From the rough weekend trails to the weekday worksites, Toyota’s pickup trucks were made for the toughest terrains.
With its reputation for dependability and reliability, it is more likely that Toyota will live longer than you.
It is almost impossible to open a conversation about pickup trucks without mentioning the Toyota Tacoma, and its bigger brother, the Tundra is one of Toyota’s greatest creations.
The trucks were designed with strength to be great workhorses and comfy enough to be daily driven.
But, which one is better? Is it the Tundra? Or will Tacoma rise to defeat its bigger brother?
Main Differences Between Toyota Tacoma vs Tundra
The main differences between the 2020 Toyota Tacoma vs Tundra are:
- The Toyota Tacoma is a mid-size pickup truck, whereas the Toyota Tundra is a full-size pickup truck.
- The Toyota Tacoma comes with a 4-cylinder and a V-6, whereas the Toyota Tundra is available with a V-8 only.
- The Toyota Tacoma has a 21.1-gallon gas tank, whereas the Toyota Tundra has a 26- gallon gas tank and an optional 38-gallon tank.
- The Toyota Tacoma is smaller and cheaper, whereas the Toyota Tundra is larger and more expensive.
2020 Toyota Tacoma
In the mid-size pickup trucks segment, the Toyota Tacoma is by far the best-selling and for a reason. It is smooth, easy to live with, in addition to the long-lasting reputation for durability and capabilities to go anywhere.
It is safe to say that the Tacoma is a favorite to many buyers in the market because it is an all-around pickup truck.
The new improvements combine with good resale value made the 2020 model better than ever.
The Tacoma comes with a couple of engine options. The first option is a 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder engine good for 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque and a 3.5 liter V-6 with 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque.
The power goes to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual option or the four wheels with a low transfer case.
The Tacoma is built on a boxed frame in the front with double wishbone coil-spring suspension with a sing open C-channel under the bed.
The maximum towing capacity for the Tacoma is over 6,000 pounds and can carry over 1,400 pounds in the bed. Since its amid-size pickup truck, it is available with a 5 ft or 6.1 ft bed. Both sizes are combined to a single extended cab (Access Cab) or a double cab (Crew Cab).
Just like any other Toyota, the Tacoma is covered by Toyota Care warranties. It includes:
- Basic 3 years/ 36,000 miles
- Drivetrain 5 years/ 60,000 miles
- Free Maintenance 2 years/ 25,000 miles.
- Roadside 2 years/ 25,000 miles.
- Rust 5 years/ unlimited miles.
The 2020 Tacoma has a pleasant interior, reasonably laid out, and easily understood. The changes are more substantial on the inside. Including features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with Amazon Alexa and an improved audio system.
Plus, a seven inches touchscreen display and 6 speakers JBL sound system with a subwoofer. It includes other features such as:
- Adjustable bucket seats with lumbar support
- Power windows
- Wi-Fi hotspot
- Air filter
- Engine immobilizer
- Cruise control
- Leather upholstery
- Keyless entry
Higher trim levels get an eight inches touchscreen display, a wide range of color palates, more packages, and accessories.
The Tacoma scored an overall score of four stars out of five according to the NHTSA thanks to the Toyota Safety Sense-P, which include:
- Engine Immobilizer
- Front And Rear Head Airbags
- Front Fog/Driving Lights
- Lane Departure Warning Accident Avoidance System
- Post-Collision Safety System
- Pre-Collision Safety System
- Stability Control
- Tire Pressure Monitoring
- Traction Control
- 4-Wheel ABS
- Emergency Braking Assist
- Passenger Airbag Occupant Sensing Deactivation
Safety is not the only strong suit Tacoma has; it also offers unbeatable off-roading capabilities in its class.
Before buying a Toyota Tacoma, you must make sure that you picked the right trim level. And it can be tiring because the Tacoma is available in six different Trims.
At the bottom of the range sits the SR trim. It is the workhorse of the bunch at a starting price of $34,000.
While it’s the least expensive Tacoma, it is not completely bare bone. The SR is available with Access cab or the Crew Cab variants.
