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Monday, May 29, 2023

Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional vs. Ford Ranger Raptor vs. Chevy Colorado ZR2

The mid-size off-road-truck section has all the time felt out of steadiness on the high finish, with the Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional and the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 erratically matched as a result of they did not comply with the identical wide-stance blueprint. In the meantime, the Ford Ranger Raptor was nonetheless floating within the ether as forbidden fruit that was inexplicably excluded from these truck-happy United States.

All that ends now, because the Colorado ZR2 has been upgraded, the Ranger Raptor has been greenlit for these shores, and the Tacoma TRD Professional has lastly grown into the truck it all the time wanted to be. All three are crew-cab vans with a brief mattress.

Let’s have a look at how they match up.


Turbocharged engines are the order of the day with this trio, however all three have taken clearly completely different paths.

2023 chevrolet colorado zr2See ZR2 Photographs

2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.

Michael Simari|Automobile and Driver

The Colorado is powered by a variant of the turbocharged 2.7-liter inline-four that first surfaced within the full-size Silverado 1500. The ZR2’s high-output tune is the light-weight of the bunch at 310 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque, nevertheless it did not really feel underpowered after we subjected it to an prolonged off-road flogging throughout the Nevada desert. The engine is backed by an eight-speed computerized transmission that seemingly makes all the fitting strikes.

Ford’s Ranger Raptor is powered by a 3.0-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6, and it makes a class-leading 405 horsepower. Its torque output, then again, is not any higher than the ZR2’s, because it ties the Chevy with 430 pound-feet. This engine is backed by a 10-speed computerized transmission, however we’re undecided it is a “extra is healthier” state of affairs, as we have regularly coalesced round the concept eight is sufficient in the case of gear ratios—and never simply due to the TV present.

Popping out of left discipline is the Tacoma’s iForce Max hybrid powertrain, which is what you get whenever you mix a turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four with a robust electrical motor-generator. The mix is nice for 326 horsepower and a class-leading 465 pound-feet of torque, and the mixed output passes to the wheels via a brand new eight-speed computerized that replaces final yr’s unloved six-speed. Final yr’s six-speed handbook is not obtainable on the Professional, because the DIY gearbox is incompatible with the hybrid powertrain.

It is not but clear if horsepower or torque will finally carry the day in real-world driving, however the Tacoma’s hybrid powertrain ought to handily win high fuel-economy honors as soon as all three vans’ numbers are revealed, and it alone possesses the {hardware} wanted to help a 2400-watt onboard AC energy inverter.


All three vans are comparable in that they’ve wide-track suspensions consisting of management arms and coil springs up entrance and a strong axle out again. You will discover 33-inch tires on all of them, with the Ford and Chevy rolling on 17-inch wheels and LT tires, whereas the Toyota runs on 18-inch rubber that stubbornly lacks the LT designation.

2024 toyota tacoma trd pro

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional.


The Chevrolet rides on intelligent and sturdy Multimatic DSSV shuttle-valve dampers, the character of which ends up in distant reservoirs throughout. The ZR2 can also be the lone contestant that makes use of rear leaf springs, however this yr’s truck has been vastly improved as a result of the rear shocks are actually mounted outboard of the springs and packaged tight in opposition to the wheel out of hurt’s method.

Like its larger brother, Fox 2.5-inch live-valve adaptive dampers are fitted to the Ranger Raptor, with remote-reservoir rear models which are, just like the ZR2, mounted within the inverted place to trim unsprung mass. The Ford’s rear axle rides on a brand new coil-spring setup, and it’s situated by 4 trailing hyperlinks, with a Watts linkage preserving it centered.

The TRD Professional’s wide-track stance is a primary for this mannequin. Totally three inches broader than the bottom SR5, we suspect it could eclipse the competitors. Fox 2.5-inch dampers are used, however they’re QS3 models with three ranges of manually adjustable compression damping. The Professional additionally rides on a brand new coil-spring rear axle, which is situated by 4 trailing hyperlinks and centered by a conventional Panhard rod. The rear dampers usually are not inverted, as a result of Toyota prefers to maintain the shafts of the shocks up excessive away from bouncing rocks. The Professional has one different notable characteristic the others cannot match: Fox IFP hydraulic rear bump stops to cushion laborious landings. Neat.


Each truck right here makes use of part-time four-wheel drive with a low-range switch case that permits a driver to pick out from 2WD Excessive, 4WD Excessive, and 4WD Low as wants dictate. All have skid plates beneath to guard susceptible elements.

The ZR2 presents 10.7 inches of floor clearance, and clearance angles of 38.3 levels on method, 25.1 levels at departure, and 24.6 levels when breaking over the forehead of a hill. There are three off-road drive modes: Off-Highway, Terrain, and Baja. Terrain is supposed for low-speed work and allows a slick one-pedal off-road crawl characteristic, whereas Baja uncorks the exhaust and eases up on the traction and stability management intervention. ZR2 additionally comes with push-button entrance and rear differential lockers.

Ford’s Ranger Raptor presents a extra modest 33.0 levels of method clearance, with a wholesome 26.4 levels at departure. Breakover clearance is 24.2 levels, and most floor clearance can also be 10.7 inches. The off-road drive modes are Off-Highway, Rock Crawl, and Baja, and there is a Path Management off-road cruise management and a Path Flip Help characteristic that drags the within rear brake to tighten the turning radius. The part-time four-wheel-drive system has an added 4-Auto setting, too. Just like the ZR2, Ranger Raptor has lockable entrance and rear differentials.

