The Toyota Tacoma S-Runner, produced from 2001 to 2004, was a short-lived performance truck that offered a spirited driving experience with its lowered suspension and standard manual transmission.
- The S-Runner is a sporty version of the Tacoma PreRunner.
- S-Runner was produced from 2001-2004.
- Features a 3.4L V6 engine pushing out 190 horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque.
- Tokico suspension upgrades provides sports-car-like handling.
- Only 200-800 S-Runners were produced each month.
- The S-Runner could not compete with other trucks in the segment.
If you’ve ever seen the S-Runner Toyota Tacoma, you know how special this pickup is. While this truck is not easy to find, some are on the road today.
This guide touches on everything that makes the Tacoma S-Runner unique. We look at the specs, availability, and pricing.
What Is the S-Runner?
The term “S-Runner” doesn’t have a clear-cut explanation. Here’s one possibility found from CustomTacos:
“There’s no clear explanation for the meaning of the name ‘S-Runner.’ The generally-accepted story is that the ‘S’ stands for ‘Sport,’ and the name ‘S-Runner’ was designed to be reminiscent of the related ‘PreRunner’ and ‘4Runner’ model names.
This possibility is consistent with the explanation found on the Toyota PressRoom stating, “The term S-Runner is a sport version of the Tacoma PreRunner.”
The Toyota Tacoma S-Runner was produced from 2001 through 2004. It was meant for drivers looking for more sportiness with their trucks. According to MotorTrend, the original MSRP for this truck was $19,400 in 2001.
Here are a few other key points about the S-Runner worth mentioning:
- S-Runner was discontinued when the TRD Off-Road Package became available in 2005
- Because it was a special edition, not many were produced
- A dealer-installed Toyota Racing Development (TRD) body kit was available for drivers who wanted a more extreme look to the S-Runner
- Ground clearance is two inches lower than the standard 2WD Tacoma truck
It’s possible that the S-Runner was used as test production to see how well drivers would respond to sport trucks.
S-Runner vs. PreRunner
The S-Runner and PreRunner may have similar names, but the two also contain many differences. Most notably:
- PreRunner was produced longer than S-Runner. The PreRunner model years are from 1998-2015, while the S-Runner was only made for the 2001-2004 model years.
- S-Runner is lower to the ground because the PreRunner is designed for off-roading.
- Engine options were different, the PreRunner used a 2.7L 4-cylinder through 2004 until the 4.0L V6 was released.
- Both trucks had a five-speed manual transmission, but the PreRunner received an upgraded six-speed manual in 2004 when the engine got upgraded.
- While the S-Runner could only be equipped with the Xtracab, the PreRunner had several other options throughout the years. It was available with Xtracab, the Regular cab in 1999, and the Double cab in 2001.
There are two distinct similarities between both trucks. Not only did they have 16” alloy wheels, but they both came equipped with double wishbone suspensions.
Features and Specifications
Considering the Toyota Tacoma S-Runner was only available for a few years, you can expect the same basic specs among all of them. Here are some notable specs worth mentioning.
- 3.4L V6 engine (190 hp, 220 lb-ft of torque)
- 5-speed manual transmission
- Rear-wheel drive (RWD)
- Double wishbone suspension
- Tokico gas-pressure shock absorbers, springs, antiroll bars, and bushings
- Maximum towing capacity: 3,500 pounds
- Max payload capacity: 1,373 pounds
- Fuel economy: 16 mpg city/20 mpg highway/18 mpg combined
- Impulse Red Pearl
- Imperial Jade Mica
- Black Sand Pearl
- Radiant Red
- Mystic Gold Metallic
- Lunar Mist Metallic
- Heated mirrors
- 16” alloy wheels
- 235/55R16 tires
- Cloth sport front seats
- Power lumbar driver seat
- 6-speaker stereo with AM/FM/Cassette
- Power doors
- Leather/tilt steering wheel
- Leather shift knob
- Variable intermittent wipers
- Available interior colors include Charcoal and Oak
What Makes It Special
The Tacoma S-Runner has a following even though there weren’t many made. There are several reasons for the enthusiasm.
- Only 200-800 models were produced each month, making it rare
- Suspension is made for street performance
- Handling feels like a sports car
- The high-powered motor makes the truck quick
- The exterior appearance is unique with its lower suspension
If you are looking for a used Tacoma S-Runner, they aren’t easy to find. Considering that Toyota made a maximum of 800 trucks per month through production, there weren’t many on the roads even when they were new.
You may not find one if you want to purchase an S-Runner online. Autorader.com shows nearly 30,000 Tacoma trucks for sale, but not one S-Runner. You may have better success looking at your local Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. You may also create an alert online to have the site email you whenever a matching Tacoma gets posted.
autozin.com does show multiple S-Runners for sale. Here are some prices we found.
- Lowest: $1,043 for S-Runner with 251,575 miles
- Highest: $15,995 for S-Runner with 107,573 miles
- Average: $9,246
The fewer miles on the truck, the higher the price usually is. That’s why running a KBB value report on any truck you want to buy is essential. You’ll notice how the value fluctuates with mileage and the truck’s condition.
For example, according to KBB, a used 2001 S-Runner with 157,853 miles has a typical listing price of $9,842. This truck shows a fair market value is between $7,278 and $10,205.
Now that you have more information about the S-Runner specs and possible prices, it’s time to look at some fun facts you may not know.
- Some drivers take them to open track events. While most sanctioning bodies won’t let you race it, you can play on the track with it.
- Toyota attempted to break into the sport truck segment with the S-Runner as its guinea pig.
- Despite having a following, the S-Runner couldn’t compete with other trucks in the segment. It never became as popular as the Chevy S-10 Xtreme or other sports trucks.
What People Are Saying
Even though there aren’t many people with an S-Runner, there are still some strong opinions about the model. Let’s dive into what drivers think of this truck.
User richterf on Toyota Nation said this in 2004. “Just took delivery on an ’04 Tacoma S-Runner — beautiful pearl black, with blackout everything. Five-speed V-6 really steps out; I love it. Nearly no one at the dealership had ever even heard of it before I found it on the Toyota website. It is what I was looking for.”
User BusyCartographer0 posted on Reddit, “I have a 2003 S-Runner. I got it with 45K miles on it in 2019. It’s been great but I think I’m going to have to replace the clutch soon.”
On another Reddit forum, user jt325i said, “I really like the older S-Runner and X-Runners. Hardly see them. I really wish Toyota would do a remake on the Gen 3 but I am guessing it won’t happen.”
Based on these quotes, it’s clear that people who have driven or own the S-Runner are happy with its performance. So much so that some wish Toyota would bring it back. It would be interesting to see what a new S-Runner would be equipped with.
Frequently Asked Questions
Looking for a Long-Lost S-Runner
Don’t be discouraged if you want one of these older Tacoma models to enjoy. You may stumble into a great deal near you with a little due diligence and some patience.
Also, let some local Toyota dealerships know what you are looking for. They are usually willing to help search rare models out for a fee.