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The pickup truck has been around in some form or another since 1995, and it’s been the best-selling midsize pickup for 13 years running. But as America’s smaller truck segment heats up with newcomers like the and , the Tacoma can’t just rest on its laurels.
Thankfully, the Tacoma receives a number of updates for 2020. And while they don’t radically shake up the Tacoma’s formula, these new-for-2020 niceties make the midsize truck easier to live with than ever before.
First and foremost, the Tacoma gets a small but necessary tech upgrade. Base SR models use a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, but all other Tacomas get an 8-inch head unit, all of which finally support and , as well as Amazon Alexa. The rest of the multimedia system carries over without any major updates.
Elsewhere in the cabin, the 2020 Tacoma gets a power driver’s seat on all trims but the base SR. You might not think that’s a big deal, but people have been asking for this for ages.
The Tacoma’s biggest updates are actually found outside, where most models get a new grille and headlight design. The top-shelf TRD Pro, however, retains its older grille with big “” badging across the middle. That said, the TRD Pro gets new LED headlamps with sequential turn signals, which freshens up the otherwise-carryover front fascia. Around back, the Tacoma’s taillights receive small design tweaks.
The Tacoma TRD Pro adds a new Army Green color to its palette, and it definitely looks better dirty than clean. This is an assessment I can make with confidence, following three days of off-roading in the Tacoma TRD Pro and TRD Off-Road models, where these took me from the rocks of Moab, Utah, to the gorgeous mountain passes of Ouray, Colorado.
Both the TRD Pro and TRD Off-Road Tacomas have Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select function, with options for Mud and Sand, Loose Rock, Rock and Dirt, Mogul and Rock. Out in Moab, it’s the last of those modes that I use most, and it helps mitigate wheel spin pretty well on slick rocks, helping to give me as much traction as possible. In fact, I only find myself having to engage my rear differential lock a few times.
These Tacoma models also come with a five-level Crawl Control system, which can keep the truck at a steady speed while off-roading. Unfortunately, the system is so loud in its action that I find myself turning it off after just a short while.
Despite that newly adjustable driver’s seat, it’s still kind of hard to get a sense of where your wheels are in the Tacoma — the long hood is the most prevalent thing I see out the windshield. The good news is, the TRD Pro and TRD Off-Road models get a new Multi-Terrain Monitor that displays a video of what’s happening underneath the truck. The bad news, however, is that the video resolution is pretty terrible. A high-definition camera would be a huge help here.
The Tacoma TRD Off-Road will take you to almost everywhere, but the TRD Pro should be your pick for super-serious off-roading. Compared to the TRD Off-Road, the Pro has a 1-inch lift at the front suspension and a 1-inch wider track overall. Its 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass shocks are a little bit better than the Bilsteins found on the TRD Off-Road, too.
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