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.
Alerts
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

"This little truck drives great. There is a little fall off on power when AC is in operation. Noise and comfort are as expected for a small, light truck. Overall it's a sweet little truck."

Stan B., GA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"slow acceleration"

Richard B., TX (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Turning radius too wide"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"The engine in this truck accelerates and comes to speed, way better than the new one I test drove. For a 4x4 truck to turn as sharp with big tires as this does make my truck an envy of the bigger trucks when we offroad."

Donald T., OH (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Very good for type of vehicle."

Mike H., WI (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"reliable and steady."

James W., WA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"It handles fantastic and accelerates very well"

William B., WA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Sloppy steering. Bouncy, punishing ride."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Good acceleration, fair handling"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Reliable four wheel drive vehicle - the Taco can do more than the drivewr wants to do., Not a luxurious or quiet ride, but it is a 4X4 truck, not a limo."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Handling with all types of loads and trailering similarly is fantastic. Moved from PA to Kansas 1600 miles with fully loaded pick up and 1500 pounds in trailer of items I didn’t want going on the moving van. Acceleration from on ramps into traffic a non issue. Got 20 mpg whole trip."

Walter R., KS (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"The Tacoma sits high and is underpowered compared to today’s models. Acceleration is tepid, and there is a fair amount of body roll when taking turns quickly. But this is a 15 year old truck, so it’s not really fair to compare it to something new"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"nice ride"

Anonymous, LA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Acceleration and handles rough roads well."

Anonymous, CT (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"If I had to do it all over again would have bought the six cylinder model. Towing with a four cylinder can be a challenge."

Roger M., SC (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Acceleration is sluggish and power is marginal, often requiring 2nd gear and going well under the speed limit when driving mountain passes. Large gap between 1st and 2nd gear contributes to this problem."

Adam D., CO (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"4WD gets me out just about anywhere. Works great in weather plus offroad. tires make a big difference on handling."

Anonymous, OH (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"It's a pig. Takes a while to get up to speed even on a 55MPH road, and have to keep the peddle to the metal on an Interstate (where I can't pass even a trailer truck). Extended body (this is the little Tacoma crew cab) requires a very big turning radius."

Charles N., AZ (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Acceleration is good, handles well."

John W., NC (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Acceleration is good, and road handling is good for a truck."

Rick S., CA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Excellent handling. Short turn radius. Excellent dependability."

Herb T., LA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"It lacks enough power at times going up hill. But I get good gas mileage , so I assume the lack of power is connected to that"

Thaddeus C., VT (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"V-6 power in a small pick up."

Anonymous, TX (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"The V6 motor in the Tacoma shows good acceleration. The high clearance under the vehicle and narrow width make it a great platform for driving off-road."

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"I purchased this vehicle with a 4 cylinder. Truck is way under powered to have a four wheel drive package."

Natalie T., WI (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"the V-6 engine has great acceleration. It handles well in corners and at high speed."

Ben A., VA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Handling is fine - acceleration is fine for normal driving circumstances."

Gary L., CA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Because of the size of the truck especially the tire size and my truck being a 4-cyl, the pickup lacks, towing is slow. I would purchase a Tacoma again only a 6-cyl next time."

NATALIE T., WI (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"I bought it to tow a trailer and it does quite well."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"acceleration sometimes sluggish"

BARRY S., NC (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Poor acceleration - somewhat under-powered with the 2.4L engine."

GRANVILLE H., FL (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"It is a 2003 and it does drive like a truck. Acceleration if poor compared to the Rav 4 as is handling."

Anonymous, BC (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"A little underpowered for towing, but otherwise good. I'd like to see better gas mileage."

Anonymous, VA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Acceleration is fine. Traction isn't so great. But I understand that Toyota improved it i subsequent Tacoma models."

JOSEPH P., SC (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"On dry pavement this vehicle is a joy to drive. It's acceleration and handling are thrilling and all you need for the street and highway. I also use it for utilitarian purposes,hauling wood and stone, and it pulls its weight. Nevertheless, the concentration of the vehicle's weight is up front which makes wet weather handling relatively poor even with the stock wide tires. Especially in hilly areas this vehicle cannot be safely driven in snow or ice."

GEORGE W., TN (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

Comfort

Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride

What Owners Say

"Rough ride, noisy"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"It's a truck. Not a vehicle we would use to drive across country."

Donna P., CO (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Solid and quiet."

John M., CT (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"The Tacoma is a utility vehicle, made for getting from one place to another and taking things with you in the bed. As note in CR reviews the seats are very low to the floor and road noise can be a bit much."

Roger M., SC (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"The Tacoma has s bench seat and doesn’t provide a lot of lumbar support on long trips. It’s also quite loud in the cabin at highway speeds. But it’s a 2003 truck"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Ride is harsh."

Anonymous, TN (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"We have the first generation Tacoma which was build more for comfort. Both the seats and the suspension make for a very pleasant ride. We have been driving this vehicle for 12 years and it's not going anywhere any time soon. Still looks new."

