2020 Toyota Tacoma

2020 Toyota Tacoma Test Drive Review: Truck With A Lot Of Attitude

In its off-road configurations, the Toyota Tacoma truck has developed a cult following in the US. It's a mid-size truck; making it highly maneuverable in tight spots; it's light and nimble for going cross country, and has plenty of room in its truck bed for anything an adventurer might need to carry with them. On top of that, the Tacoma's reliability and durability are approaching legendary status.

But while the Tacoma is rugged and capable, it's found lacking in the refinement stakes. The adage that if it's complicated and can go wrong, it likely will when you're hundreds of miles outside of civilization is key to Toyota's insistence on keeping things simple at a time when rivals like the Honda Ridgeline are taking things upmarket. Still, Toyota has updated the Taco's interior, making sure that the improvements allow the midsize pickup to retain its ruggedness, but with a renewed sense of sophistication and daily drivability.

2020 Toyota Tacoma Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Tacoma?

The newest Toyota Tacoma remains unchanged mechanically for the new year, which is unsurprising given the model's relative youth. However, some much-needed changes have been made inside the cabin. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa are now standard features across the range, along with Toyota Safety Sense-P. Models equipped with the V6 engine now get a 10-way power driver's seat with two-way power lumbar, and the Limited and TRD models get full-LED headlights. The Limited and TRD Pro also get the new multi-terrain monitor and panoramic view monitor, which feeds through the enlarged eight-inch infotainment display to show you what is happening behind, beside, and in front of the truck regardless of your current position and visibility.

Pros and Cons

  • Easy-to-use controls
  • Rugged and capable off-roader
  • Decent list of safety features
  • Decent towing capacity
  • Impressive cargo capacity
  • Interior is rather snug
  • Base four-cylinder is far too weak
  • Not as good an all-rounder as rivals

Best Deals on Tacoma

2020 Toyota Tacoma Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.7L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
2.7L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
SR5 V6
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
TRD Sport
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
6-Speed Manual
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive

2020 Toyota Tacoma Exterior

Up to 32 configurations are available to the Tacoma pickup, with either the access cab or the double cab, and a standard five-foot bed or the longer six-foot bed. Each model sports a new front grille that defines it from the other trim levels, and the taillamps have been redesigned for 2020. The SR and SR5 ride on 16-inch steel wheels, while the Sport upgrades to 17-inch and the Limited to 18-inch alloys. The TRD Off-Road and Pro trims stick to 16-inch alloys for better ride quality over off-road terrain. The Sport and Off-Road models get standard LED fog lights and available LED headlights. The range-topping TRD Pro stands out from the lesser trims with its bespoke projector-beam headlights, Rigid Industries LED fog lights, and black exterior detailing. It also gets TRD Pro badging, front skid plates, hood scoop, and the heritage-inspired 'TOYOTA' front grille.

2020 Toyota Tacoma Front View CarBuzz
2020 Toyota Tacoma Front Angle View CarBuzz
2020 Toyota Tacoma Front View Driving CarBuzz
See All 2020 Toyota Tacoma Exterior Photos


The truck doesn't just look impressively rugged; its size and dimensions are carefully designed to optimize its performance, especially off-road, in the mid-size pickup segment. Two wheelbases are available; the 127.4-inch wheelbase pairs with the standard-length bed for a total length of 212.2 inches, while the 140.6-inch wheelbase is present on the double cab body with the long bed, resulting in a total length of 225.5 inches. The lower trims are 74.4 inches wide, while the TRD Sport upwards gain 0.8 inches of girth. Height is standard at 70.6 inches, except for the TRD Pro, which stands a little prouder at 71.6 inches. With so many setups available, the curb weight varies quite a bit. The lightest variant comes in at 3,915 lbs, while the heaviest is 4,505 lbs.

Ground clearance across the range is an impressive 9.4 inches, while approach and departure angles differ with trim level: the SR, SR5, TRD Sport, and Limited all have a 29-degree approach, 23.5-degree departure regardless of the cab, while the more off-road-oriented TRD Off-Road has 32/23.5-degree approach/departure. The top-tier TRD Pro has a 35-degree approach angle and 19.1-degree departure. The SR, SR5, TRD Sport, and TRD Off-Road have a breakover angle of 21 degrees when equipped with the double cab, and 24 degrees with the access cab, while the TRD Pro has a breakover angle of 23.9 degrees on the four-wheel-drive, short-bed double cab. The cargo bed measures 41.5 inches wide and 19.1 inches high, with the short bed being 60.5 inches long, while the long bed is 73.7 inches.

