The Toyota Tacoma has been around for more than 20 years now. While the rest of the full-size trucks have stepped up and evolved with the times, the Tacoma has stayed true to its core concept of a work truck, offering the experience of the old cargo-hauling days of yesteryear. It really gives out its best when you take the truck off the beaten path. Mud, snow or sand never seem to take their toll on the suspension. With new equipment improving upon the off-road capabilities of the TRD trim even more, the Tacoma is ready to take on the toughest of terrains on the planet.
The base inline-4 produces 156 hp while the optional V6 takes the output number up to 278. If you want a reliable pickup truck with impressive off-roading capabilities and strong towing power, then the Toyota Tacoma might just be what you are looking for. Rear-wheel drive is standard while all-wheel drive is optional and it's available as a crew-cab or extended-cab truck. While the truck may not be as luxurious as a Ram 1500, its build quality is exceptional and will keep the occupants comfortable in the long run.
While the Tacoma may be good for some old-school fun, other trucks might get you more features for the same price tag. Its heavy metal chassis hurts the Tacoma's agility quite a bit. This is where the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Silverado take over with more nimble cornering and less body roll, even with loaded cargo. The Honda Ridgeline takes the Toyota Tacoma to task on another front. The premium interior with a superior infotainment system makes it much more comfortable to sit in.
7.0/10 Engine and Performance
7.0/10 Fuel Economy
8.0/10 Final Verdict
2020 Toyota Tacoma Features
The 2020 Toyota Tacoma is available in 6 trims levels. The SR trim is entry-level Tacoma and comes with basic features. The Tacoma doesn't get off-road-ready up a couple of trims, though. Customers also have an option to upgrade from the standard 2.7L motor to a more powerful 3.5L V6 that generates more power and torque. The Limited trim used to be the top dog for Tacoma, but for the past year, the TRD Pro has taken the spot with its exceptional off-road expertise.
Toyota Safety Sense™ P (TSS-P)
Keyless entry with engine immobilizer
Entune™ Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite
Multi-terrain Select (4x4 automatic models only)
Dual-zone automatic climate control
TRD-tuned high-performance FOX 2.5 Internal Bypass shocks
Integrated backup camera
4.2-in. TFT Multi-Information Display
Smart Key System with Push Button Start (A/T only)
Crawl Control (CRAWL) (4x4 models only)
Premium JBL Surround Sound System
Rigid Industries® LED fog lights
Entune™ Audio Plus with Connected Navigation App
LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
Electronically locking the rear differential
Power tilt/slide sunroof
TRD Pro skid plate
TRD Pro cat-back exhaust
To get the best out of a Tacoma, it's a good idea to enhance its off-roading abilities. And for this, the TRD Off-Road model suits the profile perfectly. It adds extra features like a tuned suspension for off-road shocks, electronically locking differential and a 7-inch infotainment system.
2020 Toyota Tacoma Engine and Performance
“The Tacoma’s optional V-6 engine provides decent performance and towing muscle, but the base four-cylinder is weak-kneed and best avoided. We also advise steering clear of the persnickety six-speed automatic transmission with either power plant; stick with the six-speed manual and the V-6.” – Car and Driver
Engine and Transmission
The Tacoma offers two engine options under the hood.The 2.7-liter 4-cylinder produces 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. It comes only with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The 3.5-liter engine produces 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque which comes mated to either a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission (4WD only). There is an option to upgrade to a V6 engine, which is highly recommended as the 159hp generating 4-cylinder engine feels too weak and inferior for a vehicle this size.
The transmissions saw some changes for the year 2020. The 5-speed manual transmission which was available for inline 4 engine is discontinued. The six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all trims. But for the old school guys who still prefer a manual gearbox, the TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, and TRD Pro have an optional 6-speed manual transmission as well.
