Classic off-roader style and capability, now with modern tech

First introduced back in 1995, the Toyota Tacoma is currently in its third generation. With nearly a quarter century of history behind it, the Tacoma nameplate is well-established as one of the most unbreakably rugged and reliable vehicles on the planet, and now this mid-size pickup is headed for a refresh for the 2020 model year. The latest Tacoma is framed as the “best-equipped ever,” and in TRD guise, it looks to mate its traditional off-roading chops in the rough stuff with newfound comfort and tech appointment in the cabin. However, considering the latest third-generation made its debut back in 2015, as well as a major influx of competition throughout the segment, does the 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD still manage to keep pace?

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Exterior Styling

  • Mid-size dimensions
  • Styling inspired by Toyota’s off-road racing efforts
  • LED lighting throughout
  • 16- and 17-inch wheels
  • Optional Army Green paintTwo body styles - Access Cab and Double Cab
2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Exterior
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In 2004, the Toyota Tacoma made the jump from compact to mid-size dimensions following its second-generation update, and the 2020 model year keeps the status quo in that respect.

However, Toyota was compelled to update the Tacoma’s styling for the 2020 model year, taking inspiration from the brand’s desert racing truck program.

That said, the 2020 Tacoma TRD’s exterior upgrades are relatively modest when placed side-by-side with the outgoing model. Highlights include a fresh array of LED lighting throughout, a slightly revised grille, and a set of all-new wheel designs.

Let’s start with the TRD Sport model, which comes equipped with new 17-inch rollers in the corners. Moving around to the rear, the TRD Sport also comes with chrome taillight graphics, while the fascia is brightened by LED fog lights. Further LED lighting is used for the daytime running lights and headlights as well.

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Exterior
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Up next, we have the Tacoma TRD Off-Road, which also gets a new grille design, chrome taillight graphics, LED fog lights, and LED daytime running lights with LED headlight illumination.

Finally, there’s the range-topping Tacoma TRD Pro grade, which gets the most updates with the latest 2020 model year refresh.

Up front, you’ll find sequential LEDs for the daytime running lights in the headlight housings, plus LED fog lights from Rigid Industries as standard.

There’s also black graphics for the taillights. Meanwhile, the corners are stuffed with new 16-inch wheels, which are a little over four pounds lighter than the previous TRD Pro’s wheels. While four pounds might not sound like a lot, it’s a pretty significant reduction when applied to the truck’s unsprung running gear, and it should help the TRD Pro in terms of maneuverability both on and off the road.

Buyers interested in the 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro will have the option to drape it in Army Green paint, which is exclusive to this particular model year and trim level.

The rest of the range will be offered in exterior colors like Super White, Midnight Black Metallic, and Magnetic Gray Metallic.

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Exterior
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As before, Toyota will offer its range of Tacoma TRD trim levels with the option for two different body styles.

The first is the Access Cab, which comes with two doors, a 127.4-inch wheelbase, and a 73.7-inch (6.1-foot) long bed.

Alternatively, you can get the Double Cab style, which adds two rear doors for improved ingress and egress. Go for the Double Cab, and you’ll have the option for either a 127.4-inch wheelbase and a 60.5-inch (5-foot) bed, or a 140.6-inch wheelbase with a 73.7-inch (6.1-foot) bed. All bed options are 41.5 inches wide and 19.1 inches deep.

It’s also worth noting that the Tacoma uses sheet-molded composite deck for the inner bed construction, which means the walls are 10-percent lighter than a steel-based alternative.

As for the competition, the new Ford Ranger is offered with either a two-door SuperCab configuration and 6-foot box, or a four-door SuperCrew configuration and 5-foot box. Meanwhile, the Jeep Gladiator is offered with four-doors and a 5-foot bed, while the Chevrolet Colorado can be had with a two-door Extended Cab Long Box (6.2-foot bed), four-door Crew Cab Short Box (5.1-foot bed), or four-door Crew Cab Long Box (6.2-foot bed).

