Head-to-Head: Toyota Tacoma SR5 vs. TRD Off-Road


If you hope to find the best Tacoma model, you may be torn between various trim levels. One option to consider is the differences between the Tacoma SR5 vs. TRD Off-Road models.

I will touch on the main differences before diving deeper into all of the specifications. Hopefully, this side-by-side comparison helps you pick a new Tacoma. 

toyota tacoma sr5 vs trd off road comparison infographic

Overall Features

Lighting:

  • SR5: Projector-beam headlights with turn Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and integrated fog lights  
  • TRD Off-Road: Projector-beam headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and integrated wide-angle fog lights

Front Grille:

  • SR5: Charcoal grille with chrome surround 
  • TRD Off-Road: Gray grille with smoked finish

Wheels/Tires:

  • SR5: 16” styled steel wheels with P245/75R16 tires 
  • TRD-Off Road: 16-in. machined-contrast alloy wheels with P265/70R16 tires 

Driver’s Seat:

  • SR5: 4-way adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support 
  • TRD Off-Road: 10-way adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support 

Air Conditioning:

  • SR5: Air conditioning
  • TRD Off-Road: Front dual-zone automatic climate control with air filter 

Rearview Mirror: 

  • SR5: Manual day/night rearview mirror 
  • TRD Off-Road: Auto-dimming day/night rearview mirror 

Design and Features

toyota tacoma trd off road in sand

There are some significant differences worth mentioning between these two truck models. 

EXTERIOR

Starting with the exterior design, these are the features that come with either truck. 

  • Fiber-reinforced Sheet-Molded Composite (SMC) inner bed with steel outer panels
  • Sliding rear glass with privacy glass
  • Deck rail system with four adjustable tie-down cleats and four fixed cargo bed tie-down points
  • Variable intermittent windshield wipers with mist cycle
  • Skid plate on engine/front suspension 
  • Integrated color-keyed tailgate spoiler

Both trucks can be configured in the following three ways:

  • 5’ bed Double Cab
  • 6’ bed Double Cab
  • 6’ bed Access Cab

Looking at the exterior alone, these are the main differences.

  • Lighting: Projector-beam headlights with turn Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and integrated fog lights  (SR5) vs. Projector-beam headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and integrated wide-angle fog lights (TRD Off-Road) 
  • Front Grille: Charcoal grille with chrome surround (SR5) vs. Gray grille with smoked finish (TRD Off-Road) 
  • Wheels/Tires: 16” styled steel wheels with P245/75R16 tires (SR5) vs. 16-in. machined-contrast alloy wheels with P265/70R16 tires (TRD Off-Road)

With either truck, you can choose these colors:

  • Black
  • Ice Cap
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Barcelona Red Metallic
  • Blue Crush Metallic
  • Celestial Silver Metallic

The TRD Off-Road also includes these color options:

  • Lunar Rock
  • Electric Lime

INTERIOR

Looking at the cabin of the two trucks, we see several interior similarities.

  • 4-way adjustable front passenger seat
  • Power windows and door locks
  • Leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic steering wheel

Yet, these aspects are different:

  • 4-way adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support (SR5) vs. 10-way adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support (TRD Off-Road)
  • Air conditioning (SR5) vs. Front dual-zone automatic climate control with air filter (TRD Off-Road)
  • Manual day/night rearview mirror (SR5) vs. Auto-dimming day/night rearview mirror (TRD Off-Road)

The interior color options differ per model. Here are your options.

  • SR5: Cement Gray Fabric or Black with Red Accent Stitching Fabric
  • TRD Off-Road: Cement Black Fabric or Black Leather

TECHNOLOGY

Neither Tacoma lacks any tech features either. With both trucks, you get these features:

  • 4.2” color Multi-Information Display (MID)
  • 8” touchscreen display
  • Three USB ports
  • Android Auto™ 
  • Apple CarPlay®
  • Bluetooth®
  • SiriusXM® with a 3-month Platinum Plan trial subscription

Yet, the TRD Off-Road also includes Qi-compatible wireless smartphone and mobile device charging.

SAFETY

When you drive a Tacoma, you know the truck is outfitted with the latest safety equipment.

Both models include the Star Safety System™, which comes with these features:

  • Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
  • Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
  • Traction Control (TRAC)
  • Brake Assist (BA)
  • Smart Stop Technology® (SST) 

You also get the Toyota Safety Sense™ P(TSS-P), with these features:

Plus, these standard safety features come with both trucks.

