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Test Drive: 2022 Toyota Tacoma TRD gets a lift

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Midsize pickup even more off-road ready

There’s a reason the Toyota Tacoma is a leader in the midsize pickup truck segment. The Tacoma feels like what full-size pickups used to feel like in size and performance (back in the day). So there’s a bit of a sentimentality for those who feel today’s big pickups are just a little too “much.” That’s the Toyota Tacoma’s sweet spot.

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For the 2022 model year, the Tacoma sees mostly a carryover from the previous model year but there are a couple changes of note.

The 2022 Tacoma TRD Pro, which we recently drove, gets a lift (literally) as there’s heightened suspension for this model year. The taller stance is noticeable just at a glance, but as the TRD Pro, from the driver’s seat you get a higher vantage point. At times it feels almost like you’re driving the larger Tundra rather than the midsize Tacoma. The improved stance shows with an increase of 1.5 inches up front and .5 inches in the rear.

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The Tacoma has a height of 5 feet, 10.6-inches and a length of 17 feet, 8.3 inches. The Gross Vehicle Weight is 5,600 pounds and the curb weight varies from 3,915 pounds to 4,505 pounds.

The increased lift isn’t just an aesthetic improvement, it readies the Tacoma for more off-roading adventures. You expect that with the TRD Pro trim and the Tacoma doesn’t disappoint.

Performance wise, the Tacoma is offered with two engines and two different transmission options. There’s a 2.7-liter, four-cylinder engine with 159 horsepower and also a 3.5-liter V6 with 278 horsepower. The Tacoma I drove had the V6 with a six-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual is available on the TRD models.

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The transmission is the one area that shows the Tacoma’s age. It is need of more gears and a more modern transmission. Perhaps the manual transmission redeems the bland transmission a little.

The TRD-tuned cat-back exhaust adds a nice growl. The Multi Terrain Monitor system provides views of the terrain with the push of a button. Views from the front, rear and side are displayed on an 8-inch multimedia touchscreen.

Inside, the TRD badging differentiates itself from other Tacomas with TRD Pro Logos on the headrests, shift knob and all-weather floor mats. The interior is clad with black leather offering firm and comfortable seats for front and rear passengers.

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The rear legroom is limited in the Tacoma and any inkling of this feeling like a Tundra (from the increased lift) ends in the back seat which has limited legroom comfort.

A power moonroof adds ambience to the interior while an advanced JBL Audio system adds to the creature comforts.

When off roading safety is always a factor. Toyota plays up the safety systems that are standard on the Tacoma TRD including: Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop brake override technology (SST). 

There’s an 8-inch multimedia touchscreen that drives Toyota’s intuitive infotainment system. The clean, simple organization of the system presents itself neatly and integrates with both Apple and Android devices.

Starting price for the top-of-the-line trim TRD Pro is just over $48,000. Compare that to the base trim SR which starts right around $27,000 and there’s a wide range of trims for the consumer to choose from. That’s part of the appeal of the midsize Tacoma. Whatever truck you need it to be it can basically pull it off, within reason.

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Fuel economy for the four-wheel drive TRD Pro is 18 mpg/city and 22 mpg/highway. The smaller engine (not available with the TRD) sees a small uptick in fuel economy of 19/22.

Driving the Tacoma is a trip down memory lane for what full-size trucks used to be. The scale and mass of this “mid-size” pickup is about what full size trucks were a couple decades ago. But today, trucks have grown so huge that the small and midsize pickups of today have to keep up or risk appearing like tiny compact pickups. But that’s the end of the old-school similarities, and this pickup is full of useful content and comfort.

Originally published on theweekenddrive.com, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.