Driven

Quick Spin: 2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

It was nearly 2022 when the 2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro landed in the Limited Slip garage. While 2022 did bring some updates to the aging Tacoma, we can only review what we had. After a week with the TRD Pro, especially after some recent time in a Ford Ranger Tremor, we came away puzzled as to why anyone buys this truck.

The TRD Pro does look the part, especially in this Lunar Rock color. But the looks aren’t everything and there’s just too much antiquity here to overlook. A six-speed automatic, anemic 3.5L V6, and a booming exhaust – a drone akin to the opening ceremony at Arrowhead stadium – really make this truck tough to love. Combine that with the difficult ingress due to the high floor and lack of optional side steps meant my wife really had a hard time getting in and out – and she’s 5’4″. Once in, the seats are comfortable and rear seat space was plentiful for our two dogs.

That difficult ingress is in-part due to the off-road shocks and suspension that are standard on the TRD Pro. It’s a 2.5″ Fox setup that comes packaged with a multitude of off-road features. A locking rear differential and crawl control allow for the ultimate experience for off-road driving. We certainly agree that it is a great use of the truck and it can get dirty with the best of them. Thankfully, that suspension setup translates to on-road acumen that is a surprise. The extra articulation and softer setup translated to a more comfortable ride over Upstate, NY’s potted roads. The steering is vague, though, so be prepared for that when you decide to take one for a spin.

Inside, the infotainment is the standard Toyota fare that we’ve seen for the past half-decade or so. This is the same complaints that we’ve had with the also-aged 4Runner. The screen is small, but very easy to use and the digital display between the analog gauges gives pertinent information. The sound system does it’s best to drown out the standard TRD exhaust, but ultimately fails to cover the unwanted drone. Niceties such as heated seats, upgraded red stitching, wireless charging and a useful 360 degree camera round out the interior highlights.

The Tacoma TRD Pro is a good truck, but the midsize truck market is starting to be pressured with innovation in the compact truck market and new entrants like the rethought Nissan Frontier. Toyota is resting on their laurels here where they should instead focus on a new generation of Tacoma (we know it’s coming). For 2022 there were a slew of changes, especially to the suspension with revised shocks and new font control arms. We’d like to see how that changes the TRD Pro’s demeanor when we get the chance.

-Scott Villeneuve

2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro$47,030
Lunar Rock$0
Destination Charges$1,215
As-Tested MSRP$48,245

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