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Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road vs. Tacoma TRD Pro: What’s the Difference?

So you’re considering buying an unbreakable, unstoppable Toyota Tacoma to use for your off-road exploits. Nobody can blame you — the Tacoma is awesome, so buying one is an easy decision. What can be difficult, though, is deciding which trim level is right for you. The TRD Pro is unquestionably cool, but is it worth the extra coin over the TRD Off-Road? And what about the TRD Sport? It has "TRD" in the name, but what exactly does "Sport" entail? If you’ve ever pondered this yourself, you’ve come to the right place. Below is a comparison of the features of both the TRD Off-Road and the TRD Pro, and some guidance on choosing between the two.

First, a word on the TRD Sport. The Sport should be thought of as an appearance package on top of a base Tacoma or a Tacoma SR5. The Sport offers body-colored bumpers and fender flares, a (non-functioning) hood scoop, 17-inch wheels with street tires, a "sport-tuned" suspension and a front air dam attached at the base of the front bumper. The Sport is a viable option if your Tacoma is destined for mostly on-road use, as it lacks the off-road features of the TRD Off-Road. It can be argued that some of the features it does offer (larger wheels; front air-dam; painted bumper and trim) are actually hindrances to the innate off-road durability of the Tacoma.

If you’re buying a Tacoma for off-road use, there are really only two options — the TRD Off-Road and the TRD Pro. Which one is right for you depends on just how often and how hard you want to hit the trails. See the 2018 Toyota Tacoma models for sale near you

Tacoma TRD Off-Road

The Tacoma TRD Off-Road is available configured as either an Access Cab model with a 6.5-foot bed, or as a Double Cab with either a 5.5-foot or 6.5-foot bed. The TRD-Off Road is an awesome off-road package as-is, or as the starting point for an off-road build. It provides the following features that will make things easier and more fun when the tarmac turns to dirt:

  • Bilstein shock absorbers

  • Locking rear differential

  • Crawl Control

  • Multi-Terrain Select

  • 16-in wheels

  • Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Kevlar-lined off-road tires

  • Durable black plastic fender flares

The locking rear differential is an essential for off-roading, and it’s a costly aftermarket add-on, which makes its inclusion on the TRD Off-Road a huge plus. The Crawl Control and Multi-Terrain Select features are also nice-to-haves that aren’t available on the aftermarket. The Bilstein shock absorbers are firmer and tougher than your standard truck suspension, making for a less bumpy ride off-road. It should be noted, though, that less bumpy doesn’t mean not bumpy — the TRD Off-Road will still throw you around a bit in the rough stuff, making it a bit jarring to go fast off-road.

But if you’re looking to buy a truck, want to feel prepared off-road and like fun toys and technology, the TRD Off-Road is a safe bet — there really isn’t a better midsize off-road truck available at its price point.

But if you want to leave the dealer lot and head straight for the dirt, Toyota has another option for you.

Tacoma TRD Pro

Available only as a Double Cab model and with the 5.5-foot bed, the TRD Pro is for anyone who is definitely going off-road a lot, and can appreciate top-tier, professional-level off-road features. For anyone who planned to modify their Tacoma, the Pro offers many of the more common modifications straight from the factory — meaning peace of mind when it comes to warranty and resale value.

The TRD Pro includes everything on the TRD Off-Road PLUS:

  • Fox Off-Road suspension with front coilovers and remote reservoir rear shock absorbers.

  • 1-in suspension lift

  • TRD 1/4-in aluminum front skid plate

  • 16-in Black TRD wheels offering a 1-in wider track

  • Larger anti-sway bar

  • Unique hood with a (non-functioning) hood scoop and "eye-black" decal

  • TRD cat-back exhaust

Additional features of the TRD Pro that won’t necessarily help off-road are as follows:

  • TRD Pro-specific grille

  • Black headlight and taillight bezels

  • TRD Pro badging

  • TRD shift knob

  • TRD Pro floor mats

  • TRD Pro black leather seats with "TRD Pro" embroidering

Also note that the Tacoma TRD Pro is not available with a sunroof, which should be accounted for in any attempts at an apples-to-apples comparison with the TRD Off-Road.

Both the TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro come with the same engine and are available with either a manual or automatic transmission. The main advantage of the TRD Pro is its suspension. Above, we mentioned that the TRD Off-Road will still throw you around a bit on the trail. The TRD Pro turns that bumpy ride into smooth, off-road bliss, as its suspension eats up trail imperfections. On terrain you’d want to crawl over at 15 miles per hour in a TRD Off-Road, the TRD Pro sails over at 40.

In addition to its lack of cab and bed configurability, the main drawback of the TRD Pro is its price — factoring in the lack of a sunroof, buyers are going to pay around a $5,500 premium for the TRD Pro. Whether this is worth it to you can depend on two things. First, if you plan to go off-road a lot, and second, whether you planned on doing any of these modifications after purchase. If you fall into this latter camp, note that every bit of the TRD Pro comes warrantied by Toyota. Additionally, buying the TRD Pro means you’re far more likely to recuperate your costs when it comes time to re-sell your vehicle down the road, as TRD Pro models have held their value extremely well over the past few years, while aftermarket modifications require time and labor costs to install and add little-to-no value on the used market.

Either way, you can’t go wrong with either off-road trim level of the Toyota Tacoma; one of the most tried-and-true 4x4s on the market. Find a Toyota Tacoma for sale

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