The Toyota Tacoma is a compact pickup truck loved by enthusiasts. However, there are several different trim levels that can be chosen, making it difficult to figure out which one to buy.
What are the differences and similarities between Toyota Tacoma SR5 vs. TRD, and how do you know which one is right for you?
In this guide, I look over the differences among the Tacoma trims. I also touch on the similarities and point out what model might fit you the best.
Toyota Tacoma SR5 vs. TRD Differences
Among the top differences, the Toyota Tacoma SR5 and TRD trims have varying engine configurations. They also offer varying levels of off-road performance and pricing, and they contain different tech features. However, both trims contain the same seating configurations, bed sizes, and towing or hauling capability.
Here is a more detailed list of the differences between Toyota Tacoma SR5 and TRD:
1. Engine Configuration
The SR and SR5 trim levels come standard with a 159-horsepower 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine. The TRD models include a 278-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine. This more powerful V6 can be added to the SR and SR5 trim levels, but it costs more.
Additionally, you can choose between the manual transmission or the six-speed automatic. What’s interesting is that the Tacoma is the only pickup still produced with a manual option.
2. Off-Road Performance
The Toyota Tacoma is a top choice for off-roading enthusiasts. However, the SR and SR5 trims don’t have the equipment you need to rip up the trails.
Instead, you will want one of the TRD trims to tackle difficult terrain. With the TRD Off-Road or TRD Pro, you get sophisticated equipment, such as off-road shocks, skid plates, a locking rear differential, and highly-calibrated suspension tuning.
3. Interior Features
The SR is the base trim level. It comes with some standard tech features, with the SR5 adding a few more aspects. With the SR5 model, you get standard Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and an eight-inch touch screen. It also includes three USB ports, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system. The standard safety features include fog lights, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, lane departure warning, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, and forward automatic emergency braking.
If you choose the TRD Sport model, you gain a leather-wrapped shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate control and wireless device charging. Additionally, the Limited model has leather upholstery, a six-speaker premium JBL sound system, heated front seats, a moonroof, a surround-view monitor, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot monitoring.
The MSRP of the Toyota Tacoma SR5 is $29,180 – slightly higher than the SR, which starts at $26,500. These are the two lowest-priced models of the lineup.
If you prefer a TRD model, you are going to pay more. For example, the MSRP of the TRD Sport is $33,410, while the TRD Off-Road starts at $34,690. Additionally, the Limited is $39,255, and the TRD Pro starts at $46,135.
Toyota Tacoma Trim Levels
The newest Toyota Tacoma truck comes with six trim levels to choose from. The base model is labeled the SR. One notch up from this is the SR5, which I am closely examining in this evaluation.
From here, there are two TRD-type models. You can choose from the TRD Sport – which is the lowest off-road-focused trim – and the TRD Off-Road. After these two off-road trucks, Toyota offers a Limited trim, which is more luxury-focused. At the top of the lineup is the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro. While it could be the most capable for off-road travel, it is also the most expensive.
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Toyota Tacoma SR5 vs. TRD Similarities
1. Seating Configurations
With the entire Tacoma lineup, you can find a variety of seating configurations, but most of them are available with the majority of the trim levels. In the Access Cab, you have room to hold four people comfortably.
The Double Cab models hold five, instead. You can choose either configuration with most of the trim levels. The only exceptions are the Limited or TRD Pro, which are both only available as a Double Cab.
2. Bed Length
If you choose a Tacoma with the Access Cab, you get a 6-foot-1-inch truck bed. However, the Double Cab can be chosen with the 5-foot bed or the longer option. With this in mind, it’s clear that every trim can be outfitted with either truck bed size.
Plus, all of the trucks have a removable tailgate. They also include composite inner-bed walls, adjustable tie-downs, and a bed rail system.
3. Towing/Hauling Capability
The maximum towing capacity of the Toyota Tacoma is 6,800 pounds. To reach this level, you can use either the SR, SR5, or TRD Sport model. You just have to make sure it is equipped with rear-wheel drive, the V6 engine, and the automaker’s Tow Package.
If you prefer to get one of the models with the four-cylinder engine, you can still tow about 3,500 pounds, which isn’t too shabby. However, the four-cylinder engine does provide a better payload rating of up to 1,685 pounds.
If you want a model with the superior ability both ways, consider the base SR with the Access Cab and V6 engine. If you add the Tow package and rear-wheel drive, you can achieve the highest level of towing, but still reach a payload capacity of 1,525 pounds, which isn’t too much lower than the maximum.
Which One is Right for You? Toyota Tacoma SR5 vs. TRD
If your primary concern is the cost of the truck, you’ll want to choose the SR5. While this isn’t the lowest-price option of the entire lineup, it’s cheaper than the TRD models.
However, if you need to keep the price down even lower, you might do better with the base SR trim instead. While this is the entry-level Tacoma, it still comes with tons of power and features, ensuring your complete satisfaction.
No matter which trim level you purchase, you know you are still getting a good deal. You can find a Tacoma with a starting price anywhere from $26k–$46k, which is reasonable.
All Toyota Tacoma models come jam-packed with the latest features and equipment. Even the base model is well-equipped and has advanced safety features.
Between the SR5 and TRD models, you will notice that the SR5 contains fewer standard features, mainly to keep the price lower. As you move up through the TRD ranks, you will gain more. However, if you want every luxury imaginable, you might prefer the Limited trim instead.
As I discussed in the towing and hauling section, you can gain maximum capability with almost any Tacoma model. It’s all based on how you equip the truck.
The TRD models come standard with the V6 engine that provides better towing numbers, but you can add this powertrain with the SR5 if you prefer. Evaluate what’s needed to get the tow or payload rating that you need, and price out all of the trims with this in mind.
4. Off-Road Travel
While you could easily take the SR5 down a mild trail, there’s nothing compared with the TRD models. Moreover, there are several different TRD models that you could choose from. The lowest-cost option is the TRD Sport, which includes a specially-tuned suspension.
There’s also the TRD Off-Road truck. This model includes an off-road suspension, Bilstein shocks, and a locking rear differential. If you equip it with the manual transmission, it also includes active traction control. On the other hand, the automatic transmission with four-wheel drive comes with multi-terrain select and crawl control.
At the top of the TRD lineup, you have the TRD Pro model. This includes a multi-terrain monitor, LED fog lights, a front skid plate, plus a TRD-tuned exhaust and suspension.