The Toyota Tacoma has been America’s best-selling mid-size pickup for 16 years in a row, including outselling its nearest two competitor by more than two-to-one in 2020. Tacoma didn’t get there by following others – on road or trail. Tacoma is setting up 2021 for another winning year by adding two new special editions, for a total of 33 possible configurations.
The 2021 Tacoma Nightshade Edition, based on the Limited top-of-line grade, makes a knockout impression wherever it goes. The new Trail Special Edition, built on the high-value SR5 grade, brings more capability and versatility for adventures.
Speaking of trails, “Taco” buffs look forward to the new special colors offered each year, and for 2021, the TRD Pro, the ultimate off-road member of the Tacoma family, replaces Army Green with new Lunar Rock. (It’s just a coincidence that Toyota is developing the ultimate off-roader, a hydrogen fuel cell-powered lunar rover for extended exploration of the moon’s surface.)
Enhancements to the 2021 Tacoma follow a considerable update it received for 2020 and include new standard dual zone automatic climate control on all V6-powered models. In addition, TRD Sport and Off-Road models gain upgraded audio to allow for premium Remote Connect services that include a 1-year trial (when automatic transmission is ordered).
Toyota Tacoma sets the groundwork for its best-selling success by offering a wide array of models to suit just about any pickup buyer. Six model grades include the work-ready SR; high-style, high-value SR5; athletic TRD Sport; adventurous TRD Off-Road; ultimate off-road TRD Pro; and luxurious Limited. All Tacoma models come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P), which includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert, and Automatic High Beams.
2021 Trail Special Edition: Ready to Tackle the Trail
Toyota Tacoma owners love to participate in camping, fishing, hiking and other outdoors activities. To celebrate and support that great-outdoors fun, Toyota is offering the new 2021 Tacoma Trail Special Edition with an emphasis on extra storage, convenience, standout styling, and value.
The 2021 Tacoma Trail is based on the best-selling SR5 grade and is available with 2WD or 4WD. Distinctive style starts with four exterior color choices, including Army Green, Cement, Midnight Black, and Super White, accented by black exterior badging. Inside, black fabric seating features tan stitching.
The 2021 Tacoma Trail Special Edition rolls on dark gray 16-inch TRD Off-Road wheels with Goodyear Kevlar-reinforced All-Terrain tires, while the grille from the Tacoma Limited adds a custom touch. Toyota boosted bed versatility in the Tacoma Trail by adding a 120-volt power outlet and lockable, insulated bed storage that, on the driver’s side, can double as a cooler and comes complete with a drain plug. Standard all-weather floor liners help catch the outdoor elements that occupants’ feet bring in.
2021 Tacoma Nightshade Edition: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
Toyota builds the 2021 Tacoma Nightshade Edition on the luxurious Limited grade model, including its black leather-trim seating. The Nightshade Edition rolls on Dark Smoke 18-inch alloy wheels and wears a darkened-chrome grille insert design. A full slate of exterior black trim includes fog light bezels, mirror caps, badging, door handles, and even the exhaust tailpipe tip. Offered in 2WD or 4WD, the Tacoma Nightshade Edition looks wicked in any of the three available colors: Midnight Black Metallic, Magnetic Gray Metallic, and Windchill Pearl.
American Design, Racing Inspiration
The third-generation Tacoma takes design inspiration from Toyota’s legendary desert race trucks, which began their winning ways in the early 1980s. You can trace the “work hard, play hard” ethos of today’s tough Toyota trucks and SUVs back to those racers.
Designed in the U.S., the Tacoma projects a chiseled face anchored by a bold, hexagonal grille and a tall, muscular hood. The slim, projection-beam headlights can be outfitted with available LED daytime running lights. Overfenders accentuate the tough, high-lift image while accommodating the suspension’s generous wheel travel.
The Tacoma’s structure for hard work, hard play, and durability is built from extensive use of high-strength steel in the frame and hot-stamped, ultra-high strength steel in the body. All models are equipped with double wishbone, coil-spring front suspension, and the rugged leaf-spring rear suspension uses staggered outboard-mounted gas shocks. This setup delivers a steady on-road ride and bolsters Tacoma’s off-road driving capability.
