The 2022 Tacoma TRD Pro is getting old. While the Tacoma hasn’t received a complete new sheet design since 2005, it did receive a major update in 2016 including a 3.5-liter V6 and 6-speed auto. It’s certainly aging, however it remains the top seller in the mid-size class.
Outside the 2022 Tacoma TRD Pro
For some reason Off-Road trimmed vehicles often come with bold and aggressive styling and decals. The Tacoma TRD Pro has a few of those features, but it isn’t quite as bold as many competitors.
Some TRD Pro distinctions are; Headlights specific to the trim with illuminated TRD and PRO in the passenger and driver sides headlamps respectively. Rigid Industries fog lights are equipped down low in the bumper. TRD PRO is stamped into the bedsides along with a TRD Pro badge on the tailgate. If you can get an aerial view of the hood, you can see a topographical map just behind the faux hood scoop. The final tell tale sign of the Tacoma TRD Pro is a set of black 16” wheels with TRD in red lettering on the center caps.
Of course there are additional features that aren’t as easily seen. The key to the TRD Pro is the suspension setup. For 2022 new forged upper control arms have been added that increase rebound travel. Springs specifically tuned for higher speed off-road travel compliment the 2.5” Fox Shocks. The suspension has a 1.5” lift up front and a 0.5” lift in the rear.
Setting the TRD pro apart from the rest of the Tacoma lineup are a few unique features. First up is that the TRD Pro Tacoma comes standard with heated leather seats, dressed in black with red stitching. It also includes the premium audio system and 8” touchscreen infotainment center. Unique to the TRD Pro are the shift knob and floor mats. Everything else inside is common to what you would find on other Tacoma trim levels.
Tacoma TRD Pro On-Pavement
Getting straight to the point, the Tacoma was built for leaving the pavement. Its engine and transmission make it feel anemic on the road. It’s slow to downshift and doesn’t produce much torque until higher in the rpm range. This causes casual cruising to take more work than in any other mid-size truck.
With off-road tuned suspension the Tacoma TRD Pro is a little floaty on pavement, has more brake dive, and leans a bit more in the corners than most mid-size trucks. However this is a big upside for those who live in areas with poorly maintained roads. The TRD Pro suspension will eat just about any pothole without much of a problem.
Taking the Path Less Traveled in the Tacoma TRD Pro
Toyota’s TRD Pro series of vehicles remain near or at the top of our leader board in their respective classes for high speed off-pavement travel. While we were able to achieve higher speeds in the Chevy Colorado ZR2, the Tacoma TRD Pro was nearly as quick and is definitely the smoothest in the mid-size truck class.
There are no worries about getting shock fade or even blowing a seal with the Fox 2.5” shocks. Traveling for hours on somewhat maintained dirt/gravel roads at higher speeds is a non-issue for the Tacoma TRD Pro.
For low speed crawling and technical climbs Toyota has a variety of tricks for the TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro vehicles. Most of the vehicles with these trim levels come equipped with Crawl Control, Multi-Terrain Select and a locking rear differential. All of these systems work as advertised with the driver being able to dial in exactly how much electronic intervention they want. We would love to see the improvements from the 2022 Tundra’s ABS components added to the Tacoma and 4-Runner for a smoother and quieter experience.
As expected the Tacoma TRD Pro went through all of our tests without an issue. However, it is no Wrangler Rubicon for rock crawling.
With a base price of $48,640 the 2022 Tacoma TRD Pro sits on the upper end of the mid-size class. It comes well equipped and our tester only had a few accessories added, like a bed mat, door edge guards, and a TRD air filter, that totaled less than $1,000. Add in the $1,215 destination charge and the total MSRP of our tester was $50,733.
In comparison to competitors like the Colorado ZR2, Gladiator Rubicon, Ford Ranger Tremor, and Frontier Pro 4x the Tacoma TRD Pro is on the upper end of both price and capability.
If your thing is overlanding or higher speed off-pavement travel, then the Tacoma TRD Pro might be for you. Its on-road manners are sub par, but it more than makes up for that with its off-pavement prowess.
Matthew Barnes is an experienced towing expert. He works as a mechanical engineer and his day job involves testing a variety of vehicles while towing trailers of all types and sizes. Matt shares his knowledge by writing for automotive news outlets in the evenings. When he’s not working he can be found spending time in the great outdoors with his family. He enjoys camping, hiking, canyoneering, and backpacking. Whenever possible he spends time riding in or on any power sports vehicle he can find and claims he can drive anything with a motor, which probably isn’t true.
Matt lives in the Utah mountains and often posts cool off-roading videos to his Instagram and YouTube channel.