The Toyota Tacoma Gets Safer, Among Other Impressive New Features in 2020
Since 1995, the Toyota Tacoma has remained a staple in the compact and midsize pickup truck markets. Sure, it has gained a cult following over the years, particularly among more adventurous buyers. But the Tacoma’s reputation reaches much further than off-road enthusiasts. In fact, it’s held a commanding lead in American sales for midsize pickups for the last 15+ years. And with 248,801 units sold, 2019 sales showed a 1.3% jump from 2018, making it the best sales year ever for the Tacoma.
So, what’s the moral of the story? Despite the efforts of numerous competitors, the Toyota Tacoma remains on top of the pickup truck world. Toyota is notorious for manufacturing the most reliable vehicles, which certainly plays a role in the Tacoma’s success. However, there’s much more to the Tacoma than durability and resale value (though those are important qualities). Along with receiving the coveted Top Safety Pick award, the 2020 model year offers buyers a number of improvements and upgrades.
Below we will discuss these changes as well as other factors that make the 2020 Toyota Tacoma the best choice for those looking for a new midsize pickup truck.
THE NEW STUFF
Perhaps the most significant upgrade provided by the 2020 Tacoma is its safety features. Now standard on all trim levels is the Toyota Safety Sense P package, which includes features like forward collision warning, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, autonomous braking, and adaptive cruise control.
The 2020 Tacoma also gets a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support, which comes standard on all trims except for the base SR. And when it comes to technology, there’s plenty of that, too. An all-new infotainment system comes with every model, the SR touchscreen jumps to seven inches (from 6.1), and all other trims get an eight-inch screen. Plus, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa compatibility have been added to all models.
Other tech includes two new camera systems that make driving the Tacoma easier than ever. The panoramic view monitor supplements the standard backup camera with front, side, and rear viewpoints, and the multi-terrain monitor provides drivers with visibility of the truck’s underside, reducing the likelihood of running over objects that would otherwise go unseen.
There have also been styling upgrades made to the 2020 Tacoma. This includes features like refreshed grille designs, improved daytime running lights, and new LED headlights. Also, a brighter, more efficient LED cargo bed lamp comes optional, and SR and SR5 buyers will get redesigned taillights and housings. Moreover, passive key entry now works on both of the front doors.
While it has long been considered a safe option for pickup drivers, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma has gotten even safer. Here are some details on its crash test results and the Safety Sense package that comes standard on all Tacoma models:
Top Safety Pick and Crash Tests
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has awarded the 2020 Tacoma with its highly-coveted Top Safety Pick. This is a big deal. Why, you ask? Because it is one out of only three pickup trucks to earn the designation. The 2020 Tacoma Double Cab sits at the top of its class in safety when equipped with optional LED reflector headlights.
Out of the six IIHS crash tests, the 2020 Tacoma earned a “Good” rating. This includes the categories of small overlap front (driver’s side), moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints and seats. Additionally, the pickup earned a “Superior” rating for its front crash prevention system, as it avoided collisions at both 12 and 25 mph. The 2020 Tacoma received an “Acceptable” rating in the small overlap front (passenger’s side) category, which is a notoriously difficult category. Its only “Marginal” score was given to the base halogen headlights, which was offset by the “Good” rating for the optional LED headlights.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2020 Toyota Tacoma four out of five stars overall. This included four stars for the frontal crash and rollover tests and five stars for the side crash test.
More About Toyota Safety Sense
Along with the impressive crash test results, the 2020 Tacoma comes standard with Toyota’s “Safety Sense”—a class-leading safety technology package. Here are the primary features of this package:
- Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection — An integrated radar and camera system that helps to prevent collisions with vehicles and pedestrians in front of the driver.
- Dynamic Radar Cruise Control — An adaptive cruise control system that helps ensure you don’t get too close to the vehicle in front of you. The system consists of a radar placed behind the front Toyota badge and a camera on the windshield.
- Lane Departure Alert — An alert that happens when you veer into the next lane unintentionally, powered by a camera on the windshield.
- Automatic High Beams — Also powered by a camera on the windshield, this system automatically adjusts the level of your headlights, from high to low, by detecting the headlights and taillights of vehicles in front of you.
- Lane Tracing Assist — A new system to the Safety Sense package that marks the lines on the road, factors in the vehicles in front of you, and helps you to stay in the center of your lane.
The 2020 Tacoma leaves nothing to be desired when it comes to performance. The base 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine provides a modest 159 horsepower and 180-lb-ft of torque, which is adequate for drivers who only need to use their truck for daily commuting and transporting smaller items. However, most Tacoma models on the road are equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that’s good for 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque.
