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

Nancy J. Delong

For sixteen decades, the Toyota Tacoma has sat atop the midsize pickup truck gross sales charts many thanks in part to its sterling name and excellent resale value. Even as the midsize truck class has grown in the latest decades 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 good seems to be, a good deal of utility and suitable on- and off-road capabilities. And just after expending a 7 days with what is now a six-calendar year-outdated truck, I am reminded all over again of all the matters that lead to the Tacoma’s long lasting enchantment. 

Like

  • Rugged styling
  • Sleek V6
  • Composed experience

Don’t Like

  • Minimal headroom
  • Not wonderful fuel financial system
  • Will get dear

Rugged seems to be

Even even though the current-generation Tacoma is receiving outdated, it truly is still an beautiful rig. The blockier seems to be are even far more beefed up on my TRD Off-Street tester with a very cool Army Eco-friendly paint occupation and contrasting black fender trim. Throw in slick sixteen-inch wheels wrapped in meaty Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Experience tires, black tube measures and TRD skid plates, and this truck seems to be far more than prepared to play in the dirt.

Inside of the Taco, the squared-off sprint carries on the rugged design concept, and considerably of the cabin is created from acres of really hard, nicely grained plastics that are simple to thoroughly clean and ought to search good for decades to appear. Don’t fret, it truly is not all really hard plastic all the time, with key touchpoints like the steering wheel and change knob wrapped in leather-based and armrests covered in padded vinyl. The entrance seat cushions are organization and their negligible bolstering allows them to accommodate a wide variety of system kinds.

As a shorter 5-foot, six-inch person, I have zero issues with room or finding a relaxed seating placement at the rear of the Tacoma’s wheel, even so, I can see why my taller co-workers have experienced challenges in this article. There is not a ton of headroom in possibly row and rear legroom in my Double Taxi tester is just not palatial. Again, if 4 or 5 Jon Wongs have to have to go someplace, they will be good. 4 or 5 Craig Coles or Andrew Kroks, even so, is going to be a unique and a lot less relaxed story.

Storage room is admirable with huge doorway pockets, centre console cubbies, a first rate-sized centre armrest console, mammoth glove box compartment and a pair of hidden bins underneath the rear seat’s lessen cushions. Of program, you can find the 5-foot-extended bed out back again, fitted with a molded liner and tie-down bedrail that’ll surely appear in useful for household improvement source or flat pack home furniture operates.

Suitable tech

Most Tacoma models function an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment method. Foundation Tacoma SR models are the only kinds that really don’t have this display and instead get a seven-inch device, although goodies these kinds of as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa are finally common across the board. In addition, my tester comes with a JBL audio set up, navigation, Wi-Fi hotspot and Bluetooth.

Nothing specific to search at, but it truly is obtained common Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

The TRD Off-Road’s eight-inch touchscreen does consider a obvious 2nd to change between menu screens and determine navigation routes. The menu layouts them selves are easy to perform by means of, but much from visually riveting. My favored factor of the method is that Toyota maintains the bodily shortcut buttons that flank each sides of the display to conveniently get to the most employed menus like the household, audio and map screens.

To juice up any clever equipment, the TRD Off-Street has a twelve-volt outlet and wi-fi charge pad at the foundation of the centre console, although there are USB-A and USB-C ports in the centre armrest. Regrettably, backseat travellers really don’t have any ability ports inside of simple achieve.

On the safety tech entrance, the Toyota Protection Sense suite of functions is common issue on all Tacomas. That consists of automated unexpected emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise command, lane-departure warning and auto high beams. Blind-spot checking and rear cross-targeted visitors alerts are readily available as possibilities and mounted on my TRD Off-Street.

The Tacoma’s cabin has a wide variety of ability points up entrance, but almost nothing inside of simple achieve in back again.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

Rides like a truck

Toyota features two engines in the Tacoma, with a foundation two.seven-liter I4 churning out 159 horsepower and 180 pound-toes of torque furnishing ample ability. The TRD Off-Street and other better trims appear with a three.5-liter V6 creating 278 hp and 265 lb-ft. The V6 features sufficient grunt off the line but feels the most energetic from approximately three,five hundred rpm on up, creating simple adequate perform of expressway merging and passing. And when it truly is time to do genuine perform, my take a look at truck can pull up to six,four hundred lbs with a payload score of one,one hundred fifty five lbs.

Traditionalists will be happy to know that Tacomas can be experienced with a 6-pace handbook transmission, but my tester is outfitted with an optional 6-pace automated that assists return a much-from-impressive EPA-believed eighteen mpg in the metropolis and 22 mpg on the freeway. In genuine entire world tests, I observed 19 mpg.

For the most part, the gearbox returns fluid, speedy-adequate and well-timed shifts fitting for a pickup. However, once in a while a rogue, clunky downshift transpires when slowing down and receiving back again on the throttle right before coming to a complete end.

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


Jon Wong/Roadshow

The spotlight to the Tacoma TRD Off-Street is all the components to make it take care of greater, well, off-road. That record consists of part-time 4-wheel-push (two-wheel-push is also readily available), a locking rear differential, specially tuned suspension with Bilstein shocks, Goodyear tires, hill-start help and Crawl Management which is in essence small-pace off-road cruise command to allow motorists target on steering by means of rock hurdles. 

Regrettably, the extent of my off-roading requires rolling on unpaved tons, but I can say that it is just not half lousy on road. Confident, matters get choppy more than bumps right before the system recovers and all around corners the Tacoma isn’t going to significantly flop all around. The steering is direct (for a truck), the brakes are robust and grabby at 1st and you can find some tire noise to discuss off, but all advised, the Tacoma is  totally sensible for daily drives. If on-road experience high quality is a prime precedence, perhaps really don’t buy the TRD Off-Street trim. Or perhaps go buy a Honda Ridgeline instead.

How I would spec it

As considerably as I adore the seems to be of the Tacoma TRD Pro and the cool factor of understanding it can go nearly any where off road, the $forty five,000 foundation price tag connected to the king-of-the-hill design is steep. As an alternative, I would stick with an Army Eco-friendly TRD Off-Street Double Taxi with 4-wheel push and a 5-foot bed like my take a look at truck. I would even preserve the automated transmission given that it’d be a daily driver, with a price that starts at $38,705 which includes spot. 

This Tacoma TRD Off-Street as-analyzed stickers for nearly $forty seven,000.


Jon Wong/Roadshow

From there, I’ll toss on a $two,790 High quality Audio and Navigation bundle that also consists of the Know-how Package for must-haves these kinds of as blind-spot checking, rear cross-targeted visitors notify, nicer audio method and LED headlights to substitute the common Tacoma halogen set up. To more costume the outside the house and increase perform, I want the $469 oval tube measures, $499 TRD entrance skid plate, $a hundred and sixty black emblem overlays and $129 mudguards. And finally, inside I’ll pony up $169 for all-weather conditions rubber flooring mats, bringing my Tacoma’s base line to $42,921. Much from low cost, but it truly is more affordable than the $forty six,894 truck pictured in this article.

True to its roots

When some on the Roadshow staff members go on to be baffled at the Tacoma’s recognition, I assume I have a good comprehending of why it truly is so prosperous. Moreover dependability and resale, the Tacoma is a easy and easy truck. It seems to be like a truck, drives like a truck and features respectable towing and hauling capabilities, although packing adequate creature comforts to make it livable. Nothing far more. Nothing a lot less.

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