Regular Unleaded V-6 3.5 L
Regular Unleaded V-6 3.6 L
Regular Unleaded V-6 3.6 L
Regular Unleaded V-6 3.5 L
278 @ 6000
308 @ 6800
308 @ 6800
280 @ 6000
265 @ 4600
275 @ 4000
275 @ 4000
262 @ 4700
Although an inline-4 engine is available in other competitors’ base models as well, Tacoma’s engine is relatively weaker. Even Tacoma’s V-6 engine fails to provide as much power as that of Chevrolet Colorado or GMC Canyon, both of which can generate 308bhp.
“The six-speed manual not only puts the driver in charge of gear choices but in our testing, it was also quicker from zero to 60 mph” – Car and Driver
The V6 engine is preferred over the inline-four for obvious reasons, with its 278 horsepower the Tacoma accelerates to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds. The V6 also helps in towing 6,800 pounds easily than compared to timid inline 4. The power at lower rpm’s is also unimpressive. Be it a rough path or smooth, swiftness is not one of Tacoma’s strong suit.
Chevrolet Colorado LT
GMC Canyon Denali
0 – 60
It’s no surprise that the least power-generating engine would also be on the shallow end of the boost pool; The Tacoma is no exception. While other competitors compete on a millisecond scale, Tacoma takes well over a second to reach the 60 mph mark.
Ride and Handling
No one buys a pickup truck with the expectations of smooth and buttery handling. Tacoma is made to perform on rough terrain, and hence, handling it feels tight. But once you keep its pickup nature in mind, Tacoma’s ride quality is not that bad.
At slower speeds, the steering feels a little sloppy but firms up once you hit the higher speeds. Tacoma made quite a progress in the brakes department, as the new Tacoma’s brakes modulate easily.
Once you go off-road, Tacoma easily tackles slow technical sections, sometimes even without the aid of driver assistance tools like crawl control or the locking rear differential. Sounds like Toyota really covered all grounds, right? Well, not quite; the steering tends to misalign at higher speeds on rough terrain, which is a letdown for an off-roader.
The Toyota Tacoma features disc rotors in the front and drum brakes in the rear which are very dependable. It takes 124 feet to stop in an emergency situation which pretty good. The stops are straight but sometimes they feel overly sensitive, which is awkward in heavy traffic.
But once you compare this year’s Tacoma with its predecessors, it is easy to feel an improvement in the brakes. They seem more easily modulated.
70 – 0 MPH
Brake Pads – Front (in)
Brake Pads – Rear (in)
The Tacoma does well to come to a halt from a speed of 70 mph. By stats, Tacoma does better than most rivals. However, from a driver’s perspective, the brake pedal feels a bit touchy and bites at minor inputs. This is grimly unsettling during traffic.
2020 Toyota Tacoma Fuel Economy
Surprisingly, the 273 hp V6 delivers similar mileage as the 156 hp inline-four. The standard engine returns 20 miles per gallon city, 23 mpg highway and 21 mpg in combined driving with rear-wheel drive (RWD). Those figures were lower by one mpg with 4-wheel drive (4WD).
These numbers are about the average for this class. The worst numbers were displayed when the V6 engine was paired with the 6-speed manual transmission, although the manual transmission is way more fun to drive. The engine also employs the Atkinson cycle for a better fuel economy.
A few competitors who perform better than the Tacoma include Honda Ridgeline, which gives 19 / 26 MPG in city/highway. Ridgeline is also the only truck that has a standard V6 across all trims. The Chevy Colorado does not perform well on its V6 engine, but the basic four-cylinder engine puts up 20 / 26 MPG in city/highway.
2020 Toyota Tacoma Interior
“The Tacoma's high floor produces a legs-out driving posture that is more carlike than you might expect. Taller drivers tend to notice this because the telescoping steering wheel doesn't have enough adjustment range, forcing them to scoot closer with knees bent more than they would otherwise” – Edmunds
Seating and Comfort
Toyota is the best when it comes to laying interior, its clean layout and easy to reach control are designed of best in class ergonomics. One of the greatest shortcomings of Tacoma has to be the steering and seating position for the driver. The front seats also lack height adjustment or power operations. This greatly hinders the flexibility and comfort for the driver.