2020 Toyota Tacoma Exterior Dimensions

Overall Height 70.6 inches
Overall Width 74.4 inches
Overall Length 212.3 inches (standard bed), 225.5 inches (long bed)
Wheelbase 127.4 inches (standard bed), 140.6 inches (long bed)
Bed Length 73.7 inches, 60.5 inches
Bed Height 19.1 inches
Bed Width 41.5 inches
Front Track 63 inches
Rear Track 63.2 inches
Front Track (TRD Pro) 64 inches
Rear Track (TRD Pro) 64 inches

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Interior Design

  • Seating for up to five passengers
  • 10-way power adjusting seats
  • Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa support
  • 8.0-inch touschreen in the dash
  • Multi-Terrain Monitor from the Toyota Land Cruiser
  • Standard JBL audio higher in the range
  • Standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 tech suite
  • Optional LED bed lamp
2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro – Driven High Resolution Interior
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Just like the outgoing model, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD offers seating for five with the Double Cab configuration, and seating for four with the Access Cab configuration.

However, one criticism often thrown towards the nameplate is a lack of luxury and modern features.

However, the latest 2020 model year hopes to rectify that across the board thanks to a host of new multimedia technology and additional comfort and convenience equipment.

Headlining the list is new 10-way adjustable power seats, while onboard infotainment now includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa support - all of which are crucial in a modern vehicle regardless of the segment. Running it all is an upgraded 8.0-inch touchscreen in the dash.

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro – Driven High Resolution Interior
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Looking down the lineup, the TRD Sport model now comes with a Passenger Smart Ket entry feature as standard to help ease ingress and egress. This trim level is also offered with a Panoramic View Monitor that provides a digital feed of what’s immediately around the truck through to a series of exterior cameras. This feature is particularly useful for tight trails, or, if you’re tackling the urban jungle, tight parking spaces.

Next up is the TRD Off-Road trim level, which also comes with a Passenger Smart Key feature. Meanwhile, the Panoramic View Monitor is replaced with the more comprehensive Multi-Terrain Monitor. This feature was plucked from the off-road friendly Land Cruiser, and includes a view of what’s directly under the truck, as well as what’s around it.

Finally, there’s the TRD Pro model, which comes as standard with a power moonroof. Grab the automatic transmission on this model, and you’ll also get yourself a standard JBL Premium Audio system.

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro – Driven High Resolution Interior
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Per usual for a modern Toyota, the 2020 Tacoma TRD also comes with a number of safety-focused technology features, all thanks to the standard Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) tech suite.

TSS-P can be found across the entirety of the Tacoma range, and comes with systems like Pre-Collision Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Sway Warning System, Automatic High Beams, and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Interestingly, the Tacoma is the only entry in the segment with all these safety features as standard. However, it’s believed the upcoming Jeep Gladiator will likely change that, but for now, the Tacoma is the leader in safety tech for the mid-size pickup segment.

Finally, on the functionality front, the 2020 Tacoma also comes with an optional LED bed lamp to light up whatever you’re hauling.

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Drivetrain And Performance

  • TRD Off-Road gets Bilstein shocks, locking diff, terrain control drive modes
  • TRD Pro gets lighter 16-inch wheels, 2.5-inch shocks, new springs
  • 3.5-liter V-6
  • 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque
  • Six-speed Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission
  • Optional six-speed manual transmission
  • Standard with the Tow Package
  • Rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive
  • Towing up to 6,800 pounds
  • Max payload roughly 1,540 pounds.
2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Exterior
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As expected, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD comes with a long list of equipment to bless it with prowess in the rough stuff.

Let’s kick it off with the TRD Off-Road, which comes with TRD-tuned Bilstein shocks and a locking rear differential, as well as tech goodies like Hill Assist Control, Multi-Terrain Select, and Crawl Control.

