Refined Ruggedness: Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Review

The Stout V6, Manual Option, and True Off-Road Chops Make the TRD Pro an Enthusiast Favorite.

  — by Jeffrey N. Ross

Off-road enthusiasts have plenty of options out there right now, so in an effort to remain at the head of the pack, the mid-size 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro gets some substantial performance upgrades. While other automakers limit their top off-roaders to a single vehicle line, Toyota’s TRD Pro package is available on three different models: the Tundra, 4Runner and Tacoma. And it’s the latter that has the stiffest competition as the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is positioned against mid-size off-roaders like the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and Jeep Gladiator Rubicon. To see how this truck stacks up against the competition, we borrowed a 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro and headed to the wide-open spaces of Arizona for a weeklong road trip.

2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Exterior

Most of the changes made to the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro are focused on improving off-road performance, so the styling differences between the 2018 and 2019 TRD Pro models are limited to the red “TRD Pro” lettering on the 2019’s front skid plate as well as the optional desert air intake, which was not equipped on this tester. As always, it’s pretty easy to tell the TRD Pro apart from 2019 Toyota Tacoma other immediately obvious – and that doesn’t even include the TRD Pro badges.

For starters, this tester’s Voodoo Blue is exclusive to the TRD Pro lineup as are the blacked-out headlights and taillights, LED fog lights from Rigid Industries, the “TOYOTA” lettering in the grille and black 16-inch TRD wheels wrapped in Goodyear Wrangler Kevlar All-Terrain tires. As if the bright blue paint wasn’t enough to catch your attention, this Tacoma added optional ($699) graphics on the hood and rear fenders as well as black side steps ($469) to make getting in and out of the truck easier.

2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Interior

As a pickup truck, the cabin of the 2019 Toyota Tacoma is definitely focused on function, but the high price of the TRD Pro package also brings plenty of added conveniences. Being the highest-priced trim level, the TRD Pro comes loaded with a luxurious interior that includes leather seats, heated front seats, 4.2-inch color multi-information display, dual-zone climate control, Qi wireless smartphone charger, power sliding rear window, Smart Key keyless entry with push-button start and the Entune Premium JBL Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite with a seven-inch touchscreen display. As nice as the interior is, you wouldn’t want to track mud in it, so the $248 all-weather floor mats is a must-have option. The only real difference inside this truck is that the TRD Pro logo is embroidered in the front headrests.

In terms of comfort, the Tacoma is well known for having limited headroom as you step into the truck (a result of the high floor and limited-adjusting front seats), but once inside, there was plenty of space while road-tripping across Arizona. Even with a week’s worth of luggage, the mid-size Tacoma was surprisingly roomy for front and rear occupants and the seats were comfortable and supportive. The rear seat bottoms fold up to expose hidden storage compartments, and the seat backs fold down to create a flat, hard-surfaced load area; there’s also more hidden storage space behind the rear seat backs.

2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Powertrain

Off-road enthusiasts will not only appreciate the fact that the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro comes standard with the 3.5-liter V-6, but it is also available with the choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission; this tester was equipped with the latter. The engine is Toyota’s widely used V-6 featuring D-4S Injection, which combines direct and port injection, for a better balance of power and efficiency. Power output is rated at 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque, while the Tacoma 4×4 carries EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 18 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway*. The TRD Pro’s standard cat-back exhaust gives this six-cylinder engine the deep rumble of a V-8!

New for 2019, the Tacoma TRD Pro is even better off-road with upgraded 2.5-inch Fox Racing shocks giving this truck even more control over any terrain. The incredible thing about the TRD Pro is how it performs perfectly as a highway cruiser and hardcore off-roader. Driving on the highways and interstates, the performance-bred suspension never interferes with ride quality, and the use of enhanced door seals, a multi-layer acoustic windshield and sound-absorbing headliner results in an amazingly quiet cabin. Once we found a good spot to test out the four-wheel drive system, the TRD Pro performed flawlessly in deep sand, high-speed washboard roads and rock crawling. The low-speed maneuvers are actually where the Tacoma TRD Pro was the most impressive with breakover and departure angles superior to the Jeep Gladiator.

2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Safety

All 2019 Toyota Tacoma Crew Cab trucks come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Sway Warning System, Automatic High Beams and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruiser Control), Star Safety System (Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti-lock Brake System with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist and Smart Stop Technology) and eight airbags that include knee airbags for both front occupants. The TRD Pro and Limited add rear parking assist sonar and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert to the list of standard safety features. Thanks to all this high-tech safety, the Tacoma 4×4 Crew Cab models received a four-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Overall

Although Toyota is launching an updated Tacoma for the 2020 model year, the revisions made to the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro shows just how important this segment is. The incremental changes were minimal yet necessary to keep ahead of the growing competition. In base form, the 2019 Toyota Tacoma has an affordable starting price of $26,050**, but if you’re looking for the off-road TRD Pro, this trim is the highest-priced model of the 2019 Tacoma lineup $42,960. Factoring in all of the options and destination charger, this Voodoo Blue TRD Pro had an as-tested price of $48,454.

Drop by your local AutoNation Toyota dealer today to check one out!

*Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

** MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
Categories: Test Drive Reviews
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