Tacoma TRD Pro capable off-road, but awkward in town

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2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro | Rebecca Nguyen photos

Shining brightly with purpose, the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is fitted with the right upgrades to make it a pro off-road.  However, as a daily commuter, it drives like a toddler that just learned how to walk.

2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

The TRD Pro is focused on performing at a high level off-road, therefore it’s not going to be the perfect companion for your daily city commute. 

When considering the $13,550 upgrade cost for the TRD Pro package from the base SR model, keep this in mind and you won’t be disappointed.  It’s not meant to be your next “mall crawler.”  The TRD Pro package includes some upgrades that would be considered the “off-road enthusiast’s entry-level package” with some additional luxury features.

2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro springs

Included in the TRD Pro option are Toyota Racing Development-tuned front and rear springs, TRD Pro cat-back exhaust, 16-inch black wheels and TRD remote reservoir suspension kit.  More importantly, the package includes an impressive four-corner Fox internal-bypass shocks to give a smoother ride through that off-road terrain and a TRD skid plate to protect the undercarriage. Another functional upgrade are the Rigid Industries LED fog lights.

What I’d call ‘luxury’ upgrades include TRD Pro leather seats with heated fronts, premium JBL audio, blind-spot monitoring, TRD Pro badging, TRD Pro hood scoop and heritage-inspired “Toyota” front grille.  Not necessarily what you need, but helps ease the pain of the starting MSRP of $45,665, albeit with a more defined and stylish look compared to the other Tacoma trim levels.

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Equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 and 6-speed automatic transmission, the Tacoma TRD Pro has 278 horsepower at 6,000 rpms and 265 pound-feet of torque at 4,600 rpm.  Drivability off-road is fluid while the drivetrain works almost like a team with the terrain.  The crawl control and multi-terrain modes make traveling over various types of trails comfortable and controlled.  With five selectable crawl speeds going uphill and down, you drive more confidentially with more control.  However, on asphalt, the 265/65R17 Toyo Open Country all-season tires feel like they are fighting with the road and are quite noisy. 

Some shortcomings of the transmission aren’t as noticeable off-road, thanks to the give between tire and terrain, but on asphalt the transmission is slow and clunky making shifts almost painfully slow. 

2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
TRD Pro badging on the rear to match

To support the fact that it’s not the best choice as a get around town vehicle, the fuel economy is 18 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.  The saving grace is the nice upgrade of the interior.

Black leather interior with beautiful red stitching and a visually appealing dash make you want to be in the truck more often.  Perhaps that’s Toyota’s way of balancing the lack of enthusiasm for the Tacoma TRD Pro as a daily commuter.  It might be uncomfortable to drive, but at least you’ll be sitting in comfort while enduring it.

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Read our review on the 2019 Toyota Tundra.

Vehicle type: 5-passenger, 4-door truck, 4X4
Base price: $45,665 Price as tested: $49,700
Engine: 3.5-liter V6,  278 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, 265 pound-feet of torque at 4,600 rpm Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 127.4 inches Overall length/width: 212.3 inches / 75.2 inches
Curb weight: 4,425 pounds
EPA mileage estimates: 18 city / 22 highway / 20 combined
Assembled in:  Aichi, Japan

An experienced automotive motorsports photographer and enthusiast of all things with wheels, Rebecca Nguyen is the Marketing Manager of ClassicCars.com. Former Marketing and Project Coordinator for several aftermarket brands, Rebecca has a unique perspective developed from being on several different sides of the automotive world. From developing innovative automotive products to doing her own DIY modifications on her 2003 Subaru WRX and 2014 Ducati Monster, Rebecca’s passion for the hobby brings fresh ideas to The Journal. In addition, she has spent many years publishing event coverage for events like SEMA, Formula Drift, and Global RallyCross while coordinating the annual Future Collector Car Show in Scottsdale Arizona.

1 COMMENT

  1. I had learn to be light footed on gas pedal when driving my 2019 TRD. I used to hate the way it drove/shifted until I learned how to drive the truck. Not sure if theres a brake in period (where the truck intelligently learns your driving patters over time). But now I love the way my truck drives on the road, not sure if I figured out the truck or if it figured me out.

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