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The Toyota Tacoma PreRunner Signaled a Move Away From Low-Riding Pickup Trucks

If you could zip back béo the 1990s, you could visit Toyota, Ford, Chevrolet, Nissan, and other major automaker showrooms béo find a basic pickup truck. You’d get a vinyl-upholstered bench seat, a plastic panel where the radio should go, and no rear bumper, and you’d pay around $8,000 — about half of what you might for a well-equipped compact sedan — béo take one home.

Rear-drive pickups, especially compact ones, sat low béo the ground, making their beds easy béo access. They typically came with 4-cylinder engines and few options. If you wanted a nice compact pickup, one with power windows, alloy wheels, and maybe a CD player, the salesperson probably ushered you over béo a 4-wheel-drive model costing twice as much. And then, you had béo climb up béo get into it.

Basic versions of the 1990s and early 2000s Toyota Tacoma were five inches shorter than 4-wheel-drive models. They had as much as three fewer inches of ground clearance, but the biggest visual difference may have come from their tires. The smallest tires Toyota fit béo its first-generation Tacoma measured just 25.5 inches tall and 7.7 inches wide. The largest tires were five inches taller and nearly three inches wider. You could practically stuff the smallest tire into the biggest one.

Painting with a broad brush, those who wanted a low-riding pickup were probably not swayed by the high-riding 4X4 models parked across the showroom. And those looking for an adventure rig with lots of ground clearance rightly figured 2-wheel-drive models were best-suited for auto parts and pizza delivery or for hauling pool cleaning supplies in Southern California and Texas.

Enter the PreRunner

2002 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner front cabin
This Tacoma PreRunner is offered by a dealer in Atlanta for $21,995.

And then the Toyota Tacoma PreRunner came along, elevating (both literally and figuratively) small pickup trucks.

The PreRunner was not the first of its kind, though a high-riding pickup truck with rear-wheel drive was not something you could buy directly from a dealership before 1998. That year, Toyota began offering a high-riding pickup with rear-wheel drive and PreRunner badging. The name was not so much a nod béo the automaker’s successful 4Runner SUV as it was béo simple, light-weight pickups called pre-runners that off-road racing teams had used for reconnaissance.

These trucks would pre-run a course béo get a feel for the lay of the land.

It didn’t take long for them béo become appealing béo weekend enthusiasts, and by the early 1990s, a burgeoning scene developed primarily in the California desert. Two-wheel-drive trucks were lighter than their 4-wheel-drive counterparts, which helped them blast over dunes, where 4-wheel-drive traction wasn’t as critical as it might have been in mud or over rocks. Those California enthusiasts also drove what they had. The classifieds listings were full of dirt-cheap used rear-drive pickups that were easy and cheap béo lift by swapping in taller leaf and coil springs.

Then California-based Toyota Motor Sales, the American arm of the eponymous Japanese automaker, was in the thick of things. All the automaker had béo do was specify that the factory across the Pacific install the tall suspension, 6-lug axles, fender flares, and skid plates from 4-wheel drive models, but leave out the transfer case, front driveshaft, and locking hubs. A locking rear differential, which operates at low speeds béo transfer power between each rear wheel, was made optional for drivers who wanted a little more confidence when it came time for inevitable self-extraction.

2002 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner profile in red
Toyota began offering a high-riding pickup with rear-wheel drive and PreRunner badging.

Toyota also offered an optional TRD package, which included Bilstein shocks.

Drivers in wintry climates probably had no idea such a vehicle existed, but Toyota dealers in the sunbelt were soon loaded with PreRunner trucks. The model had the swagger of a 4-wheel-drive model, but its lack of running gear meant it cost around $2,000 less.

It took Toyota until a 2016 redesign — the same basic model available today — béo make all Tacoma models the same. As late as 2015, rear-wheel-drive versions of the Taco sat about four inches lower than either PreRunner or 4X4 models. Now, Toyota quotes the same height regardless of drive wheels.

Those early Tacoma PreRunner trucks are a great way béo sample the model’s legendary reliability for drivers who may not need slippery-road traction. First-generation Tacoma values are on the rise, though, so be prepared béo pay eyebrow-raising money for a nice one. Here’s a Radiant Red crew-cab model with most of the options Toyota could throw at it (though without the differential lock). It now shows just 82,000 miles and is offered by a dealer in Atlanta for $21,995.