You have the option of the 5 ft or 6.1 ft bed and rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. The base model also gets a 2.7 liter 4 banger with a six-speed auto.
The SR5 seems like a better deal for most buyers. It comes on top of the base model and adds other features such as alloy wheels, leather trim, and an eight inches touchscreen display. In addition, this trim comes in a long-wheelbase version.
If the inline 4-cylinder is not enough, the SR5 trim comes with an optional 3.5 liter V-6.
Next up are the TRD Sport and the TRD Off-road. Both trims offer the same body configurations and get the V-6 as standard, keyless entry, and ignition.
However, the TRD Sport gets 17 inches alloy wheels, body-colored bumpers, and a hood scoop, whereas the TRD Off-road gets 16 inches alloys, chrome rear bumper, and the hood scoop is deleted.
The Limited is the most refined Tacoma trim you can get. Unlike the previous trim, the Limited is focused more on comfort and lacks the off-road capabilities of the TRD.
It gets all the optional extras of the previous trims as standard.
Last but not least is the TRD Pro. It comes fully loaded with the option of an automatic or manual transmission.
It stands apart with few extras like LED headlights, upgraded exhaust, all-terrain tires, and a thicker skid plate.
Tacoma’s fuel consumption is not bad for a pickup truck. It averages 18 miles per gallon in city limits, 22 miles per gallon on the highway, and 20 mpg combined.
One of the biggest drawbacks of Tacoma is getting inside. The ride sits very high to maintain off-road performance.
2020 Toyota Tundra
When it comes to pickup trucks, the Toyota Tundra is one the best and most capable pickups ever to step tire in the U.S market.
The Tundra was Toyota’s first-ever pickup that was introduced in 1999 and held on to its true design for decades.
Fun Fact: the Tundra is the oldest pickup in its class with the same basic platform of 2007.
Nevertheless, the new 2020 model has been refined and loaded with technological advancements that deliver reasonable comfort and performance.
Not mentioning endless trim levels, packages, and customization options from the factory.
The 2020 model was introduced, as a full-size light-duty pickup truck that focuses more on being a workhorse than a luxury vehicle.
This model comes fitted with a rumbling 5.7 litre V-8 across the whole range instead of the old 4.6. it delivers 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque.
The power is sent to either the rear wheels or all four wheels, depending on which trim you opt for, via a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Tundra is missing few gears compared to its class rivals but the transmission is perfectly tuned to keep the big V-8 on the power band even at lower RPMs.
The Tundra features an open C-channel under the bed, the passenger cab, and sits on boxed frame rails up front. That means the Tundra is less stiff than its competition that features a fully boxed frame.
For a light-duty pickup truck, the Tundra delivers impressive performance figures. It can tow a massive 10,000 pounds and carry up to 1,700 pounds in the bed.
The payload and towing capacity vary from one trim to another and it is affected by the bed size and the powertrain.
Speaking of beds, the Tundra’s features a 50 inches wide, 22 inches deep bed available in three options:
- 5-ft short bed
- 5-ft standard bed
- 1-ft long bed
Toyota offers the Tundra with what many like to call “Toyota care.” It includes the following warranties:
- 3 Years/ 36,000 miles basic warranty
- 5 Years/ 60,000 Miles Drivetrain warranty
- 5 Years/ Unlimited Miles Corrosion warranty
- 2 Years/ Unlimited Miles Roadside Assistance warranty
- 2 Years/ 25,000 Miles Maintenance warranty
The interior in the 2020 Tundra is functional, welcoming, and built to last with quality materials. The interior is available in Black and Beige, but more colors and optional extras are unlocked with each trim.
It has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Alexa, Bluetooth, and USB connection come as standard. It is spacious enough on the inside to seat five or six adults. Other basic niceties involve:
- 7-inch infotainment touchscreen with large and well-labeled shortcut buttons
- 7-speakers Audio system
- One-touch power windows
- Adjustable leather seats
- Dual-Zone climate control
- Adaptive cruise control
- Power steering
- Rearview camera
- Blind-spot monitoring
The Tundra’s higher trim levels come with other goodies like Voice Activation System, Level-1 Autonomous Drive, Keyless Entry, Push – button to start the engine.
