2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road vs. TRD Sport
Which One is Right For You?
When Toyota released the new Tacoma, it not only worked on improving the truck itself but improved the offerings to its core off-roading consumers with two “let’s get dirty” versions in the form of a TRD Off-Road and TRD Sport. While each truck will tear up the dirt, they are really meant for two different types of off-roading.
What Makes Them Different on the Outside
Standing next to a Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road or Sport, it isn’t immediately clear to the average person which one is which. However, there are key differences to look for that separate them visually, as well as on the dirt.
For starters, the TRD Sport has a color-matched hood scoop along with a gray grille. It also features color-matched mirrors, door handles, overfenders and rear bumper. Basically, if you want a scoop and a bunch of color-matched components you want a TRD Sport.
If the non-functioning scoop isn’t that big of a deal and true performance is, then the TRD Off-Road’s 16-inch Goodyear Wrangler Kevlar–reinforced tires (17-inch tires on the Sport) and off-road–tuned Bilstein shocks (sport-tuned on Sport) is the way to go. Also, note that the TRD Off-Road comes standard with a chrome rear bumper and black front bumper, which helps distinguish it.
Mechanical/Feature Differences Are Large
Speaking of performance, the mechanical and features differences between the two trucks are quite substantial and will help decide which one is for you.
Starting with the TRD Sport, it is basically a standard Tacoma with the sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch wheels, and standard part-time four-wheel drive.
Now, the TRD Off-Road is quite different than a standard Tacoma. It comes equipped with Multi-Terrain Select, Crawl Control, and the aforementioned off-road suspension. Simply put, this truck will crawl out of whatever hole you put it in better than the Sport.
What about the other factors like price, fuel economy, and transmission options?
Fuel economy is better on the Sport without the off-road gear, returning an estimated 19/24 mpg city/highway with the 3.5L V-6 2WD, while the Off-Road is rated at 17/20 mpg city/highway.
Finally, transmission differences could be significant if you want a manual. The TRD Sport offers a manual in the access cab 4WD and double cab 4WD, while the TRD Off-Road only offers it in the double cab.
Which One is Right For You?
While there are many factors when buying any truck, the mechanical differences are the key items to consider when shopping for a new Tacoma. Quite simply, do you want to get dirty or muddy? The TRD Sport is really a desert runner setup to hit the off-road trail hard and fast, while the TRD Off-Road can go more off trail and tackle the rocky trail as well as the dirt tract.
Now, price and fuel economy also are different enough to influence your buying decision, yet do you want to stuck on a rock thinking about how happy you are saving the 4 mpg highway or do you want to climb out? On the same note, if you never veer off the trail, you probably will never need the TRD Off-Road. Either way you go, these trucks look and perform better with a little dirt on the tires.