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Video | Here's Why the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Is the Best Midsize Truck

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author photo by Doug DeMuro July 2019

I recently had the chance to drive a brand-new 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, which is the off-roader version of the Toyota Tacoma, everyone's favorite midsize truck. I say this because the Tacoma literally is everyone's favorite midsize truck, based on its huge sales figures and its consistent and unending reputation for durability, which it has enjoyed for decades.

These days, though, the Tacoma has started to go more high-tech. After years of this truck being well-known for its simple construction and dependability, the latest Tacoma is starting to pack in the features -- like forward collision automatic braking, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control and more. Even the Tacoma is going high-tech.

Sort of. One of the interesting things I noticed about the Tacoma was the odd combination of high and low tech in the very same vehicle -- like, for instance, how it has manual seats, but a wireless phone charger. Or an old-school parking brake, but a blind spot monitoring system. It's a weird combination of features, and yet one I suspect Tacoma owners will likely appreciate, as most of them would like to keep their truck as simple as possible. Personally, I liked it, as I enjoy the idea of a truck with a lot of modern safety tech, and yet none of the other stuff that can break easily. To me, it seemed like a perfect combination, actually.

As for the rest of the Tacoma, it delivers exactly what it always has: simple, no-frills capability and dependability. It looks tough on the outside, which people absolutely love, and it delivers by being able to run basically forever -- that tough exterior enhanced by a reputation for being impossible to kill. The TRD Pro model notches things up even more, adding an off-road-oriented Fox suspension system, an extra inch of ground clearance, a skid plate, and various off-road modes that help the truck reach its full potential.

Really, it's the best of all worlds -- though I personally think the powertrain could be a little better. The Tacoma is now equipped with Toyota's 3.5-liter V6, replacing the outgoing 4.0-liter V6, which still exists in the 4Runner. The 4.0-liter has more torque at the low end, and it simply feels more muscular, even though the numbers are fairly similar (270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft in the 4Runner versus 280 hp and 265 lb-ft in the Tacoma). The 3.5-liter V6 is essentially a car engine, rather than a truck engine, so it's smoother than the powertrain in the 4Runner -- but it's a little less grunty, with less torque on demand. I wouldn't call it a problem, but rather a small difference that some people will notice.

Otherwise, however, I liked the Tacoma -- save for the price tag, which is around $47,000. That's a big figure for a midsize truck, especially when you can get full-size Tundra models for around that figure -- and not base-level ones, either, but well-equipped versions. It would be hard to spend that money for a midsize truck with a V6, except that the Tacoma offers an impressive trump card: it retains most of that value, and even a 2- or 3-year-old Tacoma can sell for around its original sticker price. That definitely lessens the blow when you're buying one of these.

These days, the midsize truck market is as competitive as ever, with the Chevrolet Colorado, the Ford Ranger, the Honda Ridgeline and the Tacoma -- along with the outdated Nissan Frontier -- all directly competing for your dollars. To me, the Tacoma remains the one to have -- the proven winner with the solid reputation. The other trucks are great, too, but Toyota knows this market, which is why these command such high resale value -- and continued revisions and updates to the Tacoma only seem to make it more desirable. Find a Toyota Tacoma for sale

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Video | Here's Why the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Is the Best Midsize Truck - Autotrader