The Tacoma TRD Pro Is a Terrible Truck. But on the Other Hand…

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A tale of tempering expectations and falling in love with an off-road-first pickup.

In our mind, there is very little that is better than a good truck. We live in rural Tennessee, have a small farm, and do amateur wood working on the side. Having a truck to move, tug, tow and climb everything in sight makes us very happy. So, when we got the call that a new Tacoma TRD Pro would be showing up in the driveway for a full week of testing, we couldn’t stop smiling.

But not long after the truck showed up, things turned a bit sour between us and the TRD Pro. We needed to get some hay for the farm, so we headed out to the barn and started to load up. We were halfway done with a normal load and we noticed some serious sag. We expect every off-road variant to have some sag, but this seemed excessive. After hitting the manual and looking for capacity weights, we noticed the TRD Pro sits at a paltry 1,175 lbs. maximum payload. That’s technically the same payload as a RAV4, and less than the 4Runner TRD Pro. We flipped over to tow ratings and found a tow maximum of just 6,400 lbs.

We were gutted. We had been eyeballing this truck for months, even considering a purchase, and it can’t stand up to the most basic of tasks we need to do around the farm. We had basically given up on the truck, but a friend wanted to go out and see how it handled a few local trails.

And then everything changed. We fell in love.


Once you get the TRD Pro out into the rough stuff, it is an entirely different animal. A very happy, very capable animal. Many of you might be screaming “of course it’s better off-road you, imbecile!” But let us explain. What we wanted, and expected out of the Tacoma was a great truck, one that just happened to be great off-road.


The Tacoma is basically the Jeep pickup MOPAR fans have been begging for…
[but] the Tacoma destroys the Jeep in towing and payload capacity.


Instead, the Tacoma is closer in purpose and capability to a Jeep Wrangler, but with a truck bed attached. It’s basically the Jeep pickup MOPAR fans have been begging for. Once we altered our mindset, this Tacoma morphed into a tool of fun and enjoyment. From that angle, the Tacoma destroys the Jeep in towing and payload capacity, and with the possible exclusion of the Rubicon, can out-trail it too.

We wanted to hate the Tacoma TRD Pro because it wasn’t the tool we wanted. But that’s like hating a hammer because it isn’t a very good screwdriver.

So, please keep all of this in mind if you are looking at the TRD Pro. If you want to tow and haul more than you want to climb and jump, pick a different Taco. If you want to go jump dunes and forge rivers while making the occasional stop at Home Depot, the Tacoma TRD Pro is damn near perfect.

Photos by Christian Moe, for YotaTech 


Christian Moe contributes to many of Internet Brands' Auto blogs, including Corvette Forum, Club Lexus and Rennlist.

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