Is Buying An Old Tacoma Worth It? (Explained!)

When you need to buy a vehicle on a budget, a good place to turn is the older vehicle market. Older models of any kind of vehicle, especially those of the Toyota Tacoma, are cheaper than the newer models. So long as you take good care of it, an older Tacoma can last a very long time.

Because Toyota Tacomas depreciate slowly, the older models are still fairly expensive. The price difference is minimal; therefore, it is more cost effective to purchase a newer model of the Toyota Tacoma that includes all the upgraded safety and comfort technology.

While it is generally less financially draining in the moment to buy an old Tacoma model, over time, you will suffer a smaller loss with a newer model. Keep reading to learn about the benefits and downfalls of buying an old Tacoma over an new Tacoma.

Saving Money when Buying a New Tacoma

One well known fact about Toyota Tacomas is that they hold their value incredibly well. With minimal depreciation, older Tacomas sell for only slightly less than they were purchased for initially.

It might seem like you are getting your money’s worth when purchasing an older Tacoma because they are extremely reliable vehicles; however, it is more cost effective (and technology rewarding) to purchase a newer Tacoma model.

The prices of new Tacoma models and old Tacoma models are very similar to each other. It doesn’t make sense to buy an older model with fewer features for nearly the same price of a new one. Keep in mind, this logic does not apply to models older than 2013; however, it is true when it comes to 2014 models or higher.

The older models have begun to depreciate enough to make the cost substantially different from the newer models. A great way to understand these price similarities is by comparing the 2016 and the 2021 Tacoma models.

Currently, the simplest model of the 2016 Toyota Tacoma is sold new for about $25,400. This is quite expensive, especially for a model as old as 2016. The current price of the simplest model of the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is $26,400. This is only $1,000 more than a model 5 years older than it.

If you own a 2016 Tacoma, this means your truck has held its value incredibly well. This is great news! If you are looking to buy a Tacoma, spend the extra $1,000 to get the features, quality, and resale value of a newer model. This will help you get ahead of the resale curve for when you want another new truck.

The value of a much newer model will hold for a lot longer than an already 5 year old model.

Problems of Old Tacomas

In addition to saving money over time when buying a new Tacoma, you will also be avoiding the problems that come with an older vehicle. With an older engine and a cabin less comfortable than the newer models, the older Tacoma models do not live up to their current price. We will talk about some of the main issues of the 2016 Tacoma.

The very first thing to consider is the age of the engine. While the engine has not been used very much (especially if you’re buying it new), the mechanics are outdated and do not operate as smoothly or efficiently as a newer engine does.

In an attempt to give the Tacoma better mileage, Toyota forced the trucks’ engines to shift into a higher gear at lower speeds. This causes a weird jerking or stuttering feeling when accelerating and maintaining speed. While not overly dangerous to drivers, it can be quite annoying.

Another issue of the older Tacomas is the comfort level. This seems like a very specific issue to think about, but it is important when taking longer road trips or driving with several people in the vehicle.

While shorter drives cause no problems, during longer drives people report back pain, lack of neck support, and numb legs. Because Toyota factors comfort into their vehicle design more today, the newer models are likely to have more comfortable seats.

Benefits of Old Tacomas

It is important to look at the benefits of a older Tacomas as well to weigh the pros and cons for yourself. Although older Tacomas are priced too high for their age, they do carry a lot of benefits, especially in terms of reliability over a long period of time. On U.S. Car News, the 2016 Tacoma got a reliability rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, which is very impressive. This is what helps it hold its value for so long.

A great benefit of an older Tacoma is that it is pretty certain that it will last a very long time. Toyota has proven this fact year after year. Unfortunately with a newer model, you do not know how many years it will last since it has not been around for that many.

Older models of Tacomas are built to last and that reputation has only grown with time. With such high reliability, you should not have to take your older Tacoma in for too many frequent problems. That being said, it is important to note that the 2022 Toyota Tacoma received an 81 out of 100 predicted reliability score from J.D. Power.

Converted to the five star scale, that’s 4.05 out of 5 stars. In other words, the newer model is predicted to be less reliable than the 2016 Toyota Tacoma.

Another benefit of purchasing an older Tacoma is that you do save money right off the bat. Because of the resale value you will be spending a bit more than expected on such an old vehicle, but it will still be less than a newer model.

If you need a new truck, and you just don’t have any more wiggle room in your budget for a newer vehicle, there’s no need to spend the extra money on a new Toyota Tacoma.

An older Tacoma will last a very long time, and if you don’t plan on selling your truck for many years, then the potential resale value shouldn’t matter as much in your decision making process.

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  1. I currently own a 2016 Tacoma, it has so far proven very reliable however it only has less then 18000 , miles on her. I have been offered 30,500 for her and am thinking of taking the offer due to your notes on future transmission problems, when I purchased her I paid 38 k for her w ell appointmed . Im thinking of upgrading to a 22 or 23 with approximately the same mileage. I don’t want to venture into a new Toyota due to the 2.4 lt unproven new Eng ( the old saying never buy something in its first year sticks out in my mind ) I know I’ll spend an extra 10 k but it seems like if I do this I’ll be ahead of the curve….BASICALLY the new 2.4 turbo scars th s..t out of me till proven….. what do you thing .?

    1. Michael, I have had the new ’23 Sequoia with the hybrid/turbos for the last 18 months. I was fortunate to get one of the first ones delivered. For exactly the reason you mentioned… I opted to buy the 120k / 10 year bumper to bumper warranty because (in my case) a v6 with two turbos and a hybrid just seems like a lot more things to break compared to the prior super reliable V8 and V6 engines.

      I think buying one of the last model Tacoma’s is a smart long term purchase. I suspect they will prove to hold their value over time.