2020 Toyota Tacoma

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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.

Read in this review:

7.9
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2020 Toyota Tacoma Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 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 2020 Toyota Tacoma

2020 Toyota Tacoma Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SR
2.7L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$26,050
SR5
2.7L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$27,825
SR V6
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$28,310
SR5 V6
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$30,970
TRD Sport
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
6-Speed Manual
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$32,745
See All 2020 Toyota Tacoma Trims and Specs

2020 Tacoma Exterior

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

Dimensions

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

Exterior Colors

  • Super White
  • Silver Sky Metallic
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Barcelona Red Metallic
  • Quicksand
  • Cement
  • Voodoo Blue
  • Voodoo Blue

2020 Tacoma Performance

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

  • 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.

2020 Tacoma Interior

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

Seating and Interior Space

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

2020 Tacoma Trunk and Cargo Space

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

2020 Tacoma Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • 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

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Rollover Rating

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.

2020 Toyota Tacoma Comparisons

Chevrolet Colorado Chevrolet
Ford Ranger Ford
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Toyota Tacoma159 hp20/23 mpg$27,750
Chevrolet Colorado 200 hp19/25 mpg$26,135
Ford Ranger 270 hp21/26 mpg$25,980

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.

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