There were a total of three engines available for the Toyota Tacoma: the 2.4L four cylinder rated at 142hp (106kW) and 160lb·ft (217N·m) of torque, the 2.7L four cylinder rated at 150hp (112kW) and 177lb·ft (240N·m) of torque, and the 3.4L six cylinder rated at 190hp (142kW) and 220lb·ft (298N·m) of torque. The 2.4L gave a highly useful 29miles per US gallon (8.1L/100km; 35mpg-imp) (hwy), the 2.7L gave 26miles per US gallon (9.0L/100km; 31mpg-imp) (hwy), and the 3.4L delivered 22miles per US gallon (11L/100km; 26mpg-imp) (hwy).
Two-wheel drive Tacomas had 5-stud wheel lug patterns. The 2.4L and 3.4L engines were available in this vehicle depending on options. Automatic and manual transmissions were available.
Four-wheel drive Tacomas had six-stud wheel lug patterns, which had been used on the prior pickups (pre-Tacoma trucks). The truck's frame is fully boxed until immediately after the front leaf spring mount bracket where is transitions into a c-frame section. The 3.4 V6's manual transmission was an R150F while the automatic transmission was an A340F (Asian code is 30-40LE). From 95-97 Single cab Tacomas had the option of a manual transmission with the 3.4 V6 engine. From 98 on, the single cabs only got a 2.7 or a 2.4 4-cyl from factory. TRD packages started in 98 (if the V6 engine was selected, you got a differential locker in the rear).
Prerunner models started in 98. They share the same front and rear suspension parts and geometry, frame, styling and engine options as the 4x4 Tacomas of this year range. Prerunner Tacomas also had the option of the TRD Off-Road package which (like the 4x4) got a rear differential locker if it was a V6 model (among other suspension variations). One downside is there was not option of a 5-speed transmission. The V6 Tacoma automatic transmissions were an A340E. Because of the similarities in the Prerunner and 4x4 models, it is possible to use stock parts to convert a Prerunner to a 4x4. However, in the online Toyota community this not advised.
In its first couple years of production the Tacoma sold very well, attracting many young buyers. The first generation Tacoma underwent a total of two cosmetic facelifts: the first in 1998, and the second in 2001. The facelifts mainly entailed new headlights and grilles. Mechanical changes included a switch to distributorless ignitions (coil-on-plug) in 1997 and in 1998 longer rear leaf springs. All 4x4 models came with Toyota's Automatic Differential Disconnect (ADD) system after the 2000 model year.