TRD Off-Road vs. TRD Sport: Which Tacoma Reigns Supreme?


If you’ve been trying to find a sporty and exciting Toyota Tacoma trim, you have two great options to pick from. Deciding between the Tacoma TRD Off-Road vs. Sport models can be tricky, but looking at all the specs can help you decide.

I break down all of the significant differences between the TRD Off-Road and TRD Sport models. In this review, I show you the price differences, along with all of the major features. 

Design and Features

As far as the design is concerned, there aren’t too many differences between these trim levels. Plus, many of the features are the same. 

Exterior

Here are the exterior features that are the same between both trims:

  • Fiber-reinforced Sheet-Molded Composite (SMC) inner bed with steel outer panels
  • Projector-beam headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and integrated wide-angle fog lights
  • Deck rail system with four adjustable tie-down cleats and four fixed cargo bed tie-down points
  • Gray grille with smoked finish
  • Variable intermittent windshield wipers with mist cycle
  • 120V/400W deck-mounted AC power outlet
  • Skid plate on engine/front suspension
  • Integrated color-keyed tailgate spoiler

With both trim levels, the bed and cab configurations also remain the same between both trims:

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

Before we move on to the differences, let’s also look at the available exterior color options on the Tacoma. Both trims can be outfitted in these colors:

  • Black
  • Ice Cap
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Barcelona Red Metallic
  • Celestial Silver Metallic
  • Blue Crush Metallic
  • Lunar Rock
  • Electric Lime

However, the TRD Sport is also available in Wind Chill Pearl.

There are only two major exterior differences that are standard with these models:

  1. Wheels and tires: The TRD Off-Road comes with 16” machined-contrast alloy wheels with P265/70R16 tires, while the TRD Sport includes 17” machined alloy wheels with P265/65R17 tires.
  2. Rear privacy glass: The TRD Sport also includes sliding rear glass with privacy glass, while the TRD Off-Road doesn’t.

Interior

Comfort is a big factor when choosing a new truck.

The TRD Off-Road and TRD Sport both offer the following interior features:

  • 4-way adjustable front passenger seat
  • 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, including 2-way lumbar support
  • Auto-dimming day/night rearview mirror
  • Leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic steering wheel
  • Power windows and door locks
  • Front dual-zone automatic climate control with air filter

The only interior difference comes down to the materials:

  • The TRD Sport is only available with Cement Black Fabric.
  • While Cement Black Fabric is also standard with TRD Off-Road models, you can pay extra for the Black SofTex option.

Technology

Regarding technology, both models come with the same standard tech features.

Here are the technology features included with both trims:

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

Safety

The same is true with the safety features.

Both trims include Toyota’s Star Safety System™, which includes the following features:

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

You also get Toyota Safety Sense™ P(TSS-P), which includes this equipment:

  • Pre-Collision System w/Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD)
  • Lane Departure Alert
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
  • Automatic High Beams (AHB)

These are a few more standard safety features that come with both trims, including:

  • Driver and front passenger active headrests
  • LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children)
  • Driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System
  • Engine immobilizer
  • Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) with individual tire location alert
  • Driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, and front and rear Roll-sensing Side Curtain Airbags (RSCA)

 (Toyota)

Performance and Capability

You have the option of how to equip your new Toyota Tacoma. With varying performance specs among the trims, it’s essential to choose one that fits your needs the best.

Powertrain:

  • Both the 2023 TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road come with the 3.5-liter V6 engine (278 hp/265 lb-ft).
  • Both trims are available with two- and four-wheel drive configurations
  • Both trims include the standard 6-speed Electronically Controlled automatic transmission with intelligence (ECT-i). If you want to have more control, you can choose the available 6-speed manual transmission with either truck.

Suspension:

  • Both models have coil-spring double-wishbone front suspension and stabilizer bar, along with a leaf-spring rear suspension with staggered outboard-mounted gas shock absorbers and stabilizer bar.
  • The TRD Sport includes a special sport-tuned suspension, while the TRD Off-Road comes with a TRD Off-Road tuned suspension with Bilstein® shocks. 

Off-Road Performance

Both the TRD Off-Road and TRD Sport offer:

  • 9.4 inches of ground clearance
  • Standard Hill Start Assist Control (HAC)
  • Electronically controlled locking rear differential

However, there are measurement differences that matter for serious off-roaders:

  • Approach angle (degrees):
    • 32 (TRD Off-Road)
    • 29 (TRD Sport)
  • Departure angle (degrees):
    • 23.1 (TRD Off-Road)
    • 23.5 (TRD Sport)
  • Breakover angle (degrees):
    • 20 (TRD Off-Road)
    • 21 (TRD Sport)

Additionally, the TRD Off-Road comes standard with an electronically controlled locking rear differential.

On-Road Performance

The sport suspension on the TRD Sport is no joke and offers a comfortable ride, but there’s no competing with the Bilstein shocks on the TRD Off-Road.

On top of that, towing is a breeze with either Tacoma trim.

Both trims come standard with these important on-road features:

  • Class-IV towing hitch receiver
  • Engine oil cooler
  • ATF cooler (with the automatic transmission)
  • Power steering cooler
  • 4- and 7-pin connector with converter
  • 130-amp alternator
  • Trailer-Sway Control (TSC) 

(Toyota)

Price and Value

The MSRP varies depending on your location, but you can get a general feel for the difference between the two.

Here are the starting prices of both trims:

  • TRD Sport: $36,415
  • TRD Off-Road: $36,440

There’s virtually no difference in the price between the two Tacoma trim levels. Just keep in mind that the starting price depends heavily on what cab configuration and features you choose to add.

Either of these Tacoma models will provide you with a great value. 

(Toyota)

Available Configurations

The TRD Sport comes in eight different combinations. Here are the options you can mix and match.

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

While the TRD Off-Road has all of the same options, the truck can only be configured four different ways, so there’s less customization available. 

(Toyota)

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

I can’t say for certain which one is better than the other because it depends on your situation. I’ve enjoyed driving both vehicles quite a bit. If you drive more on the road than the trails, you may prefer the TRD Sport slightly and vice versa. However, there’s no wrong answer with either Tacoma. 

If neither seems to fit the bill, check out other Tacoma trim levels. Your local dealership has different options on display for you to look at.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, the TRD Sport is meant for minor off-roading adventures. You may enjoy the TRD Off-Road more if you spend time on the trails often. 

No, both the TRD Off-Road and TRD Sport offer the same ground clearance. You get 9.4 inches of ground clearance either way. 

Yes, you can equip the TRD Off-Road with a 6-foot bed with both cab configurations. This bed is available with either the Access or Double Cab. However, the 5-foot bed is only available with the Double Cab. 

What Are You Waiting For?

Roads and hidden paths are waiting to be explored in your new truck. Check out what these Tacoma models have to offer and get out there to enjoy.

There’s a Tacoma trim that’s right for you and designed with your needs in mind. Which one will you choose?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.