The fixed style front seats of Tacoma are only good for short to medium height drivers. But the taller drivers would constantly brush the headliner. But what the seats lack in customizability, they makeup in shape and feel. Most trims offer adjustable lumbar support. If you opt for the access cab models, avoid inviting more than two adults to sit on the rear seats, because the leg room, just like the telescopic travel, meets the minimum requirements. The 4 doors double cab is a must as it increases the legroom by 25%.
If roomy rear seats are in your list of requirements, Honda’s Ridgeline provides a comfortable room for full-grown adults. If you don’t want to go out of the Toyota family, The Toyota Tundra is a viable option if you opt for the rear seats. This equips Tundra with 6 roomy seats.
Toyota did not bring too many changes in Tacoma’s interior. The cabin is simple and reminiscent of the early Tacoma’s. Traditional to some, unimpressively simple for others. Apart from the just passable seat and steering adjustments, the armrests are a letdown too; they were not as soft as one might like. There is a convenient cell phone spot, which can be upgraded to provide wireless charging. Tacoma also boasts one of the best mid-level audio systems to ever be installed in a pickup.
Analog instrumentation with speedometer, tachometer, coolant temperature, and fuel gauges; 4.2-in. color Multi-Information Display (MID) with outside temperature, odometer, tripmeters, and average fuel economy
Fabric-trimmed seats; 4-way adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support; 4-way adjustable front passenger seat
Urethane tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio controls
Remote keyless entry system with lock, unlock and panic functions
Manual day/night rearview mirror (4-cyl. only)
Whether you opt for the base trim, or for the top one, a touchscreen infotainment system will be present to enhance your drive. The entry-level system consists of a 6.1-inch touchscreen, which can be upgraded to a 7-inch capacitive screen.
Entune™ Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation13 and Entune® App Suite14
USB media port
Advanced voice recognition
Hands-free phone capability
Phone book access and music streaming7 via Bluetooth
Wireless technology, Siri® Eyes Free HD Radio
Predictive Traffic and Doppler Weather overlay
SiriusXM Satellite Radio11 with 3-month All Access trial
Cargo storage is the make or break point for any pickup, and Tacoma takes this seriously. With two cargo-box lengths and two cab styles, buyers have the option of building their Tacoma to tailor to their needs.
If you flip up the rear seat bottoms, there are many open and covered compartments to store anything you prefer not to be easily seen. The seat backs can be pulled down to get a completely flat load floor. It is also a hassle to stow the rear seats. The long number of steps requires removing the headrests, flipping the seat cushion forward, and finally flipping the backrests down. Restoring them is equally tedious.
Bed Volume Comparison
Smallest available (Ft.3)
Largest available (Ft.3)
The Tacoma’s bed is constructed from a composite material that can withstand bumps and scuffs. Tacoma offers two-bed sizes, a 60-inch short bed, and a 73-inch long bed. The step-in height is a bit uncomfortable as compared to competitors like Colorado, who offer a step for easy climbing. Out of the two cab options, the smaller Access Cab only uses the 60-inch bed, while the double cab has the option of either length. The cargo bed in higher trims offers a lot of flexibility. Features like an LED box lighting, damped tailgate, a 120 volt AC power outlet, and adjustable tie-down cleats add to the cargo bed’s functionality.
2020 Toyota Tacoma Exterior
The Toyota Tacoma was introduced in 1995 and now in its third generation. It was extensively redesigned in the year 2015. Despite minor changes here and there, Tacoma has mostly kept its old school look. The aggressive front grille and optional hood scoop depict power with a standard projector beam which shines brightly. Tacoma also has narrow headlights and puffed out fenders, which give it a meaner look. The chiseled lines and off-road stance give it a strong profile. The rear tailgate is embossed with a Tacoma logo which opens smoothly and can be easily removed when needed.
Gross Vehicle Weight (lbs.)