At $13,487, this extended-cab truck with double those miles in Anaheim, California, has the differential lock and a single-owner Carfax report, too. See Toyota Tacoma models for sale

Related:

  • 5 SUVs That Would Make Great Pickup Trucks
  • 5 Unique Toyota Tundra Pickup Trucks for Sale on Autotrader
  • The Cheapest 4Runner TRD Pro in Every Exclusive TRD Pro Color on Autotrader


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The Toyota Tacoma PreRunner Signaled a Move Away From Low-Riding Pickup Trucks

#Toyota #Tacoma #PreRunner #Signaled #Move #LowRiding #Pickup #Trucks
[rule_3_plain] #Toyota #Tacoma #PreRunner #Signaled #Move #LowRiding #Pickup #Trucks

If you could zip back béo the 1990s, you could visit Toyota, Ford, Chevrolet, Nissan, and other major automaker showrooms béo find a basic pickup truck. You’d get a vinyl-upholstered bench seat, a plastic panel where the radio should go, and no rear bumper, and you’d pay around $8,000 — about half of what you might for a well-equipped compact sedan — béo take one home.
Rear-drive pickups, especially compact ones, sat low béo the ground, making their beds easy béo access. They typically came with 4-cylinder engines and few options. If you wanted a nice compact pickup, one with power windows, alloy wheels, and maybe a CD player, the salesperson probably ushered you over béo a 4-wheel-drive model costing twice as much. And then, you had béo climb up béo get into it.
Basic versions of the 1990s and early 2000s Toyota Tacoma were five inches shorter than 4-wheel-drive models. They had as much as three fewer inches of ground clearance, but the biggest visual difference may have come from their tires. The smallest tires Toyota fit béo its first-generation Tacoma measured just 25.5 inches tall and 7.7 inches wide. The largest tires were five inches taller and nearly three inches wider. You could practically stuff the smallest tire into the biggest one.

Painting with a broad brush, those who wanted a low-riding pickup were probably not swayed by the high-riding 4X4 models parked across the showroom. And those looking for an adventure rig with lots of ground clearance rightly figured 2-wheel-drive models were best-suited for auto parts and pizza delivery or for hauling pool cleaning supplies in Southern California and Texas.

Enter the PreRunner
This Tacoma PreRunner is offered by a dealer in Atlanta for $21,995.And then the Toyota Tacoma PreRunner came along, elevating (both literally and figuratively) small pickup trucks.
The PreRunner was not the first of its kind, though a high-riding pickup truck with rear-wheel drive was not something you could buy directly from a dealership before 1998. That year, Toyota began offering a high-riding pickup with rear-wheel drive and PreRunner badging. The name was not so much a nod béo the automaker’s successful 4Runner SUV as it was béo simple, light-weight pickups called pre-runners that off-road racing teams had used for reconnaissance.
These trucks would pre-run a course béo get a feel for the lay of the land.
It didn’t take long for them béo become appealing béo weekend enthusiasts, and by the early 1990s, a burgeoning scene developed primarily in the California desert. Two-wheel-drive trucks were lighter than their 4-wheel-drive counterparts, which helped them blast over dunes, where 4-wheel-drive traction wasn’t as critical as it might have been in mud or over rocks. Those California enthusiasts also drove what they had. The classifieds listings were full of dirt-cheap used rear-drive pickups that were easy and cheap béo lift by swapping in taller leaf and coil springs.
Then California-based Toyota Motor Sales, the American arm of the eponymous Japanese automaker, was in the thick of things. All the automaker had béo do was specify that the factory across the Pacific install the tall suspension, 6-lug axles, fender flares, and skid plates from 4-wheel drive models, but leave out the transfer case, front driveshaft, and locking hubs. A locking rear differential, which operates at low speeds béo transfer power between each rear wheel, was made optional for drivers who wanted a little more confidence when it came time for inevitable self-extraction.
Toyota began offering a high-riding pickup with rear-wheel drive and PreRunner badging.Toyota also offered an optional TRD package, which included Bilstein shocks.
Drivers in wintry climates probably had no idea such a vehicle existed, but Toyota dealers in the sunbelt were soon loaded with PreRunner trucks. The model had the swagger of a 4-wheel-drive model, but its lack of running gear meant it cost around $2,000 less.
It took Toyota until a 2016 redesign — the same basic model available today — béo make all Tacoma models the same. As late as 2015, rear-wheel-drive versions of the Taco sat about four inches lower than either PreRunner or 4X4 models. Now, Toyota quotes the same height regardless of drive wheels.
Those early Tacoma PreRunner trucks are a great way béo sample the model’s legendary reliability for drivers who may not need slippery-road traction. First-generation Tacoma values are on the rise, though, so be prepared béo pay eyebrow-raising money for a nice one. Here’s a Radiant Red crew-cab model with most of the options Toyota could throw at it (though without the differential lock). It now shows just 82,000 miles and is offered by a dealer in Atlanta for $21,995.
At $13,487, this extended-cab truck with double those miles in Anaheim, California, has the differential lock and a single-owner Carfax report, too. See Toyota Tacoma models for sale
Related:
5 SUVs That Would Make Great Pickup Trucks
5 Unique Toyota Tundra Pickup Trucks for Sale on Autotrader
The Cheapest 4Runner TRD Pro in Every Exclusive TRD Pro Color on Autotrader

