Which off-road truck is simply the best? Well, sure, we know we’re partial to Ford, but how do other trucks stack up? Can the Toyota TRD Pro possibly topple the Ford F-150 Raptor as king of the hill? The F-150 Raptor has the flare, styling, and technology for on and off-road driving. But, the TRD Pro is friendlier to your bank account, and does appeal to the same mission and aesthetic. Both trucks are set up similarly, and both come from companies that make solid, reliable and popular trucks.
There can only be one at the top. This is the exact predicament that Matt Dixon from “Downshift” was in after becoming familiar with both trucks. So, he picked up his camera, and took to YouTube to settle the automotive arm wrestling match once and for all.
“Where the similarities start with these two is in their essence entirely,” said Dixon, of the two top-tier contenders. “The Toyota Tacoma is essentially the benchmark – it defines the mid-size truck segment … the F-150 defines and embodies the full-size pickup segment, it has for years.”
Meaning, both trucks have had decades of improvement and refinement, and therefore, are exceptional vehicles, which makes this comparison difficult. To start off the comparison, Dixon starts with the Tacoma TRD Pro.
Toyota built the TRD Pro with off-road adventures in mind–the identical objective behind the Raptor’s construction. Therefore, it comes off the lot with skid plates, long travel and stiff suspension, smaller wheels that make room for bigger off-road tires, and Fox racing shocks. Yes, the exact same ones that come with the Raptor.
There are some differences that set it apart, though, like the resale value and extra features that make the truck better suited for camping. There’s a little more room in the bed, and a power outlet that could be used to plug in whatever needs charging, or to make camping that much more fun.
However, that’s where the advantages end for the Tacoma TRD Pro, especially when talking about power output and interior design. The engine that comes with the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is a V6 that makes around 280 hp and 265 ft-lbs of torque, which is a tiny shadow when compared to the meatier 3.5 liter turbo six EcoBoost in the Raptor making 450 hp and 510 ft-lbs of torque. That being said, interior set up was something that definitely set Dixon off, especially for a truck that costs almost $50,000.
“The interior is not what you’d expect from an almost $50,000 truck,” Dixon said. “It’s very stark, it’s kind of barren–it’s very old school.”
He does note that it might make it easier to clean if it got muddy or dirty while going off-road, and that Toyota may have paid more technological attention where it needed it the most. However, it made the TRD Pro a truck that wouldn’t excite him to drive every day. Off-Road? Sure. But as a daily driver, it’s not a truck that provokes something in him. It’s slower than the Ford, it’s less powerful, the interior and its technology is lacking, and the long travel brake pedal takes some getting used to – not like the Raptor.
“It’s good to be back in my favorite truck,” Dixon said excitedly, as the driver door closes behind him. “For 20 to 25 grand more than the Tacoma, it should be a lot more truck–and it is. It’s bigger, more practical, capable, more powerful and faster.”
As said previously, the Raptor is set up very similarly with off-roading in mind. Both have skid plates, pitch and roll meters, several terrain settings, 2WD and 4WD options and locking diffs. Though, it was the little things that pulled on Dixon’s heart strings. The interior is a lot fancier and move livable, the back seats are better suited for passengers on long distance travels, and the engine provides the perfect amount of power to get the big truck moving (and quickly). He says that it’s a truck he can see himself driving every day to work, and then taking it off-road when his shift is over. It’s a little tougher to imagine that lifestyle from the driver’s seat of the Toyota.
Given how much the Raptor costs though, it’s not something everyone can afford. The Raptor is a truck that sets an industry standard for Baja inspired production trucks. It’s something that every truck maker will try effortlessly to beat, but never will. The Raptor came, saw, and conquered–and continues to do so.
In conclusion, the Raptor is number one. If there is absolutely no way a Raptor is achievable, the Tacoma is a worthy second choice. Check out the video for the full side-by-side comparison.