By Paul Strauss
I’ve spent quite a bit of time driving various models of the Toyota Tacoma over the last few years, and it’s still one of my favorite pickup trucks. I appreciate trucks that aren’t too big but are still capable enough to get the job done, and that’s precisely what the current-gen Tacoma delivers. For the 2022 model year, Toyota added a new model to the lineup, the Tacoma Trail Edition, and I spent a few days getting to know this variant and what it offers compared to other Tacomas.
For starters, the Trail Edition builds on the SR5, offering the kind of rugged styling found on TRD models but in a less expensive package. Available exclusively as a 4×4 Double Cab model, its suspension rides 1.1″ higher in the front and 0.5″ higher in the rear than a standard Tacoma, resulting in slightly higher ground clearance, an improved approach angle, and an overall more trail-ready look. It also has skid plates borrowed from the Tacoma TRD Off-Road to shield the delicate bits underneath the truck when rock-crawling. Optional Trail Rails help to protect the truck’s sides as well.
The truck rides on unique bronze-finish 16″ wheels, wrapped in extra-wide Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires. They’re a little dusty in my photos, but the wheels look fantastic in person. You can find a matching bronze finish on the TOYOTA lettering on the grill, and the tan stitching on the seats ties together with that color scheme. Speaking of colors, the Trail Edition comes in a new color called “Lunar Rock,” a smooth, putty-like shade of grey that looks great. Toyota has demonstrated quite the mastery of truck colors with classics like Army Green, Cement, and the recently-added Electric Lime Metallic.
Under the hood is the same 3.5-liter V6 that Toyota has used since 2016. Its 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft. of torque are sufficient, though with competitors offering more powerful engine options, I’d love to see an upgrade at some point soon. The 6-speed automatic transmission does its job just fine, though something with more gears would likely improve fuel efficiency. A standard towing package offers a maximum capacity of 6400 pounds. It includes a receiver hitch, engine, transmission, power steering coolers, an upgraded alternator, and trailer-sway control safety tech.
The on-demand four-wheel-drive system works well, letting you choose from an everyday rear-wheel-drive mode, four-wheel high for light off-roading and riding on slippery surfaces, and four-wheel low for slowly traversing steep and rutted off-road trails. The Trail edition also gets a locking rear differential, improving traction on challenging terrain. I didn’t get to go too far off the pavement this time, but my experience with Tacomas in extreme conditions has been very positive. Keep in mind that the Trail Edition doesn’t offer Crawl Control or Multi-Terrain Select which are options on TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro models.
Our truck’s five-foot bed came fitted with a factory liner, an adjustable tie-down system, a 120-volt power outlet, and dual in-bed locking toolboxes. Those are all useful features, though I would have skipped the toolboxes if I could, as they take up too much space inside the bed, significantly limiting cargo-hauling capacity. The pull-out step under the rear bumper is a nice feature for quickly getting up and looking into the bed.
Based on the SR5, the Trail Edition sits towards the lower end of Tacoma interiors. It has cloth seats, and the dashboard is pretty basic. You get dual-zone climate control and an 8-inch touchscreen, but it still runs the old version of Toyota’s infotainment system. At least it has has wired support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as Amazon Alexa, but I’m assuming we’ll see an upgrade to the new Toyota Multimedia system for 2023 or sometime soon. The cabin is spacious and comfortable for front- and rear-seat passengers, though I prefer a more upright seating position when driving a truck. The 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat helps alleviate some of that, but not entirely.
Overall, the Trail Edition is a welcome entry into the Toyota Tacoma lineup, offering some nice upgrades over the SR5 for people who occasionally leave the pavement. Its lifted suspension, skid plates, unique trim elements, and standard 4WD make it more than just an appearance package, which is something I always appreciate.
Source:: 95 Octane