2021 Toyota Tacoma vs 2021 Chevrolet Colorado

October 8th, 2020 by

2021 Toyota Tacoma Mountain Top TRD Girl With Husky looking at sunset

Head to head is the 2021 Toyota Tacoma and the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado. Both rank high in the mid-size truck category but will Toyota’s reputation of reliability and off-road capability beat out Chevy’s new aggressive styling? Read on as we dive deep into the battle to be called the best mid-size truck.

 

2021 Toyota Tacoma

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma is a fan favorite in the mid-size pickup truck and fun off-road toy categories. While some of its competitors, like the Jeep Gladiator, for instance, are more refined and capable, the Toyota Tacoma earned its cult following the hard way: over time, and delivering what customers wanted. Sporting a 4-cylinder and a V-6 that isn’t all that head-turning and the automatic transmission is a little uncoordinated on the daily drive, the TRD models make up for it with high proficiency when taking on trails and playing in the mud. The interior is a bit plasticky and the back seats are a little small, the 2021 Tacoma retains its popularity because of its age-old reliability, fun, and heart.

2021 Toyota Tacoma

Highs

  • Fantastic off-road capable truck
  • Strong-featured and reliable
  • Full of driver-assistance tech

 

Lows

  • Crew cab doesn’t have much room in the back seat
  • Automatic is clumsy
  • Quality of the interior is a disappointment

 

What’s New for 2021

In the 2021 model year, Toyota is offering a limited-run Tacoma Trail Edition model but only 7000 of them will be available for purchase, so if you are looking to score a limited edition call the store now. The Trail Edition comes with some all-terrain tires and unique looking 16-inch TRD-style wheels. Black exterior badges and a different grille make great accents to really make the 2021 Tacoma Trail Edition pop. On the inside, the cabin features black seats complete tan contrast stitching and all-weather mats.

2021 Toyota Tacoma Exterior Off-Road On Mountain Top

Pricing

The TRD Off-Road crew cab is definitely the 2021 Tacoma to go with if you’re in the market. It comes with an electronic locking rear differential and definitely go with the optional 4-wheel drive. The 4-cylinder is a relatively good option but the more powerful V-6 is by far the best option for off-road enthusiasts. Every model has 16-inch wheels, black over-fenders, a ton of driver assists, and an infotainment system. If you go with the technology package you get upgraded front lighting with LED elements as well as blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

 

Prices by Trim

  • SR – $27,325
  • SR5 – $29,115
  • TRD Sport – $34,235
  • Trail Special Edition – $35,180
  • TRD Off-Road – $35,490
  • Limited – $40,080
  • Nightshade – $41,080
  • TRD Pro – $45,250

 

Interior & Tech

The 2021 Tacoma doesn’t have a lot of flash or pizzazz on the inside, sticking with the more utilitarian layout and the higher models rely heavily on hard plastics and simple materials. One thing to note is Toyota has finally graced the Tacoma with a power-adjustable driver’s seat. Other than that, the seating in the Tacoma is pretty cramped but people of at least average height won’t have a problem. Storage-wise, aside from the center-console bin, there aren’t many usable storage bins or cubbies.

2021 Toyota Interior Driver and Passenger Seat2021 Toyota Tacoma Dashboard with Steering Wheel

Toyota has incorporated a touchscreen infotainment system in every Tacoma regardless of the trim level. The base model features a 7-inch display and all of the other trims are a little bigger with an 8-inch screen. The 2021 Tacoma also sports multiple USB ports for easy connectivity and wireless charging is available but it does lack the mobile hotspot that some of its competitors have added to their trucks.

2021 Toyota Tacoma Backup Camera Driver Assist2021 Toyota Tacoma Touchscreen Infotainment System Apple CarPlay Android Auto

2021 Toyota Tacoma Tech Quick Look:

  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • Amazon Alexa
  • SiriusXM (includes 3-month All Access trial subscription)

 

Performance

The 2021 Tacoma’s V-6 engine provides good performance and towing capability, but the 4-cylinder is probably best to be avoided. It gets the job done but lacks the necessary power for the top of the line performance. The Tacoma TRD Sport and the Limited models are better for that city driving, but the TRD Off-Road and the TRD Pro trims are high performers for rougher paths.

2021 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road Through Mud

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma may not be the first choice for smooth rides and handling but it can handle trails or rough back roads exceptionally well. The Tacoma Limited is your best bet if you plan on sticking to the pavement and has a ride that is much smoother and quieter then it’s off-road capable siblings.

At its burliest, the 2021 Tacoma can tow up to 6800 pounds with the rear-wheel-drive option and pull up to 6500 pounds if you go with the four-wheel-drive version.

