Get ready to fall in love with “The Taco”
There are die-hard loyalists for nearly every automotive brand out there. Heck, people still wax poetic about Saab and you can’t even buy those anymore. It doesn’t matter. Loyalty is loyalty. Truck people, however, take loyalty to a whole new level and will argue with their dying breath that their truck is the best.
Enter the Toyota Tacoma. Known fondly as the Taco, people love this little truck and they especially love taking it off-road.
What’s new for 2020?
The current generation of the Tacoma was all-new for 2016 so what you see today has been around awhile. Toyota did decide to give things a bit of a refresh this year with an updated design and new infotainment system. It includes either a 7-inch or 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa. Small details, but they make a big difference in a world where connectivity counts.
There’s a range of six trims so you can get your Taco in exactly the right flavor for your needs. There’s the SR, for those who want a more basic truck without unnecessary frills; or the SR5, which is one step up the trim ladder and adds extra amenities. Sitting at the top of the lineup is the Limited if you want a more luxurious experience for passengers.
In between you have the most rugged options of the lot, all of which get the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) badge. Choose from the Sport TRD, TRD Off-Road, or TRD Pro, which is the version of the Tacoma we had the opportunity to drive.
It’s powered by a 3.5-liter V6 with 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque paired to either a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual.
Yes, you read that right: it has an available manual transmission.
We took a manual transmission Tacoma off-road last fall and can vouch for its capability and fun factor in the dirt. Those who don’t want to have to deal with the fancy footwork will be perfectly happy with the automatic.
Time to get dirty
This truck is designed for the off-road set, which means it’s a little bouncy on the pavement. Potholes and uneven road surfaces won’t go unnoticed and there’s a fair amount of road noise. If you’re looking to eliminate those inconveniences, then avoid the TRD trims. On the other hand, if you want to go play in the mud, the TRD Pro is the trim for you.
It gets standard four-wheel drive with an automatic limited slip differential, TRD-tuned off-road suspension with 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass coil-overs and rear remote reservoir shocks, 16-inch TRD Pro black alloy wheels with all-terrain tires, front skid plate, and multi-terrain select with crawl control. That’s a hefty dose of off-road capability and it all comes together when you venture past the pavement.
Also new this year is the Multi-terrain Monitor, which is standard on the TRD Pro. At the press of a button, it displays front, rear, and side views around the truck right on the infotainment screen. This makes navigating off-road surfaces easier and removes the worry that you’ll miss something hiding in your path.
Veteran or newbie, the Tacoma will take you wherever you want to go
While some trucks look like they can take on rugged terrain, the Tacoma TRD Pro actually can handle going off-road. If you want to climb up a rock-strewn hillside, clamber across uneven terrain, or take a trip through the mud, the Tacoma does it and it does it with ease.
It’s a great choice whether you’re new to off-roading or a hardened veteran. The Tacoma has the capability to tackle challenging terrain, but it won’t make the process a stressful one for new drivers. If you want to learn, then the Tacoma is ready to teach.
Pricing for the 2020 Toyota Tacoma starts at $26,050 for the base trim. If you want the impressive capability of the TRD Pro, then you’re looking at $43,960.