  • Length 212.3 in
  • Wheelbase 127.4 in
  • Height 70.6 in
  • Max Width 74.4 in

Exterior Colors

A total of nine colors make up the body palette for the Tacoma. Standard for the SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, and Limited are six options including Super White, Magnetic Gray, Barcelona Red, and Quicksand, although the latter is an option on the SR as part of the $715 SX package. The SR5 adds Cement to the mix, while on TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, and Limited models get the option of Voodoo Blue. The TRD Pro has a pared-back palette of just four hues, including Superior White, Magnetic Gray, and Midnight Black, along with the TRD Pro-exclusive Army Green.

  • Super White
  • Silver Sky Metallic
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Quicksand, *PRICE TO FOLLOW*
  • Barcelona Red Metallic
  • Cement
  • Quicksand
  • Voodoo Blue
  • Voodoo Blue

Tacoma Performance

Even with the stronger 278-horsepower V6 engine equipped, the Tacoma isn't going to be breaking any top speed records. Despite this being the most potent powertrain, it still takes around eight seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph. This is quite a bit slower than more performance-oriented competitors like the Ford Ranger. However, the Tacoma isn't designed to be a speed demon; it's meant to be a capable off-roader and a respectable workhorse. In this capacity, it doesn't disappoint, at least not when equipped with the V6 engine. While the base four-cylinder on the lower trims is only rated to tow 3,500 lbs, the stronger V6 variant trims can handle between 6,400 to 6,800 lbs when properly equipped. But, while these are respectable figures for the segment, leading rivals can handle larger loads; the Ford Ranger can tow up to 7,500 lbs, while the Chevy Colorado diesel trim can pull 7,000 lbs.

For the sake of off-road ability, a 4x4 drivetrain is available and comes with a dual-range transfer case for the sake of traversing sticky terrain.

2020 Toyota Tacoma Front View Driving 1 CarBuzz
2020 Toyota Tacoma Side View Driving CarBuzz
2020 Toyota Tacoma Rear View Driving CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

Two engines are available to the Toyota Tacoma. The SR and SR5 come standard with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine producing 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. This modest power is directed, via a six-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. Also available to these two trims, but standard on all the rest, is a 3.5-liter V6 engine developing a much more impressive 278 hp and 265 lb-ft to the rear wheels on all by the TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro, which have four-wheel-drive by default. Every other trim offers four-wheel-drive as an option, but the six-speed manual gearbox is reserved for the TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, and TRD Pro trims.

When we say the base engine is modest, it's a polite way of saying it's underpowered for anything but a daily driver and a light load. For more strenuous duties and getting the Tacoma off the road, we're all about the strength and reliability of Toyota's V6 engine option. Unfortunately, for daily driving, the automatic transmission feels heavy-handed, and the manual option is our recommendation for trucks that will be doing more miles on the road.

Getting off the pavement in the TRD Off Road and TRD Pro, the automatic transmission wasn't a big problem, though. Mixed with the four-wheel-drive system and electronic aids, the automatic transmission is more than competent where it's crucial.

  • Engines
    2.7L Inline-4 Gas, 3.5L V6 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Automatic, 6-Speed Manual
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

While the Tacoma is a smaller truck, it still doesn't offer anything resembling a car-like driving experience on the road. It likes to wander on the freeway when keeping pace with traffic and requires constant correction to stay in your lane. Cruising on the road in off-road spec is also a bouncier experience than standard in less extreme trims, and the steering is on the sluggish side. On the positive side, the road noise isn't too bad with the more aggressive tires and the TRD model's exhaust note has a little meat to it without being overbearing or droning.

However, once you've reached a suitably rugged destination with the TRD Off-Road or Pro, then you understand the compromise you're making. Despite a light back end and raised suspension, the Toyota Tacoma 4x4 is sure-footed and agile through tight tracks. Over rocky ground, it's an absolute blast to drive and the electronic Crawl Control mode lets you concentrate on maneuvering while the electronics control the speed. In off-road spec, the Tacoma is equally unfazed by long deep puddles and thick mud, the chunky tires and electronic aids being more than happy to help when you start to get in trouble.

