For those wanting to get off the beaten path and away from civilization, the Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road is a mid-size truck that will fit perfectly. Get the Tacoma Double Cab and you can take all your friends and have room for extra gear for the excursion. With the Long Bed, you can even load up a four-wheeler for the trip to the back country. If you just need a commuter truck, the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, or Honda Ridgeline will be a good enough alternative to a car.
This week we drove the 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Double Cab Long Bed.
What’s New For 2017?
Last year, (2016) the Toyota Tacoma received an overhaul with a new V6 engine, refreshed interior, fresh styling, a new cabin structure, a new transmission, retuned suspension, and improved noise insulation. For 2017, Tacoma gets minor changes like power actuation of the crew cab’s sliding rear window, and the top-of-the-line TRD Pro trim level returns after a one-year hiatus. This model is a rugged truck for adventure enthusiasts.
Features & Options
The 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Double Cab Long Bed ($35,315) comes with a full rear seat, six foot bed, and turn signals in the mirror housings. There’s a 400-watt power outlet in the bed, and automatic transmission-equipped trucks gain smart entry, pushbutton start, and navigation via the Entune premium audio system’s 7-inch touchscreen.
TRD Off-Road models include a color-keyed rear bumper, textured black fender flares, and the absence of the Sport’s hood scoop. Off-road performance changes are what set this trim apart, with knobby all-terrain tires on 16-inch alloy wheels, the deletion of the front air dam, extra skid plates, a lockable rear differential, Bilstein monotube shocks, and an advanced off-road traction control system with multiple terrain settings and crawl control.
The optional Premium and Technology packages ($3,035) include a sunroof, automatic climate control, heated front seats, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, JBL speaker upgrade, and a subwoofer. This Tacoma tester also came with the V6 Tow Package ($650), Tonneau Cover ($650), and other TRD off-road goodies. Total MSRP including destination: $42,644.
The cabin in the Tacoma is comfortable enough for longer trips to the back country, and with its heated seats, dual-zone climate control, and premium JBL audio, it’s an enjoyable place to spend time. Although, when the Tacoma was upgraded last year, Toyota didn’t change the high floor and low roof. You need to watch your head getting into the cab and it can feel a bit cramped inside for taller drivers.
Our tester came with an attractive, all-black interior and lots of soft-touch materials throughout. It featured plenty of storage a convenient cell phone charging pad in front of the gear shifter. The front seats could use more adjustment capabilities as they offered minimal support, but the tilt/telescoping steering wheel makes it easier to find the right driving position.
The backup camera made things simple, especially with the Long Bed model as we navigated around. The Double Cab features a full-size rear seat (split 70/30) and flips up to reveal convenient underseat storage for valuables. The rear seat offers adequate room for two adults but would be cramped with three.
Engine, Off-Road, & Fuel Mileage Specs
The Tacoma TRD Off-Road is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 with direct injection, making 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft. of torque. Our tester came mated to a 6-speed automatic; off-road capability was enhanced by a Multi-Terrain Select system (taken from the 4Runner). Drivers can set modes for mud, sand, rocks, and more, changing the throttle and braking. TRD Off-Road models include an automatic limited-slip rear differential and a locking rear differential.
EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18/23 city/highway and 20 combined mpg for a 4X4 with the automatic transmission.
We drove the new TRD Off-Road on an ideal trail just west of Denver near Morrison. It was a good place to test the Tacoma’s true capability. The road turns from pavement to dirt and then a trail appears – and that’s when our afternoon of fun started. The Bilstein shocks handled the rough road with ease as we navigated up the mountain trail. The road turns uphill and a short steep climb requires us to slip the Tacoma into low range. A turn of the range-select knob on the dash to 4Lo quickly puts the truck into low range and an indicator lights up for confirmation.
An overhead knob reveals the Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control settings – each having five different settings depending on the terrain. We chose “3” on the Crawl Control option allowing us to remove our feet from the pedals. The Toyota Tacoma crawled up the steep hill and we steered it to the top without issue. We did it again going downhill with the same steady and effortless results. For those looking for a true off-road pickup, the Tacoma TRD Off-Road is an ideal candidate to get you away from civilization. It’s made to excel on primitive trails and rugged terrain.
How does the TRD Off-Road do on the highway and in the city? The ride is what you would expect from a vehicle with a serious off-road suspension. On the road and around town, the ride has the feel of a truck built to take on rugged terrain. It’s a focused vehicle, so it isn’t the smoothest, most comfortable option for the daily commute to town or when running errands. The optional Parking Sensor, Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are musts with the Double Cab Long Bed pickup. It saved us a number of times from getting hit when we couldn’t see traffic and obstacles around us.
The 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Double Cab Long Bed is designed for adventure enthusiasts who want to get off the beaten path. Toyota’s reputation for durability and strong resale value put it at the top of the list in the mid-size truck segment. If you are transporting dirt bikes, 4-wheelers, snow machines, heading up the mountain to go snow skiing, or pulling a small camping trailer, this truck will meet your needs.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter:
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Photos: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.