2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport Overview
The midsize Tacoma long has been a hot seller and comes in enough configurations to satisfy just about everyone, with Limited, SR, SR5, TRD Off-Road and TRD Sport versions and different cab and bed sizes. Prices are all over the place, ranging from $25,700 to $45,515.
One glance at Toyota’s 2019 Tacoma TRD Sport 4×4 Double Cab pickup shows it means business. It has a raised body, big tires on 17-inch machined alloy wheels and a hood scoop. The TRD bodyside labeling enhances the effect.
I tested one of the top-line models—the TRD Sport Double Cab V6 with part-time four-wheel drive, a two-speed electronically controlled transfer case, and an automatic limited-slip differential. Its list price was $36,465, but extra items such as a $2,890 TRD Premium Sport Package — which adds daul-zone climate control, heated leather seats as well as blind spot monitoring and rear parking sonar — and $1,045 delivery and processing charge upped the bottom line to $42,825.
The purposeful looking, generally quiet interior has lots of hard plastic, but doesn’t look cheap. However the rear seat will be comfortable only for shorter folks. There’s a push-button start and digital speedometer to go with the large, clearly marked speedometer and tachometer. The tach only registers about 2,000 RPM at 70 mph.
Helping make my test Tacoma feel user-friendly, though, were such features as a push-button start, leather-trimmed thick steering wheel with audio controls, handy dashboard control buttons ( especially large ones for for climate control), AM/FM CD, USB media port, many storage areas, easily used 7-inch touchscreen and several charging ports. There are power windows and door locks, and also a power horizontal rear window with privacy glass.
The Tacoma could use wider running boards for those with larger-size shoes because getting in calls for a tall step up into the 70.6-inch high vehicle. Once inside, though, visibility is quite good, although the extra-large power outside rearview mirrors with turn signal indicators partly blocked my vision during turns in town. The color-keyed hood scoop, however, looked sexy from the driver’s seat.
My test Tacoma had the $2,890 Premium Sport Package, which contained heated leather-trimmed supportive front seats, automatic climate control, premium audio system and a moonroof.
The many useful safety items include a pre-collision system with pedestrian protection, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with a sway warning system, rear backup camera, advanced air bag system, side curtain air bags.
Powering my test Tacoma was a 278 horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 with 265 pound-feet of torque and an engine oil cooler. It worked with a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift feature. The transmission sometimes seemed a tad slow because of economy shift programming, but mostly was responsive and had a manual-shift feature.
Acceleration was strong, and Toyota says the truck has a 6,800-pound towing capacity and can haul a 1,276-pound payload. The composite bed has a 120-volt power outlet, and the tailgate is lockable and removable.
Estimated fuel economy is 18 miles per gallon the city and 22 on highways, although a dash gauge of my test Tacoma registered a few more miles per gallon during steady 65-70 mph. Only 87-octane fuel is called for, although Toyota says higher grade fuel can be used. This 2019 Toyota Tacoma’s fuel tank capacity is 21.1 gallons.
Under the raised body of my Test Tacoma was a coil-spring double-wishbone front suspension and leaf spring rear suspension with sport-tuned shock absorbers. One penalty for the tough suspension was a ride that caused even moderate bumps to resonate through the cabin. The ride wasn’t punishing, but it’s just firm enough to make a long-distance drive less than ideal—at least for those accustomed to a car-like ride.
The power steering felt positive, with no on-center slop. But, the steering is on the heavy side, and provides little feedback. Also, the turning circle is quite wide, which can make the 225-inch-long (long-bed) Tacoma version awkward to maneuver in some areas. I found that sweeping through freeway on- and off-ramps was no problem. The brakes bite early and surely without an overly sensitive pedal.
The Toyota Tacoma has been a top-seller but now has competition from such new midsize pickups as the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger and GMC Canyon. But what the others don’t have is the Tacoma’s long-proven track record.