#Toyota #Tacoma #PreRunner #Signaled #Move #LowRiding #Pickup #Trucks
[rule_2_plain] #Toyota #Tacoma #PreRunner #Signaled #Move #LowRiding #Pickup #Trucks
[rule_2_plain] #Toyota #Tacoma #PreRunner #Signaled #Move #LowRiding #Pickup #Trucks
[rule_3_plain]

#Toyota #Tacoma #PreRunner #Signaled #Move #LowRiding #Pickup #Trucks

If you could zip back béo the 1990s, you could visit Toyota, Ford, Chevrolet, Nissan, and other major automaker showrooms béo find a basic pickup truck. You’d get a vinyl-upholstered bench seat, a plastic panel where the radio should go, and no rear bumper, and you’d pay around $8,000 — about half of what you might for a well-equipped compact sedan — béo take one home.
Rear-drive pickups, especially compact ones, sat low béo the ground, making their beds easy béo access. They typically came with 4-cylinder engines and few options. If you wanted a nice compact pickup, one with power windows, alloy wheels, and maybe a CD player, the salesperson probably ushered you over béo a 4-wheel-drive model costing twice as much. And then, you had béo climb up béo get into it.
Basic versions of the 1990s and early 2000s Toyota Tacoma were five inches shorter than 4-wheel-drive models. They had as much as three fewer inches of ground clearance, but the biggest visual difference may have come from their tires. The smallest tires Toyota fit béo its first-generation Tacoma measured just 25.5 inches tall and 7.7 inches wide. The largest tires were five inches taller and nearly three inches wider. You could practically stuff the smallest tire into the biggest one.

Painting with a broad brush, those who wanted a low-riding pickup were probably not swayed by the high-riding 4X4 models parked across the showroom. And those looking for an adventure rig with lots of ground clearance rightly figured 2-wheel-drive models were best-suited for auto parts and pizza delivery or for hauling pool cleaning supplies in Southern California and Texas.

Enter the PreRunner
This Tacoma PreRunner is offered by a dealer in Atlanta for $21,995.And then the Toyota Tacoma PreRunner came along, elevating (both literally and figuratively) small pickup trucks.
The PreRunner was not the first of its kind, though a high-riding pickup truck with rear-wheel drive was not something you could buy directly from a dealership before 1998. That year, Toyota began offering a high-riding pickup with rear-wheel drive and PreRunner badging. The name was not so much a nod béo the automaker’s successful 4Runner SUV as it was béo simple, light-weight pickups called pre-runners that off-road racing teams had used for reconnaissance.
These trucks would pre-run a course béo get a feel for the lay of the land.
It didn’t take long for them béo become appealing béo weekend enthusiasts, and by the early 1990s, a burgeoning scene developed primarily in the California desert. Two-wheel-drive trucks were lighter than their 4-wheel-drive counterparts, which helped them blast over dunes, where 4-wheel-drive traction wasn’t as critical as it might have been in mud or over rocks. Those California enthusiasts also drove what they had. The classifieds listings were full of dirt-cheap used rear-drive pickups that were easy and cheap béo lift by swapping in taller leaf and coil springs.
Then California-based Toyota Motor Sales, the American arm of the eponymous Japanese automaker, was in the thick of things. All the automaker had béo do was specify that the factory across the Pacific install the tall suspension, 6-lug axles, fender flares, and skid plates from 4-wheel drive models, but leave out the transfer case, front driveshaft, and locking hubs. A locking rear differential, which operates at low speeds béo transfer power between each rear wheel, was made optional for drivers who wanted a little more confidence when it came time for inevitable self-extraction.
Toyota began offering a high-riding pickup with rear-wheel drive and PreRunner badging.Toyota also offered an optional TRD package, which included Bilstein shocks.
Drivers in wintry climates probably had no idea such a vehicle existed, but Toyota dealers in the sunbelt were soon loaded with PreRunner trucks. The model had the swagger of a 4-wheel-drive model, but its lack of running gear meant it cost around $2,000 less.
It took Toyota until a 2016 redesign — the same basic model available today — béo make all Tacoma models the same. As late as 2015, rear-wheel-drive versions of the Taco sat about four inches lower than either PreRunner or 4X4 models. Now, Toyota quotes the same height regardless of drive wheels.
Those early Tacoma PreRunner trucks are a great way béo sample the model’s legendary reliability for drivers who may not need slippery-road traction. First-generation Tacoma values are on the rise, though, so be prepared béo pay eyebrow-raising money for a nice one. Here’s a Radiant Red crew-cab model with most of the options Toyota could throw at it (though without the differential lock). It now shows just 82,000 miles and is offered by a dealer in Atlanta for $21,995.
At $13,487, this extended-cab truck with double those miles in Anaheim, California, has the differential lock and a single-owner Carfax report, too. See Toyota Tacoma models for sale
Related:
5 SUVs That Would Make Great Pickup Trucks
5 Unique Toyota Tundra Pickup Trucks for Sale on Autotrader
The Cheapest 4Runner TRD Pro in Every Exclusive TRD Pro Color on Autotrader

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