I don’t often get to test different versions of the same type of vehicle. The vehicle fairies generally bring me a rig decked out with all the bells and whistles, which is nice, because it gives me a chance to see what all the options do.
But a few weeks ago, I had a Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road, and that one was followed the next week by the Tacoma TRD Sport. They were both built on the same incredibly capable Toyota Tacoma platform, and both were double cabs. Both were four-wheel-drive, and both had plenty of comfort and performance features, like rear back-up cameras, satellite navigation, six-speed automatic transmissions, and 3.5-liter V6 engines.
Both were rated to get 18 miles to the gallon in the city and 23 miles to the gallon on the highway, but I got a matching 19 in town and 24 on the highway with both of them.
But the TRD Off-Road version was listed at $37,610, while the TRD Sport model was only $35,280. What could possibly make a $2,330 difference?
I’m glad you asked. The TRD Off-Road has my favorite mechanical feature of any vehicle on (or off) the roads right now – Toyota’s Crawl Control. This is basically cruise-control for off-roading. When you’re in four-low, if you engage the crawl control, it will keep the vehicle at a constant forward speed, which is variable from about one kilometer per hour up to about five. In four-high, that Crawl Control becomes Terrain Select, which automatically sends the right amount of power to the wheels, depending on what you’re driving over. The Off-Road had a few more features, too, but that Crawl Control is more than worth the price difference.