Can Toyota Do It Again? Tracking the Best Truck Brand of 2020 into 2021

January 15th, 2021 by

A grey 2021 Toyota Tacoma is off-roading in dirt after leaving a Toyota Truck dealer near me.

According to the Kelley Blue Book, Toyota has earned the coveted prize of “Best Truck Brand for 2020.” This award is handed to brands that receive accolades from real drivers when it comes to overall durability, reliability, and resale value. But what is it about the Toyota Tacoma and Toyota Tundra that has drivers across the country thrilled with their purchases? And further, can we expect more of the same qualities in 2021? As new model updates are coming fast and furious, drivers are anxiously looking forward to the changes, updates, and new features the new model year will bring. Let’s look at the 2021 Toyota truck lineup highlights and what you can expect to find at a Toyota truck dealer near you in 2021.

Introducing Toyota’s Standard Safety Packages

One significant 2021 Toyota truck highlight is the inclusion of a full suite of safety features on all trims. Toyota has made driver and passenger safety a high priority across the lineup. Both the 2021 Toyota Tacoma and 2021 Toyota Tundra include integrated automotive safety features and multiple driver-assistance features, regardless of which trim is chosen.

Toyota’s Star Safety System combines a variety of important engineering features that make the Tacoma and Tundra safer on the road. These include Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control, which assist drivers with staying on the road in a safe manner, despite the size of their payload or road conditions. Anti-lock Brake System with Electronic Brake-force Distribution helps in emergencies by preventing the brakes from seizing and freezing. Brake Assist with Smart Stop Technology is also on hand in conjunction with Toyota’s collision alert systems. All 2021 Toyota trucks are equipped with an Advanced Airbag System for driver and front passenger, as well as seat-mounted side airbags, knee airbags, and front and rear side curtain airbags, as well.

These basic systems are then enhanced by the addition of the 2021 Toyota Safety Sense P package. All 2021 Tacomas and Tundras are equipped with basic TSS-P, which includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Automatic High Beams. Additional driver assistance features, such as Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and Rear Parking Sonar, are available options on lower trims and standard on higher trims.

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma

A green 2021 Toyota Tacoma is off-roading in dirt.

2020 was a big year for the Toyota Tacoma, as it received a major makeover. However, each year is a new opportunity for every make and model to grow, and Tacoma is taking advantage of that chance in 2021. The standard powertrain of the 2021 Toyota Tacoma is a 2.7L inline-4 engine that is more than sufficient in most situations, with plenty of pep and power. Providing 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, this engine is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. While rear-wheel drive is standard, drivers can choose four-wheel drive instead. The difference in fuel economy between the two drivetrains is nominal, with rear-wheel drive models achieving 20 MPG city and 23 MPG highway, and four-wheel drive models getting 19 MPG city and 22 MPG highway.

For those looking for more power and more towing capability, the optional 3.5L V6 engine might be a better choice. Offering 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, Tacomas equipped with this engine can tow up to 6,800 lbs. Drivers who choose this engine not only have the choice between rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive but can select between a six-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual transmission.

Of course, Toyota is well aware that one-size-fits-all is not appropriate for the pickup truck community. Drivers can choose the smaller Access Cab or the larger Double Cab. Access Cab models include a half-sized rear door and two small seats for rear passengers, along with a 6-foot bed. Double Cab models include the choice of a 5-foot or 6-foot bed and feature a full-size rear bench seat with four full-size doors.

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma is offered in six total trims: SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, and TRD Pro. Although it is the most basic, the SR trim provides plenty of modern necessities, including a standard 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, a fiber-reinforced sheet molded composite bed, heated exterior mirrors, three USB ports, and skid plates for the engine and front suspension. The SR5 adds luxuries such as a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a leather-trimmed tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Those looking for a cushy family ride will appreciate the offerings of the Limited model, which includes leather seating, a power moonroof, a JBL premium audio system, LED headlamps, and polished silver exterior highlights.

The TRD models are just right for the driver who wants a little more zip and adventure. The TRD Sport model includes a sportier appearance, premium audio with dynamic navigation, wireless charging, and a 120V power outlet in the bed. The TRD Off-Road includes Crawl Control, Multi-Terrain Select, electronic locking rear differential, projector-beam headlights, and other features that make mud, sand, and water more enjoyable than the paved road. The TRD Pro trim level includes features that are perfect for the trail, including a Multi-Terrain Monitor camera, TRD Pro catback exhaust, and FOX Internal Bypass coilovers.

The 2021 Toyota Tundra

A dark brown 2021 Toyota Tundra is parked in grass in front of trees.

While they say “less is more,” oftentimes, more is more. If you need the power to tow up to 10,200 lbs, you simply need more trucks, and the 2021 Toyota Tundra is here to help. Under the hood is an exceptional 5.7L V8 engine, which provides just the right amount of power for its size, with 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. Paired to a six-speed automatic transmission, the 2021 Tundra has a fuel economy of 13 MPG city and 17 MPG highway for both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models.

The 2021 Tundra is offered in Double Cab and CrewMax cab styles. Each seats up to six when both front and rear bench seats are selected, though some drivers may prefer the comfort of front bucket seats. While some trucks offer a rear seat that folds flat to include more cargo inside the cab, the Tundra features fold up seats in both cab styles. This provides additional room for taller cargo. Both the Double Cab and CrewMax Cab have four full-sized doors. The Double Cab is offered with a choice of a 6.5-foot or 8-foot bed, while the CrewMax is only available with a 5.5-foot bed.

As a truck designed to tow, the Tundra features more available towing and hauling features. Sway Control comes standard and assists in putting brake pressure right where it’s needed to keep you headed forward. Available Integrated Trailer Brake Control allows drivers to adjust the trailer brake pressure to match the trailer weight. An integrated 4/7-pin connector makes it easy to hitch and go, with Tow/Haul Mode in place to provide optimized throttle response and gear shifting for smooth, steady pulling.

Drivers can choose from six trims, starting with the SR, which includes a standard Tow Package, backup camera, and compatibility with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa. The SR5 trim includes a larger 8-inch touchscreen, heated and power-adjustable outside mirrors, a sliding rear window, and halogen fog lights. The Limited adds exterior chrome, a leather steering wheel, and LED fog lights and headlights, while the 1794 Edition brings the luxury features like wood grain accents, perforated leather seating, and a power vertical sliding rear window. The Platinum edition offers 12-way power-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, a premium JBL sound system, and an overhead storage console.

Those looking for the off-road option need look no further than the TRD Pro, which is outfitted with all the gear you need to hit the trails, such as TRD Pro front and rear TRD FOX shocks with piggyback reservoirs, a front skid plate, leather-trimmed front bucket seats, power moonroof, and front and rear mudguards.

Final Thoughts

2021 might be a great year to visit a Toyota truck dealer near you, with some exciting 2021 Toyota truck highlights coming with the new model year. From updated standard safety features to powerful engines and high-tech options, there’s a 2021 Toyota Tacoma or 2021 Tundra to fit nearly every driver’s needs. If you want to learn more about the latest Toyota trucks on the market, then simply stop by Colonial Motor Mart and let our friendly staff fill you in on all the details.