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


The mid-size off-road-truck section has at all times felt out of steadiness on the prime finish, with the Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional and the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 erratically matched as a result of they did not observe 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, as 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 at all times wanted to be. All three are crew-cab vans with a brief mattress.

Let’s examine how they match up.


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

2023 chevrolet colorado zr2See ZR2 Images

2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.

Michael Simari|Automotive 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, however it did not really feel underpowered once we subjected it to an prolonged off-road flogging throughout the Nevada desert. The engine is backed by an eight-speed automated transmission that seemingly makes all the precise 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 automated transmission, however we’re unsure it is a “extra is healthier” state of affairs, as we have steadily coalesced round the concept that eight is sufficient in relation to gear ratios—and never simply due to the TV present.

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

It isn’t but clear if horsepower or torque will in the end carry the day in real-world driving, however the Tacoma’s hybrid powertrain ought to handily win prime fuel-economy honors as soon as all three vans’ numbers are revealed, and it alone possesses the {hardware} wanted to assist 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 may 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 be the lone contestant that makes use of rear leaf springs, however this yr’s truck has been tremendously improved as a result of the rear shocks are actually mounted outboard of the springs and packaged tight towards the wheel out of hurt’s method.

Like its greater brother, Fox 2.5-inch live-valve adaptive dampers are fitted to the Ranger Raptor, with remote-reservoir rear items 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. Absolutely three inches broader than the bottom SR5, we suspect it might eclipse the competitors. Fox 2.5-inch dampers are used, however they’re QS3 items 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 standard Panhard rod. The rear dampers aren’t 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 function the others cannot match: Fox IFP hydraulic rear bump stops to cushion arduous 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 from 2WD Excessive, 4WD Excessive, and 4WD Low as wants dictate. All have skid plates beneath to guard weak parts.

The ZR2 affords 10.7 inches of floor clearance, and clearance angles of 38.3 levels on strategy, 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 function, 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 affords a extra modest 33.0 levels of strategy clearance, with a wholesome 26.4 levels at departure. Breakover clearance is 24.2 levels, and most floor clearance can 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 function 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 affords 11.0 inches of most floor clearance, better of the bunch by a skinny margin. Its strategy 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 won’t but title every of its Terrain Administration modes, however we will say they exist. For its half, Toyota says Crawl Management has been made smoother through 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, however it does have a function the others lack, and that is a push-button entrance anti-roll-bar disconnect. Toyota says the bar may be disconnected beneath load and that doing so improves complete suspension flex by 10 p.c 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 digital camera with a hitch ball closeup is obtainable 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 will be customary or require the acquisition of a trailer tow package deal. A 360-degree digital camera is within the offing, and Ford has introduced Professional Trailer backup help for the Ranger typically.

Little is for certain in relation to the TRD Professional’s towing and hauling prowess, though the iForce Max crew cab, which describes the TRD Professional (but additionally different doable trims) is claimed 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. Absolutely-integrated 4-pin and 7-pin wiring and an digital trailer brake controller (a Tacoma first) had been current on the Professional we examined, and so they’ll supply trailer backup steerage system, a 360-degree digital camera, and a novel system that makes use of further rooftop sharkfin antennas to assist an adjunct rearview digital camera you possibly can 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 might like. Most controls are logical, however there are a couple of oddities, similar to headlight controls that solely seem on the central touchscreen. That display measures 11.3 inches, and wi-fi smartphone mirroring is customary. Typically, 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|Automotive and Driver

Ford latest Ranger cabin is equally spacious up entrance, and the rear half ought 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 check 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 typically, however we’re not but positive if it is customary on Raptor specifically. As for the appear and feel of the factor, we’re not shocked by what we have seen up to now.

2024 ford ranger raptor interior

2024 Ford Ranger Raptor.

Andi Hedrick|Automotive and Driver

The Tacoma TRD Professional can 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 need to 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 house. The jury continues to be out right here, however off-road entrance seat journey consolation ought to be superb 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 to be compelling, and the bodily controls all through the cabin are each enticing and logical. The seats and sprint supplies look interesting, too.

Availability and Value

The one one we’re sure about is the ZR2 Colorado, which matches for $48,295 to begin and is obtainable now. The Ranger Raptor is considerably dearer at $58,555, which is a full $10-grand extra. It’s going to begin hitting the streets in late summer season. 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 automated. With all of the adjustments, we anticipate the TRD Professional to price considerably greater than final yr, however it might properly undercut the Ranger Raptor by a goodly margin. In any case, there’s important headroom between the Ford and Chevy.

Headshot of Dan Edmunds

Technical Editor

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


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