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1997 Toyota T100 Truck

Reg Cab Manual

Starting at | Starting at 20 MPG City - 25 MPG Highway

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  • $14,678 original MSRP
Printable Version

1997 Toyota T100 Truck

Printable Version

1997 Toyota T100 Truck


1997 Toyota T100 SR5 XtraCab

Source: New Car Test Drive

A high quality truck for lighter loads.

by Jim McCraw

The Toyota T-100 created a big buzz in 1993 when it was introduced as the first full-size import pickup to be sold in the United States. The biggest knock on this otherwise fine first try was its rather anemic 3.0-liter V-6 engine, while all of the domestic products had V-8 engine options and therefore much greater hauling capacities.

Since the earliest days of its life, the T-100 has been rumored to be getting that elusive V-8 engine, but that won't materialize until sometime in 1998. However, the performance of the T-100s have been improved through the use of a new, larger and more sophisticated 3.4-liter double overhead- cam V-6 that makes a great deal more power and torque than the original 3.0-liter.

Toyota has been building small pickups for decades, and they have always displayed what we think of as typical Toyota quality, durability and value. Although the T-100 is much larger than the compact Toyota pickup, now known as the Tacoma, it still has all of the basic goodness that the Toyota name implies. The T-100 has been awarded J.D. Power's Best Full-Size Pickup trophy for its initial quality in three of the past four model years.

The list of new equipment for 1997 is minimal: a larger alloy wheel and tire package, a new optional sport seat package for the SR5 XtraCab, and wider distribution of standard equipment and option packages across the T-100 line. Also, there are two new colors.


What you see when you approach a T-100 like our tester is a pretty generic full-size pickup truck, with a conservative face, cab design and minimum of decoration. This truck was being designed before the current Dodge Ram and Ford F-Series made their big market splashes, so Toyota went with a very conservative approach just as the market was changing toward chrome-grilled macho trucks. So the design is a little behind its U.S. competition, but if you want a conservative truck that may last a decade or more, it's still a good bet.

What you will also see is painstaking construction quality, inside and out. Toyota takes pickup door fit and panel match as seriously as the same fitments on Lexus luxury cars, which obviously pays off down the line. Everywhere you look on the T-100 there are quality materials, quality workmanship, and excellent, if subdued, design.

Our test truck was the top-of-the-line SR5 XtraCab 4X4 (from $24,778, including destination), which comes with the best level of standard equipment, but Toyota also offers three lesser series as well as standard-cab models and two-wheel drive. The model array is almost as wide as those of the American Big Three, minus V-8 or diesel power and big-time work ratings.

But the T-100 V-6 has almost everything else. It is rated to carry a 2150-pound payload in 2WD V-6 editions, and tow up to 5200 pounds. It has all the traditional pickup truck equipment, including an easily removable tailgate, two-tier cargo storage, an array of tie-down hooks in the bed, and a set of stake pockets in the bed as well, where customers can add aftermarket wooden stakes to retain taller loads.

But as you'd expect of a Toyota, it isn't so businesslike as to avoid creature comforts. The option lists include all the popular pickup power-operated accessories like seats, windows, mirrors and locks, as well as several very good sound systems.

The SR5 package adds a ton of equipment to the truck, including chrome wheel arch moldings, chrome grille, chrome front bumper and door handles, a sliding rear window, privacy glass, tilt steering wheel, full instrumentation, an AM/FM/cassette sound system with four speakers, map lights and a passenger-side lighted vanity mirror.

The only things conspicuously absent are a passenger-side airbag, which we'll see on 1998 models, and a third door for extended cab models, something that's been very popular for Ford and General Motors trucks.

The Inside Story

The Toyota conservatism extends to the interior of the XtraCab SR5 4X4 as well. The instrument panel has everything you need, laid out properly, but while the tach and speedometer are large and conventional, the minor instruments are sliding-bar gauges that went out in the '70s in American passenger cars.

We found the interior of the T-100 to be just as roomy as any of the other extended-cab pickups on the market, and the 60/40 split front seats were comfortable, with plenty of front-rear manual adjustment (power seats are available). Interior materials in our test truck were high quality and have the look of high durability, as well, although we found the color combinations a bit on the dull side.

The rear seat area was well done, with a one-touch lever on the passenger side that would slide the front passenger seat up so that groceries could be loaded into the rear floor area. The rear seats, which split for even more cargo convenience, are hinged off the back wall, and are a great deal more comfortable than most. There's a storage compartment built into the floor under each seat as well, and the rear compartment is fully trimmed out.

