2014 Toyota Tacoma TRD TX Baja Double Cab (4.0L V6 4x4 5-speed Automatic 5.0 ft. Bed)
Driven On 5/13/2014
The TRD TX Baja package turns the regular Tacoma into a desert-strafing missile in the vein of the larger Ford Raptor, but to a lesser degree. This version of the Tacoma has a lot of off-road capability with little sacrifice on pavement. It is expensive, though, and the truck is otherwise showing its age.
PerformanceThe TRD TX Baja package elevates the Tacoma's off-road chops significantly, yet its steering and handling don't suffer much in street driving. However, it also suffers from poor braking action and a loud exhaust. The engine is showing its age, though it performs adequately.
With its 4.0-liter, 236-hp V6 and 5-spd automatic, this pickup offers acceptable midrange grunt. We clocked it to 60 mph in 7.8 sec., which is just okay. At freeway speeds the truck's brick-like aerodynamics noticeably blunt acceleration.
Extremely difficult to modulate the brakes smoothly around town due to jumpy, nonlinear response, especially when you first hit the pedal. It took 143 feet for the Tacoma to stop from 60 mph in our testing, which isn't great.
The steering has decent feel and is appropriately weighted, making the Tacoma pretty easy to maneuver. Lane wander is at a minimum, a welcome surprise given the off-road nature of the truck's unique suspension and tires.
The off-road biased tires add a bit of vagueness to the proceedings but don't make the truck feel ponderous. It takes corners reasonably upright. Considering its off-road ability, its traits on the road are perfectly acceptable.
The jumpy brakes and excessively loud, droning exhaust mean this truck is in need of immediate help. Too bad, as the rest of the package is dragged down by these two shortcomings. Shifts from the 5-spd automatic could be smoother too.
Our test truck was equipped with the optional $650 Tow Prep Package available only for V6 models, elevating its max towing rating to 6,500 pounds. Without this option the truck can tow a max of 3,500 lbs. It's money well-spent.
There's little that can stop this truck in the wild. It's among the most purpose-built off-road biased trucks you can buy. Keep in mind it's not optimized for rock crawling, instead it's all about bombing through the desert at speed.
ComfortRide comfort is more than satisfactory for daily use, despite the TRD off road-biased suspension and tires. And the seats, although not the most supportive thrones out there, stay comfortable over long voyages. Ultimately this TRD package's loud exhaust drags down its score.
Relatively flat, with little lateral support, making the seat comfortable to sprawl out in, even though it only has basic adjustments. But backseat passengers won't like the flat, upright seats one bit.
This truck has a suspension intended to easily swallow desert heaves. Its ride quality on the road is busy over sharp road imperfections but it has the ability to dispatch large ones with ease thanks to the plentiful suspension travel.
It's difficult to discern this truck's road and wind noise because everything, including your sanity, is drowned out by the droning exhaust. It's loud and obnoxious no matter how gently you tip into the gas pedal.
InteriorWhile aesthetically in need of some attention, the fundmentals of the Tacoma's interior are sound. It's easy to live with because the cabin is fairly versatile. The taller-riding TRD TX Baja package does make it a bit less accessible for stepping up into, however.
The driving position has an upright seat. Primary controls like the three-knob temperature controls are simple and laid out in a logical fashion. Secondary buttons are a bit low. The instrument cluster is low-contrast and hard to read.
It's a bit of a high step to get into this truck, as it has been raised over the base Tacoma. The rear door openings are on the small side. Fortunately the flat seats provide little obstacle for getting in or out.
Midsize trucks are right-sized for many people because they're big enough to be useful yet small enough to park easily. The Tacoma is in a class of two, and it betters its rival (Nissan Frontier) in terms of the usefulness of the interior.
Great visibility with the tall windshield and large side windows. The glass area is ample and roof pillars are slim.
The split backseat folds flat and there are cubbies behind and under the seats. There's a good-size console bin up front along with slim door pockets. Two small cupholders up front.
ValueThe TRD TX Baja package means this Tacoma has few peers in terms of off-road capability, so in that sense it's a good value. However, it is easy to option the price up to near that of a Ford Raptor. This, for a Tacoma that is at the end of its long model cycle, is tough to swallow.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Interior surfaces are hard and plasticky (though durable), making the cabin feel cheap and sparsely appointed. This truck is long overdue for a full model change.
Our test truck was equipped with more than $11,000 in options, most of them related to suspension and tires. It also had Toyota's slick EnTune multimedia system, a $2,330 option. It's well-equipped, but you pay a lot for the privilege.
Our test truck's $39,910 as-tested price is formidable but acceptable if (and only if) you plan on using this truck off-road. There are few trucks that are as worthy in a harsh, desert-like environment. Still, it's near a Raptor's MSRP.
The EPA rates the Tacoma V6 at 18 mpg Combined (16 City/21 Highway). Any negative fuel mileage impact caused by the TRD package is not reflected in those numbers. On our standard evaluation loop it achieved 17.8 mpg.
Warranty coverage is 3 years/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper, with 5 years/60,000 miles for the powertrain and 5 years/unlimited miles for corrosion. This is the same as the Nissan Frontier.
2 years/25,000 miles of free scheduled maintenance is nice, and not offered by its competition. It also has roadside assistance for the same period.
Fun To DriveOff-road, the Tacoma with the TRD TX Baja package is a hoot. It can be driven hard across open desert with tremendous ease, and is intended expressly for such purposes. On road, it's still liveable for daily duty. Well done, Toyota.
This is arguably the most fun and most capable mid-size pickup you can buy. There's a lot of great hardware that comes with the TRD package, and it makes this a confident off-road truck. It feels robust.
Basically this truck says, "No problem. What else can you throw at me?" like no other mid-size truck. It's confidence-inspiring to drive. On the road the loud exhaust is an unnecessary affectation.