonable fuel economy. With the off-road-oriented suspension and tires, it's also one of the best off-road vehicles we've experienced. The downside is a poor ride and clumsy handling. A tip-up in a government rollover test is cause for concern.
There are 5 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Consumer Reports’ Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey can improve the chances of finding a compatible car match. How? Our survey data reveals whether, all things considered, owners would buy the same car again. The answer to that question is what determines our owner-satisfaction rating, which is a powerful piece of intel because it predicts how well a particular model will satisfy other owners.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Owner Satisfaction with:

Driving Experience

Includes acceleration and handling

What Owners Say

"It is simple! Love manual transmission and hand rolled windows."

Anonymous, VA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Good . I can haul anythingAcceleration"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Good acceleration, off-road performance that includes high altitude (after installation of a supercharger)."

Stan F., HI (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"We are very happy with the power and handling of this truck even though it's past its prime."

Cecil C., CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"I just did"

Anthony D., CT (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Very good acceleration, solid in curves as long as you remember you're driving a truck. Drives well while towing."

David H., TN (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"For a four wheel drive and high standing vehicle it handles very well. The rough ride just comes with the off road capability."

Anonymous, WV (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Good old work horse"

William B., ID (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"The motor is quite underpowered and is marginal on hills or at high elevation"

Anonymous, AZ (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"4 wheel drive is extremely capable"

Anonymous, GA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"good acceleration and good handling. recommend it"

R F., AK (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Prompt response re: acceleration and handling."

Anonymous, NY (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Lots of power. Purchased used because it was smaller than the newer ever larger trucks. Still drives nice. Would rather have an all wheel drive truck instead of 4 wheel drive!"

Joe L., WA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"This Tacoma has solid footing. I have been in sudden slides on black ice and driven into blind hairpin turns at night and this truck responded perfectly to sudden changes in direction and controlled spinning."

Bruce W., IN (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"It handles very well for a pickup truck and acceleration is plenty."

Kent C., TX (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Does the job for a small truck."

Anonymous, NY (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"The truck does not handle particularly well. I have myriad of problems with this vehicle in both handling and braking. And now I cannot park on a slope or the truck will roll. I could go on....."

Anonymous, VT (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"It's a truck. It has a manual transmission with 4WD and compound low all selectable from the driver's seat. For a 4 cyl engine it has power for carrying a load when coupled with the transmission. It's not a sports car but it is a very useful small truck."

Anonymous, OR (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"For a large auto it has exceptional control and acceleration! Drives like a much smaller car! No trouble parking or making turns!"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Handling is poor."

Anonymous, TX (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Slow to accelerate but cruises at safe speeds without a glitch."

LEONARDO G., FL (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Turning Ratio--Difficult parking in tight spots"

Anonymous, MD (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"sometimes it lags a little going up steeper hills but - I deal with it; easyu to drive"

KAREN P., CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"it is a rugged truck"

DAVE J., MI (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Acceleration in mountains is not as good as it use to be. Have to turn off air conditioner when climbing a long distance! Looses its power. Stil wonderful on highway trips and driving in town."

Anonymous, CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Handling is great"

Anonymous, NC (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"should have got a bigger engine"

PETER-LAURA A., CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"We love our taco and over here in Hawaii this generation of tacomas are seen everywhere. Considered the truck of Hawaii by locals. If y ever wondered where all the double cabs were sold then look no further! The only negative I have for this rig is that sometimes it feels unsettled on high speed turns, kind of tippy. It's never broken loose but still get that sensation. Not in this category that applies to all toyotas are their horrible shoulder seatbelt retractors. They do not retract on"

PETE F., HI (2002 Toyota Tacoma)


Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride

What Owners Say

"Little sound insulation and it's noisy."

Anonymous, PA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Seats in the Tacoma are minimalistic but comfortable and supportive. Ride noise is most affected by tires, my current Michelin LTX tires made the ride very quiet"

Anonymous, AZ (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Has a bumpy ride but it is a truck!"

