2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Double Cab Review - Not a One-Trick Truck
2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
If trucks are tools, some are meant for just one job, while others are capable of performing multiple tasks.
Count the 2019 Toyota Tacoma among the latter.
Even the off-road-oriented TRD Pro truck I tested was more than just a one-trick truck – it handled urban commuting tasks and a long highway stint better than either the Jeep Gladiator or Chevrolet Colorado Bison I tested later (reviews forthcoming; links here are to first drives).
Changes for 2019 are minimal – all Tacomas now have Toyota’s Safety Sense suite of driver-assist tech as standard equipment, two USB ports are added to the center console, and the TRD Pro gets standard JBL audio, standard moonroof, and available desert air intake that filters out dust to keep airflow clean.
Purchase a Pro package and you get 2.5-inch Fox Internal Bypass shocks for all four wheels, as well. Other goodies include a blacked-out hood scoop, front springs with a one-inch lift, rear leaf springs tuned for off-roading, front skid plate, LED fog lamps, LED daytime running lights, projector-beam headlights, black bezels for the headlights and taillights, 16-inch wheels, Kevlar-reinforced Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires, and TRD Pro badging.
Frustratingly, I never had the chance to off-road the truck, despite being at an off-road park to work on this story. Due to time constraints and the fact I was there to test another OEM’s product, it sat forlornly on the sidelines, a few hundred yards from the fun.
Which is fine, as it turned out that unlike other off-road-ready rigs (hi, Gladiator and Bison) the Tacoma TRD Pro shines fairly well in commuting duty. The highway ride down to the off-road park in west-central Indiana was as smooth as could be expected with that all-terrain rubber. Not quite car-like, but not exactly truckish, either. Steering corrections weren’t needed much – wandering was kept to a minimum. When the wheel must be turned, steering feel is a bit heavy and artificial, but not unusually so for a modern vehicle.
Under my test rig’s hood was the 3.5-liter V6 that makes 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque, matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. It does the trick for around-town driving and highway passing, but don’t expect blazing acceleration, especially from an off-roader of this type.
The TRD Tacoma has the rugged looks that one expects, and even as the third generation of this truck ages, it still looks handsome enough. However, the outside is aging far more gracefully than the interior, which looks out of place here in 2019.
Old as the cabin may look, it’s not austere. Not feature-wise, anyway. Standard equipment on my test truck included leather heated front seats, premium audio, nav, Bluetooth, multiple USB ports, wireless cell-phone charging, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Base price: $46,665.
Just about every option was off-road-oriented. Desert air intake: $725. TRD air filter: $90. Paint protection film: $395. Bed mat: $120. Door sill protector: $79. Camera mount for the deck rail: $56. D-rings: $55. Mudguards: $129. And so on. Only a glass-breakage sensor seemed to be not strictly an off-road option, since that’s more of a security item. That sensor will run you $299.
After all was said and done, the sticker, including D and D, hit $49,708.
It’s frustrating to take temporary possession of such a boulder-basher and have it climb nothing more challenging that a driveway curb, but at least this truck doesn’t punish you too much while on-road. The ride is acceptable, the steering mostly tracks straight, and while the interior looks old, it still coddles well enough.
That may just be enough to make up for the lack of the Gladiator’s cool factor. Certainly, it’s a stronger on-road wheeler than the Bison.
Tacoma has been at or near the top of its class for a while now, so it’s no shock that Toyota has been hesitant to mess with success. Even the Tacoma’s dedicated off-roader can multitask well.
It’s less interesting than a Gladiator and less slick on-road than the excellent Honda Ridgeline. But so what? The Tacoma – both overall and this particular trim – cover the bases so well that it doesn’t matter.
[Images © 2019 Tim Healey/TTAC]
Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.
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