Then there’s the TRD Pro, which gets the lighter 16-inch wheels already mentioned, as well as new 2.5-linch internal bypass shocks from Fox mated with new springs for the front and the rear. Making it all grip is a set of Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Kevlar-reinforced tires.

Standard spec includes 4WDemand part-time four-wheel drive, which also utilizes an electronically controlled transfer case and an electronically controlled rear differential.

It’s also worth mentioning that all Tacomas equipped with an automatic transmission come with those tech goodies listed above (Hill Start Assist Control, Multi-terrain Select, Crawl Control).

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Exterior
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Under the hood, you can get the 2020 Toyota Tacoma with either a DOHC 2.7-liter four-cylinder making 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, or you can upgrade to a 3.5-liter V-6 making 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque.

Both engines mate to a six-speed Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission with intelligence. Grab the V-6 powerplant, and you can alternatively mate it with a six-speed manual transmission.

The TRD grades will most likely come exclusively with a V-6, as is fitting for a nameplate that stands for “Toyota Racing Development.” Both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive will be offered for TRD models.

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Exterior
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The V-6 models will also come standard with the Tow Package, which adds in a Class IV receiver hitch, an automatic transmission fluid cooler, an engine oil cooler, a power steering cooler, a 130-amp alternator, a four and 7-pin connector with converter, and Trailer-Sway Control.

All told, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma can tow up to 6,800 pounds. Max payload should be rated at around 1,540 pounds.

Let’s compare that with the competition - the Jeep Gladiator can tow 7,650 pounds and deliver a payload capacity up to 1,600 pounds, while the Ford Ranger can tow up to 7,500 pounds and deliver a payload capacity up to 2,128 pounds. Finally, the Chevy Colorado can tow 7,700 pounds and deliver payload capacity up to 1,576 pounds.

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Prices

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Exterior
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The 2020 Toyota Tacoma was first introduced at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. Buyers are offered over 30 different configurations and six grade levels, three of which come with a TRD badge - the TRD Sport, the TRD Off-Road, and the TRD Pro. These are the mid- to top-grade levels, with the SR and SR5 slotting in below the TRDs, and the Limited slotting between the TRD Off-Road and the TRD Pro.

An official on-sale date and pricing information is not yet available. However, considering the equipment included in the latest 2020 model year update, a small increase over the outgoing model year is more than likely. For reference, the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport starts at $32,395, the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road starts at $33,650, and the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro starts at $42,810.

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Competition

Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger Exterior
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The Blue Oval’s combatant in this segment is the Ranger, which was recently resuscitated after it was pre-maturely axed back in 2011. Providing the Ranger’s go is Ford’s ever-present 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder, which is turbocharged to produce 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Routing the output is Ford’ latest 10-speed automatic transmission, with either rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive on tap for the traction duties. Go for the latter setup and you’ll also get a max of 8.9 inches of ground clearance. An electronically locking rear differential is equipped regardless of the drivetrain choice. Pricing starts at $25,395 for the base-model XL, while the range-topping Lariat starts at $32,210.

Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Ranger.

Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator Exterior
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Jeep is certainly no stranger to the trails, and the Gladiator looks like it could put up a pretty good fight when the pavement runs out. Rocking an iconic fascia in front and an extended bed in the rear, the Gladiator is a mishmash of Jeep goodness in between. Inside, the Gladiator pulls its cues from the Jeep Wrangler, and comes with the latest Uconnect infotainment, including a central display up to 8.4 inches in diameter. A standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 is mounted behind the Gladiator’s grille, producing upwards of 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 3.0-liter EcoDiesel option will be added in 2020. Sport and Overland models come equipped with a Command-Trak 4x4 system and two-speed transfer case. Pricing will likely start at $40,000.

Read our full review on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator.

