The Tacoma is inspired by Toyota’s desert race trucks, and the TRD Pro captures the essence of a “work hard, play hard” mentality. However, the upgrades come at a premium, gas mileage lags behind the competition, and it's hard to justify as a daily driver. Still, there is no denying the truck's off-road prowess and inherent cool factor.
Safety & Tech Features
Those wanting a mid-size pickup to use for more than hauling materials from the big box stores, or furniture from IKEA, will want to check out the 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro. It’s a truck for adventurers who want to go deep into the back country and get away from civilization.
The Double Cab comes standard on the TRD Pro so you can haul your friends and their gear along for the excursion. If you need to cross a river, or go across the desert, it comes with snorkeling equipment for that too. This week, we’ve been driving the 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.
Toyota Tacoma: What’s New For 2020?
For the 2020 model change, Tacoma gets Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa integration. It also gets available surround-view and underbody cameras to enhance off-road visibility. The power driver’s seat now includes height and thigh adjustments, and the transmission has been re-calibrated.
Every Tacoma comes standard with Toyota’s Safety Sense P suite of safety technologies. The package includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection; High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control; Lane Departure Alert; and Automatic High Beams.
Features & Options: Tech & Performance
2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro comes with a double cab, a short bed, and 4WDemand four-wheel drive. It also features 16-inch wheels; hood scoop; dual-zone automatic climate control; leather heated front seats; and a navigation system. Other tech features include an eight-inch touchscreen, six-speaker JBL audio system, rear backup camera, rear parking sonar, and wireless charging.
Off-road performance goodies include a lockable rear differential; Bilstein monotube shocks; and an advanced off-road traction control system with multiple terrain settings and crawl control. Our Tacoma TRD Pro tester also came with a towing package.
Features & Options: Looking The Part
The TRD Pro sets itself apart with special styling details, including turn signals with black bezels and LED headlights; plus performance upgrades like Fox internal bypass shocks; all-terrain tires; a thicker front skid plate; an upgraded exhaust; and a ride height that’s an inch taller than a normal Tacoma.
The last of the options on our TRD Pro tester included the Desert Air Intake, a graphics package, TRD air filter, and tailgate emblem.
What Does The 2020 Toyota Tacoma Cost?
Total MSRP including destination for our Tacoma TRD Pro tester: $49,559. By comparison, the 2020 Tacoma TRD Pro starts at $43,960 while the entry-level SR starts at $26,050.
16-inch black alloy wheels with 1-inch wider track width.
TRD Pro aluminum front skid plate with red TRD lettering.
LED headlights with sequential turn signals and TRD Pro inserts.
TRD-tuned rear suspension with progressive-rate, off-road leaf springs.
Projector-beam headlights with black bezels, LED daytime running lights.
Interior Highlights: Tall (But Comfortable) Order
The first thing we noticed as we “jumped” inside the Tacoma TRD Pro is the taller ride height that can inhibit entry if you are shorter or have physical limitations. But the upside is its ability to get you off-road and over taller obstructions on the trail. The backup camera made things easier, especially with the double cab as we navigated parking lots and tighter city streets.
The Tacoma’s cabin is comfortable enough for longer trips to the back country. With the heated seats, dual-zone climate control, and 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, it’s an enjoyable place to spend time. We appreciated the new driver’s seat that now includes height and thigh adjustments (the driver’s seat is more comfortable than last year’s model). Coupled with the tilt/telescoping steering wheel, we could find the perfect driving position.
Interior Highlights: Sleek & Convenient
Our tester came with an attractive, all-black TRD Pro leather interior and lots of soft-touch materials throughout. The center console offers extra storage for valuables you want to keep out of sight, and there’s a convenient cell phone charging pad in front of the gear shifter. There is a larger touchscreen (eight inches) and a new infotainment system for the 2020 model year. Those on the go will appreciate how the Tacoma supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Tacoma TRD Pro features a full-size rear seat (split 70/30) and flips up to reveal convenient under storage. The rear seat offers adequate room for two adults but would be cramped with three.
2020 Tacoma TRD Pro: Engine & Powertrain
The Tacoma TRD Pro 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 with a 3.909 final drive ratio. Additional off-road capability comes via a 4WDemand Partime 4×4 system with a two-speed transmission. TRD Pro models include a locking rear differential for extra traction.
How Much Can The 2020 Toyota Tacoma Tow?
With the V6 Tow Prep Package, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma can tow a maximum of 6,400 lbs. Max payload capacity for the 2020 Tacoma ranges between 1,155 lbs. and 1,275 lbs. depending on how the truck is equipped.
What Is The Gas Mileage of The 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro?
EPA-estimated fuel economy for the 3.5-liter V6 is 18/22 city/highway and 20 combined mpg for a 4X4 with the automatic gearbox. When compared to the Ranger and Colorado, the Tacoma lags behind in terms of fuel economy.
The 2020 Toyota Tacoma comes standard with a 2.7-liter in-line four-cylinder (159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft. of torque). However, it’s hard to justify this engine in terms of fuel economy versus the larger, more powerful V6. In a 4×4 configuration, the 2.7-liter returns an EPA-estimated 19/22 city/highway and 20 combined mpg.
How Does The 2020 Toyota Tacoma Drive?
Last year we drove this same truck on a trail west of Denver in the mountains. The Tacoma TRD Pro is an ideal candidate to get you off the beaten path and for navigating more primitive trails and rough terrain. However, like we did last year, we asked ourselves the same question of the 2020 model: how does it handle in the city?
We were able to drive the Tacoma TRD Pro in 18 inches of new snow that fell this week. We dropped the truck into 4High with a turn of a knob on the right side of the dash. A 4-wheel logo lights up on the dash to let you know the system is engaged.
The roads where we live had not been plowed, but the Tacoma TRD Pro pushed through easily. We never felt the tires slip on the ice once as the tires and locking differential dug in. We drove on icy streets but never felt out of control traveling in the fast lane past slower, two-wheel drive vehicles. At the end of the day, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro delivered us safely to our destination in downtown Denver.
Driving Dynamics: Go For The Safety Package
This Tacoma came with Toyota’s Safety Sense package that included a Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic and Lane Departure Alerts, and automatic high beams. These are must-haves with this longer Double Cab pickup. They saved us a number of times from getting hit when we couldn’t see traffic and obstacles around us.
Given this Tacoma Double Cab is longer, the parking sensors are a must as well.
Conclusion: Ready For The Weekend
The 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is ideal for adventure enthusiasts who want to get far off the beaten path and away from civilization. It comes with rugged equipment like a Desert Air Intake, ideal for forging rivers and crossing sand dunes. If you are pulling a trailer full of dirt bikes, four-wheelers, snow machines, or a camper for hunting excursions, this truck will meet your needs.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his firsthand reviews are archived on our test drives page. Follow Denis on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy