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I had an 86 4runner for yeeeeears my mom bought it brand new off the lot, got close to 300,000 miles on it. I wish I would have kept it. A Tacoma is my next rig for sure.
tacomas are nasty trucks, not the most fuel efficent jap motor but that 4.0 v6 makes good power and with low gears it's all you really need unless your towing sleds or a boat or something but still it has pleanty of power for that. also pay the extra money and get the TRD model, it's got a locking rear differential which turns the vehicle from a truck to a tractor with the push of a button, not to mention bilstein HD shocks.
as far as fishtailing goes, all you have to do is get some good tires, i think BFG all terrains were mentioned? in my opinion those are the single best truck tire ever built i have gone through a few sets and they are pricey but worth their weight in gold. among being stellar preformers off road, in snow and ice, on the highway and everywhere inbetween one thing they're renound for is how long it takes to wear them out, they last forever.
whether you get yourself a set of those or not, keep your 18 gallon tank full (144 lbs.) and keep 3 or 4 five gallon buckets full of salt/sand (~200lbs.) with snap tops on them so you don't spill salty sand all over your bed and skis and end up rusting it all straped inside your bed, now that's almost 350 lbs. of weight you can use in a pinch, stuck or pulling someone out. get yourself a chain or a heavy duty tow strap that is imperitive
what does all of this mean? it means properly equipt tacoma TRDs are arguably the most capible, well suited, winter going trucks on the market.
(most of these features are availible on other midsize trucks too, nissan makes the frontier with a similar setup [nismo model]. i have an 02 s10 ZR-2 and it's got a locker in the rear, bilsteins, BFG all terrains, bigger motor too, but i pay for it at the pump with 18 mpg... honestly i'm not sure how much better your milage will be in the tacoma they are not really known for being fuel sippers, namely the v6's)
don't be fooled. auto sucks, it's sketchey in the winter all you have to slow your car down is your brakes which will lock up on a hill in the wrong situation. with a 5 speed you can control resistance you are putting against the wheels (essentially using the engine and transmission to control your decents) all by downshifting. not to mention it is way more fun to drive because you actually feel like you are operating a machine not just pressing a pedal for going and stopping, and only using your hands to steer with... it just makes driving much more interactive, not to mention being way safer in incliment weather
5speeds are a rare breed, hard to find in good shape with low miles and no rust but if you find one, snatch it up QUICK