WHAT IT IS: Originally new for the 2021 model year, the Trail Edition has minor changes for 2022. There is a slight suspension lift of 1.1-inches in the front and .5-inch in the rear. The Trail Edition’s biggest features are the lockable storage compartments inside the bed of the truck that provide a secure storage area, and on one side, the compartment can be utilized as a cooler. Bronze TRD wheels, skid plates and Kevlar-reinforced tires add some actual off-road prowess to the trim.
The Trail Edition is based off of the SR5 trim, which is toward the bottom of the Tacoma lineup. Don’t expect any luxuries, but Toyota is including their suite of safety tech, called Toyota Safety Sense-P (TSS-P) which helps protect the driver as well as other road users like pedestrians and helps prevent unintended lane departures. It is nice to see these safety features, even on an off-road focused trim. Toyota gives you a nifty 120V outlet in the bed as well, providing for a very enjoyable tailgating experience.
The Trail Edition only comes with the V6 engine, four-wheel drive and Double Cab for ‘22, but it was available in RWD if you prefer in ‘21 if you can find one still on the lot. Driving the Tacoma is much easier than driving a full-sized pickup like the Tundra, as visibility is much better and being a smaller vehicle, it is easier to park. Add in the roughly $8,000 savings on MSRP compared to the Tundra and 25 percent gas mileage savings, you can really see why the Tacoma is so popular.
The current iteration was released as a 2016 model, and sales surged as a result, with Toyota selling roughly a quarter of a million Tacomas per year in the US since the new model was released. Tacomas also feature some of the highest resale values of any vehicle.
Driving the Tacoma is basically like driving most trucks, as you get to experience an elevated drive height and a less-than-refined ride quality. It is better over the previous version, but a crossover would provide a significantly better commuting experience. If you are actually towing (6,400 pound capacity on the Trail Edition) then of course, a truck would be a better choice.
MPG: 20 combined/18 city/22 highway
Price: $3,765 for the Trail Edition package. $40,635 total with destination.
Upsides: Easier to drive. Some off-road fun is possible.
Downsides: Kind of expensive.
Wrap-up: If you really want a factory, affordable off-road-focused truck, then the Tacoma Trail Edition is one of the very limited choices. With the Tacoma TRD PRO trim pricing out $10,000 above the Trail Edition, I can imagine that Toyota dealers are finding people entranced by the TRD PRO, but being able to afford the Trail Edition. The Trail Edition is going to be technically a limited-run trim, but it is likely that there will be thousands produced so it is something you might actually see at your local dealer. With Tacomas already selling near MSRP before the COVID-19 microchip apocalypse, I wouldn’t expect a single one to be sold for a discount.