With decades of truck building experience, Toyota introduced the Toyota Tacoma to North America in 1995. Its Chevy competitor, the Chevrolet Colorado, entered the truck market 9 years later in 2004. Made as part of General Motors' mid-size truck line, it was made to replace the Chevrolet S-10.
Not only have the looks of both of these trucks changed over time, the technology and safety features have also increasingly gotten more advanced. The 2020 Tacoma base trim comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) and Star Safety System™️. While higher-end trims of the Colorado do have driver-assistance safety features, the base-grade 2020 Chevrolet Colorado does not offer features comparable to Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P).
Safety features are one advantage that lower-grade 2020 Tacomas have over the Colorado, but there are some other interesting advantages in this starting-level comparison as well. For example, the base-grade 2020 Toyota Tacoma SR 4X2 with any size truck bed has a 3.5L V6 278 horsepower engine option for a starting MSRP of $29,025. Meanwhile, the 2020 Chevy Colorado base trim only has a 2.5L 4-cyl. engine that produces 200 horsepower. To get a more powerful 3.6L V6 engine for the Chevy Colorado 2WD, you’d need to look at the high end Z71 2WD trim (starting MSRP of $35,095). For a Chevy Colorado 4WD with the 3.6L V6 engine option, you’d need the WT (starting MSRP of $32,895) or higher. To compare, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma SR 4X4 with a 3.6L V6 engine starts slightly lower at $32,490.
As we continue to compare the Toyota Tacoma vs. Colorado, see who comes out ahead in key categories like safety, reliability, and performance.
Publish Date: 07/30/2020
Safety that brings peace of mind is standard. With any 2020 Toyota Tacoma, drivers get standard active safety features without having to pay for additional packages at the checkout.
The Toyota Tacoma comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P). This includes: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC). To get some features like Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert on the Chevy Colorado, drivers have to choose the Colorado LT's available package.
As an added bonus, all Tacoma trims come standard with the Star Safety System™️ features, like an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Traction Control (TRAC), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop Technology® (SST). Chevrolet has 4-wheel antilock disc brakes and electronic traction control, but Chevrolet does not list a feature comparable to Smart Stop Technology® (SST) for the 2020 Colorado on their official website.
Another benefit of the 2020 Tacoma is that the Limited trim comes standard with Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. No 2020 Colorado trim has a comparable safety feature listed on the manufacturer’s website.
Get a truck that you can rely on whether you're driving over dirt roads or along city streets.
Let Toyota help take care of your new vehicle with ToyotaCare, a factory-scheduled maintenance plan that lasts for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. Chevrolet also offers a maintenance program called Chevrolet Complete Care, but it lasts for 12 months and only covers one oil and oil filter change, DEF tank refills for diesel-equipped models, and tire rotations according to your vehicle’s maintenance schedule. ToyotaCare also includes 24/7 roadside assistance for two years and unlimited miles. Chevrolet’s roadside assistance lasts for 5 years and 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Both vehicle warranties are fairly standard. The basic coverage of both warranties lasts three years and 36,000 miles. However, Chevrolet’s warranty only covers the car’s original tires for the first 12,000 miles. After that, they’re pro-rated.
Beyond what the manufacturers offer, verified owners gave the 2019 Tacoma the thumbs up with an 84 out of 100 for the J.D. Power Quality and Reliability score. The 2019 Colorado came up shy of Tacoma’s numbers with 77 out of 100. Toyota was also named Kelley Blue Book®’s Best Resale Value Brand for 2017, 2018, and 2019. The 2019 Tacoma received a 5-Year Cost to Own Award and Best Resale Value: Midsize Pickup Truck by Kelley Blue Book®'s KBB.com. Because of these awards and Toyota’s focus on “Quality, Durability, and Reliability”, you can be confident in your truck.
If you prefer a manual drive, the Tacoma has a manual transmission option for its TRD trims. In fact, a manual transmission is standard on the TRD Sport 4X4 Double Cab. The Chevrolet Colorado does not offer a manual transmission.
The Toyota Tacoma also offers two off-road capable versions: the TRD Off-Road and the TRD Pro. The TRD Off-Road comes with a TRD-tuned off-road suspension with Bilstein® shocks. The TRD Pro has TRD-tuned off-road suspension with 2.5-in. FOX® Internal Bypass coil-overs and rear remote reservoir shocks. Drivers also get more traction with Multi-terrain Select and Crawl Control (CRAWL). The Chevrolet Colorado ZR1 also has off-roading capabilities with its off-road suspension package. The ZR1 includes Hill Descent Control and an underbody transfer case shield.
Good for tough terrain and hauling more weight, the Tacoma SR 4X2 Access Cab 4-Cyl. 6-Speed Automatic has a higher max payload of 1,685 lbs. The max payload for the Colorado Extended Cab, Long Box, 2WD with a 2.5L 4-Cylinder engine is 1,435 lbs. In order to get a higher max payload, you would have to upgrade to a Colorado WT Crew Cab, Short Box 2WD with a V6 3.6L engine. However, the max payload is only 1,578 lbs, which is still less than the Tacoma’s base-grade max payload.
Withstanding the test of time, the Tacoma has been around 9 years longer than the Chevrolet Colorado.
Drivers can also expect more standard safety features in the 2020 Toyota Tacoma with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P). To get comparable TSS-P features, like Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert, Chevrolet drivers would have to upgrade to the Colorado LT.
For added choice and driver engagement, the Tacoma has a manual transmission available for the TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro trims, too.
Rest assured that your truck is in good hands with ToyotaCare, which includes a factory-scheduled maintenance plan and roadside assistance lasting for 2 years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. The Chevrolet Colorado has a comparable maintenance plan, but it only lasts 12 months, lacks roadside assistance, and only covers one oil change and oil filter change, DEF tank refills for diesel-equipped models and tire rotations according to the vehicle’s maintenance schedule.
It’s for these reasons and more that we declare the winner of this head to head to be the Toyota Tacoma.