Anonymous, CO (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"road noise is bothersome"

Edward L., PA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"seats provide comfort in driving"

R F., AK (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"rough ride, definitely not a "car""

Rachael M., CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"The front seats are very comfortable!"

Ronald B., CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Although highly reliable, this vehicle shuns comfort altogether. It more or less should be categorized as a commercial vehicle rather than a consumer grade one."

Danny T., TX (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"The seats are OK. The noise level is high at higher speeds. I feel that the ride is very harsh."

Anonymous, OR (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"For a truck is is decent, but doesn't have comfortable seatts. Regular truck seats. Would be nice to have mor adjustments available. Noise and road noise is more than a car. But, tolerable!"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Ride is a little rough and seat not comfortable."

Patrick P., CO (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"noise is much to loud while driving"

Anonymous, PA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"The seats are still comfortable. The climate control is excellent (air conditioning and heating). I have enjoyed the ride and there is little or no noise."

RONALD B., CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"I have driven this 2002 Toyota Tacoma from Scranton, PA to West Lafayette, IN. The 12 hour ride was comfortable the entire trip. Enough room to stretch my arms & legs and the seat never made my back uncomfortable."

R C., PA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"It rides a bit rough, but had the off-road package."

Anonymous, TX (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"its a great truck reliable buily\t to last expect another 100,000 miles maybe 200,000"

ARTHUR K., TX (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Should have gotten an extended cab and automatic transmission"

PAUL M., ID (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"This is a small truck that I like, but the comfort is not very good. It is great for around town but you won't want to take a trip of 50 miles or more."

PETER K., FL (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"It's fairly high to get into to; seats are comfortable; easy to drive (5-speed); had it painted yellow, love the way it looks; overall, it's a comfortable pleasant experience to drive it; good gas mileage too."

KAREN P., CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Uncomfortable bench seat combined with stiff ride"

Anonymous, VA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)


Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?

What Owners Say

"Bought the Tacoma new. It was a stripped down version. Lucky that I got a radio and cassette player. I knew this going in, that is why I bought it. Still like the truck. It has performed the way I expected it to. I have not been disappointed."

Peter K., FL (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"I have 212K miles, and no repairs needed. Only maintenance items, ie. shocks, struts, timing belts"

Anonymous, AZ (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Good, solid value, especially with a V-6 motor."

Stan F., HI (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"bought it new in all this time I have had only to replace one oxygen sensor this is one great truck"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"This car feels like it will last forever. I get many offfers to buy my truck but I say no! They don’t make this model anymore"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"My husband drove 40 minutes to work 4 days a week for 14 years with his 2002 Toyota Tacoma. It has never failed him. We don't use it as much now that he's retired, but we know it will get up and go whenever he jumps in to use it. Talk about VALUE!"

Cecil C., CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Have spent very little other than routine maintenance and service at intervals per maintenance schedule."

Dewey M., GA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Reliable and will last forever"

Jeannie G., GA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Paid $12,888 for this very reliable vehicle. The utility factor for a 2nd vehicle was the motivation for this purchase. It was useful to transport 2 kids, with furnishings, to/from college The A/C is excellent so this has been the vehicle of choice for desert trips. The red paint has faded. Original rear breaks are at least 40% and the front disc breaks replaced at 120K miles."

Ron B., CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Reliable! Excellent visibility. 215000 miles with no problems except normal wear. New clutch at 210,000, new AC compressor at 200,000. New driver side door latch at 200,000. Handling still good, getting 80,000+ miles on tires"

Anonymous, CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Good solid small truck."

Anonymous, NY (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Purchased the Prerunner, 4 cylinder, automatic for $12,888. It has a timing chain rather than a belt resulting in saved maintenance costs. It is driven mostly on city streets. It has good suspension and does well over California's poorly surfaced roads."

