2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road review: A properly rugged midsize truck

Maria J. Danford

For sixteen several years, the Toyota Tacoma has sat atop the midsize pickup truck revenue charts many thanks in part to its sterling track record and great resale worth. Even as the midsize truck course has developed in new several years to to involve a reborn Ford Ranger and new Jeep Gladiator, the Toyota carries on to rule the roost with a Tacoma lineup that encompasses far more than 30 configurations all presenting excellent appears to be, plenty of utility and proper on- and off-street capabilities. And immediately after expending a week with what is now a 6-year-previous truck, I’m reminded yet again of all the issues that add to the Tacoma’s long lasting enchantment. 

Like

  • Rugged styling
  • Easy V6
  • Composed experience

Really don’t Like

  • Restricted headroom
  • Not good gasoline financial state
  • Gets dear

Rugged appears to be

Even however the recent-era Tacoma is acquiring previous, it is still an appealing rig. The blockier appears to be are even far more beefed up on my TRD Off-Road tester with a pretty interesting Army Inexperienced paint career and contrasting black fender trim. Throw in slick sixteen-inch wheels wrapped in meaty Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure tires, black tube measures and TRD skid plates, and this truck appears to be far more than prepared to enjoy in the filth.

Within the Taco, the squared-off dash carries on the rugged layout topic, and much of the cabin is crafted from acres of difficult, nicely grained plastics that are uncomplicated to clean and should really seem excellent for several years to appear. Really don’t get worried, it is not all difficult plastic all the time, with essential touchpoints like the steering wheel and change knob wrapped in leather and armrests included in padded vinyl. The entrance seat cushions are organization and their small bolstering permits them to accommodate a wide range of system kinds.

As a shorter 5-foot, 6-inch individual, I have zero problems with room or finding a comfortable seating placement driving the Tacoma’s wheel, on the other hand, I can see why my taller co-staff have had difficulties right here. There’s not a ton of headroom in both row and rear legroom in my Double Taxi tester is just not palatial. Once more, if four or five Jon Wongs have to have to go someplace, they’re going to be great. 4 or five Craig Coles or Andrew Kroks, on the other hand, is heading to be a diverse and significantly less comfortable story.

Storage room is admirable with huge doorway pockets, middle console cubbies, a good-sized middle armrest console, mammoth glove box compartment and a pair of hidden bins below the rear seat’s decreased cushions. Of system, there is the 5-foot-very long mattress out back, fitted with a molded liner and tie-down bedrail that’ll absolutely appear in handy for home advancement offer or flat pack furnishings runs.

Suitable tech

Most Tacoma versions aspect an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Base Tacoma SR versions are the only types that don’t have this display and instead get a 7-inch unit, when goodies this kind of as Apple CarPlay, Android Automobile and Amazon Alexa are ultimately regular throughout the board. In addition, my tester comes with a JBL audio setup, navigation, Wi-Fi hotspot and Bluetooth.

Very little unique to seem at, but it is acquired regular Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile now.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

The TRD Off-Road’s 8-inch touchscreen does take a recognizable next to switch in between menu screens and determine navigation routes. The menu layouts by themselves are simple to work by way of, but much from visually riveting. My favored factor of the system is that Toyota maintains the physical shortcut buttons that flank each sides of the display to simply get to the most applied menus like the home, audio and map screens.

To juice up any good gadgets, the TRD Off-Road has a 12-volt outlet and wireless charge pad at the foundation of the middle console, when there are USB-A and USB-C ports in the middle armrest. Unfortunately, backseat travellers don’t have any electrical power ports in uncomplicated attain.

On the security tech entrance, the Toyota Basic safety Perception suite of attributes is regular situation on all Tacomas. That contains automatic crisis braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise command, lane-departure warning and automobile higher beams. Blind-location checking and rear cross-website traffic alerts are offered as options and set up on my TRD Off-Road.

The Tacoma’s cabin has a wide range of electrical power details up entrance, but absolutely nothing in uncomplicated attain in back.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

Rides like a truck

Toyota provides two engines in the Tacoma, with a foundation 2.7-liter I4 churning out 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque providing ample electrical power. The TRD Off-Road and other better trims appear with a three.5-liter V6 generating 278 hp and 265 lb-ft. The V6 provides sufficient grunt off the line but feels the most energetic from roughly three,500 rpm on up, generating uncomplicated more than enough work of expressway merging and passing. And when it is time to do actual work, my check truck can pull up to 6,four hundred lbs . with a payload rating of one,a hundred and fifty five lbs ..

Traditionalists will be happy to know that Tacomas can be had with a 6-velocity guide transmission, but my tester is outfitted with an optional 6-velocity automatic that allows return a much-from-stunning EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the town and 22 mpg on the highway. In actual planet tests, I noticed 19 mpg.

For the most part, the gearbox returns fluid, swift-more than enough and effectively-timed shifts fitting for a pickup. On the other hand, occasionally a rogue, clunky downshift occurs when slowing down and acquiring back on the throttle ahead of coming to a total prevent.

Bilstein shocks give the Tacoma TRD Off-Road a leg up when venturing off pavement.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

The emphasize to the Tacoma TRD Off-Road is all the hardware to make it cope with superior, effectively, off-street. That checklist contains part-time four-wheel-travel (two-wheel-travel is also offered), a locking rear differential, specifically tuned suspension with Bilstein shocks, Goodyear tires, hill-start out aid and Crawl Regulate which is effectively small-velocity off-street cruise command to allow motorists concentration on steering by way of rock road blocks. 

Unfortunately, the extent of my off-roading consists of rolling on unpaved heaps, but I can say that it is just not 50 % lousy on street. Absolutely sure, issues get choppy around bumps ahead of the system recovers and close to corners the Tacoma won’t significantly flop close to. The steering is direct (for a truck), the brakes are solid and grabby at very first and there is some tire noise to communicate off, but all informed, the Tacoma is  totally reasonable for day-to-day drives. If on-street experience high-quality is a major priority, possibly don’t get the TRD Off-Road trim. Or possibly go get a Honda Ridgeline instead.

How I would spec it

As much as I appreciate the appears to be of the Tacoma TRD Professional and the interesting aspect of knowing it can go virtually everywhere off street, the $45,000 foundation cost tag hooked up to the king-of-the-hill model is steep. Rather, I would stick with an Army Inexperienced TRD Off-Road Double Taxi with four-wheel travel and a 5-foot mattress like my check truck. I would even keep the automatic transmission given that it’d be a day-to-day driver, with a cost that starts off at $38,705 such as location. 

This Tacoma TRD Off-Road as-examined stickers for virtually $forty seven,000.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

From there, I am going to toss on a $2,790 Top quality Audio and Navigation offer that also contains the Technology Bundle for will have to-haves this kind of as blind-location checking, rear cross-website traffic notify, nicer audio system and LED headlights to exchange the regular Tacoma halogen setup. To even further dress the exterior and include operate, I want the $469 oval tube measures, $499 TRD entrance skid plate, $one hundred sixty black emblem overlays and $129 mudguards. And ultimately, inside of I am going to pony up $169 for all-weather conditions rubber flooring mats, bringing my Tacoma’s bottom line to $42,921. Much from low cost, but it is less expensive than the $forty six,894 truck pictured right here.

True to its roots

Whilst some on the Roadshow team keep on to be baffled at the Tacoma’s attractiveness, I believe I have a excellent knowledge of why it is so effective. In addition to trustworthiness and resale, the Tacoma is a simple and easy truck. It appears to be like a truck, drives like a truck and provides respectable towing and hauling capabilities, when packing more than enough creature comforts to make it livable. Very little far more. Very little significantly less.

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