2021 Toyota Tacoma Trailer Boat

Fuel economy-wise, the Toyota Tacoma ranks in the middle of the pack. Not bad, but not good either. But if you’re looking at trucks fuel efficiency probably isn’t at the top of your priority list.

 

Safety & Driver-Assistance

The Tacoma might have average crash-test ratings, but it has the most standard driver-assistance technology in its class.

Key safety features include:

  • Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
  • Standard lane-departure warning
  • Standard adaptive cruise control

 

Warranty

The Tacoma’s warranty coverage is pretty standard to its competition, but what really makes it stand out is Toyota offering the best complimentary scheduled maintenance plan in its class.

  • Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
  • Complimentary maintenance is covered for two years or 25,000 miles

 

 

2021 Chevrolet Colorado

The 2021 Chevy Colorado provides drivers with everyday practicality and wide-ranging capabilities; featuring substantial towing and payload ratings. The Colorado is rocking three different engines for people to choose from; a 2.5L 4-cylinder, an available 3.6L DOHC V-6, and an available Duramax 2.8L Turbo-Diesel. The interior is made up of some pretty cheap plastics and even the biggest cab size has a small back seat. Chevy has made sure that each trim has a modern infotainment system but for some reason decided to skip the standard driver-assistance features that are found on most cars nowadays. Basically, if you are and always have been a Chevy lover then the 2021 Chevy Colorado is the truck for you, but if you are looking for something more, then you should definitely consider the 2021 Toyota Tacoma.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Exterior

Highs

  • Handles better than most trucks
  • Comfortable driving position
  • Extremely capable ZR2 model

Lows

  • Coarse inline-four powertrain
  • Mediocre interior quality
  • Missing common driver-assist technology

 

What’s New for 2021

The Colorado is getting some new styling for 2021, including an aggressively looking face for the ZR2 model. Lower trim levels will still receive an updated front end and updated badging.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Red Exterior Off-road in desert

Pricing

For some reason, the Chevy Colorado continues to be a popular truck but as vehicle technology continues to progress, Chevy’s lack of modern driver assistance and subpar interior quality is definitely going to leave it in the dust of its competitors. The model you are probably sure to like is the ZR2. Yep, it’s expensive, but if you want all the gizmos and gadgets then that is going to be the vehicle that will give you the most bang for your buck.

Price by Trim

  • Base – $25,200
  • Work Truck – $26,395
  • LT – $28,895
  • Z71 – $34,995
  • ZR2 – $42,795

 

 

Interior & Tech

If you are used to spacious front seats and cramped rear seats then you’ll feel right at home in the 2021 Colorado. Couple the lack of space with some extremely inferior interior materials and you pretty much have a great reason to pass on the Colorado and go with the Tacoma regardless of the Chevy’s towing capabilities. Cabin storage wise the Colorado outperforms the Tacoma with a deep center console and a huge compartment under the crew-cab’s rear seat.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Interior Dashboard

One tech feature that makes the Colorado stand above the Tacoma is its available Wi-Fi hotspot. To round out the tech it comes with 2 intuitive touchscreens and Chevy’s signature Infotainment 3 Premium system.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Front Seat Passenger View

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Tech Quick Look:

  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • Bluetooth Audio Streaming for 2 Devices

 

Performance

Whether you are looking for something to get you around the city, a truck all about that speed, or a powerful diesel engine, the Colorado has a truck for you. The V-6 and diesel options are definitely the engine you are going to want to go with, the 4-cylinder just doesn’t have the power behind it to really make it feel like an actual truck. The V-6 clocks in at a great 6.1 seconds to 60mph and the diesel clocked in at 9.1 seconds. But you don’t go with the diesel option for its 0-to-60 time, the diesel’s actual strength lies in its maximum towing proficiency, fuel economy, and backcountry trailing.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Off-Road Sand Dunes High Performance

The 2021 Chevrolet Colorado knocks the 2021 Tacoma right out of the water and into the next lake in terms of towing capabilities. The V-6 is able to manage up to 7000 pounds and the diesel is able to haul up to 7700 pounds. The base 4-cylinder though is about on par with the Tacoma towing wise at 3500 pounds. Also, trailer control, which applies the brakes on both the truck and trailer if it feels the trailer getting squirrely, comes standard on all Colorados. It’s almost like Chevy knows what people are going to be using their trucks for, hauling stuff around.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Towing Capabilities Towing A Motorcycles for Off-road riding

In terms of fuel economy, the 2021 Colorado isn’t much better than the Tacoma. The 4-cylinder has an efficiency of 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The all-wheel-drive V-6 is only slightly lower at 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.

 

Safety & Driver-Assistance

The Chevy Colorado lacks many choices when it comes to driver-assistance technology which is definitely a downfall between Chevy and the Toyota Tacoma.

