I'm gonna vote for the Tacoma. I had a '07 access cab with a 2.5" OME and 33's. The thing was a blast to wheel and drive, and averaged 19.5 MPG with the tires. It had a ton of power, and towed well. I sold it with 210K on the clock. I wouldn't hesitate to own another.
Newer mid-size trucks have capabilities surpassing that of older full-size half-tons. If you're convinced an American vehicle is what you want, you have the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon, Dodge Dakota (can get a 4.7L V8), or a Ford Ranger. They're comparable to the Tacoma, except not as good in all categories. Less ground clearance, power/weight, efficiency.
2006 LJ - 4.0L, NSG370, 31's
2001 XJ - 4.0L, AW4, 3.5" lift, 31's
1997 TJ - 2.5L, AX5, 2.5" lift, 32's - Sold
1983 CJ-5 - Stock - Sold
[URL="http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/tj-tech-boot-camp-must-read-new-tj-owners-forum-members-722109/"]TJ Boot Camp[/URL]