If you only need a truck for light towing work, a compact pickup truck will get the job done while saving you some money from a bigger engine. These trucks are also better for all-terrain adventures because of their lighter mass, which lets drivers get more ground clearance. The base Toyota Tacoma has many standard features to accommodate off-road enthusiasts and excellent reliability ratings.
For those who want a truck with the best off-roading capability, the Tacoma TRD Pro is the best option. However, this truck will cost a few thousand dollars more than the base offering, so is it worth your money? Here’s how its extra features improve the overall driving experience, according to MotorTrend.
The base Tacoma, without all the added features, will cost around $27,000. For the TRD Pro trim, expect to pay a little more than $44,000. This makes it the most expensive trim available.
With the TRD Pro, you get a new grille, skidplate, hood scoop, a snorkel, 2.5-inch shocks, black wheels, LED lights, and a higher suspension lift. The model that was used in this test also got some additional upgrades, like a 7-inch infotainment screen and rock rails. These add-ons brought this Tacoma’s total price to $51,150.
A great off-roader
All the extra features make the TRD Pro excellent for adventures off the beaten path. Four-wheel drive is standard, as well as active traction control, a locking rear differential, crawl control, and multi-terrain select. With its improved suspension, the truck can get up to 9.4 inches of ground clearance.
MotorTrend was particularly impressed by how well the Tacoma performed on desert terrain. Even over rough sand and unexpected hills, the truck never suffered any power decreases or loss of stability. The testers were able to climb hills smoothly and descend with little effort on their part.
The engine in the TRD Pro is a V6 3.5-liter engine capable of 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. In contrast, the base four-cylinder only puts out 159 hp, which will probably leave drivers stuck in tougher off-roading trails. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
In another test performed by MotorTrend, this combination didn’t help the truck perform tough work duties. However, both performed better in an off-road setting. The testers found that the power delivery was precise and they experienced minimal noise in the cabin.
Many safety features
The Tacoma got mostly good crash test scores from the IIHS and comes with a wide variety of standard safety offerings. Lane departure alert, cruise control, automatic high beams, forward collision alert, and pedestrian detection are all included. Blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, and rear cross-traffic alert were also included on the tested model. You can also add on a rearview camera to improve both daily driving and off-roading situations.
A lacking interior
The Tacoma TRD Pro definitely has a lot going for it, but it’s somewhat held back by its interior. Testers found that even the cab with the longest dimensions was too cramped for taller drivers in the cabin. The materials used are soft but durable, though some noted that Tacoma’s insides are not as luxurious as many new trucks on the market. Leather and heated seats are still available, but some competitors offer many more options.
It still has a good base infotainment system and plenty of upgrades, which helps the truck feel a little more upscale on the inside. However, off-roading is where the TRD Pro truly shines. If you can forgive its few downsides, this truck is well worth its bigger price tag.