Review: 2021 Toyota Tacoma SR5 Trail

The current-generation Tacoma pickup truck was introduced in 2016 and has had few updates since. This year, a couple of trim options and new Trail and Nightshade special editions debuts. In addition, all V6-powered models of the Tacoma receive dual-zone climate as standard as well as alloy wheels.

For the buying public, the Tacoma SR5 model is the de facto base model of the truck, with the stripped down SR trim being mostly for rental fleets and commercial buyers. The base Tacoma SR does have a lot of basic equipment like a sliding rear window, power-adjustable side mirrors, a composite bed, a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with three USB ports and a WiFi hotspot. But the SR5 has a lot of niceties and comfort items that consumers would prefer, like an 8-inch touchscreen, a fully-functional remote, chrome trim pieces, and access to upgrade options not available one the base model.

Our particular truck was the 2021 Toyota Tacoma SR5 with its new Trail Special Edition (“Trail”) sub-trim added on. The Trail upgrade can only happen on a Tacoma SR5 with the V6 engine upgrade and in the Double Cab model. Sorry crew cab buyers, you’ll have to get the TRD Sport instead. The price difference is close, though, at just about $1,000 between them; in favor of the SR5.

The two packages are very similar, with the TRD Sport having a couple of niceties like the TRD badging, larger wheels (17s instead of 16s), and suspension tuning that aren’t included in the SR5 Trail model. The SR5 Trail, however, is a good light off-road-ready truck available in both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive with all-terrain tires, all-weather floormats, locking storage bins in the bed, and a 120-volt outlet in the cargo bed (switchable on or off from the cab).

The Tacoma in any model configuration comes standard with forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. The SR5 has access to the Technology package upgrade, which adds blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts. It also has navigation and parking sensors available in the Dynamic Navigation package. These and a couple of other options are also offered on the TRD Sport package as well plus a premium audio (JBL system) upgrade.

Where we really enjoyed the SR5 Trail, though, was in its simplicity. This is a basic midsized truck with not a lot of doodads inside. As a daily driver and occasional work truck, it’s excellent. If you can live without a larger back seat, it’s a great option at a good price point.

Our chief complaints with the 2021 Toyota Tacoma SR5 Trail are the same as they are with all Tacoma models: it’s looks are polarizing, its ride height is very high for a “small” truck, and its seating position is oddly car-like and uncomfortable compared to other pickups. If one can get past these arguments, and many do as the Tacoma is a best-seller, Toyota’s Taco is a very good general use small(ish) truck.

Toyota has limited production of the SR5 Trail to only 7,000 units for 2021, but it will likely still be there for 2022 models. Maybe without the production limits.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at