Tacoma Gas Mileage

With up to 32 configurations catering to various needs, the Tacoma's gas mileage estimates will vary. When equipped with the four-cylinder engine, the Toyota Tacoma gets an EPA-estimated 20/23/21 mpg over the city/highway/combined cycles in its rear-wheel-drive form. The four-wheel-drive models achieve a slightly worse 19/22/20 mpg. In its most efficient guise, the V6 is capable of 19/24/11 mpg with the automatic gearbox and 4x2, but 4x4 models lose much of the efficiency with best possible figures of 18/22/20 mpg with the automatic transmission. The manual-equipped models achieve best figures of 17/21/18 mpg, while the EPA rates the manual 4x4 TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro at 17/20/18 mpg. With 21.1 gallons of regular gasoline at its disposal, the Tacoma can cover up to 443 miles between gas stops in its most efficient guise.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    21.1 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 20/23 mpg
* 2020 Toyota Tacoma SR Access Cab 6' Bed I4 AT

2020 Toyota Tacoma Interior

The interior of the Tacoma has never been one of its strong suits but Toyota has made some changes this year to shore up this weakness. Cloth upholstery comes standard, with leather available on the upper trims, and build quality is solid. Controls are laid out logically, and the reversion to physical buttons is a welcome reprieve from the hassle of touchscreen inputs. There is adequate space in the cabin, but the driver's seat finally gets power-adjustability to overcome the poor positioning of previous years. The infotainment system is easy to operate and the inclusion of Android Auto and Amazon Alexa, as well as Apple CarPlay on every model is certainly a step in the right direction.

2020 Toyota Tacoma Front Seats Toyota
2020 Toyota Tacoma Infotainment System Toyota
2020 Toyota Tacoma Climate Control Toyota

Seating and Interior Space

The new 10-way electrically adjustable driver's seat makes a lot of difference to comfort, particularly for taller people wanting to fit in the Tacoma, but the driving position still feels a little odd and cramped compared with similar-sized trucks and we still wouldn't want to endure a long road trip in one. When bumping around off the road, both the driver's and front passenger's seat do a great job of keeping you in place and absorbing any big jolts, though, once again highlighting the Tacoma's rugged intentions. The upside of the 32.6 inches of legroom in the back is people riding back there can wedge themselves into place with their knees when the going gets rough, but in real-world scenarios, back-seat occupants won't be too happy.

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 42.9 in
  • Front Head Room 39.7 in
  • Rear Leg Room 24.6 in
  • Rear Head Room 34.9 in

Interior Colors and Materials

Inside the Tacoma, the materials aren't high-end until you get to the seats. The TRD Pro comes with seats upholstered in thick black leather stitched together in red. The TRD Off-Road has a choice when it comes to material, and you can choose between all fabric in black and grey or black with orange stitching. Alternatively, if you add the Premium Package and Technology Package, you can opt for black leather-trimmed seats with a further choice of black or orange stitching.

2020 Toyota Tacoma Trunk and Cargo Space

Primary cargo space is provided by one of two bed options. The long bed is a six-feet in length while the short is a five-foot. With 41.5 inches of width between the wheel arches and 19.1 inches of height, these beds both provide plenty of space for just about anything you can think of. You are, however, limited by payload capacity; this ranges from 1,155 lbs on the four-wheel-drive V6 double cab TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, and TRD Pro to 1,685 lbs on the rear-wheel-drive four-cylinder SR and SR5 when equipped with the access cab. These impressive figures are made possible by the innovative sheet-molded composite bed, which reduces the vehicle's overall weight. Integrated bed rails are present and four tie-down cleats come standard.

Small-item storage is significantly less impressive in the slightly cramped cabin. There are multiple trays and cubbies, but none are of particularly useful size. The center console armrest and glove compartment are the most spacious areas, and the door pockets are barely noticeable. In the double cab models, the rear seats can be folded to provide extra storage space.

2020 Toyota Tacoma Side View CarBuzz
2020 Toyota Tacoma Rear Angle View CarBuzz
2020 Toyota Tacoma Rear Angle View 1 CarBuzz

Tacoma Infotainment and Features


Standard features in the Toyota Tacoma comprise a 4.2-inch driver-information display, air conditioning, a sliding rear window with privacy glass, four-way manual front seats with lumbar, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a rearview camera, Toyota Safety Sense P, and Star Safety System. Moving up the trims, the SR5 adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The TRD Sport sees a 120-volt power outlet, a 10-way power driver's seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and keyless ignition added to the list. The final features are added with the Limited trim and comprise leather upholstery, a power sunroof, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and dual-zone climate control. The TRD pro adds the new multi-terrain monitor and panoramic-view monitor.


The addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity is overdue but welcome. A new eight-inch screen for the infotainment system is also welcome but already feels dated. The display isn't very bright, and the buttons surrounding it are small and feel cheap when pressed. The volume knob is also small and will be a pain for anyone jumping into a new Tacoma wearing gloves. Once you've managed to work your way around the system, you'll listen to decent-quality audio through the standard six speakers, although the JBL sound system on upper trims gets our nod of approval.

A promising feature for higher trims is the inclusion of a multi-terrain monitor. Unfortunately, the resolution is low, and either needs the camera or the screen to be something people will wholeheartedly rely on.

Toyota Tacoma Truck Common Problems and Reliability

J.D. Power gives the 2019 Toyota Tacoma a rating of 78 out of 100, which doesn't sound that impressive but it is one of the best within the midsize pickup segment and on par with leading rivals like the Honda Ridgeline and Ford Ranger. Two recalls have been issued for 2019 models, one for a faulty brake master cylinder seal and the other for illegible text on the load capacity label. Toyota offers a 36,000-mile/36-month basic warranty, while the powertrain is covered for 60,000 miles/60 months.


  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    2 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    2 Years \ 25,000 Miles

Toyota Tacoma Safety

The NHTSA has reviewed the Tacoma and awarded four stars out of five for crash test safety, while the IIHS gave the 2019 model overall scores of Good, with only the small overlap front: passenger side receiving a rating of Acceptable. The 2020 model has not yet been evaluated by the IIHS.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Rollover Rating

Toyota Tacoma Key Safety Features

All Toyota Tacoma trims come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P, which comprises a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with a sway warning system, automatic high beams, and dynamic radar cruise control. Also standard is the Star Safety System, which includes vehicle stability control, traction control, ABS brakes, brake assist, and smart stop technology. Hill-start assist control is equipped to every trim, while only the Limited and TRD Pro get rear parking assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a panoramic camera system. Eight airbags are present within the cabin: dual front, front knee, front side, and side curtain

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Toyota Tacoma a good Truck?

Despite its age and self-imposed faults, the Tacoma is incredibly popular for a reason. It delivers rough and ready ruggedness and reliability for the right price. It would be a mistake to buy a Tacoma as a daily driver unless you were going to do truck things with it; it's uncomfortable on-road, feels incredibly dated, and the rear of the cabin is immensely cramped. However, for doing truck things, it's an excellent tool. In off-road trims, it's not just a great performer out in the wild, but wickedly good fun to drive. For the path less traveled, the Tacoma hits the sweet spot.

🚘What’s the Price of 2020 Toyota Tacoma?

In the USA, the Tacoma's starting MSRP of $26,050 on the SR short-bed access cab model makes it one of the slightly pricier mid-size pickups on the market. But for your money, you get a decent number of features. For those wanting a bit more, you will have to move up the trim levels, with the SR5 costing $27,825, while the mid-range TRD Sport will set you back $32,725. If off-roading is your passion, you will want to consider the $34,000 TRD Off-Road. The well-appointed Limited trim asks for $38,790, while the most capable driver, the TRD Pro, will require a substantial $43,960 investment in manual guise. Opting for four-wheel-drive will add $3,000 to any bill, aside from the TRD Pro, which has four-wheel-drive as standard. These prices of the Toyota Tacoma exclude tax, licensing, registration, and destination charge.

Toyota Tacoma Models

The Toyota Tacoma range is comprised of six models: the SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, and TRD Pro. A 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine services the SR and SR5. Meanwhile, the TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, and TRD Pro feature a more rugged 3.5-liter V6. Four-wheel-drive is standard on only the TRD Pro, although it is available on every other model. The SR is available with either the extended cab with a six-foot bed or the double cab with a five-foot bed, while the SR5, TRD Sport, and TRD Off-Road offer the same options except they allow for a long-wheelbase option that pairs the double cab with the longer bed option. The Limited and TRD Pro only come with the double cab and five-foot bed.

The base SR comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, cloth upholstery, a rearview camera, a 4.2-inch driver information display, air conditioning, three USB ports, a seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, a six-speaker audio system, Toyota Safety Sense P and Star Safety System safety suites, a class-IV towing hitch receiver, and a fiber-reinforced SMC cargo bed.

The SR5 adds fog lights, keyless entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an eight-inch touchscreen, navigation, HD Radio, and Sirius XM.

Along with the better engine, the TRD Sport gets 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and fog lights, a 120-volt power outlet, a 10-way power driver's seat with power lumbar, keyless ignition, a wireless charging pad, and an eight-inch touchscreen.

The TRD Off-Road gets four-wheel-drive as standard, along with Bilstein shocks, an off-road traction system, and a lockable rear differential.