212.3 – 225.5
212.4 – 224.9
212.4 – 224.6
Ground Clearance (in)
Track Width – F/R (in)
64 / 64.2
62.4 / 65.9
Here, the Honda Ridgeline comes last in terms of exterior dimensions while all the rivals cast a similar shadow.
The bed at the back of Tacoma has some cool features in the higher trims. Features like a damped tailgate, a 120V AC power outlet, LED box lighting, adjustable tie-down cleats, and a fully integrated bed liner.
Dark gray grille with black surround
16-in. styled steel wheels
Projector-beam headlights with turn Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
Color-keyed heated power outside mirrors
Color-keyed rear bumper
Integrated color-keyed tailgate spoiler
Engine/front suspension skid plate
Deck rail system
Sliding rear window with privacy glass
Fiber-reinforced Sheet-Molded Composite (SMC) bed
2020 Toyota Tacoma Safety
Toyota Tacoma scores about average in crash tests. But what it lacks in physical toughness, it more than makes up in its safety assist techs. Honda Ridgeline takes the cake with its impressive safety ratings, but still, Tacoma impresses with its safety tech. New additions to the standard safety features include:
Driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System
Driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, and front and rear Roll-sensing Side Curtain Airbags (RSCA)
Driver and front passenger active headrests30
3-point seatbelts for all seating positions; driver-side Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) and Automatic/Emergency Locking Retractor (ALR/ELR) on all passenger seatbelts
LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) includes lower anchors for front passenger seat on Access Cab and outboard rear seats on Double Cab
Child-protector rear door locks (Double Cab only)
Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS)31
Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS)31 with individual tire location alert
S Blind Spot Monitor (BSM)32 with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA)33
Rear parking assist sonar34
Multi-terrain Select and Crawl Control (CRAWL)35 (4WD and A/T only)
The GMC Canyon is available in two engine options, the 200 hp V6 is enough apt for daily chores but 308 hp V8 is well suited for power hungry peeps. The Colorado and Canyon are essentially the same as they share same chassis, powertrain, tech features, towing and hauling capacities. The Tacoma is still the better off-roader than both of them. However. Tacoma can’t match the hauling capabilities of GM vehicles. The canyon also features serene interior while the Tacoma does off-tarmac adventures much better.
Toyota Tacoma Vs Honda Ridgeline
One of the top nemesis to Toyota Tacoma is Honda’s Ridgeline, which brings the truck model back to Honda’s arsenal after 2 years. However, this competition is not as nail-biting as one would hope, with Honda Ridgeline outperforming Tacoma in almost every category. Ridgeline comes with a standard V6 engine, and easily thwarts Tacoma’s base I-4 engine. Ridgeline also provides better cabin, spacious seats, and a better fuel economy.
But if you want to buy a pickup truck, then chances are your priorities have towing capacity and off-roading capabilities on the top. And in that sense, the Tacoma outperforms Ridgeline easily. It is also more capable of handling heavier payloads.
Toyota Tacoma Vs Chevrolet Colorado
The Chevy Colorado’s base price is about $ 4,000 less than Tacoma’s. That may get you to expect lesser quality in Colorado, but on the contrary, Colorado’s cabin feels more impressive than Tacoma’s old school one. Colorado also has features like Apple CarPlay and a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot.
In terms of performance, Colorado maintains its lead. The base 200hp engine is nice, but you also have the option to upgrade to a 305hp generating V6. There is also a turbo diesel engine that expands the towing capacity to 7,700 pounds, something that Tacoma cannot match. We can choose the grounds for comparisons all day, but Colorado will continue to outperform Tacoma.
2020 Toyota Tacoma Final Verdict
If you want to take your Tacoma out in the dirt then absolutely go for TRD model.Toyota Tacoma is definitely a good pickup truck, which is apparent by its continuation even after so many years. Although it does not shine out in any aspect, it does give the buyer an option of 6 trims, 2 engines, 2 cargo beds, and 2 cabs, so you can tailor it to your needs. Tacoma feels at home when you take it off the road. Its reliable V6 engine and off-roading capabilities are paralleled by few. With that been said, there are definitely other options in the market worth looking.