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When it comes to the mid-size truck segment, the Toyota Tacoma remains a solid choice for anyone looking for a reliable and capable pickup. However, shopping for a Tacoma can be a little confusing considering there are different trim levels to choose from. We drove the 2021 Tacoma TRD Off Road for a week and realized that it comes with a lot of the features that most truck lovers would need. But is it the right one for you?

The Toyota Tacoma comes in six different trim levels

2021 Toyota Tacoma with TRD Lift Kit
2021 Toyota Tacoma with TRD Lift Kit | Toyota

For the 2021 model year, the Toyota Tacoma comes in six different trim levels: SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off Road, Limited, and TRD Pro. The good news is that the trim levels are spaced out well pricing and feature-wise, so buyers can typically choose the trim that fits their needs and budget without feeling like they’re missing out on something better.

For example, if you need the bare necessities like dual-zone climate control, a power-adjustable seat, as well as the Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver-assist features, then the Tacoma SR5 will work just fine. However, if you want to step into something a little more off-road-worthy, then you can opt for the Tacoma Off Road Sport.

For an additional $5,000, your Tacoma Off Road Sport is outfitted with a 360-degree view camera system, a set of 17-inch TRD wheels, and a premium audio system. But if you want to kick things up a notch, then you can get the Tacoma TRD Off Road.

What does the Tacoma TRD Off Road come with?

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma in the dirt
2021 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

If you’re an off-road enthusiast that likes to tackle the roads less traveled on the weekends, then the Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road could be the trim level for you. It adds to what the TRD Sport trim has with the addition of Crawl Control, Multi-Terrain Select, and an electronically controlled locking rear differential.

There are other comfort features included as well, like heated seats, leather-trimmed seating surfaces, and automatic headlights. If you opt for the Technology package, then you’ll also get other handy features like front and rear parking sensors. The only downside is that LED headlights are also part of an extra package as well.

The TRD lift kit

TRD Lift Kit Shocks | Toyota

Our tester was also outfitted with the TRD lift kit, which can be installed on any 2020-21 Tacoma excluding the TRD Pro models. The kit adds a two-inch lift in the front and one inch to the rear of the truck. In our everyday testing, we found that the lift kit provided a decent height adjustment that’s not too tall and it also stabilized the ride under all types of driving conditions.

The lift kit retails for $1,450 from Toyota and it requires installation from a Toyota dealer in order for the warranty to remain intact. If you’re thinking about lifting a Tacoma and don’t want to deal with piecing an aftermarket kit together, the TRD version is a good way to go.

Why not just get the TRD Pro?

Considering our 2021 Tacoma TRD Off Road tester with the TRD kit came in at around $48,000 as tested, you might be wondering if it’s better just to get the TRD Pro trim level instead. In addition, to the lift kit, our tester was outfitted with the TRD Premium package as well as the Technology package, which together bumped up the price by about $5,515.

That’s a big increase, and in that case, it would be better to get the TRD Pro model instead, which starts at around $44,000. But if you don’t need all of the fancy add-ons and can live with the TRD Off Road model (with a lift kit), then it could be the smarter trim package for you. Otherwise, spend a little more on the Tacoma TRD Pro.


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