For those wanting to get off the beaten path and away from civilization, the Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road is a mid-size truck that will fit perfectly. Get the Tacoma Double Cab and you can take all your friends, and have room for extra gear on the excursion. If you just need a commuter truck, the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, or Honda Ridgeline will be a good enough alternative to a car.
This week, we’ve been driving the 2018 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Double Cab.
What’s New For 2018
For 2018, all Tacomas gain Toyota Safety Sense P. This suite of safety features includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. The rest of the Tacoma is unchanged.
Features & Options
The 2018 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Double Cab ($36,115) comes with a full rear seat, five foot bed, and turn signals in the mirror housings. There’s a 400-watt power outlet in the bed, and automatic transmission-equipped trucks gain smart entry, push-button start, and navigation via the Entune premium audio system’s seven-inch touchscreen.
TRD includes a color-keyed rear bumper, textured black fender flares, and the absence of the Sport’s hood scoop. Off-road performance changes are what set this trim apart, with knobby all-terrain tires on 16-inch alloy wheels, the deletion of the front air dam, extra skid plates, a lockable rear differential, Bilstein monotube shocks, and an advanced off-road traction control system with multiple terrain settings and crawl control.
The TRD Premium Off-Road package ($2,625) includes a moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats, leather upholstery, and JBL premium sound with integrated navigation.
This Tacoma tester also came with the Technology Package ($770) which included Rear Parking Assist, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear cross-traffic alert, and a front skid plate ($499). Total MSRP including destination: $41,267.
The cabin in the Tacoma is comfortable enough for longer trips to the back country, and with its heated seats, dual-zone climate control, and premium JBL audio, it’s an enjoyable place to spend time. Although, with the high floor and low roof, you need to watch your head getting into the cab. It can feel a bit cramped inside for taller drivers.
Our tester came with an attractive, all-black interior and lots of soft-touch materials throughout. It featured plenty of storage plus a convenient cell phone charging pad in front of the gear shifter. The front seats could use more adjustment capabilities as they offered minimal support, but the tilt/telescoping steering wheel makes it easier to find the right driving position.
The backup camera made things simple, especially with the longer cab as we navigated around. This model features a full-size rear seat (split 70/30) and flips up to reveal convenient under seat storage for valuables. The rear seat offers adequate room for two adults but would be cramped with three.
Engine, Off-Road & Fuel Mileage Specs
The Tacoma TRD Off-Road is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 with direct injection, making 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft. of torque. Our tester came mated to a six-speed automatic; off-road capability was enhanced by a Multi-Terrain Select system (taken from the 4Runner).
Drivers can set modes for mud, sand, rocks, and more, changing the throttle and braking. TRD Off-Road models include an automatic limited-slip rear differential and a locking rear differential for extra traction.
EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18/22 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 true capability. The road turns from pavement to dirt and then a trail appears – and that’s when our afternoon 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 required us to slip the Tacoma 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 Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control settings – each having five different 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 did it again going downhill with the same steady and effortless results. For those looking for a true off-road pickup, the Tacoma TRD Off-Road is an ideal candidate. 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. On the road and around town, the ride has the feel of a truck built to take on rugged terrain. It’s a focused vehicle, so it isn’t the smoothest, most comfortable option for the daily commute to town or when running errands.
The optional Parking Sensors, Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are musts with this longer Double Cab pickup. It saved us a number of times from getting hit when we couldn’t see traffic and obstacles around us.
The 2018 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Double Cab is designed for adventure enthusiasts who want to get off the beaten path. Toyota’s reputation for durability and strong resale value put it at the top of the list in the mid-size truck segment. If you are transporting dirt bikes, 4-wheelers, snow machines; heading up the mountain to go skiing, or pulling a small camping trailer, this truck will meet your needs.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy
2018 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Double Cab Gallery
2018 Toyota Tacoma Official Site.
Photos: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TRD Sport models also shown).