“Manatee” Ford F-150 and “Baby Yota” Toyota Tacoma Have a Classic Trail Face-Off
16 February 2021 - autoevolution
Over the past weeks, TFL has been transforming a “cheap” 2002 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 for a good cause – they're going to auction off the custom project, and all proceeds are going to charity.
With the work almost done, they also decided to have some trail fun with it and even brought an allegedly suitable affordable competitor, a 2004 F-150.
By the way, TFL’s Tacoma isn’t that cheap anymore because they have already spent a rather large lump sum of money (around $15k, it seems), but they’re probably cool with the fact because they got the chance to morph the Toyota truck into something a lot more desirable. And, remember, it’s all for charity (proceeds going to the Mountain State Children’s Home).
In a bid to see if everything was well worth the effort, they are bringing out “Baby Yota” out for a “Cliffhanger 1.0” challenge, and it’s not coming alone; it’s accompanied by an “actually cheap” 2004 Ford F-150 dubbed “Manatee” (probably not just because of the revealing sea cow sticker!).
The latter has joined the TFL garage as the missing link in their upcoming “Hell and Back” series that will see the Ford F-150 battle against equally affordable (all were bought for less than $5k) life-long rivals – a 2001 Dodge Ram 1500 4X4 Sport and a 1998 Chevrolet K1500 4x4. They’re all going to be modified later on in a bid to come out on top of Moab’s well-known Hell’s Revenge.
Right now, it’s still in stock condition, and it’s a good counterpart to Baby Yota’s raft of modifications if anyone needs another lesson into how off-roading is made a lot easier and safer when upgrades are involved.
First up comes the mud hole challenge from the 2:05 mark after a dog-driven intermezzo/presentation, which shows how a suspension lift kit will do wonders whenever an icy hole drop is involved. Next up from the 3:20 mark comes the “Cliffhanger 1.0,” the mountain trail they use for a bit of quick off-roading.
They specifically chose this trail because it has a small portion that will make the day for any off-road enthusiast with lots of frozen sand and roots. First up the line is the F-150, which navigates both the easy and hard portions as one would expect from a very heavy truck... with a lot of hardships and failed attempts.
Baby Yota comes afterwards from the 6:25 mark, again demonstrating the exact opposite – upgrades make a huge difference. Still, we feel the truck shows its age, as the Tacoma isn’t able to easily overcome the same root portion that brought a massive surprise from the electronically-assisted Ford Ranger Tremor not long ago.