Chevrolet Colorado

2015 Chevrolet Colorado High Resolution Exterior
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Chevy offers the Colorado in a multitude of configurations, but when it comes to off-road readiness, the top-trim ZR2 model is the one to get. Making the ZR2 go is a 3.6-liter V-6 producing upwards of 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, while a driver-selectable full-locking differential both front and back are included as standard for the drivetrain. A 2.8-liter Duramax diesel powerplant is optional, while the entry-level Colorado gets a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine. The ZR2 also gets a number of tech tricks to help it perform, including hill descent control, an integrated trailer brake controller, and a Tow/Haul mode. Pricing starts at $42,995 for the ZR2 and $21,195 for the base-model Colorado.

Read our full review on the Chevrolet Colorado.

Final Thoughts

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Exterior
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The Toyota Tacoma is one of the best-selling pickup trucks in America, and has been for years and years. The 2020 model year update looks to be every bit as reliable and tough as in years past, but now it comes with a slew of modernized bits and pieces to keep it at the front of the pack.

Overall though, it looks as though Toyota is primarily banking on nameplate credibility for this one. The powertrain and drivetrain are both unaltered compared to the 2019 model year, and the truck is actually down on towing compared to the competition at this point. The Tacoma is also not quite as revolutionary as the competition, even with the extra tech added for this mid-cycle update.

Still, the Tacoma should prove to be extremely solid in terms of reliability, and there’s something to be said of the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” philosophy.

  • Leave it
    • Specs not as impressive as the competition
    • Customers might want something more revolutionary

Further Reading

Read our full review on the 2020 Toyota Tacoma.

2020 Toyota Tacoma Arrives At Chicago With New Features And Mild Visual Updates
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2020 Toyota Tacoma Arrives At Chicago With New Features And Mild Visual Updates

2016 Toyota Tacoma High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Tacoma.

Toyota Ups the Ante With 2019 Tacoma TRD Pro
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Read our full review of the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.

With competition in the midsize pickup segment heating up, the Toyota Tacoma says, “Bring it.” The Tacoma has been America’s best-selling midsize pickup for 14 years running, and the 2020 models introduced at the Chicago Auto Show are the best-equipped ever.

A perennial award winner for segment-leading value, the Tacoma line boosts its appeal for 2020 with revised styling, expanded multimedia tech, added comfort and convenience features and, for the TRD Pro, additional off-road tech.

The third-generation Tacoma pickup, with a design inspired by Toyota’s legendary desert race trucks, continues the model’s tradition of working hard and playing hard. With more than 30 configurations in six model grades available, there’s a Tacoma for every need: work-ready SR; high-style, high-value SR5; athletic TRD Sport; adventurous TRD Off-Road; ultimate off-road TRD Pro; and top-of-the-line Limited.

Nearly all 2020 Tacomas debut a new front grille design and new or updated wheel, each tailored to the specific grade. Inside, a new 10-way power adjustable driver seat with power lumbar support adds comfort on all grades SR5 and up. A new multimedia system now includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility. The SR will feature an upgraded 7-inch touchscreen, while SR5 grades and higher will feature a larger 8-inch touchscreen display. A new LED bed lamp is also available to brighten nighttime functionality while consuming less energy.

Changes Across the Board

While every Tacoma will receive the upgraded audio system and larger touchscreen display, specific changes unique to each grade are not to be overlooked.

The Tacoma SR workhorse gets its share of updates in 2020, including a new grille design and intermittent wiper. Out back, the taillights are revised with a new dark housing. The LED bed lamp is an available option. SR will feature a larger 7-inch touchscreen with new multimedia system that features Android Auto, Apple Carplay, Amazon Alexa and SiriusXM capability, and more.

Tacoma SR5 is fitted with a new grille design, a new 16-inch dark satin wheel color, darker taillight housings, and an updated fabric design on the seatback. SR5 will also offer an available LED bed lamp and DRL headlight option.

For Tacoma TRD Sport, a new grille and 17-inch wheel highlight the changes. It also adds Passenger Smart Key entry, chrome taillamp inserts, and new LED fog lamps. A new LED DRL and LED headlight is available, as is the new LED bed lamp. The new Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) is available on Sport grades, and it provides views around the truck for easier, safer maneuvering in tight situations.

