The Toyota Tacoma is a Japanese truck that first made its appearance in 1995, originally as a compact pickup. It has been a midsized pickup since 2005. This versatile truck is extremely popular throughout North America, having gained a following in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, among other countries.
The Tacoma was originally designed to put greater emphasis on comfort and personal use rather than as an exclusively work-focused truck, as the Japanese noted that many in the U.S. and Canada used pickup trucks both as work vehicles and personal vehicles.
Today, just about anyone who knows trucks is familiar with the Toyota Tacoma, and you may be familiar with model names like X-Runner or 4Runner for a four-wheel-drive vehicle. But what about the PreRunner Tacoma? What is the PreRunner Tacoma, and where exactly did they come up with that name?
About the PreRunner Tacoma
The Toyota Tacoma PreRunner is a variant of the Tacoma that was first introduced in 1998 as a two-wheel-drive truck that looks and behaves like a four-wheel-drive truck.
So why is it called a PreRunner? Because it was inspired by the vehicles that used to pre-run an offroad course before the actual racers got on the track. These pre-run vehicles had to be able to stand up to all the worst conditions an offroad track had to offer. As a result, when Toyota was looking to name its new 2WD Tacoma that indicated its strong offroad capabilities, they chose the name PreRunner.
How Is the PreRunner Tacoma Different From Other 2WD Trucks?
The PreRunner Tacoma is not your ordinary two-wheel-drive offroad vehicle — and Toyota would probably tell you that it has more in common with four-wheel-drive offroaders. Features that distinguish the PreRunner from other two-wheel-drive trucks include:
- Size: The PreRunner is about two inches taller and wider than a standard 2WD truck, with about an extra inch-and-a-half of ground clearance.
- Wheels: PreRunners have 16” wheels and they are 6-lug wheels like the 4×4, not 5-lug wheels like other 4x2s. The PreRunner’s tires also are made to stand up to tougher offroad conditions than a normal 2WD truck.
- Brakes: About two inches bigger than standard 2WDs. PreRunners also have skid plates.
- Payload: A PreRunner has a hauling capacity about 200 lbs. greater than a typical 2WD truck.
- Higher rear axle: 4.10 (3.73 with the V6) as opposed to 3.31 for a 2WD.
- Turning: PreRunners turn better than other 4x2s, although not as well as 4x4s.
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