One of the Tundra’s strong suits is the Safety features it provides. It scored an overall four out of five stars from the NHTSA. Moreover, it was the first full-size pickup to offer auto emergency braking as standard.
Some of the safety features also include:
- Lane Departure Warning Accident Avoidance System
- Pre-Collision Safety System
- Remote Anti-Theft Alarm System
- Child safety locks
- 4-wheel brake discs with ABS
- Brake Assist System
- Power Locks
Alongside the safety standards, the Tundra caters to good off-road capabilities and the iconic Toyota reliability.
Buying a Tundra can be a daunting task because it comes in six different trim levels and body configurations. Plus, packages and optional extras are endless with each trim level.
The lineup starts with the base SR trim with a $35,000 price tag. It comes available with three-bed sizes mentioned above and different cabs as well. The standard single cab is the smallest, followed by the extended cab, the double cab, and the largest crew cab or CrewMax.
A note to remember: the cab size does affect the bed size. I.e., the bigger the cab, the smaller the bed.
The basic SR paves the way to the upgraded SR5 trim, which sits a step below the Limited trim. The Platinum and the 1794 Edition are on the podium with the TRD Pro as the HALO model.
The latter can easily hit $54,000 with all the bells and whistles.
Each trim opens the floodgates to many extras like power windows, heated electric seats, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights, electric mirrors, and a JBL sound system just to name a few.
Color choices are available for both interior and exterior and vary with each trim. It gets additional accessories like bed liners, carpets, and even for the exhaust. A variety of packages is presented such as the Limited Premium Package and TRD Off-Road Package.
The Tundra trails back in the pack of its class due to its fuel economy; the figures barely scratch the average miles per gallon even with an optional 38- gallon fuel tank.
The combination of the naturally aspirated big V-8 and the six-speed transmission gives a mediocre 13 mpg in the city, 15 on the highway, and 18 combined.
The numbers drop with the four-wheel variant and may drop even lower depending on how you drive, and the kind of work you do with the truck.
It does not stop at the gas consumption.
Other disadvantages to the Tundra are the tiny glovebox, poorly placed and oversized cup holders, and the narrow door pockets.
Despite the added features, it is still outdated compared to its class rivals. The creamy ride feeling from the suspension is not enough to compensate for the numb steering.
Ground clearance and forward visibility are good but, the rearview could use some improvement. In addition, the high bed makes the loading process challenging.
In addition, the sheer size of the truck and the terrible turning radios kills the maneuverability in the parking lots.
Question: Why is the 2020 Tundra the Worst Truck?
Answer: The Tundra was ranked poorly due to its bad fuel consumption of 14 mpg on average where its competitors can do at least 24 miles per gallon.
Question: Which Tundra Model is Best?
Answer: TRD Pro model is the best Tundra for off-roading and on the road. It comes standard with four-wheel drive, tow hooks, a front skid plate, and Fox rear shocks.
Question: How Many Miles is Too Much for the Tundra?
Answer: According to iSeeCars, the Toyota Tundra can do 300,000 miles before the repair bills pile up. But with proper maintenance, it may be used for well over 15 years.
Question: How Much Should I Pay for a 2020 Toyota Tacoma?
Answer: The least expensive 2020 Toyota Tacoma is the SR Double Cab with a 5.0 ft. bed and a 2.7L 4-cylinder with a 6-speed auto. It arrives with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $26,880.
Question: Are There Other Alternatives to the Toyota Tacoma?
Answer: Yes, other alternatives worth considering are the Chevrolet Colorado, Nissan Frontier, and the Ford Ranger.
The Toyota Tacoma is the best pickup truck in its class. It comes fully loaded with kits and packages and caters to unmatched off-road capabilities. If you are looking for a daily that is easy to live with and can go anywhere, Tacoma is your best option.
However, if you are more into the heavier-duty side and hauling bigger loads, then the Tacoma’s bigger, tougher, and meaner brother the Tundra is your best pick. The Tundra has all the bells and whistles, and it is aimed directly to be a workhorse. Not to mention, it can go off-road too.
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