The premium Limited trim is equipped with 18-inch wheels, a power moonroof, the multi-terrain monitor and panoramic view monitor, rear parking assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, leather-appointed seats, dual-zone climate control, and a premium JBL audio system.

Only four-wheel-drive is available to the TRD Pro and it features unique TRD Pro-style exterior appointments such as the heritage-inspired 'TOYOTA' front grille, TRD Pro exhaust and TRD Pro front skid plate. The shifter knob, floor mats, and leather seats are also uniquely styled. It receives heated front seats and the basic shocks are replaced with Fox internal bypass shocks. Rigid Industries LED fog lights are equipped and the taillights receive black sport bezels.

See All 2020 Toyota Tacoma Trims and Specs

Toyota Tacoma Additional Packages

While six trims and a total of 32 configurations give buyers a huge amount of choice, Toyota still offers a range of packages and standalone options to further improve the Tacoma.

Noteworthy packages for the Tacoma include the Utility Package ($1,780 less than MSRP) for the SR, which comprises deleting the rear seats and intermittent wipers while adding black accents to the exterior and a fixed rear window; this optimizes cargo space. The SX Package ($715) for the SR includes black-accented 16-inch alloy wheels, overfenders, mirror caps, door handles, and headlights. The Premium Package ($6,870) for the TRD Sport adds LED headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED fog lights, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, automatic headlights, a moonroof, a premium JBL sound system, navigation, destination assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear parking assist, while a similar package also exists for the TRD Off-Road. Similarly, the Technology Package is available to the Sport and Off-Road, adding LED headlights with LED daytime running lights and black bezel LED fog lights, rear parking assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert at the cost of $1,285.

For those who are considering some serious off-roading, the Desert Air Intake Package ($725) for the TRD Pro is a must; adding a snorkel air intake.

🚗What Toyota Tacoma Model Should I Buy?

The TRD Pro brings extra style and an upgrade in suspension and accessories, but the price starts to get a little too stiff for our liking. However, if you're in the cult of Tacoma and that's what you want, we'll tip our hat to you in the safe knowledge that you'll enjoy the hell out of it.

We were sold on the TRD Off-Road model though and would stick with the hardwearing fabric seats. For the money, it's a great package and will suit the needs of most people with an adventurous spirit, and the aftermarket is enormous if you want to add skid plates or similar accessories.

2020 Toyota Tacoma Comparisons

Chevrolet Colorado Chevrolet
Ford Ranger Ford
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Toyota Tacoma159 hp20/23 mpg$26,400
Chevrolet Colorado 200 hp19/25 mpg$25,200
Ford Ranger 270 hp19/18 mpg$24,820

2020 Toyota Tacoma vs Chevrolet Colorado

The Chevy Colorado is a highly customizable pickup, lending itself to a variety of configurations to suit just about any need. It also doesn't shy away from adventures off the beaten path, with its well-designed off-road variant. When you consider that it also offers a segment-leading towing capacity of 7,700 lbs, it's hard to discount it. The Chevrolet also offers a choice of three engines, including a potent 308-hp V6 and a torquey 369-lb-ft diesel engine. Still, the recent upgrades to the Toyota's infotainment and safety systems lend it quite a bit of credence as one of the best midsize pickups for sale at present. But in terms of pure value for money, the Colorado looks to be the better investment, with comparable performance at a much lower starting price of $21,300 and an optional diesel engine that delivers better gas mileage than gasoline variant. The two trucks are quite evenly matched, all things considered, so we wouldn't fault you for sticking with the Tacoma.

See Chevrolet Colorado Review

2020 Toyota Tacoma vs Ford Ranger

The base-model Ford Ranger is $2,000 cheaper than the entry-level Tacoma, and the top-tier is quite a bit cheaper than the loaded TRD Pro, up to $6,000, but the Ranger is still not among the cheapest trucks on the market. But, in return, you get a decent number of standard safety and tech features, and even more are available with optional packages. The Ranger's powerful turbocharged engine is also nothing to sniff at, giving the truck significantly better performance values than the Tacoma, but its handling and ride comfort are not much different; in fact, they are arguably worse. And when it comes to off-roading, the Ranger can't hold a candle to the capable Toyota pickup. And while the Ford may be better suited to town driving, it's subpar ride comfort certainly detracts from its appeal as a daily driver. It may be able to tow an impressive 7,500 lbs, but that just doesn't seem like enough to warrant choosing it over the Toyota Tacoma.

See Ford Ranger Review

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