Off-roading isn’t just for the mountains. Some drivers who like to explore the great outdoors in their truck head for the deserts rather than towering hills filled with lakes and streams.
For those who prefer sand to trees, finding the perfect truck may be a bit of a challenge, and Toyota rose to the challenge with the Tacoma TRD Pro.
Motor Trend, which prefers to put a vehicle through its paces before delivering a review, took the 2019 Tacoma TRD Pro out into the Mojave Desert to see how it stands up under real pressure, and here’s what they had to say.
What they liked
The Fox shocks on the Tacoma TRD Pro did a great job of keeping the ride smooth. Considering they were driving through a desert, that’s quite the compliment. It was also a fairly quiet ride.
Going over hills, rocks, and treacherous terrain that most vehicles couldn’t tackle provided no issues for the Tacoma TRD Pro.
The Motor Trend team was especially happy with the crawl control. According to Motor Trend, “It controls the braking on each wheel when going downhill. All the driver has to do is control the steering and select the speed at which he or she wants to go, and the Tacoma does the rest.”
This would be a great feature for drivers new to off-roading who may need those extra safety features until they gain more experience.
As far as using the gas pedal, Motor Trend reports that it was effortless to hold the pressure on the gas without pressing too hard. Considering that being forced to stomp the gas pedal to make it accelerate could cause you to inadvertently take a hill to quickly, this is a crucial feature.
What they hated
Motor Trend is never shy about sharing what they hate regarding a vehicle, and the Tacoma TRD Pro received no special treatment.
One of the biggest complaints revolved around head room. Several members of the Motor Trend team complained about hitting their head while trying to look out for obstacles. This isn’t a minor detail, as you can easily knock yourself out if you hit your head just right.
Something else they hated was the rock rails. The rails tended to be more trouble than they were worth, but this was something the Motor Trend team opted to add on, rather than something that is standard on the Tacoma TRD Pro.
The brakes and power train also proved troublesome. The features editor for Motor Trend, Christian Seabaugh stated, “Even the simple act of shifting the Toyota from park into drive results in a massive lurch from the truck.”
The interior is also lack luster. If you’re a fan of the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, unless you upgrade the Infotainment system yourself, you’re out of luck.
What other critics have to say
Like Motor Trend, Kelley Blue Book feels that the Tacoma is beginning to feel its age, and Toyota is doing little to keep up with the times. According to Kelley Blue Book, “The Tacoma’s aging platform can’t keep pace with the new Ford Ranger or Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon, meaning it doesn’t offer options like a diesel engine, power seats, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Those needing to tow more than 6,800 pounds should look to a full-size pickup.”
Edmunds shared the opinion that Toyota could have done a better job on the interior, but thought that the off-road ability more than makes up for it. In fact, Edmunds voted the Tacoma TRD Pro as one of the best off-road vehicles of 2019.
If you’re not interested in a lot of technology while you hit the great outdoors, the Tacoma TRD Pro might be for you. If not, there are certainly plenty of other options out there for you.