The TRD Professional presents 11.0 inches of most floor clearance, better of the bunch by a skinny margin. Its method and departure angles are second-best at 33.8 and 25.7 levels, respectively, whereas its breakover angle trails barely at 23.5 levels. We will not but identify every of its Terrain Administration modes, however we are able to say they exist. For its half, Toyota says Crawl Management has been made smoother by way of a brand new digital brake booster and rear disc brakes, and the system now operates in each 4-Lo and 4-Hello. As earlier than, the TRD Professional solely has a rear differential locker, nevertheless it does have a characteristic the others lack, and that is a push-button entrance anti-roll-bar disconnect. Toyota says the bar will be disconnected below load and that doing so improves complete suspension flex by 10 % over the present mannequin.

Towing and Hauling

The ZR2 can tow 6000 kilos, which is 1000 greater than final yr. A two-inch receiver is customary, and 4-pin and 7-pin wiring are supported, with an digital trailer brake controller mounted on the sprint. A 360-degree digicam with a hitch ball closeup is offered to assist when hitching up. On the payload facet, ZR2 capability is a lackluster 1151 kilos.

The Raptor is rated at 5510 kilos, and it too has a built-in 2.0-inch receiver hitch. Payload capability, at 1411 kilos, is considerably higher than the ZR2’s. An built-in trailer brake controller will even be on the menu, however we do not but know if it’s going to be customary or require the acquisition of a trailer tow package deal. A 360-degree digicam is within the offing, and Ford has introduced Professional Trailer backup help for the Ranger usually.

Little is for certain in the case of the TRD Professional’s towing and hauling prowess, though the iForce Max crew cab, which describes the TRD Professional (but additionally different attainable trims) is alleged to be good for 6000 kilos of towing and 1709 kilos of payload. Time will inform, and we’re assuming the latter corresponds to a two-wheel-drive truck. In the meantime, a 2.0-inch receiver hitch is customary. Totally-integrated 4-pin and 7-pin wiring and an digital trailer brake controller (a Tacoma first) had been current on the Professional we examined, they usually’ll provide trailer backup steering system, a 360-degree digicam, and a novel system that makes use of further rooftop sharkfin antennas to help an adjunct rearview digicam you’ll be able to mount in your trailer.


The Colorado ZR2’s cab is spacious up entrance however a bit cozy behind, with a bit much less rear legroom than we would like. Most controls are logical, however there are a couple of oddities, equivalent to headlight controls that solely seem on the central touchscreen. That display measures 11.3 inches, and wi-fi smartphone mirroring is customary. Usually, the inside supplies look unimpressive throughout the Colorado lineup, however the ZR2 comes throughout higher than the remainder of them.

2023 chevrolet colorado zr2

2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.

Michael Simari|Automobile and Driver

Ford latest Ranger cabin is equally spacious up entrance, and the rear half needs to be extra agreeable to tall people as a result of there’s over three inches extra legroom. We’ll have to substantiate this with a take a look at sit, however the specs look promising. The central touchscreen is a portrait-oriented monster, surrounded by fewer mounted controls than we prefer to see. Wi-fi telephone mirroring is non-compulsory on Ranger usually, however we’re not but positive if it is customary on Raptor specifically. As for the feel and appear of the factor, we’re not stunned by what we have seen up to now.

2024 ford ranger raptor interior

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor.

Andi Hedrick|Automobile and Driver

The Tacoma TRD Professional can also be very accommodating up entrance, with a raised seating place and better roof than corrects the bizarre ergonomics of the previous. No rear inside dimensions can be found, so we’ll should see. However the TRD Professional comes with distinctive shock-absorbing isometric entrance seats—they actually have adjustable air over oil shock absorbers constructed into the seatbacks—that trim greater than a half-inch of rear-seat area. The jury remains to be out right here, however off-road entrance seat experience consolation needs to be wonderful on account of them.

2024 toyota tacoma trd pro

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional.


In the meantime, the Professional’s 14-inch central touchscreen seems compelling, and the bodily controls all through the cabin are each enticing and logical. The seats and sprint supplies look interesting, too.

Availability and Worth

The one one we’re sure about is the ZR2 Colorado, which works for $48,295 to begin and is offered now. The Ranger Raptor is considerably costlier at $58,555, which is a full $10-grand extra. It’s going to begin hitting the streets in late summer time. What in regards to the TRD Professional? It will not be obtainable till spring 2024, so Toyota in all probability will not decide to pricing till yr’s finish. For reference, the outgoing mannequin goes for $49,890 with an computerized. With all of the adjustments, we count on the TRD Professional to price considerably greater than final yr, however it could effectively undercut the Ranger Raptor by a goodly margin. In any case, there’s vital headroom between the Ford and Chevy.

Headshot of Dan Edmunds

Technical Editor

Dan Edmunds was born into the world of cars, however not the way you would possibly assume. His father was a retired racing driver who opened Autoresearch, a race-car-building store, the place Dan reduce his tooth as a steel fabricator. Engineering faculty adopted, then SCCA Showroom Inventory racing, and that mixture landed him suspension improvement jobs at two completely different automakers. His writing profession started when he was picked up by (no relation) to construct a testing division.

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