Should You Take the 2006 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road?

If you can find one without rust issues, the 2006 Toyota Tacoma is highly capable of driving on all terrains when equipped with the TRD off-road package.
Written by Drew Waterstreet
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Nov 15, 2022
Between trim levels, cab configurations, and engine options, the 2006
Toyota Tacoma
was a top customizable pickup truck. All-terrain drivers should search for this used Tacoma with the TRD off-road package.
The tricky thing about customization and the used car market is that you can’t retroactively add features. Instead, you have to find them already equipped. So if you want the benefits of the TRD off-road package, you must dig deep into the listings. 
And since second-generation Tacomas are known to have rust issues, it might be tough to find one in good condition.
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Can the 2006 Toyota Tacoma TRD go off-road?

Definitely. The 2006 Toyota Tacoma may be relatively small in stature, but when properly equipped, it can handle some serious off-road adventuring. So to validate this claim, let’s look at the Tacoma’s specifications and the extra boost you get from the TRD off-road package.

Ground clearance

The 2006 Toyota Tacoma has a ground clearance of9.4 inches, which is right in the sweet spot of the 8.8 to 10.8 inches recommended for off-roading. This means you have plenty of leeway to drive over obstructions and scale tricky inclines and declines without bottoming out your truck.


Off-roading is all about angles: specifically, the approach angle and departure angle.
  • Approach angle: the maximum angle at which a vehicle can climb without interference 
  • Departure angle: the maximum angle at which a vehicle can descend without interference
The approach and departure angles for the 2006 Toyota Tacoma are 35 and 26 degrees, respectively. These advantageous angles allow your Tacoma to conquer tricky inclines and declines without scraping the bumpers.

Torque and Towing

The 2006 Toyota Tacoma comes in almost 20 different configurations—and more if you include optional packages. Here are the two engine options you’ll find:
  • 2.7 L Inline 4-cylinder engine: 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque @ 3,800 rpm 
  • 4.0 L V6 engine: 236 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
More torque gets two things: more calculated power and more towing capacity. Because of this, a 2006 Tacoma configured with a V6 will be able to distribute power to accommodate off-road demands and be able to tow 3,000 more pounds. Both of these are useful for your remote camping adventure!


In November 2016, Toyota USA settled a class action suit for 2005–2010 model year Tacomas over excessive rust forming on the frame.
Off-roading puts a lot of strain on your frame due to bumpy and inconsistent terrains. Rust can weaken the frame, so you should be careful with your second-generation Tacoma.
If you plan on purchasing a 2006 Tacoma, do a
complete inspection
to know your soon-to-be truck's exact condition. We recommend hiring a third party to handle this task.
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TRD off-road package

Now, the pièce de résistance! The TRD off-road package brings a whole new level of performance to the 2006 Toyota Tacoma, adding these adventure features:
  • Off-road tuned suspension w/Bilstein shocks
  • Hill-start assist control
  • Downhill assist control
  • Locking rear differential
  • Protective skid plates
All of these add-ons help you smoothly glide over uneven surfaces and efficiently handle sharp inclines or declines. If off-roading is a priority for you, this package from Toyota’s Racing Development division is a must-have.

Off-road rating: Trail Boss*

We’ve rated the 2006 Toyota Tacoma TRD using
super-technical DIRT rating system, broken down in the table below: 
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
The 2006 Toyota Tacoma TRD earns a T “Trail Boss” rating, but with an asterisk.When properly equipped with the TRD off-road package, the 2006 Toyota Tacoma can handle just about any terrain. But if the condition of your truck can be connected to the class-action lawsuit over frame rust, we immediately demote it to a D “Don’t Try It” rating.

The best off-road alternatives to the 2006 Toyota Tacoma TRD

The 2006 Toyota Tacoma TRD is a highly capable off-road vehicle. But there are certainly some red flags due to its rusting tendencies. Finding a 2006 truck with limited mileage and without the chronic rusting issue can be challenging.
So if you want to avoid the trouble, here are some alternative vehicles you can consider for your off-road adventures:
Est. Used Price
Best newer alternative
2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD
Like what you’ve heard about the Tacoma TRD but want something a little newer? Check out the 2020 model.
Best SUV alternative
2013 Toyota 4Runner
Want a truck-like feel while also having the advantages of an SUV? Look no further than the 4Runner!
Best bigger alternative
2012 Toyota Tundra
The Tundra is much bigger than the Tacoma. So if size matters, this is a great alternative.

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