  • Driver and front passenger active headrests
  • Driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System
  • LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children)
  • Driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, and front and rear Roll-sensing Side Curtain Airbags (RSCA)
  • Engine immobilizer

(Toyota)

Performance and Capability

toyota tacoma trd off-road in mud

With the Tacoma lineup, you get several configuration options, yet both of these models are pretty similar.

Engine options: Both the SR5 and TRD Off-Road have the same 3.5-liter V6 engine (278 hp/265 lb-ft). However, the SR5 comes standard with the 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine (159 hp/180 lb-ft).

Drivetrain: The SR5 and TRD Off-Road come with two- or four-wheel drive. While the 6-speed Electronically Controlled automatic transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) is standard, you can also choose a 6-speed manual with the TRD Off-Road model. 

Suspension: The suspension remains similar between the two models. They both have a coil-spring double-wishbone design in the front and a leaf spring rear suspension with staggered outboard-mounted gas shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar. Yet, the TRD Off-Road contains a special-tuned suspension with Bilstein® shocks.

Towing capacity: To determine  Tacoma towing capacity, you must look at the trim level, engine, and drivetrain. With 2023 Tacoma models, V6 models tow up to 6,800 pounds, but the four-cylinder is only rated for a maximum of 3,500 pounds. 

OFF-ROAD PERFORMANCE

Either Tacoma trim includes these specifications. 

  • 9.4 inches of ground clearance
  • Hill Start Assist Control (HAC)

Yet, some of the angles are different:

  • Approach angle (degrees): 29 (SR5)/32 (TRD Off-Road)
  • Departure angle (degrees): 23.5 (SR5)/23.1 (TRD Off-Road)
  • Breakover angle (degrees): 24 (SR5)/20 (TRD Off-Road)

Both trucks come with similar drivetrain options:

  • Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD): includes Automatic Limited-Slip Differential (Auto LSD) 
  • 4WDemand: Is a part-time 4WD with an electronically controlled transfer case and Automatic Limited-Slip Differential (Auto LSD) – available with both models

ON-ROAD PERFORMANCE

As you head down the road, you shouldn’t notice a big difference in how the truck handles or rides. Although, I have noticed that the TRD Off-Road feels a bit more unsettled when hitting road bumps, especially at higher speeds. However, you should test them out for yourself at a local dealership.

(Toyota)

Price and Value

Tacoma MSRPs depend on the configuration and your location.

These are the MSRPs for the 2023 Tacoma models:

  • SR5: $30,040
  • TRD Off-Road: $36,440

That’s a difference of $6,400 between the two Tacoma trims. Of course, this difference changes based on which engine, drivetrain, cab configuration, and bed size you choose. 

Based on this information alone, the SR5 is the cheaper option, but it may not have all of the features you desire.  

(Toyota)

Available Configurations

The SR5 has a total of nine possible combinations with these options.

  • Engine: 2.7L 4-cylinder or 3.5L V6
  • Drivetrain: 2WD or 4WD
  • Cab configuration: Access or Double
  • Truck bed size: 5’ or 6’

With the TRD Off-Road model, there are fewer possible combinations. Choose from these options.

  • Engine: 3.5L V6
  • Drivetrain: 2WD or 4WD
  • Cab configuration: Access or Double
  • Truck bed size: 5’ or 6’

(Toyota)

Should You Buy the Tacoma SR5 or TRD Off-Road?

toyota tacoma trd off-road in mud

You can’t go wrong with either Tacoma truck. Yet, if you want to hit the trails, you may prefer the functionality of the TRD Off-Road more. 

Yet, it could also be beneficial to choose the TRD Off-Road if you appreciate the added features. Instead of adding these features to the price of the SR5 (when available), you could get them all by choosing the higher trim level.

You should also check out the other Tacoma trim levels to see if something fits your needs better. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can enjoy some fun off-roading adventures with your SR5. It has plenty of capability and is rugged enough to overcome obstacles. 

Both have a solid suspension for on- or off-road travel. Yet, the TRD Off-Road has a tuned suspension with Bilstein® shocks.

The SR5 has a lot of upgraded features but still contains a reasonable starting price. It offers plenty of comfort features mixed with the latest technologies and safety equipment. 

Which Tacoma Will You Choose?

You can’t go wrong with the 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR5 or TRD Off-Road. They both come with the latest technologies and features for your enjoyment. 

Still, I think the best way to find the new Tacoma that suits you best is to check them out in person. Head to a local Toyota dealership to see the different trims for yourself.

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