2018 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road

A truck that will take you anywhere!
By Durhl Caussey, Epoch Times Contributor
December 8, 2018 Updated: December 8, 2018

The 2018 Toyota Tacoma is available with two different cabin configurations: the Access Cab and Double Cab. My test vehicle was a Tacoma Double Cab TRD Off-Road.

This Tacoma pickup truck comes with a powerful drivetrain. The 3.5-liter Atkinson-cycle V6 with VVT-iW produces 278 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 265 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,600 rpm. The power is transmitted through a six-speed automatic transmission, and the truck rides on 16-inch machine-contrast alloy wheels, achieving 18 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, for a combined average of 18 mpg.

The most interesting and enjoyable aspect of this vehicle was its off-road performance, and there are good reasons for that. The off-road-tuned suspension, with Bilstein shocks and electronically controlled locking rear differential, allows you to select terrain for travel that’s not considered by other off-road vehicles. The Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control (CRAWL) features let you journey into areas normally used by mountain goats and trekkers.

Most of the time, buying a vehicle that will take you to out-of-bounds places will require you to sacrifice creature comforts and technology. But inside the Tacoma, standard Entune premium audio with integrated navigation and Entune App Suite keeps you informed and relaxed.

There are three USB ports, one for media and two for charging electronics. This provides more options for media sources and keeps your devices fully charged and ready to use.

However, the 4.2-inch color Multi-Information Display (MID) is too small. Not only is the color not particularly clear, but also the identifying icons are too small to read easily. Larger icons and a sharper screen display are imperative.

The interior of the Tacoma. (Courtesy of Toyota)

A superb interior feature is the power sliding rear window with privacy glass, which opens with just a touch of the button. This also makes passing items from the cabin to the bed and back again much easier. The lower tailgate opens smoothly and is easy to remove when needed. It can also be locked to help keep your gear secure.

While the Tacoma TRD Off-Road can get you off-road and into the dirt, playing among the trees and frolicking along ridge lines, and even traveling to places other trucks may fear to tread, it carries a bundle of safety features that you’ll appreciate when driving in traffic on civilized roadways, all packaged in the Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P).

TSS-P includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert with a sway warning system, automatic high beams, and dynamic radar cruise control.

Should you like to do some serious hunting or backpacking in extreme environments, the TRD Off-Road may be the truck for you. As mentioned previously, it includes a locking rear differential, which can distribute engine power evenly to both rear wheels so that they can move at the same speed, providing more grip in low-traction conditions.

In addition, Crawl Control system automatically modulates the throttle and brakes on five low-speed setting, letting you keep your focus on steering through difficult steep terrain. And the Multi-Terrain Select system regulates wheelspin by adjusting throttle and braking for the five selectable types of driving modes, including dirt, rock, mud, and sand.

Trails, forests, plains, and mountains high are all possible to explore with the Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road.

The 2018 Tacoma 4×4 Access Cab TRD Off-Road with a 6-ft. long bed carries a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $35,380, while the 4×4 Double Cab TRD Off-Road with a 6-ft. long bed is $36,925. And add on a premium package for an additional $2,625.

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this newspaper or at dcaussey@sbcglobal.net