With competition in the midsize pickup segment heating up, the Toyota Tacoma says, “Bring it.” The Tacoma has been America’s best-selling midsize pickup for 14 years running, and the 2020 models introduced at the Chicago Auto Show are the best-equipped ever.
A perennial award winner for segment-leading value, the Tacoma line boosts its appeal for 2020 with revised styling, expanded multimedia tech, added comfort and convenience features and, for the TRD Pro, additional off-road tech.
The third-generation Tacoma pickup, with a design inspired by Toyota’s legendary desert race trucks, continues the model’s tradition of working hard and playing hard. With more than 30 configurations in six model grades available, there’s a Tacoma for every need: work-ready SR; high-style, high-value SR5; athletic TRD Sport; adventurous TRD Off-Road; ultimate off-road TRD Pro; and top-of-the-line Limited.
Nearly all 2020 Tacomas debut a new front grille design and new or updated wheel, each tailored to the specific grade. Inside, a new 10-way power adjustable driver seat with power lumbar support adds comfort on all grades SR5 and up. A new multimedia system now includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility. The SR will feature an upgraded 7-inch touchscreen, while SR5 grades and higher will feature a larger 8-inch touchscreen display. A new LED bed lamp is also available to brighten nighttime functionality while consuming less energy.
Changes Across the Board
While every Tacoma will receive the upgraded audio system and larger touchscreen display, specific changes unique to each grade are not to be overlooked.
The Tacoma SR workhorse gets its share of updates in 2020, including a new grille design and intermittent wiper. Out back, the taillights are revised with a new dark housing. The LED bed lamp is an available option. SR will feature a larger 7-inch touchscreen with new multimedia system that features Android Auto, Apple Carplay, Amazon Alexa and SiriusXM capability, and more.
Tacoma SR5 is fitted with a new grille design, a new 16-inch dark satin wheel color, darker taillight housings, and an updated fabric design on the seatback. SR5 will also offer an available LED bed lamp and DRL headlight option.
For Tacoma TRD Sport, a new grille and 17-inch wheel highlight the changes. It also adds Passenger Smart Key entry, chrome taillamp inserts, and new LED fog lamps. A new LED DRL and LED headlight is available, as is the new LED bed lamp. The new Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) is available on Sport grades, and it provides views around the truck for easier, safer maneuvering in tight situations.
Tacoma TRD Off-Road will feature a new front grille design, LED foglamp, chrome insert taillamp and Passenger Smart Key entry. To provide a better view of the terrain under the vehicle, Multi-Terrain Monitor (MTM) is available. A new LED DRL and LED headlight is an available upgrade, as is a LED bed lamp. TRD Off-Road also comes standard with TRD-tuned Bilstein shocks, locking rear differential, Hill Assist Control (HAC), Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control.
Tacoma Limited’s look is more premium than ever with a new grille design, 18-inch alloy wheels, standard LED DRL and LED headlamps, and chrome taillamp inserts. It also received the upgraded Smart Key operation on the passenger door. The new Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) is standard equipment on Limited-grade Tacomas.
Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P), standard on every Tacoma grade, includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Sway Warning System, Automatic High Beams and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).
Tacoma TRD Pro: More Trail-Capable Than Ever
For 2020, the Tacoma TRD Pro, one of a series of Toyota trucks and SUVs infused with ultimate capability by Toyota Racing Development, returns with a revised look and new
features. New sequential LED/DRL headlamps, 16-inch wheel design and black-insert taillamps headline the exterior changes. Rigid Industries LED fog lights come standard for improved visibility on and off the highway. Newly available Army Green is the TRD Pro exclusive color for 2020, which will be offered along with Super White, Midnight Black Metallic and Magnetic Gray Metallic.
Inside TRD Pro, a new 10-way power seat adds comfort, and the multimedia system is upgraded with the new 8-inch touchscreen display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, among others. For added convenience, Smart Key functionality now extends to the front passenger door.
High-tech trail assistance comes to the fore with the new Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) + Multi Terrain Monitor (MTM). The driver can select front, side, or rear views for improved visibility. When the going really gets rough, under vehicle terrain view can help the driver avoid potential unseen obstacles.
In other respects, the 2020 Tacoma TRD Pro continues with its roster of hardcore capability. A new 16-inch wheel is added to the mix, which is 4.188 lbs. lighter than the previous version. To complement the changes, TRD updated the tuning of the Fox 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks and front and rear springs. Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Kevlar-reinforced tires stand up to rough terrain.
The Tacoma TRD Pro comes standard with 4WDemand part-time 4-wheel drive with an electronically controlled transfer case and an electronically controlled locking rear differential. Automatic transmission-equipped Tacomas also further off-road capability and driver confidence with Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), Multi-terrain Select, and Crawl Control.
With standard power moonroof and, on automatic transmission models, JBL Premium Audio, there’s no leaving luxury behind when the pavement ends.
Tacoma by the Numbers
Tacoma Access Cab models ride on a 127.4-inch wheelbase and have a 73.7-inch-long bed. The Tacoma Double Cab style is offered as a 127.4-inch wheelbase with a 60.5-inch bed or 140.6-inch wheelbase with the 73.7-inch bed. All models use an inner bed made from a sheet-molded composite (SMC) deck and tough, durable walls that are 10-percent lighter than steel.
The 2020 Tacoma offers a choice of two tough powertrains. The 2.7-liter DOHC 4-cylinder with 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, and an available 3.5-liter V6 with 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. Both are teamed to a 6-speed Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i), and the V6 can also be paired with a 6-speed manual transmission.
V6-powered Tacomas come standard with the Tow Package – which includes Class IV receiver hitch, automatic transmission fluid cooler, engine oil cooler, power steering cooler, 130-amp alternator, 4 & 7-pin connector with converter, and Trailer-Sway Control. When properly equipped, the Tacoma can pull up to 6,800 lbs. (per the SAE J2807 tow standard).
The Tacoma is assembled at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (TMMTX), in San Antonio and Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Baja California (TMMBC), in Baja California, Mexico.
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.