Tuned suspension aids grip of Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro in an offroad setting. (Bud Wells photo)

Pacing along at about 50 miles per hour against the slickness of 5 to 6 inches of snow one morning in April, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro 4X4 Double Cab carried us into the Fort Collins area.

It was an excellent vehicle for challenging the wet, cold spring snowstorm, and its performance was capped in a transfer of grip from 4-Hi to 4-Lo on a steep climb along a country dirt trail on our return drive home.

Finished in army green, the Tacoma seemed to seize the opportunity in showing its prowess over the adverse conditions with TRD-tuned offroad suspension and Fox shocks, Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain 265/70R16 tires, electronically controlled transfer case and automatic limited-slip differential.

The holdover 3.5-liter V-6 engine, producing 278 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. of torque, is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission (a 6-speed manual is an option). Tow capacity for the 3.5 V-6, 4WD double cab is 6,400 pounds.

Running up the A pillar on the passenger side of the truck is the Desert Air Intake, which draws fresh air into the engine from a post high above the level of dirt and dust.

Accessing the interior requires a high, 24-inch step-in. Seating is firm and the ride is somewhat stiff. The Tacoma is Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible, with an 8-inch touchscreen. At the rear is a 5-foot pickup box.

On the safety side is a precollision system with pedestrian detection and automatic braking support, part of Toyota Safety Sense which also includes lane-departure alert and steering assist, dynamic radar cruise control and automatic high beams.

The Tacoma’s overall fuel mileage of 17.9 was at the low end of its EPA rating (18-22).

The desert-air snorkel added $725 to the total tally, bringing it to $49,599. Heated front leather seats, JBL speakers, subwoofer and amplifier are standard items.

The Tacoma, built in San Antonio, competes against the Jeep Gladiator, Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado and Nissan Frontier.