2017 Toyota Tacoma: Living Up To That Impressive Off-Road Reputation

Apr 07, 2017 06:47 AM EDT | JP Olvido

For the longest time, the Toyota Tacoma has been considered the standard in mid-size pickup trucks. The 2017 Tacoma model is looking to continue that reputation.

Toyota is known for manufacturing small trucks that have far superior off-road or off-highway driving and impressive towing capabilities. The 2017 model continues to be an example of this.

What's new with the 2017 model is the return of the 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, Toyota's top-level off-road trim which took a one-year leave of absence. Choosing the TRD Pro as your trim of choice gets you a 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The top-level trim also includes an off-road-tuned suspension that gives the pickup truck a 1.0-inch lift. Also included are a standard V6 tow package, LED exterior lighting, and a wide range of other TRD equipment, add-ons, and badging. This top-level trim starts at a retail price of around US$40,000.

One trim level that stands out is the 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road which seems to perform best in heavy-duty off-road driving. It comes in Double Cab and five-foot bed version and also runs on a 3.5-liter V6 engine with the same transmission options as the TRD Pro. Other standard features of the TRD Off-Road include a tuned suspension system with off-road shocks, a 7.0-inch Entune touchscreen infotainment system, and electronically locking differential and has a retail starting price of close to US$35,000, US$5,000 less than the TRD Pro.

Interior-wise, the 2017 Tacoma is attractive inside and features very easy-to-understand controls. All trim levels' have a rugged off-road capabilities. The pickup truck's composite bed features moveable tie-down cleats and power outlets.

One downside of this latest Toyota pickup truck is its sluggish shift programming due to being economy-oriented. Also, the driver headroom is not that spacious especially for taller drivers as well as grabby brakes which make it difficult to slow down smoothly.

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