Originally Posted by David K
You are evaluating the need for the extras of an Off Road... that is wise. All 4WD Tacomas have a 2 speed transfer case, so you will get low range, even if you don't ever use it.
There is a great advantage to driving slow over rough terrain as well as having the gears/ engine compression creep you down steep grades so the brakes are not over-used. Low Range is the great part of having a true 4WD vehicle and not an AWD one, without a low range.
Naturally is you never really go off road, but only need improved traction on slippery roads, sand, or snow... low range is not required. However, if pulling, climbing, descending in off road (bad dirt roads) situations, then a low range is indeed an asset. Adding a limited slip or locker to it, is all the better to not get stuck or be halted by the terrain.
The Off Road TRD does NOT have fluff (beyond the decals). There isn't any color matching trim, fake hood scoop, etc. That would be the SPORT. Yes, a V-6 has more power and uses more fuel. Here is California I only get 15-16 mpg city and 18-19 mpg highway.. maybe more if the truck is unloaded.
I'm aware that all 4WD have H and L, just saying that I probably wouldn't need to use the Lo range on the roads that I drive on. But clearly you hard core wheelers need it, along with the A-TRAC/elocker of the TRD OR pkg.
However, all the TRD pkgs as well as the SR5 do indeed have the "fluff" of body colored flares, not just the Sport. Without TRD Sport/OR or SR5, you get the black flares and bumpers, which I really like. And by fluff, I also mean stuff like radio controls on the steering wheel, remote entry, sliding rear window, etc., which I don't want or need.