Tacoma power comes in two levels: The standard 2.7-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine with VVT-i produces 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of peak torque. The available 3.5-liter V6 employs Toyota’s innovative VVT-iW technology and Atkinson-cycle combustion to maximize efficiency. Toyota’s D-4S fuel injection system incorporates both direct injection and port injectors. The bottom line is an impressive 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of peak torque. Both engines can be teamed to a six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with intelligence (ECT-i), while the V6 can also be paired with a 6-speed manual transmission.
On all Tacoma 4×4 models, 4WDemand part-time four-wheel drive uses an electronically controlled transfer case and either an Automatic Limited Slip Differential (Auto LSD) or an available electronically controlled locking rear differential. Auto LSD is an electronic, brake-actuated system that functions like a mechanical limited slip differential when activated at low speeds.
When equipped with the Tow Package (standard with V6, available for 4-cyl.), the Tacoma can pull up to 6,800 pounds (per the SAE J2807 tow standard), depending upon the model grade. The package includes a Class IV towing receiver hitch, engine oil cooler, transmission fluid cooler (automatic transmission only), power steering cooler, 130-amp alternator, 4- and 7-pin connector with converter, and Trailer-Sway Control (TSC).
The 2021 Tacoma is available in 33 model configurations based on two cab types, the extended Access Cab and four-door Double Cab. Each is available in 4×2 or 4×4 configurations in a wide array of grades. Access Cab models offer under-seat rear storage space, with fold-up seat cushions to maximize carrying capacity. Double Cab models feature 60/40 split rear seats with adjustable headrests and under-seat storage.
The Access Cab models ride on a 127.4-inch wheelbase and have a 73.7-inch-long bed. The Double Cab is offered in two versions: a 127.4-inch wheelbase with a 60.5-inch bed or 140.6-inch wheelbase with the 73.7-inch bed.
Toyota builds Tacoma’s bed for high strength and versatility. On all models, the inner bed is made from a sheet-molded composite (SMC) deck and tough, durable walls that are 10-percent lighter than steel. The tailgate’s easy-lowering feature allows it to retract slowly to prevent it from slamming down, and an available factory-installed tri-fold hard tonneau cover secures gear out of sight.
Bed versatility expands with two-tier loading and an integrated deck rail utility system using four standard adjustable tie-down cleats. Toyota dealers offer a range of Genuine Toyota Accessories that work in conjunction with the deck rail system. Examples include a cargo divider that locks into the rails to help keep cargo from sliding around the bed, and mini tie-downs with hooks that also help to secure cargo. An available 120V/400W power point further extends the bed’s utility.
High Capability, No Skimping on Comfort
High capability doesn’t preclude comfort in the Tacoma, which rides along quietly thanks to enhanced door seals, a multi-layer acoustic windshield, sound-absorbing headliner, and a floor silencer pad. The cabin exudes a high-quality feel with soft-wrapped trim and metallic accents.
The Tacoma SR and SR5 are equipped with fabric-trimmed seats, while seating for the TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road grades is uniquely upholstered with embossed fabric that conveys a dynamic and rugged feel (with leather-trimmed seating available). The TRD Pro features leather-trimmed seating plus heated front seats.
The SX upgrade package turns the SR Access Cab into a high-value sport truck with stylish black-out features, including grille, headlight surrounds, overfenders, 16-inch alloy wheels, mirror caps and door handles. When equipped with the optional V6 engine, the Tacoma SR5 grade is fitted with a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat featuring 2-way power lumbar support. Dual-zone automatic climate control is newly standard for all V6 Tacoma models for 2021.
Tacoma Limited brings distinctive style to this versatile work and play truck with 18-inch alloy wheels and LED headlamps, daytime running lamps, and foglamps, plus chrome taillamp inserts. In addition to black or brown leather-trimmed upholstery, the Tacoma Limited’s expansive equipment roster includes a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, 8-inch touchscreen Premium Audio system, plus Smart Key operation that includes the passenger front door. The Panoramic View Monitor for the Limited Double Cab provides nearly 360-degree views around the truck for easier, safer maneuvering in tight situations (PVM also available on TRD Sport).
TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road: Choose Your Road or Trail
The Tacoma TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road models delivers an infusion of capability and style courtesy of Toyota Racing Development. The TRD look comes from 17-inch wheels, LED foglamps, available LED/DRL headlamps, and chrome-insert taillamps. Both models feature a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat and front passenger door Smart Key for added convenience. Double Cab models provide the added functionality of Panoramic View Monitor. To that, TRD Off-Road Double Cab models include Multi Terrain Monitor.