Some key features include:

  • Available forward-collision warning
  • Available lane-departure warning
  • Available rear parking sensor

 

Warranty

Chevy provides a competitive limited and powertrain warranty for the Colorado. But Toyota has better complimentary maintenance.

  • Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
  • Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit

 

Side-x-Side

 

2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro 4×4 VS 2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 4×4
Pricing
$46,780 MSRP $43,200
Performance
278-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 (regular gas) Engine 181-hp, 2.8-liter I-4 (diesel)
6-speed automatic w/OD Transmission 6-speed automatic w/OD
278 @ 6,000 rpm Engine Horspower (@ RPM) 308 @ 6,800 rpm
265 @ 4,600 rpm Engine Torque (lb-ft @ rpm) 275 @ 4,000 rpm
18 City / 22 Highway / 20 Combined EPA MPG Rating 18 City / 22 Highway / 17 Combined
4WD Drivetrain 4WD
21.1 gallons Fuel Tank Capacity 21.0 gallons
Seats
5 Passengers Seating Capacity 5 Passengers
Bucket Front Seat Type Bucket

Driver & front passenger heated-cushion, heated-seatback

Heated Front Seats

Driver & front passenger heated-cushion, heated-seatback

Not Available Cooled Front Seats Not Available

60-40 split-bench

Rear Seat Type Full bench
Climate

Dual-zone front automatic

Air Conditioning, Front

Automatic

Power Front Windows Power
Not Available 1-Touch Window Up Driver
Driver 1-Touch Window Down Driver
Power Rear Windows Power
Safety
Standard In-Vehicle Assistance Service Not Available
Driver & Front Passenger Front Airbags Driver & Front Passenger
Seat-Mounted, Driver & Passenger Side-Impact Airbags Seat-Mounted, Driver & Passenger

Curtain 1st and 2nd row

Side-Curtain Airbags

Curtain 1st and 2nd row

Standard Occupant Sensor Standard
Standard Traction Control Standard

LED low/high beam

Headlight Type Halogen
Standard Daytime Running Lights Standard
Standard Parking Assist Not Available
Standard Lane-Departure Warning Not Available
Not Available Blind-Spot Monitoring System Not Available
Exterior
4 Doors Door Count 4 Doors
Front Fog/Driving Lights Available: Front

P265/70SR16.0 BSW AT

Tires

P265/65SR17.0 BSW AT

Available Mud Flaps Not Available
16″ Black Aluminum Wheels 17″ Machined w/Painted Accents Aluminum
Full-Size Steel Spare Tire & Wheel Full-Size Aluminum
Deep Tinted Windows Deep
Power Rear Window Type Sliding
Tailgate Rear Cargo Door Tailgate
Dual Power Remote Mirrors Dual Power Remote
Standard Heated Side Mirrors Standard
1st Row Regular Express Open/Close Sliding & Tilting Glass Sunroof Not Available

Variable intermittent

Windshield Wipers, Front

Variable intermittent

Security
Standard Remote Keyless Entry Standard
Standard Keyless Access System Not Available
Standard Panic Alarm Standard
Power with 2 Stage Unlock Door Locks Power with 2 Stage Unlock
Standard Rear Child Safety Door Locks Standard
Standard Content Theft-Deterrent Alarm System Standard
Convenience
Standard Cruise Control Standard
Standard Adaptive Cruise Control Not Available
In-Radio Display Clock In-Radio Display
2 12-Volt DC Power Outlet 2
Standard Retained Accessory Power Standard
Front & Rear Cupholders Front & Rear
Standard Programmable Garage-Door Opener Not Available
Smart Key USB Ports Not Available
Specs
212.3″ Length 212.4″
127.4″ Wheelbase 128.5″
64″ Front Track 65.9″
64.2″ Rear Track 65.9″
75.2″ Width 76.7″
71.6″ Height 72.5″
4,445 lbs. Curb Weight 4,715 lbs.

5,600 lbs.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating 6,000 lbs.

 

 

Conclusion

Overall the 2021 Tacoma is definitely the rig to go with if you are looking for a reliable and off-road capable truck. The 2021 Colorado beats the Tacoma in towing capacity but unless you are only going to be using a truck to tow things then there really isn’t any reason to skip out on the Tacoma. So which truck is the winner in our mid-size category? We’re going to have to go with the Tacoma for its interior design, a myriad of tech options, a ton of driver assistance features, and its off-road and on-road drivability. Definitely worth noting is Toyota’s Best Truck Brand for 2020 award from Kelly Blue Book.

 

2021 Toyota Tacoma is the Winner of the 2021 Toyota Tacoma vs 2021 Chevrolet Colorado comparison

 

Click here to see our Tacoma inventory or to schedule a test drive call us at 360-295-6272. The team at Dick Hannah Toyota is ready to help you get behind the wheel of your favorite Toyota today.