Ron B., CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"I'm quickly running into 200000 miles on my truck - no major repairs, only maintenance items (timing belts being the larger cost). Excellent value in my mind"

Anonymous, AZ (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"resale value is high for an old pickup"

Anonymous, VA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Very reliable. Its a lot of money up front but it has lasted with minimal repairs necessary despite having a hard life with a lot of miles on bad gravel roads."

Anonymous, ME (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Small cab and drive OK for a small truck."

Anonymous, NY (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Holds resale value."

LEONARDO G., FL (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"The truck is a five speed. It handles well and has great mileage."

ANN S., CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"very few repairs, kids wrecked it twice and it still runs fine. Over 290k on it right now."

CHARLES H., FL (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Got all I needed in this basic truck."

Anonymous, VA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"It lasts for a really long time"

Anonymous, SC (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"When I purchase this vehicle I went to two different dealers and the second one gave me the price I was looking for and that was with the help of my Consumer Reports buying guide!"

RONALD B., CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"lasted 14 years"

DOUGLAS M., NJ (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Purchased a PreRunner for $12,888 in 2002; current value is relatively high. CoO is low; still running original rear drum breaks. Purchased for utility to move kids to/from college. Run Mobil 1 oil, buy gas and tires at Costco so tires are rotated on schedule to save on the wear. I have a range in gas mileage and keep the refuel receipts so can provide accurate mpg over time if requested."

RON B., CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"The frame like many Tacomas and Tundras started rusting out at 12 years even though I took the vehicle in for required frame treatments. The dealer has taken more than a year to get approval for replacement and it will be at least 90 days more to aquire the frame. I will be required to sign a waiver for up to $3,000 for other parts that may need to be replaced during the work."

Anonymous, FL (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Reliability and value."

OSVALDO G., PR (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"It is ALWAYS dependable. It never breaks, except for a dead battery, twice"

PAT S., FL (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Extremely dependable utility vehicle for hauling 4 adults and materials in the 5 ft bed."

JOHN H., VA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Do NOT agree to what the car salesman tells you is the bottom line on the sale price. Work at getting the price where you want it. And, do your homework before you buy (expected markup, cost of accessories, etc.)"

Anonymous, WA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"This Toyota is a twin to a 1997 Toyota Tacoma we bought in 1999. We expect the 2002 to last as long and to be indestructible as our older one. the 1997 has 288,000 miles and has only needed maintenance. Only recently we replaced the ball joints. We have replaced the clutch one. This vehicle has been used for off-roading, camping in remote areas, its been broken into by bears, hauled 800 pounds of clothing from ATL to Miami to the Haitian community after the earthquake. It has pulled a 16 f"

DEBRA J., GA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"I paid below book for this vehicle"

NORMAN F., OR (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"the only thing about the tacoma bench seat (for me) is that for long distance driving (lasting 3 hours or more) the seat can become very uncomfortable, probably because the tacoma does not have cruise control."

MARK G., CA (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Simply put, Tacomas are indestructable and always reliable. They never break down, they are practical for DIY homeowners. They are fun offroad, low cost (oil, brakes, and tires) no 'repairs'. They are a useful tool, a bit boring to drive, but the value is amazing."

TIMOTHY R., CO (2002 Toyota Tacoma)


How it looks inside and out

What Owners Say

"People stop and tell me what a great looking Tacoma I have"

ANTHONY D., CT (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"Attractive, size of the truck"

Anonymous, NC (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"I think the 2nd generation Tacomas (like this one through 2004) are much better looking than the subsequent generations (2005 and after)."

DEVIN B., FL (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"People stop me and ask if they can buy my Tacoma freequently."

Anonymous, AL (2002 Toyota Tacoma)

"The truck is a TRD X-Tra Cab edition and is a bright red/orange color. It's a very nice looking truck and stands out, especially when it's clean (90% of the time)."

DAVE C., MT (2002 Toyota Tacoma)
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