Stick Shift: 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

The Tacoma has always been a wildly popular small truck from Toyota. Over the years its popularity, like its proportions, has swollen and grown. While the standard issue Tacoma has always been competent and capable, any off-roading purist knew that the TRD package was a must-have for when the going really got tough. Today, the same rules apply more than ever. 

Like the 4-Runner TRD Pro, the Tacoma makes excellent use of various visual upgrades to set itself apart. Bright headlights with attractive blackened bezels frame a custom TRD front grille. Below, you’ll find Rigid Industries LED fog lights. Below that still, a handsome TRD metal front skid plate. A large hood scoop sits atop a heavily sculpted hood and thick black TRD graphics run around the body, further customizing the overall effect. Black wheels and red accent pieces stand out beautifully against the Voodoo blue paint. The result is bold and brazen. A small truck that looks properly equipped and eager to tackle the hardest trails.

On the inside, the aggressiveness carries through, though turned down a little. This generation Tacoma debuted in 2015, and the interior can confirm that. It’s beginning to show its age when compared to similarly priced sport-trucks. The layout is simple, with the use of far too many plastics for the top trim TRD Pro edition. I would’ve hoped for some polished carbon-fiber, brushed aluminum, anything else just to elevate the look and feel of the interior. It’s not bad, but it could be much better. Especially considering the asking price.

So what justifies the high price tag? Well, this truck was built for the road less traveled, and boy does it come equipped. Under the muscled exterior you’ll find TRD-tuned internal-bypass FOX suspension and a TRD cat-back exhaust. A smart multi-terrain select 4X4 system, trailer sway control, hill-start assist, crawl control and electronically locking differentials. Some impressive hardware by any standard. It handles the toughest conditions with confidence. 

On the paved roads the TRD Pro Tacoma has good enough manners. The TRD exhaust sounds tough and the V6 delivers nice power. At highway speeds it could use a little more acceleration, but that clearly wasn’t the speed or gear range where focus was placed. The Tacoma drives like a bigger truck than it is with its high seating position and heavy steering. The large hood-scoop can sometimes be more or a visual block than you’d want as well. 

The biggest reason for a higher price-tag than other off-road trucks like the Colorado ZR2 is the long rich history the Tacoma comes with. A popular choice amongst a large number of loyal fans. A truck with a reputation of running for hundreds of thousands of miles no matter how strenuous the mechanical conditions may be. With minimal issues. The Tacoma also holds its value for when the time does come to sell it off and upgrade to the latest. The newest model continues to carry the torch. Bringing its owners tough, reliable, off-roading greatness like never before.

Price as tested: $48,454.00

By: Brandon Randall

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