Kenneth S., WI (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Road and wind noise"

Anonymous, GA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"The headroom is not sufficient for a person over six feet tall. Road noise is very intrusive."

Rick S., CA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"seat have plenty of cushion and are wider than more sport type seats, making them comfortable to me. the fabric has held up well. i like having a pull out extender on the visor. it's a bit noisy and rides like a truck."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Some wind noise. Ride is bumpy on bumpy roads."

Ken C., TN (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Uncomfortable seating position, bumpy ride"

Anonymous, BC (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Seat position in Tacoma is uncomfortable. Seat is too low relative to foot petals. Probably unavoidable."

Anonymous, OR (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Ride typical for a truck."

PASQUALE G., MD (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"noise louder than normal and increases with age"

Anonymous, HI (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"All"

RICHARD M., TX (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"jus great"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"The Toyota Racing Development package makes for a very stiff and bumpy ride."

MERCURY P., AR (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Seats need more padding. Ride is punishing and road noise is loud"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

Value

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

What Owners Say

"This car was $15000 when I bought it. It has been virtually maintenance free and the price has basically doubled for this model. After 15 years, it is worth about 60% of what I paid for it. This has been an unusually good vehicle."

Paul G., TN (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Good dependable truck."

Anonymous, GA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Runs great with little or no problems"

William B., WA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Good reliability - still running well after 15 years!"

Robert E., RI (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"still running strong. great engine and quality vehicle."

James W., WA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Paid under $17,000 dollars for this brand new. I like the smaller size by comparison to the Tacoma line available today. It is a very basic vehicle, no electric windows or door locks with a four cylinder engine that delivers decent mileage. It has been mechanically sound with no repair issues except for the normal wear items like brakes. I would buy this vehicle again without hesitation."

Jay E., NE (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"15 yr old vehicle that I would not hesitate to get in tomorrow and go cross country. Few repairs over 194,000 miles. No car payment for 10 of the last 15 years. This vehicle has been worth every penny."

Robert O., VT (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Except for steering rack problem last year, this truck is now 15 years old and still runs strong, Ok gas mileage for pickup truck. Plus I've been able to max out the amount of weight the bed can carry."

Donald T., OH (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"This is the perfect truck. I have had NO mechanical issues, still has all original parts, has only needed routine maintenance."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"got money's worth and much more"

Anonymous, LA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"We bought the 2003 Toyota Tacoma new in 2003. It is 2018, the truck is 15 years old and still going strong. It did qualify for a recall a number of years ago....a treatment on the steel frame to reduce rust. The treatment did not work and the frame eventually rusted. Toyota made good on the recall and replaced the entire truck frame....we did replace the rear bumper on our own but Toyota paid entirely for the treatment and the frame replacement. The truck body itself is in great shape as is the truck bed."

Susan B., MA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"I bought it new and I would buy another 4 door 4 wheel drive after this one wears out,because it is the most reliable VEHICLE I have ever OWNED. Toyota vehicles are very reliable if you take care of them. I am prime example!!!!!"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"My second Toyota Tacoma, the only vehicles I've never had a problem with. Even after years of use no mechanical problems, no squeaks or rattles, no paint problems."

Joseph E., WA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Very reliable vehicle. Keeping its value better thsn any other vehicle twice its cost"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"After almost 16 years it runs well, is reliable, is easy to drive and park, gets good gas mileage and is a reasonable size. The new Tacomas look very big."

Joan L., CO (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Disappointed with the gas mileage @ 20 mpg."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Incredibly reliable, go anywhere I need to go, and carry all my stuff for my "expeditions"."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"I have spent very little money in repairs on this truck. For example, I recently had the water pump replaced and it was the original one."

Robyn G., VA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Excellent engineered vehicle. Everything about the vehicle is designed to do what is the purpose of vehicle. I owned a Automobile and Large Truck repair business for 10 years. If you want a pickup truck that is trouble free and that you’ll have for 30 years or more , Toyota Tacoma."

Walter R., KS (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Basic model. Good for around town and picking up gardening supplies. Not comfortable enough for long drives."

Anonymous, AL (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Absolutely nothing has gone wrong inthe fifteen years of ownership."

John M., CT (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"It's been very reliable and trouble free, and inexpensive to maintain."

Stephen B., CA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"The vehicle is 15 years old. I change the oil, rotate tires and do regular maintenance on it. It has almost 180,000 miles and continues to run great. Over 15 years the only major repairs are the AC system and radiator. It will probably run another 15 years!!"

Roger M., SC (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"good value"

Anonymous, IA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"My truck still has its original engine & transmission. Besides changing the oil every 5,000 miles & getting new brakes, tires & such, I've never had the need for a major repair"

C P., NJ (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"This is a great value. Its a strong truck, even with a 4 cylinder engine. It is now 14 years old and 126,000 miles old, and it has just started losing some of its power and fuel efficiency. It has been reliable, and hasn't had a major part fail, and very few minor parts."