The TRD Off-Road model comes ready-made to tackle challenging terrain with an electronically controlled Locking Rear Differential, Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), clutch Start Cancel (manual transmission only), Active Traction Control, and Crawl Control. Engaging Crawl Control offers one of five low-speed settings to allow the driver to keep focus on navigating difficult trails.
Tacoma TRD Sport models are equipped with sport-tuned shocks for optimized on-pavement agility, while TRD Off-Road models feature an off-road tuned suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers. The TRD Off-Road model gives the driver even more control in off-road situations with the Multi-Terrain Select system (automatic transmission only). Using this system, the driver can choose a drive mode to match different types of terrain such as loose rock, or mud and sand. Each input regulates wheel spin by adjusting throttle and brake pressure to provide optimal traction on almost any terrain.
TRD Pro Earns Its Badge
Based on the Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4×4 Double Cab short-bed model with either a 6-speed manual transmission or 6-speed automatic, the Tacoma TRD Pro is aimed squarely at diehard off-road enthusiasts. It wears a heritage-inspired front grille with bold “TOYOTA” lettering, color-keyed surround, blacked-out hood scoop and graphic, color-keyed power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, color-keyed door handles, black overfenders, and color-keyed rear bumper. Available TRD Pro exterior colors include Midnight Black Metallic, Super White, Magnetic Gray Metallic, and new-for-2021 exclusive Lunar Rock.
In addition to the TRD Off-Road grade equipment, the Tacoma TRD Pro adds a long roster of equipment upgrades to conquer hill and trail:
- FOX 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks tuned by TRD
- TRD-tuned front springs with a 1-inch front lift
- TRD-tuned rear suspension with progressive-rate off-road leaf springs
- TRD Pro aluminum front skid plate with red TRD lettering
- LED headlights with sequential turn signals featuring TRD Pro inserts
- Rigid Industries LED fog lights
- Projector-beam headlights with black bezels, LED daytime running lights, and auto on/off feature
- Taillights with black bezels
- 16-inch TRD high-strength, lightweight black alloy wheels that provide a 1-inch wider track width compared to TRD Off-Road model
- Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Kevlar-reinforced tires
- TRD Pro hood scoop
- TRD Pro badging
- TRD-tuned cat-back exhaust
TRD Pro models come equipped with Multi Terrain Monitor, which allows the driver to check the immediate surroundings for potential obstacles by simply pressing a button to display front-, rear- and side-camera views on the 8-inch multimedia screen. The instrument panel integrates a 4.2-inch color Multi-Information Display with an inclinometer and tilt gauge, plus displays for outside temperature, odometer, trip meters, and average fuel economy estimates.
There’s nothing wrong with riding in comfort while conquering a trail. The Tacoma TRD Pro delivers plenty of it with black leather-trimmed heated front seats (featuring TRD Pro logos on the headrests), TRD shift knob, and TRD Pro floor mats. The driver gets a 10-way power adjustable seat. A power moonroof is also standard, and JBL Premium Audio is included on automatic transmission models.
The 2021 Tacoma offers versatile and easy-to-use multimedia systems across the board. While the SR model features a 7-inch touchscreen, all other Tacoma grades are fitted with an 8-inch touchscreen display. The SR and SR5 include a six-speaker sound system, hands-free Bluetooth® phone and music capability, USB media port, two USB charge ports, and an integrated backup camera display. All Tacoma multimedia systems include Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, Amazon Alexa compatibility, and SiriusXM capability with a three-month All-Access Trial.
The TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road models offer an available Premium Audio system that adds dynamic navigation. Premium Audio is available on the TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road grades and comes standard on Limited and TRD Pro. This powerful system includes six JBL® speakers and subwoofer amplifier.
Along with standard TSS-P, the Toyota Tacoma also touts the Star Safety System, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop brake override technology (SST). Every Tacoma has the driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System, driver and front passenger knee airbags, and front and rear Roll-sensing Side Curtain Airbags.
Active head restraints for the Tacoma’s front seats are designed to move up and slightly forward during a rear-end collision to help reduce the risk of whiplash. Additional standard safety features include a Tire Pressure Monitor System (with individual tire location alert on most grades).