Trucks & SUVs

Is the 2020 Toyota Tacoma Base Model Worth Buying?

Is the cheapest 2020 Toyota Tacoma base model worth buying? Does the base model come with enough standard features to be a valuable choice, or do you need to upgrade to higher trim levels like the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro for all the bells and whistles? Let’s find out! 

What comes with the Toyota Tacoma base model? 

The 2020 stock Toyota Tacoma starts around $26k, making it a little pricier than the Ford Ranger, which starts around $24k, but cheaper than the Honda Ridgeline that starts around $33k. So the price is pretty competitive. 

2020 Toyota Tacoma off-roading in sand
2020 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

The standard Toyota Tacoma engine is a 2.7-liter four-cylinder option that provides 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and comes in rear-wheel drive. So, you don’t get the full capability of four-wheel-drive, but rear-wheel drive provides sportier handling. 

2020 Toyota Tacoma base model performance 

The 2020 Toyota Tacoma base model can tow up to 3,500 lb, which is about half of what higher trim options can tow. If you upgrade, you’ll gain the ability to tow up to 6,800 lb when properly equipped. 

When driving the base model, the handling is fine, but the acceleration is notably sluggish. Upgrading to the 3.5-liter V6 engine for 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque isn’t a bad idea. Also, adding a four-wheel drive for about $3k is a little expensive. Most vehicles provide the 4X4 option for about $2k. 

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Drivers of the base model note that the standard suspension is lacking compared to the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, which has a beefier off-roading suspension and FOX TRD tuned shocks. The base model Tacoma comes with Bilstein shocks. 

2020 Toyota Tacoma hauling a boat
2020 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

You still get the deck rail system with four adjustable tie-down cleats and four fixed cargo bed tie-down points. You also get 16” steel wheels. The base model Toyota Tacoma is pretty barebones. It seems like a work truck for fleets. 

2020 Toyota Tacoma base model features 

The base model Toyota Tacoma doesn’t come with a keyfob, which is a little frustrating. You have to unlock it from the outside manually. However, the sliding rear window with privacy glass is nice. 

2020 Toyota Tacoma off-roading through sand
2020 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

You get an analog display instead of a digital cluster display, but it still shows the weather. Also, it comes with basic cloth seats that are manually adjustable. However, they do provide excellent lumbar support. 

The infotainment center is better than expected. It can connect to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Alexis, Google Assistant, and more, which has a modern feel. The Ford F-Series trucks don’t have infotainment centers in their base models. 

2021-Toyota-Tacoma-Trail-Edition
2021-Toyota-Tacoma-Trail-Edition

Also, a fair amount of safety features is included with the base model. You get Toyota Safety Sense, which includes a pre-collision system, pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, lane-departure alert, and dynamic radar cruise control. You can pay more to get blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alerts.  

The 2020 Toyota Tacoma base model seems like an OK deal. It provides a little more than rivals do, and it isn’t the most expensive option. It’s a durable work truck with modern tech and comfort. But if you spend a little more, you get a few extra amenities and a power boost.