Amy T., CA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Solid and attractive and well scaled vehicle that doubles as a commuter vehicle plus able to move goods."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Has been generally reliable. Post-200K-mile repairs include valve-cover gasket, radiator, & water pump: presently needs new rear engine seal. All seem reasonable given miles on vehicle."

Anonymous, SC (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Comfortable ride, easy to drive."

Gary L., CA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Highly reliable vehicle. I never worried about my Tacoma operating properly, never worried about breaking down on a trip, and had few or infrequent major repairs. It just keeps on going, regardless of how much maintenance or driving conditions. I regularly change oil at 4000-5000 miles, always go to the Toyota dealership, and this seems to have allowed me to avoid problems. I also drive very conscientiously."

Jeffrey C., VT (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"No repairs other than maintenance have been necessary"

Robert M., AZ (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Very dependable. I have owned this truck for 14 years and have only spent money on normal replacement items, (tires,battery, brakes)."

Donald H., TX (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Basic truck for hauling items that has been reliable"

John R., VA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"I paid $13,000 for this vehicle new, and haven't had any problems with it."

Stephen B., CA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"I like the overall size of this vehicle. Paid well under $20,000 for it new in 2003 and there have been no major issues with it. Hope Toyota starts making a truly small pickup again."

Jay E., NE (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Got the truck for $1,000 below invoice price. Toyota quality remains."

Anonymous, WA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"For a vehicle that is 14 years old I think the Tacoma is an extremely good value. The only major problems are having to replace the radiator and the AC system. Comfort is lacking but I can live with that as it's a "work" vehicle."

Roger M., SC (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Least expensive vehicle Toyota sold and its 14 years old. Haven't had to repair anything. Not wonderful driving experience, but it goes and goes, and it still looks good, even though I keep it outside."

Anonymous, NY (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Size of this model truck"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Every one knows the value of this p/u truck!"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Considering that it was a value buy from CarMax for 16K 10 years ago, it continues to be our main vehicle for hauling and still costs relatively little to maintain."

LINDA B., MD (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"great value and excellent product"

JAMES W., WA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Top value of everything in its class"

MICHAEL G., OH (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Recalls must be performed or the frame will become unsafe"

MARK S., WV (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Overall, great value, including resale value. The mileage (18-19 early, now 17, with the 3L V6) is lower than I'd like. A small diesel in the same truck would be fantastic."

MICHAEL M., OR (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Best small truck I could have bought for the money. It is still holding its value well."

ELIZABETH Y., MI (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Alot of solid service from this vehicle. Had no trouble with it since i gouht it 2nd hand."

Anonymous, VA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"very reliable car"

CORNEL T., TX (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Good value or the money."

Anonymous, FL (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"The truck was expensive compared with other new trucks at the time, but it has been very reliable. At that time Toyota Tacoma's were so popular that there was no negotiating on the price and there were not many available in BC so we didn't have a choice as to color."

Anonymous, BC (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"I have always owned full size trucks previously, because I sometimes tow trailers and campers. I occasionally miss the full size bed ant the ability to tow larger items, but I don'w miss the much higher fuel bills. For its size this old Tacoma been a great truck to own. I am thinking about getting a Tundra."

VANCE C., WA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Reliable truck with good gas mileage"

STAN W., SC (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"The Tacoma doesn't seem to depreciate as quickly as other vehicles. Maybe 10-14% per year with average miles"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Consider it to be the Best Compact Pickup by far"

T W., CA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Good urban truck"

J G., OR (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Pric on high side even though I was able to do some bargaining."

PASQUALE G., MD (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"The best thing about this vehicle is how it has held its value. We've been told we could get/offered $15K. It has a manual transmission which you can't get any more. And it's just a solid utility vehicle. Everyone in the neighborhood borrows it when they need a truck."

DONNA P., CO (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Enormous utility for my lifestyle. Great gas mileage. It helps if one doesn't over-expect; I didn't buy this truck for comfort, I bought it for its utility."

Anonymous, MA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"It is 13 years old and all I've ever had to do mechanically was to buy a new set of tires and reline the brakes - once. There's a tiny bit of surface rust at the bottom of the doors and the rear bumper top surface has surface rust ight through the chrome. Other than that the vehicle looks new. Its fast, gets decent mileage for its age and purpose. Most of all it's a TRUCK."

MARK M., OH (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

Styling

How it looks inside and out

What Owners Say

"I think the design of the truck is a classic - beautiful. As our only vehicle it is a good compromise between a sedan and a truck, both in looks and function. More recent models are more masculine and beefed-up, not as handsome."

Anonymous, BC (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"High value"

DENNIS B., FL (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"It was the next to last year of the truly small pickup trucks. Auto manufacturers need to start building trucks this size again. The new Tacomas will not fit in my garage and do not get as good gas mileage."

JAY E., NE (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Popular size and style. Current Tacomas are about the size of the 2003 Tundra. All the pickup styles have gotten too big! Not all of us a farmers and ranchers!"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Very functional."

Anonymous, FL (2003 Toyota Tacoma)

"Plenty of room for guests in the back seat"

STAN W., SC (2003 Toyota Tacoma)
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