If you’re in the market to buy a pickup truck, your cup runneth over with options. From new vehicles like the Jeep Gladiator and returning favorites like the Ford Ranger to old stalwarts like the Ford F-Series and the Toyota Tacoma, it’s hard to make a decision. The new 2021 Tacoma wants to make that decision a little more clear-cut with a glut of new features that make the quality of life with this truck much nicer without completely redesigning the vehicle.
2021 Toyota Tacoma: First Look
All trim levels except the base SR trim are getting a new 8-inch infotainment touchscreen. The SR trim keeps the old 7-inch screen, but that’s to be expected. While the rest of the car world has been quick to pick up Android Auto and Apple Carplay, this is the first time Tacoma has sported these features. It’s better late than never, though! Also new to the 2021 model is the inclusion of Amazon Alexa, allowing for voice controls out of the box.
Other big additions are outside the cab, such as the new LED headlamps, a new grille design and some slightly altered taillights. In short, many of the exterior design changes are aimed at making the vehicle look that much more modern and newer. This includes three-dimensional-looking sequential turn signals, a few updated body lines, and a more modern-looking front grille.
Quality of Life
The addition of a power driver seat in all but the SR trim is a welcome one. Additionally, the comfortable design of the seats makes the ride quality that much nicer, even when taking the truck off-roading. Terrain-select features are far from the norm in the truck world, so it’s great to see the feature on display here. The TRD and TRD Off-Road trims offer a terrain-select feature that includes options for rock and dirt, loose rock, mud and sand and more.
Also on display in the TRD and TRD Off-Road is an active multi-terrain monitor that helps you keep an eye on what’s happening beneath the wheels. This is great, since it’s often hard to tell where your wheels are in the massive Tacoma, what with its giant hood in the way and the high driving position you’re in. In short, if you’re looking to take truck off-roading, the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is going to be a solid choice in the TRD and TRD Off-Road trims.
Under the Hood
The base SR trim sports a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with only 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, which isn’t exactly great for heading off-road. If off-roading is your thing, both TRD trims offer a great engine for doing just that. The engine on display under the hood of these trim levels is a 3.5-liter V6 engine sporting 278 horses and 265 pound-feet of torque.
With the right equipment, the Tacoma can haul 1,600 pounds in the bed, or tow up to 6,400 pounds. While that’s not the best-in-class when it comes to hauling or towing, it’s impressive when you look at the frame the Tacoma sits on and the age of the base build. Whether or not this is a dealbreaker, of course, depends on how much you plan to tow.
The tech running in the 2021 Tacoma is impressive, to say the least. Driver safety features like automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control will all be shipping standards on the Tacoma line. Rear cross-traffic alerts and blind-spot alerts will also be shipping standards on TRD Pro and Limited trims, as well as being available on the other two trims as options.
In short, this is the same Tacoma you know, now with even more great technology running under the steering wheel. It’s hard to go wrong with the new Tacoma if you’re interested in off-roading!