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Off-Road tested: 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

Written By | Jun 17, 2020

SEATTLE — Even though Ford did a rerelease of its Ranger pick-up and the Chevy Colorado have helped create more excitement in the mid-sized truck market, the Toyota Tacoma has been leading that market for years. And for good reason.

Photo by Duane Pemberton

With its 2020 Tacoma TRD Pro, Toyota maintains its dominance in this market segment with an extremely capable off-road-worthy truck. Our “Army Green” review unit is perhaps the coolest looking color we’ve seen on a Tacoma.

Photo by Duane Pemberton

Drivetrain:

Its powerplant is a 3.5-liter V6 that’s good for 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. The standard 6-speed automatic fared great on our test model and there is also a 6-speed manual transmission available as well. There’s no changes for this model year from the previous one when it comes to the 4×4 mechanics. It still uses a two-speed transfer case with a rear locking differential.

The automatic transmission in our test model feels perfect for its V6. Its gearing, combined with the gearing in the rear-end differential, provides for ample low speed torque. It shifted smoothly into each gear and never felt as if it had to hunt to be in the right place at the right time.




Photo by Duane Pemberton

Fuel economy isn’t the greatest on the Taco but it’s in-line with what we’d expect in this class of truck. The EPA gives it a rating of 18 miles per gallon in the city and up to 22 on the highway.

The base price is $47,786 with a $1120 destination fee.

Looks and inside:

Call it the Army Green color. Or maybe the updated LED and DRL headlights with an updated grille – but this 2020 TRD Pro screams off-road. It’s easily our pick for the best-looking mid-size truck out there.

Photo by Duane Pemberton

Toyota finally has brought some new tech into the Tacoma with an updated infotainment system that is powered by JBL audio. Its new,8-inch bright touchscreen is easy to use and includes Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa as well as Android Auto. Overall sound quality is pretty good – definitely good enough to crank some tunes while traversing trails.

You’ll also enjoy its Multi Terrain Monitor camera system that shows obstacles on the path to allow for an easier view of what’s immediately around the truck.

Photo by Duane Pemberton

All four seats are very supportive and comfortable. We’d like to see all four of them be power-adjustable, however that’s not the case. Plenty of leg-room abounds and even the back seats are a good place to be – even for adults.

Photo by Duane Pemberton

There’s a gamut of controls inside for various off-road conditions and even a meter that shows you to what degree the truck is banked at. The TRD team also augmented things with better FOX coil-over shocks, an under-belly skid plate and a snorkel that’s not supposed to be a snorkel. We should note, that Toyota is very instant that it’s “not a snorkel” but instead is a “desert air intake” — we can only assume they say this as to not be liable for any deep-water crossing that goes wrong.

Photo by Duane Pemberton

Off-road control:

Its low-range 4×4 mode, combined with crawl control allows you to easily have the truck essentially take itself up hills or slow crawl down a hill. You can literally take your feet off of the gas and brake- the crawl mode does it for you.

Photo by Duane Pemberton

On the road, you’ll likely find its off-road tires to be a bit noisy at freeway speeds and its sterling to be a bit lackluster. But again, get this truck off of the pavement and onto the dirt and those dynamics all make sense.

Make no mistake about it, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is not meant to be a pavement princess. By its very DNA, it is meant to take you to places only dreams were made of.



Duane Pemberton

Duane Pemberton is a lifestyle writer and CDNs Auto Editor. Pemberton loves anything that helps bring people together which is why he writes about food, wine, cars, and travel.