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Auto review: Key upgrades for 2020 help to keep Toyota Tacoma in front of the pack

Emma Jayne Williams, Fort Worth Star-Telegram on

Published in Automotive News

Toyota Tacoma, America's best-selling midsize pickup for more than a decade, has new tech, style, comfort and convenience features for 2020, making it more compelling and more competitive.

The third-generation design is inspired by Toyota's fabled desert race trucks and is the definition of the "work hard, play hard" mentality.

Six available models with the choice of cab size and style, bed size, automatic or manual transmission, rear- or all-wheel drive, and an array of packages offer 32 different configurations.

Available models are the work-ready SR, $26,050; high-style, high-value SR5, $27,825; athletic TRD Sport, $32,725; adventurous TRD Off-Road, the model I drove, $34,485; ultimate off-road TRD Pro, $38,790; and top-of-the-line Limited, $43,960 (base prices).

My TRD Offroad had an upgraded multimedia package with a new, larger eight-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa Capability, and an added Electronically Power-Adjustable Driver's Seat.

A new hexagonal grille featured a bold body-color surround (Silver Sky Metallic) and smoked gray 3-D honeycomb mesh. The new chiseled front also included LED fog lights and slim projector-beam headlights with signature LED daytime running lights. Revised taillights/backup lights included a chrome insert wrapped from top to bottom.

 

Extended wheel wells, trimmed in black, accommodated the suspension's generous wheel travel and emphasized the new 16-inch machined six-spoke alloy wheels with black pockets. Each wheel is four pounds lighter for a significant weight reduction to enhance off-road capability.

Tacoma TRD Offroad is available in eight exterior colors with interesting names such as VooDoo Blue, Quicksand, Magnetic Gray metallic and Cement.

The 3.5-liter V-6 could produce 278 horsepower and 265 foot-pounds of torque and was rated for 18 mpg city/22 highway/20 combined. I drove mostly in the neighborhood and short distances on divided highways and achieved 19.9 mpg combined. A six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with intelligence was standard.

Choosing 4WDemand part-time four-wheel drive with electronically controlled transfer case added $2,480. The off-road tuned suspension with Bilstein shocks, locking rear differential, active traction control, multi-terrain select, crawl control and hill-start assist control were standard.

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