Not much has changed since the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro launched in 2015, but buyers can’t seem to get enough, and it’s easy to see why. The Tacoma has been a best-selling midsize pickup for more than 15 years, has massive resale value, and remains unsung forever. Buy tacos now, eat for 20 years.
Still, that hasn’t stopped Toyota from delivering incremental improvements to the Tacoma over the years, including some new changes slated for 2022. No, these updates aren’t major, and they’re not what I think Tacoma really needs, but they essentially help make a good truck even better.
Perhaps the most significant change for 2022 is Tacoma’s new Electric Lime Metallic paint, the color I’ve been waiting for the rest of my life. I doubt it’ll be a huge seller, but if that truck doesn’t look good in bright green, that’s great. There are a few other small cosmetic details exclusive to the Tacoma TRD Pro. The badge is affixed to the rear quarter panel, there are some redesigned 16-inch wheels that look great and you can get some new hood decals if that’s your jam.
If you’re an off-roader like me, you’ll appreciate the TRD Pro’s increased front lift, which is now 1.5 inches higher than the standard Tacoma instead of 1.0, in addition to a 0.5-inch lift at the rear. This translates to better off-road geometry with an approach angle of 36.4 degrees, a departure angle of 24.7 degrees and a breakover angle of 26.6 degrees. When You Look at the Competition, TRD Pro Is the BestAnd and the top In all angles but departure. If you want a better approach and departure angle than the Tacoma, you’ll have to step up to the larger Jeep Gladiator, though you’ll face a maximum breakover angle of 20.9 degrees, which will make it harder to climb the steep summits.
Along the cliff-fringed trails of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, the TRD Pro runs better Scoosh than last year’s model. Better off-road geometry means I can tackle steeper rock faces without fear of damage, although I also have skid plates to help me out. I can attack rock walls confidently and a heavy throttle pedal makes it easy to maintain a steady speed – even if I’m only going a few mph.
Another major improvement is the addition of forged upper control arms and a repositioned ball joint mount. This gives the 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass shock a greater rebound stroke and results in less passenger shock than in previous years. Even though I don’t get any smooth dirt here in the mountains, the Tacoma ride is obedient and I feel like I can drive 8 hours straight on these trails and not get out of a truck. I’d like to take the TRD Pro out on some high-speed desert to see if this increased rebound stroke helps deal with whoops, but here in the high country, the Tacoma easily overruns everything in its path. Does.
Otherwise, the TRD Pro drives as usual. The 3.5-liter V6 engine puts out 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. The six-speed automatic transmission is fine when slowly picking your way through trails, but it’s a dog on the highway, slow to shift and always hunting for the right gear. Luckily, the TRD Pro is also available with a six-speed manual transmission.
There are drive modes for Mud and Sand, Rock and Dirt, Rock, Loose Rock and Moguls, but truth be told, you really don’t need them. Low-range four-wheel drive and a steady throttle will get this Tacoma through almost anything. The TRD Pro gets a rear locking differential that helps in sketchy situations, but the front lacks this feature. If you’re planning on going for extra tough trails like the Rubicon or Pritchett Canyon in Moab, you’ll want to look at the Colorado ZR2 or Gladiator with their front-locking setup. Also, the TRD Pro’s crawl ratio is only 36:1, which is more than enough for the mountainous paths of this trip, but again, serious rock climbers will need more capacity.
Toyota’s crawl control is standard on the TRD Pro, where drivers can select from five different preset speeds and then worry about driving the Tacoma. This technique works best on flat or sloping terrain, but is it noisy. If I didn’t know any better I would have thought the whole drivetrain was going to pop out from under the truck. Fortunately, keeping the Tacoma low in four-wheel-drive and manually selected first gear keeps my foot off the brakes most of the time.
Driving aids such as braking with pedestrian detection, high-speed adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and automatic high-beam are all standard as part of the Toyota Safety Sense-P package. But, holy cow, does Tacoma need help in the cabin tech department. The front camera is so blurry that I can barely recognize another Tacoma sitting about 25 feet ahead of me, and all the infotainment graphics on the 8-inch touchscreen are super fuzzy. but hey, at leastAnd are standard.
For a truck that claims to be the top off-road trim, the navigation system leaves a lot to be desired. It is hard to get accurate latitude and longitude readings and there is no way to see your current altitude. Also I can’t see things like transmission, coolant and oil temperature. When I’m above 10,000 feet and away from civilization, the more information I have, the safer I feel.
The Tacoma’s charging options are the same for course, with one USB-A for phone mirroring and two 2.1-amp USB-A ports in the center console for charging. Wireless charging is also standard on the TRD Pro, as is a 120-volt/400-watt AC power outlet in the bed.
When it comes to payload, the TRD Pro Tacoma can haul 1,155 pounds in its bed when equipped with an automatic transmission. This is the lowest rating of all off-road midsize trucks, so if Home Depot runs in your future, check out the Ford Ranger Tremor, which can carry 1,430 pounds. The Tacoma TRD Pro is rated at 6,400 pounds, which isn’t bad, but is once again behind the Ranger Tremor and Gladiator Rubicon.
2022 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro with Six-Speed Manual TransmissionThis includes a destination fee of $1,215, which is an increase of $1,610 over the 2021 model. If you opt for the six-speed automatic transmission, expect to pay $49,855.
Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is a used truck. I’m not saying it’s a bad truck, but it’s time to stop with the incremental changes and give this thing a proper overhaul. The transmission needs a go, the infotainment needs a major update, and the Tacoma needs to improve the practical truck stuff. Still, if you want a truck that will take you into the wild, the Tacoma TRD Pro will not only do the trick, it will do it for years and years to come.
Editor’s Note: Travel costs related to this story were covered by the manufacturer, which is common in the auto industry. The decisions and opinions of Roadshow staff are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.