The Toyota T100 pickup was launched on the US market in 1992. It was the first full-sized pickup introduced in the United States and featured a full-size 8 feet bed.
The truck was slightly bigger than the Dodge Dakota, but was also smaller than other large pickups found on the market. Thanks to this fact, the T100 occupied its own position in the trucks hierarchy.
The Toyota T100 wasn’t offered with an Xtracab configuration and there was also no V8 option available in a time when every respectable full sized pickup truck was offered with such a strong unit under its hood. At the launch the only engine available was a 3.0 liter V6, but along the way there were added more units.
For its time the Toyota T100 had a pretty dull design with clean body panels and a robust appearance.
The radiator grille received two horizontal stripes and bared a small company badge in its center. The headlights were pretty simple but they featured a shiny chromed edge which made them look slightly upscale. More chrome can be found on the bumper that was fitted with a small air intake and continued the robust design found at the rest of the truck.
The front and rear wheel arches were pretty muscular to give the truck a purposeful stance, while the ground clearance was also pretty high (9.3-inch) betraying the off road abilities of the vehicle.
Around the back you can find a set of vertically placed taillights and a useful footstep integrated into the bumper.
As most trucks of its time, the Toyota T100 had a pretty rudimentary cab. Perhaps it goes without saying that every plastic was rock hard and most of the materials were pretty cheap. Toyota however has always received good marks in the build quality department and the old T100 makes no exception as it feels fairly solid and ready to withstand the punishment of arduous working conditions.
We also like the fluid design of the dashboard which gave the cabin a touch of sportiness in a time when most of the pickup cabs were pretty dull and agricultural.
The center console had a basic layout and all controls were at their right place, being pretty easy to reach. We don’t have any complains about the steering wheel either, as despite its basic design it offered a good grip. The gear knob however wasn’t the most comfortable unit you’d find around and was placed pretty odd, being hard to use.
The seats were also on the basic side of things, but they had a few common sense adjustments to make your life on board easier.
Once you get cozy behind the wheel you are met by a spartan instrument cluster which features a rudimentary design, but it’s fairly clear and easy to read.
You’ll be also happy to know that the all around visibility is top notch thanks to the massive windscreen and the plate sized door mirrors.
For its time, the Toyota T100 was offered with a pretty long list of equipments which included dual vanity mirrors, power windows and locks, driver front and side airbags, AM/FM-cassette audio system, storage console, tilt wheel and cruise control.
Engines and performance
At the launch, the Toyota T100 was available with a 3.0 liter V6 engine which developed 150 hp and 180 lb.ft. of torque. After a year, Toyota introduced a more efficient 2.7 liter engine which had the same power and torque outputs as the first unit.
Due to the lack of interest caused by the weak engines, Toyota decided to spice things up a little and in 1995, has introduced a 3.4 liter V6 which came with 190 hp and 220 lb.ft of torque. The new V6 offered a decent amount of punch and enabled you to move this truck with enough authority to keep you satisfied.
During the T100’s life span, there were numerous rumors about the possible introduction of a V8 unit but they’ve never came true. In 1997 however, there was introduced a supercharged 3.4 liter engine which cranked out 260 hp and 250 lb.ft of torque.
The engines were mated on a five speed manual transmission that offered pretty good performances, being well suited for the utilitarian nature of the truck.
Ride and handling
The truck’s four wheel drive system was pretty refined and worked quietly without being as noisy as other system found in the segment. The handling was pretty solid and compared to its rivals, the Toyota T100 had well control body lean.
The light power steering was almost car-like and offered accurate turns at both high and low speeds.
Thanks to the stiff body construction, the chassis didn’t flex when you’d go over potholes and the steering remains accurate. Moreover, there aren’t any unwanted shakes or rattles.
In mid 90s there were stronger and faster trucks than the Toyota T100, but the Japanese pickup had its own strong points.
The cabin was pretty modern and ergonomically designed while the overall build quality was also part of the first class. It’s true that there were no V8s on offer, but the V6 units did their jobs just fine and also offered decent fuel consumption.
The Toyota T100 had one of the best handling in its class and was also fitted with a wide range of high tech features. Not to mention about Toyota’s great reputation for reliability.