The 2020 Toyota Tacoma receives a mild update
The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado carries over largely unchanged
The Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado are two of the most popular options in the midsize truck segment. Both are offered in a variety of trim levels, from basic work trucks to full-blown off-roaders. The current-generation Tacoma was redesigned for 2016, although most of its underpinnings are the same as the model that’s been on sale for well over a decade now. A mild update to the Tacoma for 2020 helps keep things fresh by introducing new lighting, new wheels and a few other new features.
The Tacoma is built alongside the full-size Tundra at Toyota‘s plant in San Antonio, Texas. The Colorado went on sale for the 2015 model year in its current generation, but it’s based heavily on a vehicle that’s been on sale in foreign markets since 2012. Overall, the Colorado is due for an update, which should come for the 2021 model year. Colorado production takes place in St Louis, Missouri. Here we’ll compare these two midsize trucks across a number of categories to help you understand which one is a better buy in 2020.
The Tacoma’s exterior design is a little more detailed than that of the Colorado. Up front, the Tacoma has a trapezoid shaped honeycomb grille with a lower fog light grille and a plastic chin skid plate. Its fenders, doors, and bed sides all have a chiseled look, and its tailgate around back is stamped with the ‘Tacoma’ wordmark. TRD Sport and TRD Pro models come with a non-functioning hood scoop. See the 2020 Toyota Tacoma models for sale near you
The Colorado is a little simpler and a little more dated than the Tacoma, but it still looks good. Up front, the headlights aren’t as angular as the Tacoma’s, nor is the grille. A low-hanging front air dam kills the sporty aesthetic a bit, although ZR2 models rectify this with a unique trophy-truck-style front bumper. Along the side, the Colorado wears upright styling with a tall greenhouse. Around back, a simple bowtie emblem adorns the tailgate, which now comes standard with locking functionality for 2020. See the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado models for sale near you
In terms of configuration, both the Colorado and the Tacoma are offered with either an extended or crew cab paired with either a 5.5-ft or 6.5-ft bed. The Tacoma uses a composite bed that doesn’t require a bedliner, while the Colorado comes with an old-school steel bed that you’ll likely want to have lined. The Tacoma’s bed comes with some added functionality in the form of two small storage compartments, a sliding deck rail system and a home-style 120 volt power inverter on upper trims.
Both of these vehicles come with interiors that are pretty spartan and utilitarian, although the Colorado’s is particularly lacking. The 2020 Tacoma gains a power adjustable driver’s seat on all but the base model, which serves to fix its somewhat wonky seating position. The Colorado has offered a power driver’s seat as standard since it debuted for 2015.
That’s about the only thing the Colorado has on the Tacoma though, as the Chevrolet feels alarmingly cheap on the inside overall, with the buttons, the switchgear and even the ignition cylinder feeling like products of the 1990s. As far as space goes, the Colorado crew cab offers a bigger back seat, with 35.8 inches of legroom to the Tacoma’s 32.6 in. Both vehicles can be had with leather interiors, which makes them easier to clean after a weekend of off-roading.
Entry-level Tacomas come with a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine making 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes paired exclusively with a 6-speed automatic. The engine you really want though is the V6, which is available on all trim levels. The Tacoma’s 3.5-liter V6 makes 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque and comes with either a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual.
The most common configuration for the Tacoma is the V6 with the automatic transmission and 4-wheel drive. With this setup, the Tacoma returns 18 mpg city, 22 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg in combined driving. A word of advice — if you’re looking to tow with your midsize truck, you’ll likely be frustrated by the Tacoma’s automatic transmission, as its shift point programming makes towing a particularly dreadful experience. If you plan to pull a load more than a few times every year, we recommend the manual or a different vehicle altogether.
The Colorado offers an available diesel engine in addition to two basic gas powerplants. The entry-level Colorado comes fitted with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder making 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque — better figures than the Tacoma’s anemic base engine. The gas 4-cylinder Colorado comes with a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual. The more potent gas-powered motor is a 3.6-liter V6 that puts out 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque and comes paired exclusively with an 8-speed automatic.