Tacoma TRD Off-Road will feature a new front grille design, LED foglamp, chrome insert taillamp and Passenger Smart Key entry. To provide a better view of the terrain under the vehicle, Multi-Terrain Monitor (MTM) is available. A new LED DRL and LED headlight is an available upgrade, as is a LED bed lamp. TRD Off-Road also comes standard with TRD-tuned Bilstein shocks, locking rear differential, Hill Assist Control (HAC), Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control.

Tacoma Limited’s look is more premium than ever with a new grille design, 18-inch alloy wheels, standard LED DRL and LED headlamps, and chrome taillamp inserts. It also received the upgraded Smart Key operation on the passenger door. The new Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) is standard equipment on Limited-grade Tacomas.

Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P), standard on every Tacoma grade, includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Sway Warning System, Automatic High Beams and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).

Tacoma TRD Pro: More Trail-Capable Than Ever

For 2020, the Tacoma TRD Pro, one of a series of Toyota trucks and SUVs infused with ultimate capability by Toyota Racing Development, returns with a revised look and new

features. New sequential LED/DRL headlamps, 16-inch wheel design and black-insert taillamps headline the exterior changes. Rigid Industries LED fog lights come standard for improved visibility on and off the highway. Newly available Army Green is the TRD Pro exclusive color for 2020, which will be offered along with Super White, Midnight Black Metallic and Magnetic Gray Metallic.

Inside TRD Pro, a new 10-way power seat adds comfort, and the multimedia system is upgraded with the new 8-inch touchscreen display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, among others. For added convenience, Smart Key functionality now extends to the front passenger door.

High-tech trail assistance comes to the fore with the new Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) + Multi Terrain Monitor (MTM). The driver can select front, side, or rear views for improved visibility. When the going really gets rough, under vehicle terrain view can help the driver avoid potential unseen obstacles.

In other respects, the 2020 Tacoma TRD Pro continues with its roster of hardcore capability. A new 16-inch wheel is added to the mix, which is 4.188 lbs. lighter than the previous version. To complement the changes, TRD updated the tuning of the Fox 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks and front and rear springs. Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Kevlar-reinforced tires stand up to rough terrain.

The Tacoma TRD Pro comes standard with 4WDemand part-time 4-wheel drive with an electronically controlled transfer case and an electronically controlled locking rear differential. Automatic transmission-equipped Tacomas also further off-road capability and driver confidence with Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), Multi-terrain Select, and Crawl Control.

With standard power moonroof and, on automatic transmission models, JBL Premium Audio, there’s no leaving luxury behind when the pavement ends.

Tacoma by the Numbers

Tacoma Access Cab models ride on a 127.4-inch wheelbase and have a 73.7-inch-long bed. The Tacoma Double Cab style is offered as a 127.4-inch wheelbase with a 60.5-inch bed or 140.6-inch wheelbase with the 73.7-inch bed. All models use an inner bed made from a sheet-molded composite (SMC) deck and tough, durable walls that are 10-percent lighter than steel.

The 2020 Tacoma offers a choice of two tough powertrains. The 2.7-liter DOHC 4-cylinder with 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, and an available 3.5-liter V6 with 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. Both are teamed to a 6-speed Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i), and the V6 can also be paired with a 6-speed manual transmission.

V6-powered Tacomas come standard with the Tow Package – which includes Class IV receiver hitch, automatic transmission fluid cooler, engine oil cooler, power steering cooler, 130-amp alternator, 4 & 7-pin connector with converter, and Trailer-Sway Control. When properly equipped, the Tacoma can pull up to 6,800 lbs. (per the SAE J2807 tow standard).

The Tacoma is assembled at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (TMMTX), in San Antonio and Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Baja California (TMMBC), in Baja California, Mexico.

Limited Warranty and ToyotaCare

Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation. The Tacoma also comes standard with ToyotaCare, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.

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