Our test truck had the optional tonneau cover, and we're not sure whether we liked it or not. The black, semi-rigid cover, with a hefty vinyl covering supported by underbows, looked great and was extremely well made and taut. But it's attached to the truck bed rail by a complicated system of six aluminum clamps that will be hard to reach whenever the owner wants to use the cargo bed.

Ride & Drive

The T-100 powertrain array has been expanded, as we said. Now, instead of taking the 3.0-liter V-6 or else, the T-100 has a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 150 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, but it is offered only in the budget-priced Standard truck, with the 3.4-liter V-6 -- 190 hp, 220 lb-ft of torque -- standard in all other models. The 2.7-liter engine is the only four-cylinder offered in a full-size pickup, an installation made in 1994 to reduce the T-100's basic purchase price, and its power doesn't stack up all that well against the basic engines in its Big Three rivals.

The V-6 is also short of the V-6 power and torque of a Ford or Chevy pickup for real work, but on the street, with only passengers to carry, it was just fine, quiet, smooth and eager to perform, even with an automatic. And don't forget, Toyota also makes some of the world's best manual gearboxes; we mention this because a manual may be a better deal with this engine, since it makes the most of the available power.

The T-100 suspension, with leaf springs at the rear end and torsion-bar setup at the front, offers plenty of travel and shock absorption for a street truck, a smooth ride, and a minimum of wallowing about.

While the steering is nice and light in the 2WD mode, when the 4WD system was engaged the front tires seemed to get bound up at relatively shallow wheel angles, forcing a lot of extra maneuvers in parking lots.

The 4WD system is a simple on-demand setup with a separate shifter for transfer case engagement and shift-on-the-fly capability up to 50 mph. Like most pickup truck systems, it's designed for occasional use, rather than full-time.

Final Word

This is a really nice street truck, capable of lots of recreational travel duties including light towing and family hauling. The cabin, especially the portion aft of the front seats, seems quite large and comfortable for kids and cargo use. Toyota's materials and workmanship are first rate throughout.

The powertrain is typically Toyota, with good performance and the promise of excellent long-term durability and few visits to the shop for things other than routine maintenance.

Our reservations have to do with power and price. You still can't get a V8 engine, and more importantly, at $29,822, our loaded SR5 4X4 XtraCab was at least $3000 more than a comparable American truck, due to the vagaries of the yen and the dollar. Regardless of price, you get top quality with the Toyota T-100.

Order our 200+ page magazine of reviews. Send $8.00 (S&H included) to New Car Test Drive, 2145 Crooks Rd. Suite 200, Troy, MI 48084

© 1997 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

1997 Toyota T100 Truck

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std

Road Visibility

Intermittent Wipers Std


Alarm Opt
Printable Version

1997 Toyota T100 Truck

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles Service adjustment 12 months/12,500 miles (24 months/18,000 miles in New York)
Drivetrain 5 Years/60,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles

Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Warranty*

7-year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty**

1-year of Roadside Assistance***

160-Point Quality Assurance Inspection

CARFAX® Vehicle History ReportTM****

Certified customers are eligible for standard new car financing rates*****

*Whichever comes first from date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. The Comprehensive Warranty covers any repair or replacement of components which fail under normal use due to defect in materials or workmanship. (Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii.)

**Whichever comes first from original date of first use when sold as new. See your Toyota Certified Used Vehicles dealer for warranty details. Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii. For AL, FL, GA, NC & SC, warranty coverage differs in the following ways: 7-year or 100,000-mile Toyota Certified Limited Powertrain Warranty coverage begins on January 1st of the vehicle's model year and zero (0) odometer miles and expires at the earlier of seven years or 100,000 odometer miles.

***From date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. Covers most services, including flat tires, lockout service, jump starts, fuel delivery up to 3 gallons and towing for mechanical breakdown or collision recovery to the nearest Toyota dealership. Services provided exclude any parts required. Coverage not available in Mexico. See Certified Warranty Supplement for warranty details.

****Beginning December 1, 2005 CARFAX® Vehicle History ReportsTM are a required part of every Toyota Certified Used Vehicle. See your local dealer for details.

*****Rates mentioned are for standard new car rates, and do not include new car specials or subvented rates. Not all buyers will qualify. Financing available through Toyota Financial Services for qualified buyers only.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 7 years / 85,000
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection All TCUV vehicles must pass a comprehensive checklist that includes a 160-point inspection. This way you can rest assured that your pre-owned Toyota is in perfect condition. To see full inspection list visit http://www.toyotacertified.com/inspection.html
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance 1-year of Roadside Assistance from date of TCUV purchase.
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $50

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

1997 Toyota T100 Truck

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