The Colorado’s optional diesel engine makes just 181 hp but 369 lb-ft of torque and comes paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The Colorado diesel offers an impressive 7,700lb tow rating; which is at the top of the midsize pickup class. Still, we found the Colorado’s diesel powerplant to be severely lacking when it comes to day-to-day usability, given its lack of power.
The vehicle’s 0-to-60 mph time comes in at roughly ten seconds, which means pulling onto the highway can be somewhat harrowing. With AWD, fuel economy for the Colorado diesel comes in at 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined, while the V6 returns 17 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined. Given the oil-burner’s $3,000 price premium, unless you’re a die-hard diesel enthusiast, we think most buyers will be best served by the V6.
Features and Tech
Toyota has rectified one of the Tacoma’s most glaring weak points for 2020: its infotainment system. For 2020, every Tacoma now comes standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility delivered through a new 8.0-in touchscreen on all but the base model, which comes with a 7.0-in unit. Additionally, the Tacoma is offered with a JBL audio system and wireless charging pad as well as a few other things.
As we mentioned above, the Tacoma’s bed has a few interesting features, including storage cubbies, a convenient deckrail system and an available home-style power outlet. Additional features include an available power sliding rear window and a sunroof. Fabric seats are standard, while leather is optional on upper trims but standard on the TRD Pro.
Starting with the LT trim, the Colorado offers an 8.0-in infotainment system running Chevrolet’s ‘MyLink‘ infotainment system, which is far superior to Toyota’s ‘Entune‘ software and offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. The Colorado can also serve as a wi-fi hotspot, provided you pay for a 4G LTE subscription. Finally, one of the additions to the Colorado for 2020 is a standard locking tailgate and a new tire-fill alert system. The Colorado isn’t available with a sunroof or a power sliding rear window.
Both the Colorado and the Tacoma earn top marks across the board in crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Tacoma is significantly ahead of the Colorado when it comes to active safety features. Standard on the Tacoma are automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and automatic high beams. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection is also available. The Colorado is only available with forward collision alert and lane departure warning, neither of which comes standard.
Toyota generally offers above-average reliability, and the Tacoma has built its reputation on being one of the toughest, most dependable vehicles on the market. General Motors and its Chevrolet brand, on the other hand, are known for just average reliability, and given that it’s still a relatively new product, the verdict isn’t in on the Colorado yet. Both Toyota and Chevrolet offer a 3-year/36,000-mile basic and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Factoring in destination fees, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma carries a starting price of just over $27,000 for a base 4-cylinder SR model with 2-wheel drive, while a fully-loaded TRD Pro model comes in just shy of $48,000. Our favorite trim, the TRD Off-Road, starts at about $37,000 with the equipment most people want and tops out around $43,000.
The Colorado carries a base price of about $26,000. As we mentioned above, the diesel powertrain costs an additional $3,000. The off-road-oriented ZR2 starts at about $43,000, while adding the Bison package means roughly another $6,000. The most expensive 2020 Colorado, a loaded ZR2 Bison configured with the crew cab and diesel engine, comes in around $53,000.
The Tacoma and Colorado are both available in a number of different trim levels, all of which offer good utility across the board. For the past few years, the Tacoma’s main selling points have been its exceptional resale value, great reliability and standard safety technology, but some updates to the vehicle’s infotainment system and other areas for 2020 help to widen its appeal.
The Colorado doesn’t carry the bulletproof reputation of the Tacoma, but it does offer a slightly larger cabin and an available diesel engine. Additionally, both trucks offer fun off-road trim levels and good overall capability. When it comes down to it — assuming you aren’t looking for a diesel engine — we give the nod to the Tacoma in this comparison due to its superior interior quality and reputation for durability. Find a Toyota Tacoma for sale or Find a Chevrolet Colorado for sale