The Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road won our Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road 4x4 of the Year in 2016 (May 2016). Every year we drive the winning 4x4 for a whole year to live with it and really verify its winning attributes. So we accepted the Tacoma TRD Off-Road in Quicksand Tan color and put it straight to work.
The year started out a little rough when Quicksand had a fender bender with a slow deer. It went back to Toyota for a facelift, and then it was back in action. The double-cab Tacoma is designed for that owner looking to haul stuff, haul people, go exploring, and try different terrain. And we did just that. Our Taco hauled everting from dog food to tires. We had parts for projects in the back and trash for the scrapyard. We cleaned up the Taco for date nights, and we explored deep into the desert for camping and rockcrawling. The Tacoma fulfilled every task with ease.
Since we have returned the truck, we really miss having a midsize do-everything machine. Sure, we have other trucks, but most are on massive tires and we never realized how nice a reliable not-too-giant daily driver could be. Don’t get us wrong—we will always modify our vehicles for more off-road capability, but the Tacoma packs so much capability from the showroom that we found it hard to leave at home. The mixture of locking differential, Crawl Mode, and skidplates meant we could take the Tacoma where most stockers don’t go.
So how does the Tacoma score after 12 months of driving? Quicksand is like a microwave oven. It’s reliable, versatile, and does its job so well we often ignore its capability and take it for granted. And maybe that’s our only real complaint—Toyota products have become appliances because they are so dependable, but they sometimes feel soulless. Personally, the styling doesn’t elicit excitement until you get behind the wheel and take them off-road and then see what they are really capable of. Eventually you find a use for them every single day. And by the end of that first year you’re not sure how you’ll live without it.