Is there a better place to check out the new Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road 4X4 than the mountains of Colorado? We took out the new TRD Off Road with 4WD to see how it performs in the snow and dirt trails in Colorado’s high country, west of Denver. If the truck performs well here, it will handle anything you can throw at it.
This week we drove the 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road 4X4 Double Cab with a six-speed automatic transmission. It also had a tow package and technology upgrades.
The 2016 Toyota Tacoma is powered by a new 3.5-liter V6 engine and more available off-road performance. Outside it gets fresh styling, a new cabin structure, a new transmission, retuned suspension, and improved noise insulation. The interior has also been upgraded.
Features & Options
2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road ($33,730) models are built for the back country where drove this week. It comes equipped with an off-road suspension, Bilstein shocks, and Multi-Terrain Select system. It also gets unique body trim, special 16-inch alloy wheels and chin-spoiler delete (to improve the truck’s off-road ability). Other off-road goodies include an electronic locking rear differential, and the Crawl Control system, for off-road maneuvers between 1 and 5 mph.
This TRD Off Road tester came with the Premium Technology Package ($2,330) that includes dual zone climate control, heated front seats, rear parking sonar, blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, auto-headlights, and moonroof. It also featured the optional V6 Tow Package ($650) that included a class IV towing receiver, ATF cooler, engine oil cooler, power steering cooler, 130amp alternator, 4 and 7 pin connector, and trailer sway control.
Total MSRP including destination: $37,610.
The TRD Off Road interior is essentially the same as the TRD Sport 4X4 Double Cab we tested earlier this year. It comes with a high floor and low roof that carries over from the previous generation model. You need to watch your head getting into the cab and it can feel cramped inside for taller drivers. Our tester came with an attractive, all-black interior with lots of soft-touch materials throughout. It featured plenty of storage and Toyota even added a convenient cell phone charging pad in front of the gear shifter.
Like the TRD Sport 4X4 Double Cab, we thought the front seat had limited adjustment capabilities and offered minimal support. The steering wheel tilts/telescopes making it easier to find the right driving position, however. A rear backup camera made backing up easier which was helpful in the city parking lots. Double Cab models feature a full-size rear seat, (split 70/30) and flip up to reveal convenient under seat storage to stow valuables out of sight.
The rear seats offer adequate room for two average size adults but it was tight for our taller friends we took to lunch this week.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The all-new 3.5-liter V6 uses an Atkinson cycle with VVT-iW (Variable Valve Timing with Intelligent Wider Intake) and D-4S direct and port fuel injection. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18/23 city/highway and 20 combined mpg for a 4X4 with the automatic transmission.
We drove the new TRD Off Road on an ideal trail just west of Denver near Morrison. It was a good place to test the Tacoma’s off-road capability. The road turns from pavement to dirt and then a trail appears – and that’s when our afternoon of fun started. The Bilstein shocks handled the rough road with ease as we navigated up the mountain trail. The road turns uphill and a short steep climb requires us to slip the TRD Off Road into low range. A turn of the range-select knob on the dash to 4Lo quickly puts the truck into low range and an indicator lights up for confirmation.
An overhead knob reveals the option for Multi-terrain Select and Crawl Control settings – each having five settings depending on the terrain. We chose “3” on the Crawl Control option allowing us to remove our feet from the pedals. The Toyota Tacoma crawled up the steep hill and we steered it to the top without issue.
We got to the top and did it again but going downhill this time, with the same steady and effortless results. For those looking for a true off-road pickup, the TRD Off Road is an ideal candidate to get you away from civilization. It’s made to excel on primitive trails and rugged terrain.
How does the TRD Off Road do on the highway and in the city? The ride is what you would expect from a vehicle with a serious off-road suspension. It’s a focused vehicle, so it isn’t the smoothest, most comfortable vehicle for the daily commute to town during the week or running errands on the weekend.
On the road and around town, the ride has the feel of a truck built to take on rugged terrain.
The 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road is a purpose-built vehicle designed to take on the roughest terrain. If you are a driver who routinely needs a pickup to haul dirt bikes over a rock-strewn boulder field or tow a boat around a river bank to get to a pristine fishing hole, this is an ideal truck. As an everyday vehicle? The TRD Off Road might be a bit to rough.
*Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy