By on November 1, 2019

2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

3.5-liter V6 (278 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm; 265 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm)

Six-speed automatic, four-wheel drive

18 city / 22 highway / 20 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

13.8 city, 11.7 highway, 12.9 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $46,665 (U.S) / $56,735 (Canada)

As Tested: $49,708 (U.S.) / $59,581.70 (Canada)

Prices include $1,095 destination charge in the United States and $1,915 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

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.

2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

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]

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71 Comments on “2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Double Cab Review – Not a One-Trick Truck...”


  • avatar
    Peter Gazis

    So I should buy a Chevy Colorado is what you’re really saying.

  • avatar
    roloboto

    Tacomas are the de facto outdoorsy yuppie mobile where I live. Gotta look the part when you drive down the road to go walk in the woods for 30min.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenn

      Yuppie? I haven’t heard that term in a while. You apparently have a personal bias against people (you imagine) think they are better than you, but that’s no reason to blame the Tacoma, is it?

  • avatar
    Peter Gazis

    BTW

    Hear in road salt country the Tacoma’s leaf springs rust faster than an unpainted Hyundai. Entune stinks. Acceptable on road is not good enough when that’s where you spend most of your time. To top it all off the thing is made in Mexico. Every other midsized truck is made in the USA.

  • avatar
    retrocrank

    “If trucks are tools, some are meant for just one job, while others are capable of performing multiple tasks.”

    Is there any truck made anymore that is not a heavy duty BoF passenger car? Real Trucks, just meant for work, had names like F1, C10, D1100. At the extreme, Power Wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      The new Power Wagon has a payload less than that of a Colorado 4×4. New trucks are vastly more capable and durable than any model from the “good ol’ days”. Engineers have figured out how to improve comfort and ride along with an increase in payload and towing.

      • 0 avatar
        Jon

        “New trucks are vastly more capable and durable than any model from the “good ol’ days”.”

        They are also vastly more expensive to buy and maintain due to the greater “capability and durability” you speak of. Furthermore, they are more expensive due to all the car-like features (comfort and ride quality) they have.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Jon – that is a fallacy as well. If one uses an inflation adjuster program, current pickups prices are comparable or less than that of a comparable “good ol’days” truck.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            That depends entirely on which entirely arbitrary “inflation adjuster program” one chooses to use.

            Per the meaningful one; after tax, after mandated blah-blah, after mortgage, after health insurance, after student loans or college fees for ones kids for the median truck buyer etc…, vs new truck prices; I’d be very surprised if trucks aren’t a whole lot pricier now than a few decades ago.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    $50k for this??!!!!

    Man the low interest rate financialize all the things environment we live in today is just pushing prices for everything, now including cars, to the insane level.

    Just take out an 8 or 10 year loan!

    No thanks. I don’t care how good a truck this may be that pricing is off the charts insanity.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      It’s aimed and marketed at people with money who have certain priorities.

      Most households could not afford to buy this truck.

      After my #3 son bought his first Tacoma, way back when, he’s never bought anything else. His current 2016 Tacoma isn’t one of these specialty jobs but it still set him back nearly $40K.

      Tacoma is a state of mind. Once hooked, nothing else will do.

      Well, maybe a Tundra SRT5 TRD+. That’s like this Tacoma, on ‘roids.

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        “Tacoma is a state of mind”

        WTF

        You gotta give a warning before unloading a big pile of crap like that. Give us time to pull up our boots.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Something wonderful came over me with my first Toyota ownership experience. I became a convert.

          This after driving mostly GM and Ford products for many decades until July 2008.

          There’s a reason why the Tacoma is the best-selling midsizer year after year, and it ain’t its looks.

          Butt-ugly, but like a good dog, dependable.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “After all was said and done, the sticker, including D and D, hit $49,708”

    See this is why I think a base Gladiator (nearly as capable) with a few choice options would be a better choice for people who actually go off-road and aren’t just a scoop and snorkel poser.

    Of course that’s assuming that your dealer hasn’t slapped a stupid ADM on every Gladiator on the lot.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      The SFA which makes the Jeep such a standout offroader, does make it clumsier on road. Even on faster, bumpy roads. If you, like most Taco’ers, occasionally need your vehicle for “truck” stuff, occasionally to go offroad, but most of the time use it as an onroad daily driver, the Taco is a pretty good compromise. If you have the space, in the US, you cna almost certainly get “more for your money” in a fullsize, but if you don’t have the space…..

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Im a Jeep guy – but you are going to be hard pressed to get the number of standard features in the Tacoma on anything other than a fully loaded Gladiator, which will start scratching $60k.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Yowza…I want to like this truck, and do really. The proportions are correct for most, dead realiable etc.

    But for 50k? Not going to happen. Perhaps we can dispense with the resale conversations. Sure you can sell it for 20k when it has 100k on the clock, but you still flushed 30k for the privilege of those 100k miles. No thanks.

    My last 3 or 4 automotive purchases have been 20k or less. I am fairly certain this will be my rule from here on out. Buy for 20k, put 30k miles on it sell for 15 or 16, rinse and repeat. Kind of like leasing, but no monthly payment and I may to fix something every 2 years or so no big deal.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    “After all was said and done, the sticker, including D and D, hit $49,708”

    Nothing after that matters. Not interested.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Just was at the dealer yesterday for inspection and checked out the Tacoma TRD with red wheels/leather/monroof and I think V6.

    Forty. Six. Thousand. Dollars.

    Holy S***

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      That’s just a starting point for negotiations. Offer them $23K. :-)

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’ll give you a pig, a goat, a Beretta 9mm, a Haynes Repair Manual for Volvos, a map to Lincoln’s gold, $147 US dollar, 602 Deutchmarks, three Canadian quarters, and four cartons of Camels.

        • 0 avatar
          Menar Fromarz

          This offer has some merit.
          If you take the DM and USD, and buy the said Volvo, which may need some repairs, hence said manual, then take the goat and pig for company, and if needed, a BBQ on the way to get Lincolns gold, which by the way passes a Tim Hortons, at which the CAD quarters will be used to buy an “emergency TimBit”, all while smoking the Camels, but keeping a carton or so to bribe/extort/persuade the gatekeeper over the Bridge of Death, if necessary using the 9MM to assist. Once the gold has been located, you may then go to the nearest ToyoTaco dealer to trade said classic Volvo and riches on the Taco of your choice. At least the down payment, however, as to pay the full MSRP, ADM, Doc fees and requisite Tru-Cote may require some level of financing. Back to the Pig and Goat for barter, although I’m not sure on the current Taco / Goat / Pig exchange rate.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Hilarious. You guys are so fun!

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “gatekeeper over the Bridge of Death”

            You just need to know about swallows!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The exchange rate between goats, pigs, and other farm animals to Toyotas fluctuates with the 10 year, but I think with the latest Fed cut you’re going to see at least 14 pigs and 62 goats for every Toyota product unless they put feed on the hood (pigs have increased significantly in value due to the African virus killing them in Asia).

            @lou

            You have to know these things when you’re a king, you know.

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          Haynes Repair Manual for Volvos… has it been used much, or is the plastic overwrap still intact?

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          If you need 28, I have something like 500,000 Dinar you can throw in as well along with half a can of Copenhagen.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I’d love one of these. The exterior styling is handsome and resale is amazing. But like you said, the interior is dated and the one I drove—which was a base SR5—was hella uncomfortable. The Colorado and Canyon twins are deeply unimpressive and somehow manage to look even more dated, and the Gladiator is way too stylized. No way would I consider the Frontier.

    I’d probably end up with a Ranger. Or, realistically, a full-size truck…since they don’t cost much more.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      I don’t think full size trucks cost any more when you take the discounts and the amenities into account. A mid-level full size truck is as nice inside as the highest level mid-size truck, $45k 1500 vs $45k midsize out-the-door price and it’s just no contest from what I can see. The gas mileage isn’t even that much better.

      Unless you have a very specific need for a small truck or are buying base models, it just seems pointless.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Don’t cost much more??

      I would say be patient and any one of the domestics will gladly sell you a new one with 12k off and sell you the truck at Invoice, so a 50k MSRP, sells for 47000 less 12k you are 35k.
      Getting virtually the same F.E just driving a larger vehicle, which I understand for many is not desirable.

      You have to be a committed Toyota believer to lay down 50k for one of these trucks or the $700 or so a month the payment would be financing approximately 46k for 6 years at 3%.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      One can always find a full sized truck on sale for less but just recently GM was offering a $7,600 rebate on Colorado’s (Canada). I’ve seen Colorado’s rotting on the lot since Ford released the Ranger. I love the looks and interior of the Ranger but since you can’t get a 6 ft box in a crew cab and there isn’t a diesel option, I’m leaning towards a Colorado as a replacement for my F150.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Summary of the comments:

    OMG
    IT’S EXPENSIVE
    IT’S AS EXPENSIVE AS A GIANT TRUCK
    IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE
    I’D NEVER BUY IT BECAUSE IT’S SO EXPENSIVE
    THE PRICE IS RIDICULOUS
    IT’S SO EXPENSIVE
    OMG

    And yet year in and year out they keep selling 200k of them a year. Somebody sees value in it even if it’s not you.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Only 4% of the new Tacomas within 500 miles of me are this high $40K TRD Pro version. Most of them are in the low 30s (and 60% are RWD but that’s the sunbelt for you), so the vast majority of buyers aren’t seeing the value at big-money prices either.

      It would be nice if OEM put more volume sellers in their press fleets but TTAC doesn’t have any control over that.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Do those dealerships have access to the National Inventory? If they do all, a buyer has to do is state what they want and they’ll ship that vehicle to the retailing dealer.

        Toyota’s real good about that.

        This is not dealer-to-dealer swaps. This is from the pre-stocked locations, not the distributors. The vehicles are still owned by Toyota, not a dealership.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      Far fewer see the value than F series. Ford sells more than 1 million per year.
      Every 29 seconds another Ford pickup truck is sold.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Debt, debt, debt. There’s a reason half the country can’t come up with $400 in an emergency.

  • avatar
    bkojote

    The TRD Pro is wildly overpriced.

    But the real appeal of the Tacoma is the TRD Sport or Off Road, which can be had for the low-mid 30’s with incentives and have all the important features of the TRD Pro. Most of the differences between them and the TRD Pro amount to things you can bolt on separately if you really. care about them – the skid plates, shocks (if those Bilsteins just -won’t- do), shift knobs, wheels, the throwback grille, etc.

    Additionally, there’s merit to buying that kit separately and are willing to ‘install’ it yourself. That bed mat? $85.00 all in if you order online from Toyota. Door sill protector? $33.00. The TRD Air filter? Why bother.

    At the mid-30’s with the V6, manual, and 4WD with a locking rear differential it’s a much more compelling vehicle.

  • avatar
    monkeydelmagico

    What an ugly ancient papa smurf. Did someone mention pricey too?

    I can think of several better choices for the money. It’s so close to Raptor money can’t imagine parking both side by side and having anyone pick this crap can.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Of course the Platinum Press Pool trim is a bad value. But even by the expectations of 35K as actually bought these trucks have garbage powertrains and nowhere to put your feet.

    I’d rather drive a Colorado. And the Colorado pretty well stinks.

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    I just bought my daughter a new Tacoma TRD Sport, long bed, 4×4, V6 for $32900 (MSRP 38000) in Centennial CO. There are good deals out there if your willing put the time into it.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Too underpowered for my needs. Toy motors needs to put a real engine in this gutless pooch so you can actually use it like a truck. The sad thing is the Taco’s V6 fuel economy isn’t any better than a 1/2 ton GM truck with a 5.3 V8, which will mop the floor with one of these.

    Guess if my only criteria was resale value, this would be the truck to get.

    • 0 avatar
      TOTitan

      Reliability/quality are big issues too. Toyotas build quality and ability to run hundreds of thousands of miles with minimal maintenance is well documented. We never even considered a Colorado or a Ranger based upon my previous experience with both Chevy and Ford trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        No doubt. Take all that have been burned by GM and Ford, gotta have a pickup, refuse to buy anything fullsize/ginormous (that’s most Americans), feel Nissan is a joke, what choice do they really have?

        The only thing puzzling is Tacoma sales aren’t a couple million a year.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “Toyotas build quality and ability to run hundreds of thousands of miles with minimal maintenance is well documented.”

        I’ve owned 2 Toyotas. Neither made a 100K miles before the V6 motors developed issues requiring them to be torn down and fixed. Both were engineering defects where Toyota had class action lawsuits bought against them.

        I won’t argue they have a great reliability, but so have the last 3 FS GM trucks I’ve owned. And my used 2013 Volt has been bullet proof coming up on 4 years.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          My mom’s pampered, low miles ’07 Tundra has been reliable enough, but it’s a complete horror story compared to my abused, high mileage ’04 F-150.

          I won’t discourage anyone from buying a Toyota, but it’s a mistake to do it solely on their reliability and resale reputation. Just do your research, and it’s silly to never buy “domestics” if you were burned by a ’64 Falcon, ’71 Nova, etc.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The sludge issue in the 3.0 I take it?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It would stall in traffic and the dealer was no help. It was under the powertrain warranty but it showed no trouble-codes and the dealer was unable to duplicate it.

