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Comparing 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road vs TRD Sport - Pick Your Choice

The 2019 Tacoma TRD Off-Road and TRD Sport are two of Toyota’s most popular Tacoma trims. I will show you how to tell them apart so you can pick the right one.

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When you think about long-term truck reliability and dependability, Toyota Tacoma often comes to mind. After all, what other vehicle on the market consistently records hundreds of thousands of miles with few incidents? In fact, I personally know the owner of a 2008 Tacoma with over 1.2 million miles on it, and his access cab 4-cylinder is still going strong with over 1,250,000 miles.

One of the most common Tacoma questions I get from my Torque News readers and my YouTube channel viewers involves how to tell the TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road models apart. After all, they are both Toyota Racing Development (TRD) and both look sporty and stylish. I will help you tell them apart so you can choose the right one for you and your family.

2019 Tacoma TRD Off-Road and TRD Sport: How they are the same

Both Off-Road and Sport use a 3.5L V6 engine that produces 278 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. torque. You can get each with 6-speed automatic transmission, or if you are looking for that fun-to-drive experience, you can choose a 6-speed manual transmission. They are also available in either rear-wheel drive or part-time 4WD. For those drivers looking for enhanced safety, all Tacoma models have standard Toyota Safety Sense active safety features that help limit distractions and avoid accidents.

One is for the road and one is for much more

Probably the chief philosophical difference between the two models is the ride quality and off-roading capabilities. Tacoma TRD Sport is designed more for on-road driving, with 17” alloy wheels and sport-tuned suspension. With 16” alloy wheels and TRD Off-road tuned suspension with Bilstein shocks, The TRD Off-Road is ready to tackle the roughest terrain.

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The Tacoma TRD Off-road allows you to take things off the beaten path with both multi-terrain select and crawl control. With multi-terrain select, you can choose from five different driving modes: mud and sand, loose rock, rock and dirt, mogul and rock. This system will regulate wheel spin, brake pressure and throttle response to increase traction over many surfaces. Crawl control is like a low-speed cruise control that pulls you through difficult terrain so that you can focus on driving through those tough paths. I feel you would see MacGyver riding in a TRD Off-Road while he quickly makes an explosive diversion made from pine tar, a bubble gum wrapper and twine to escape from the bad guys. Just a hunch.

You will also find a locking rear differential on the 2019 Tacoma TRD Off-Road. This is electronically-controlled, and it distributes power evenly to both of the rear wheels so they move at the same speed while you are driving through lower-traction ground.

"Potpourri" for $100 please Alex

Comparing the exteriors, you will find 2019 Tacoma TRD Sport has color-keyed front and rear bumpers. It also comes with color-keyed overfenders. The TRD Off-Road on the other hand, has a black front fender and chrome-accented rear bumper with black step pads. To avoid scratches while driving through taller brush and weeds, black matte overfenders accent the truck nicely and add to its rugged looks.

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road

2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Quicksand Color

Both trucks boast well-equipped interiors that are incredibly similar. Smart key push button start systems, Qi-compatible wireless phone charging, power sliding rear windows and leather-trimmed steering wheels are practical shared features. For multimedia enthusiasts, you will find both trucks feature Entune Premium Audio with navigation and 7” touch-screen, as well as three USB ports for data and charging.

Toyota is proud to offer a stable of dependable and reliable vehicles that are selling at record levels, such as Tacoma and the RAV4 (see RAV4’s record popularity here). I hope my comparison helps you decide the perfect 2019 Toyota Tacoma for you.

What Toyota Tacoma trim level would you pick if you could? What features do you like best about both the 2019 Tacoma TRD Off-Road and TRD Sport? Thanks for reading everyone and see you next story…

Video: Click here to see me compare Tacoma TRD Off-Road vs TRD Sport

Jeff Teague is a Toyota news reporter at Torque News. You can reach Jeff on Facebook and Instagram. Twitter at @toyotajeff1 and tweet him tips for new stories. Jeff also shares Toyota news videos on his Youtube Channel at Toyotajeff.

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Charlie (not verified)    May 14, 2019 - 7:22AM

Hi everyone. So I hav had my TRD off-road Tacoma for a good year and I simply cannot adjust to the brakes. Has anyone tried changing the pads and rotors to see if this helps with the brakes? I’m referring to the brake pedal being almost all or nothing. No matter how soft I press it, a majority of the time I can never get it to smoothly stop without feeling like I’m slamming the brakes. Any thoughts?

Marty (not verified)    November 17, 2020 - 3:04AM

In reply to by Charlie (not verified)

I rented a TRD OR last year. I had the exact same experience. I about launched my wife through the windshield on every stop. The only way to keep it from abruptly stopping was to let up on the brake pressure as the vehicle slowed. It was the weirdest set up I have ever seen on a vehicle and I’ve been driving Toyotas for 35 years.

rick (not verified)    January 3, 2021 - 9:44AM

In reply to by Charlie (not verified)

i had this same issue when i got my first 2014 tacoma.
i drive a WRX and can go from break to gas fast and hard. So that said the Tacoma i had to learn to back the seat up and plan easy breaking. I also up graded to Hawk pads and Bramo rotors. Also Bilstein struts and shocks with BF Goodrich KO2 Tires. now all that said the truck feels more planted on the ground and my stopping distance is shortened without the jolt you get when you hit the brakes hard.
Hopefully this helps anybody out there.
just understand that when you buy a truck from a dealer they don’t put the best parts on it for obvious reasons of cost and to make majority of the public happy.

Ryan (not verified)    May 14, 2019 - 7:24AM

I am going to trade in my 2WD 2018 TRD Off-Road for either a 2020 TRD Off-Road 4x4 or a TRD Pro when they are available. I know Toyota has yet to release any details regarding the new model, but I’d like to start looking at the pros and cons between a loaded TRD OR vs TRD Pro. Based on the current models, is there anything to gain from the TRD Pro over the loaded Off-Road? Aside from the grill, hood scoop, and factory suspension of course.

Joe Harvey (not verified)    May 22, 2019 - 7:15PM

I know that you are not able to compare every variation of Tacoma but any thoughts on the TRD Pro vs the TRD Off Road?

Pat (not verified)    July 1, 2019 - 2:25AM

I'd like to know what Toyota is thinking. Sport and Off Road are basically the same price. Locking rear diff and other goodies you can kind of see what you're paying for with Off Road. Where is that $$$ going on Sport? Do the TRD stickers cost $3k more on Sport? Off Road would be a no brainer except that you can't get a manual in the access cab in Off Road, you can only get a manual in the double cab. Clearly they do the 5' bed so they can use the same frame but the 5' bed is next to worthless (granted, the 6' bed is marginal for "truck" use"). They've got a couple more years to get their s&^% together before I buy a new truck. I'm actually bummed I might never buy another Toyota, I've loved mine, even with a couple lemons. On the other hand they still don't really have any competition and they're selling them off the shelves - never mind, that just makes me angry, that they appear to believe it doesn't matter what they do, people will buy it so why do they care what their customers want. F them.

Phil (not verified)    August 20, 2019 - 7:36PM

So I am considering trading my 2017 TRD Sport 4-door short bed manual transmission up to a 2019 TRD Sport 4-door short bed manual transmission. Test drove an automatic and the stick today, and I would regret not getting the manual transmission if I went automatic. The main differences I noticed were a few upgrades to the interior (the one I test-drove had leather seats, my 2017 has cloth), and a few added safety features. Is it worth adding a year to my current payoff date for a few upgrades and a better interest rate? Oh, and did I mention I am considering the Cement color? Thanks for any advice.