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2018 Toyota Tacoma Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2018 Toyota Tacoma Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: SR5 vs TRD vs Sport, Offroad & Limited
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What 2018 Toyota Tacoma Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

Back in the 90s and the early 2000s, compact pickup trucks were an American favorite, but they eventually fell out of favour. They had neither the fuel efficiency and ride comfort of the crossover SUVs, nor the high power and utility of their full-size pickup truck relatives.

Today, however, the compact pickup is making a comeback, and the Toyota Tacoma is one of the trucks leading the way. Strong, smart and versatile, it offers a more refined alternative to the big pickups along with enough amenities to satisfy the more conventional drivers looking for something with a bit more cargo space and towing ability.

The multi-faceted Tacoma comes in several different forms that can easily tailored to suit a variety of needs. It has both four-cylinder and V-6 engine options, two cabin sizes and either a five-foot or a six-foot bed. It also has a full range of six trim levels to choose from, going from the fairly basic to thoroughly well equipped.

This guide is designed to help buyers navigate the different options by exploring the differences between the different trim levels and the value that each one offers. With this information at your disposal, getting the perfect Toyota Tacoma for you won’t be difficult at all.

Compare the 2018 Tacoma SR vs SR5 Trims. What is the difference?

The SR is the base trim level of the Toyota Tacoma, though that is expressed more in the lack of different options available for it than in a low level of standard equipment. While it does have steel wheels, in all other aspects the Tacoma SR offers more features than your standard work truck.

It comes with power locks and windows, air conditioning, touchscreen infotainment, a rearview camera, and the full Toyota safety suite. Toyota Safety Sense P, as it is called, includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering assist, radar-based cruise control, and automated high beams.

The body choices for the SR are limited to a two-door Access Cab with a long bed or the four-door Double Cab with a short bed. The two-door models are limited to the four-cylinder engine, in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The four-door models are only available with a V-6 and all-wheel drive.

The only available options packages on either model are a keyless entry system, though the two-door variant can be had without the rear seats for a lower price.
The SR5 does not add a lot on top of the SR equipment set, but it does make a lot more feature combinations available. The remote keyless entry is standard, and the infotainment system is wired to integrate with smartphone navigation systems. Satellite radio, fog lights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel are the remaining added standard features.

The SR5 can be had in the Access Cab with a long bed, or a Double Cab with either bed length. The Access Cab is available with either a four-cylinder engine or a V-6, though the V-6 is limited to all-wheel drive models. The Double Cab is V-6 exclusive, with the short bed version with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, with the long bed being all-wheel drive only. 

The SR and the SR5 are almost the same in terms of both features and price. Among those two trim levels, the choice will primarily be determined by which engine, bed and body combination of the Tacoma you are after. Combinations like the two-door V-6 or rear-wheel drive V-6 are only available on one of the two models.

For the combinations that are available in both trim levels, the difference comes down to how you feel about linking up your smartphone navigation to the infotainment system. If that is a must for you, go with the SR5. Otherwise, a similarly equipped SR model will be slightly less expensive with much the same features.

Compare the 2018 Toyota Tacoma SR5 vs TRD Sport Trims. What is the difference?

The TRD Sport is the first in the line of the off-road oriented TRD Tacomas. The TRD Sport does not actually offer that much in terms of off-road equipment, though it does offer some nice comfort and convenience options. It definitely looks the part though, with larger wheels and plenty of plastic cladding, and is only available with the V-6 engine in the same three body styles as the SR5.

The standard features on the TRD include an upgraded infotainment system with built-in navigation, wireless charging, push button start, and LED daytime running lights. There are two optional packages available for the TRD Sport. The Technology Package adds rear parking assist and blind spot monitors with rear cross traffic alerts, while the Premium Package includes the above as well as leather heated seats, a JBL sound system, automated climate control, auto on-off headlights, and a moonroof.

Once you look past the exterior badging, the TRD Sport is arguably the most versatile of the Tacoma options, the lack of a four-cylinder engine aside. In its base form, it includes most of the sought-after technology features. The Technology Package fills out the active safety roster, while the Premium Package transforms it into a fairly upscale cruiser.

If you were already settled on a V-6 Tacoma, the TRD Sport is only slightly more expensive than the SR5 and is easily worth the money if you like any of the upgrades it offers.