            It was very scary for her, and after a near-miss accident, she was too scared to drive it.

            It would restart instantly “on the fly” so I made a list of all the possible failures. I barely know enough to make me dangerous, but starting with the easiest/cheapest, bingo, replacing the crank-position sensor fixed it.

            Before that, it failed to release Park and the service advisor accused her of hooking up jumper cables backwards. That’s stupid, nothing would indicate that and it would’ve done a lot more damage than the blown fuse.

            So they charged her an hour labor and didn’t cover the tow.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Yea, the Taco’s acceleration numbers are poor enough to keep it off my shopping list. The Colorado is probably the only one I could live with dynamically.

      http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a15103340/2016-toyota-tacoma-v-6-limited-4×4-review/

      Although honestly, I think everything in the mid-size truck class could use an (optional) power bump.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        It’s tough to quantify a bad powertrain anymore, virtually everything has enough high end and enough gear to put up a decent time when you floor it the whole time. 8 seconds was a 5.3 GMT900 or 5.4 Ford 10 years ago. It’s a 1000 lb-ft F-250 right now, at least if you don’t brake torque it.

        As little as I like fours the Ranger is the one you want here.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    My experience with midsize GM trucks has been positive having owned a 99 Chevy S-10 for almost 21 years and a 2008 Isuzu I-370 for 11 years. Agree both have not been perfect but I have had no major repairs. I would buy a new Colorado or Canyon and I would also consider a new Ranger or even a Tacoma. I like the Frontier but I don’t entirely trust Nissan but I am more likely to buy a Frontier than any of Nissan’s other products especially those with the CVTs.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    The reality is that you pay more for a smaller, less powerful pickup. However, in some applications, both on road and off, a smaller vehicle is better. I am going to buy the Jeep Gladiator for mountain trails. My big pickup is less capable on the narrow twisties. In the city, parking favors the small.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      thelaine, the Glad is great for off-road, but it nearly beat me to death when my best friend test-drove one on an all-paved roundabout that included I-10 and the pot-holy streets of Las Cruces, NM.

      Your big pickup will ride smoother on paved roads that the Glad will.

  • avatar
    GoNavy99

    Going to put myself out there and make the unpopular call that these things are even bigger “poser vehicles” than any garishly chrome-clad short-box put out by the Big 3. I’d go as far as to say “cult of personality,” but only direct it to a small subset of Toyota owners (I personally own a Lexus). Target audience probably includes those who wished they were Eagle Scouts; “Veterans” who served on the USS NeverDock out of Guam; People who won’t stop talking about Crossfit, and; Guys who wear fat beards to cover up weak jawlines.

    What…does this thing…”do?” Well, if you need to get out to the remote logging camp, but don’t need to tow much back and don’t need a heck of a lot of storage, then you’ve got things covered. If you want to race in some Baja competition, again it looks like you’ve covered most bases.

    But when you’re doing what most people do with trucks (towing on the freeway, carrying lots of stuff), you’re already behind the 8-ball having paid a huge premium for this thing. Not particularly comfortable, fast, powerful, etc.

    At least when you sell it to another Toyota fanboy, the resales will be high.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Since it still looks a lot like the Tacoma my brother had in 2002, I’ll pass. Especially for anywhere near 40k, let alone above it.

    I like this size of truck, my family had multiple Rangers and my Dad had a ’78 Toyota Hi Lux until it rotted out (and was replaced with an 88 Ranger). Sadly, everything is so expensive now, even adjusted for inflation and added equipment that used to be more money in options. Plus, the new “mid-size” trucks aren’t *that* much smaller than the big ones.

    I had to rent a Uhaul recently and was blessed with a 2019 F-150 XL regular cab 2wd with an 8 foot bed and the V8 with the 10 speed(?). Priced out on Fords website, it was about 32k. I have kids, so the extended cab is all I really would add, because it still had cruise, power windows and locks and air plus some other stuff. But in my mind, a truck like that should be 25k, not 32k.

    Gun to my head, go buy a truck tomorrow that fits my needs, which is 80% car and 20% truck? Honda Ridgeline. I really like the Gladiator, but too much money too. And I just don’t want to deal with the bulk of the big trucks in the day to day world. It can be done, obviously, but its a PITA that I can afford not to deal with. 49k rents a lifetime of pickups for when I really need a truck.


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