The four-cylinder engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, while buyers can opt for either an automatic or manual transmission on the V-6. Rear-wheel drive is standard on all trims, but four-wheel-drive—which is controlled by a simple knob—is optional.
Sticking with tradition, the 2020 Tacoma is built on a ladder frame that includes an independent front suspension and leaf-sprung solid rear axle. The ride on the SR and SR5 is competitive with other trucks in the class, but when it comes to going off the beaten path, the Tacoma is in a league of its own, especially when you opt for one of the TRD trims. If you’re looking for a smoother ride, consider going with the Limited trim, which is outfitted more for cruising on pavement.
Not a whole lot has changed with the Tacoma’s interior design, which isn’t much of a concern for Toyota fans. After all, the rough-and-tumble cabin of the Tacoma is part of its charm. Nonetheless, a high-quality build and upscale materials help the 2020 Tacoma interior strike a nice balance between rugged and luxury.
The standard Access Cab Tacoma seats four people, while the Double Cab seats up to five. The Tacoma has been criticized in the past for lacking adequate legroom in the front seats, but the power-adjustable seat addresses those concerns.
As previously mentioned, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa compatibility are now standard on all models. This means that an infotainment system that was already praised for its ease of use now offers an even more seamless smartphone integration. And both the seven- and eight-inch touchscreens have class-leading graphics and large buttons. Furthermore, physical controls beside the screen provide an alternative method for quickly accessing the infotainment system.
For the most part, the exterior of the Tacoma remains consistent with previous models in the third generation, though a few modifications have been made. In short, there’s really no mistaking it for any other truck. A large, beefy grille, flared fenders, and Tacoma’s signature design lines across the entire body make for a tough-yet-sophisticated look.
Buyers of the TRD Pro models will get an even tougher appearance. The “TOYOTA” badge on the grille and the “TACOMA” stamp on the rear end blend vintage with modern, and the black trim and big tires add a touch of aggression. Moreover, the TRD Pro rides higher than other models; that and the shorter bed (five feet) make for an attractive proportion. The 2020 Tacoma is available in nine colors:
- Magnetic Gray
- Silver Sky
- Midnight Black
- Super White
- Voodoo Blue
- Barcelona Red
- Army Green
There are six trim levels for the 2020 Toyota Tacoma, including the SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, and TRD Pro. Here is a little bit of information on each trim:
Starting at $26,050 MSRP, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma SR includes cloth seats, manual-adjustable front seats, three USB ports, the updated infotainment system (and the seven-inch touchscreen), a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, voice recognition, and a handsome 4.2-inch instrument cluster display. Also included is the Safety Sense Package, and buyers can opt for LED lighting in the truck bed and keyless entry.
The Tacoma SR5 offers a power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather steering wheel, and keyless entry. It also comes with fog lights, alloy wheels, and an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen. If you get a V-6 engine, you can opt for rear parking sensors and a navigation system. The price of the SR5 starts at $27,825.
The TRD Sport
The add-ons really start to stand out with the TRD Sport, which starts at $32,745. Proximity keyless entry, push-button start, navigation, leather shift knob, HD radio, and wireless device-charging highlight the list of standard features, while a surround-view monitor is available.
Buyers of the TRD Sport Access Cab can opt for a package that provides heated front seats and dual-zone climate control. If you go with the Double Cab, there’s an available package that includes those features along with a moonroof and leather seats.
The TRD Off-Road
For just a slightly higher starting price ($34,000), the TRD Off-Road adds Bilstein shocks, an updated off-road suspension, and a locking rear differential. And if you opt for four-wheel-drive and automatic transmission, you’ll get crawl control and multi-terrain select; if your model has a manual transmission, active traction control comes standard.
If there was a luxury trim for the 2020 Toyota Tacoma, this would be it. The Tacoma Limited starts at $38,790, and it comes stock with leather seats, rear parking sensors, a moonroof, dual-zone climate control, and a JBL premium audio system, among other features.
The TRD Pro
At a starting price of $43,960, the TRD Pro is the ultimate trim level of the 2020 Toyota Tacoma. Building on the Sport and Off-Road models, the TRD Pro adds Fox shocks, specially-tuned suspension and exhaust, a front skid plate, LED fog lights, and multi-terrain and surround-view monitors. And of course, buyers get the tough and sleek styling upgrades for the interior and exterior.
The Toyota Tacoma has a long reputation of being a tough, reliable, and attractive pickup truck, and the 2020 model year is no exception. Following a record year in sales, the 2020 Tacoma offers some impressive safety features, among many other significant upgrades. Consider all the trims and upgrade options to determine the perfect configuration for you. And of course, contact us at Mount Airy Toyota to talk test drives and deals!