Compare the Tacoma TRD Sport vs TRD Off-Road Trims. What is the difference?

While the TRD Sport and the TRD Off-Road carry the same starting price, the TRD Off-Road trades the Sport’s style and convenience for off-roading substance. It has slightly smaller 16-inch wheels, but they ride on off-road tires, and it lacks the upgraded infotainment system and the wireless charging of the Sport. Instead, the TRD Off-Road boasts multiple adjustable terrain settings, crawl control, an electronically locking rear differential, and Bilstein off-road shock absorbers, as well as functional protective skid plates.

All of this equipment gives the TRD Off-Road some pretty solid off-roading ability. It is not short on nice amenities either, though you will have to pay for them. It offers the same optional packages as the TRD Sport, and at roughly the same price.

On paper, the TRD Off-Road offers a much better value than the TRD Sport. Not only does it come with almost the same standard and optional features as the TRD Sport, but it also comes with some heavy off-road gear to boot. However, the price of going with the TRD Off-Road comes mainly in ride quality. The big off-road tires and the specialized suspension are designed for crossing broken terrain rather than comfort, and the difference between on-road comfort is noticeable between the two models.

If you enjoy off-roading, the TRD Off-Road Tacoma is a very good deal, regardless of if you choose to take advantage of the hefty optional packages available. If you don’t do much off-roading, or any at all, you will be much better off with the TRD Sport.

Compare the Tacoma TRD Sport vs Limited Trims. What is the difference?

While the Tacoma TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road models come with some very nice equipment when accessorized with their Technology and Premium packages, those two trim levels are designed to appeal to a specific demographic. The TRD Sport has sport-focused design elements like a large hood scoop, while the TRD Off-Road rides like the off-road truck that it is.

The Limited is designed for buyers looking for a more upscale truck without the additional visual or mechanical elements of the TRD models. It rides on premium 18-inch wheels and has its own exclusive leather upholstery, as well as premium interior and exterior accents.

It also includes all of the features from the Technology and Premium packages from the TRD Tacomas. It is only available in the Double Cab short bed configuration with an all-wheel drive V-6 and an automatic transmission, and does not come with any optional packages. 

From a price standpoint, the Tacoma Limited costs pretty much the same as a fully-equipped TRD Sport or TRD Off-Road Tacoma, and has the same features. While the choice between the Limited and the TRD Off-Road depends on whether you prefer a suspension better tuned to on-road or off-road driving, the choice between the TRD Sport and the Limited is entirely up to looks. The Sport is more aggressive and sporty, while the Limited is more upscale. From a value point of view, the three options are effectively the same.

Compare the 2018 Tacoma Limited vs TRD Pro Trims. What is the difference?

While the Tacoma Limited can be thought of as a fully-loaded TRD Sport, the TRD Pro is a fully-loaded TRD Off-Road. It includes all the features of a fully-equipped TRD Off-Road model with a few additions of its own, wrapped up in special TRD styling.

It has its own unique wheel pattern and exterior accents, as well as special exclusive leather upholstery. The Bilstein shocks are replaced by FOX Racing ones, and an additional skid plate and a cat-back exhaust are added to the TRD setup. All of the optional features of the TRD Off-Road are standard on the TRD Pro as well, and just like the Off-Road it also comes in manual and automatic transmission options. Like the Limited, it is only available with the V-6, all-wheel drive, and a Double Cab. 

The TRD Pro is a little step in price over a fully-equipped TRD Off-Road and comes with a fairly reasonable amount of performance upgrades for the money. If you are an avid off-roader that also wants the best features the Toyota Tacoma can offer, then the TRD Pro is a good choice. If you are not sold on adding premium leather and upscale sound to an off-road truck, however, then you won’t miss anything special by sticking with the TRD Off-Road.

Final Thoughts

The Toyota Tacoma comes in three fundamental forms: a work truck, a comfortable truck, and an off-road truck. The SR and the SR5 are the best choice for the former, as they come with a well-rounded feature set and a variable amount of engine and body options.

Off-roaders will opt for either the TRD Off-Road or the TRD Pro models, while the comfort oriented drivers will find the Limited to be their best choice, though those that don’t mind looking like off-roaders can also get a lot of value out of the feature set of the TRD Sport.

All of the models offer a good mix of value for the money, making the best choice between them mostly down to your personal preferences when it comes to trucks. 

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