The new Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro: an off-road monster?

The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro has a slogan. Play harder. I guess after taking it off-road and trying to drive it as fast as I dared on bumpy trails, I get what they mean by it. Some trucks got bigger tires and sometimes you can be disappointed after taking them off-road. On the contrary, the new Tacoma is a game-changer. During this review, we drove the Tacoma TRD Pro on the streets, as well as through the California desert trails. We do honest and independent reviews, so, as always, you’ll find out what we like and don’t like about the new Tacoma. Shall we?

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro review and specs snorkel

From the outside, it’s not “just a Tacoma.” It’s bold, it’s got snorkel, or if we call it properly — Desert Air Intake Package. During the week of filming, we’ve been getting an instant thumbs-up for the color, the package, and also the snorkel. It’s got a bold exterior appearance with no “cheap and shiny plastic.” Skid plate with TRD logo, rigid industry lights, LED fog lamps — it’s all just screaming, “Take me off-road!” I couldn’t resist and you should check out our video to see it!

Off-road experience

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro review and specs off-road

You get to your destination, determine how “bumpy” it is, but when you get there you realize that it’s actually nothing for the Tacoma. I even got sad that we couldn’t find any other (more challenging) trails due to CA wildfires and most of the places being closed. With that being said — you should play harder. You must find the most challenging roads for this truck since it’s built for that and you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Guess what? An automatic car wash is no longer an option when you buy the new Tacoma. If you do, it’ll cause damage to the snorkel intake, so please don’t do it.

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro review and specs off road


Surprisingly, you can still get the Tacoma with the 6-speed manual but I have to say that I do like how this automatic gearbox works. From time to time it was a bit slow on downshifts but overall it’s balanced and fits this truck just perfectly. 

This Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is powered by a 3.5L V6 engine that produces 278 hp and 265 lb. ft. While Ford is powering the Ranger with an EcoBoost engine, this Tacoma still keeps the “good old school vibe” of having a classic V6. The engine feels like it’s got turbo especially when you’re touching the 5K RPMs. It pulls hard and even when you have a 4WD engaged it will keep traction control and stability control flashing on the dusty road even after 20-30 MPH. So yeah, it’s got power and yes it’s pretty lightweight, too (4,445 lbs).

Important numbers

Tacoma TRD Pro mpg

Here are some of the numbers for you to take note of. You can load 1155 pounds to the bed and you can tow up to 6400 pounds. It’s got a massive 21.1-gallon gas tank. It needs more fuel because the engine is not really efficient. Toyota says it can do 18MPG city and 22 HWY but we’ve got 17.1 MPG after driving for over 650 miles. It includes our off-road experience, city, highway driving — everything from the daily Tacoma diary.  The suspension would be something that makes this Tacoma unique. TRD-tuned off-road suspension with 2.5-in. FOX Internal Bypass coilovers and rear remote reservoir shocks. They do feel a bit floaty on freeways but take a little detour because this “sprinter” should exercise offroading skills daily. Also, if your Tacoma is not dirty — shame on you! You picked the wrong car.

Crawl Control and multi-terrain modes make different terrains easy. I think a multi-terrain monitor is something that should be in every off-road truck and that’s definitely a cool edition using the same 360-camera hardware. So why would you pay two times more for the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro instead of buying two “regular Tacomas?”

You already know about all the off-road gear it’s got, but when you roll down the window just for an inch and put your finger there, you can tell this body is seriously reinforced. Be extra careful doing this test with your truck because your results could be disappointing, and in some cases, you can even hurt your finger. 

Tech perks

android auto

It’s also got lots of versatility. You can drive it every day. Looks like Toyota themselves do like Tacoma that much so that they managed to fit Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into this “average” Toyota deck. By the way, this one comes with JBL that sounds great, and you can save time on a car wash if you play some tunes and take away some dust with this powerful base. One of my favorites is the rear sliding window and having a 400w 120v outlet mounted on the deck. It used to be a shortage of USBs in cars and nowadays we’ve missed the 12v even more. I would love to see another 12v on the back (besides only one upfront) because when I took it off-road I had to bring the fridge wire all the way from the rear seat to the front dash.

Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro apple car play

It’s also got a QI-wireless charger and I do like those TRD Pro mats. From the safety department, you’ve got the pre-collision system, blind spots, and a 360-camera. I do like that you can simply turn off all the traction control and stability control without learning magic tricks, like it used to be with Toyota vehicles before.  Toyota care with 2 years/25K miles maintenance is included. So what is this new Tacoma missing? I think a light bar would make it perfect. It’s already got everything you need for some serious off-road. This exhaust sounds relatively quiet but the soundtrack is awesome. I just think $50K for a smaller truck is a bit a lot but when you drive it for a week you see why would you have to pay this price tag.

The new Tacoma TRD Pro is direct proof that in this day and age you can still find unique cars that will raise your bar and go beyond your expectations. This Tacoma delivered something that I didn’t feel for a long time. Off-road experience that reminds me I need to raise the bar and play harder. 

Photos by Vera Sauchanka, LiveFEED®

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About The Author

Dennis Bindarau While changing the world of information, Dennis manages to find time for reviewing the newest cars and bikes, and also travel. He likes coffee, morning walk, and winter (spoiler alert: one of these is not true).

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