Trucks & SUVs

Is It Worth It to Buy a Toyota Tacoma Without the TRD Package?

The Toyota Tacoma has always been a contender in the mid-size truck market. Originally launched in 1995 and enjoying its third generation of production today, the Tacoma is proving to be a fan favorite among consumers. The almost cult following of Tacoma owners have adoringly nicknamed it “Taco.” In reviewing the six available trim levels for the 2020 Toyota Tacoma, it had us wondering if buying the Tacoma without the TRD Package would be worth it.

In case you were wondering too, we thought we’d carve out the available options to help compare lower-level trims with the TRD extras.

What’s new for the 2020 Tacoma?

We wanted to highlight the upgrades you can expect for the 2020 Tacoma. There’s some new styling, including the different wheel options, a fresh roster of grille designs, and new taillights. All these new features aren’t just included in the Tacoma TRD trims either.

In-cabin technology saw the most significant enhancements, though. Standard upgrades include bigger touch screens, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, power driver’s seat, and a family of camera systems.

Standard for all

It’s important to note what features come standard across all Tacoma configurations. In addition to the previously highlighted tech upgrades, all versions of the pickup will also come with standard driving assistance features. Forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, auto high beams, adaptive cruise, and lane departure alerts are all standard.

A review of 6 available Tacoma trim levels

The Toyota Tacoma comes with a host of choices in trim levels, engine and transmission pairing, along with cabin and bed size. Check out some of the key features for each below. Included are estimated starting prices as well.

SR ($27,000): The base model Tacoma isn’t plain-Jane by any means. You can opt for an access cab (extended) or crew cab, five or six-foot bed, and rear-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive. You’ll have a 2.7-liter, four-cylinder engine offering 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, married to the six-speed auto transmission. You’ll have 16-inch wheels, a rugged composite bed, cloth interior, a 7-inch touchscreen, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

SR5 ($29,000): Take all the SR equipment and sprinkle in some chrome on the exterior, alloy wheels, remote keyless entry, and an 8-in touch screen, and voila. You have an SR5. The SR5 also offers an engine upgrade if you’d prefer the 3.5-liter V6. For those who like manual transmission, you have that option too.

TRD Sport ($34,000): Pretend you have an SR5, but the V6 is now standard. Add 17-inch alloy wheels and a power outlet in the bed. Geek out with keyless ignition and smartphone charging pad. That’s the Tacoma TRD Sport.

TRD Off-Road ($35,000): This level is nearly identical to the Tacoma TRD Sport, except for a few details. You’ll find some exterior differences with chrome rear bumper, black fender flares, and 16-inch wheels. The off-road add-ons include a lockable rear differential, advanced traction control, Bilstein monotube shocks, and crawl control.

  • Note: Both TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road crew cabs have upgrades available with option packages to add more. If you’re into side cameras, sunroofs, leather, or audio updates, you can do so.

Limited ($39,000): If you’re looking for a luxury feel, the Limited version of the Tacoma is your best bet. You can only have a crew cab, short bed configuration, with an option on two or four-wheel drive V6. You’ll love the 18-inch wheels and low-profile tires. You don’t get any of the off-road upgrades with the TRD packages. However, you’ll enjoy all the aforementioned tech and driver assistance capabilities.

TRD Pro ($44,000): Your truck will come only as a crew cab short bed 4×4 with the V6 engine. You will, however, be able to choose between automatic or manual transmission. It will be built out like the TRD Off-Road, with a few styling changes along with some off-road upgrades. All-terrain tires, bigger exhaust, a thicker skid plate, come standard. Oh, and it’s an inch taller, and you can have your Tacoma TRD Pro in Army Green if you like.

Should you buy a Tacoma with a TRD package?

Considering all the available standard equipment that comes with the base model Tacoma, it almost seems like the better buy. If you choose the SR5 and don’t plan to do much off-roading, it may be the best option.

It will ultimately be up to you in terms of how you plan to use your pickup, along with styling preferences. But, from what we can tell, for the money, you’re getting plenty of “Taco” at the SR and SR5 levels. If you really plan on taking your truck off-road often, then a Tacoma with a TRD package is a must.