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Toyota puts muscle in TRD Pro Series

Photo Credit: JOHN M. VINCENT - The 2015 Toyota TRD Pro family: Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner. All are available in a TRD Pro-exclusive Inferno orange.
As many SUVs and trucks have gotten softer and less capable through the years, Toyota’s lineup has retained much of the off-highway capability the brand was built on. For 2015, they’re introducing special editions of three already capable trucks. The TRD Pro Series takes from their endurance racing experience to create a set of vehicles with serious off-road chops.

TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development, the company’s performance engineering department. They’re the ones who help to create Baja 1000 endurance racers and the Camrys that compete each week in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup.

The 2015 Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner TRD-Pro trucks all feature a more aggressive look than stock models, and capabilities that are far more than skin-deep. They’re only available in three colors: black, white, and an exclusive “Inferno” burnt orange. Each is fitted with a custom grille with a bold Toyota logo, black wheels and TRD interior accents.

Photo Credit: JOHN M. VINCENT - Four-wheeling doesn't always mean that all four are on the ground. The 4Runner's sophisticated traction management system maintains momentum even when you lift a wheel.
What’s great about all three is that the additional equipment is engineered specifically for the trucks and factory installed, so it carries the full Toyota warranty and can be financed with the rest of the truck. The same can’t always be said of aftermarket accessories and modifications.

All three TRD Pro models receive a front end lift from TRD-tuned springs. It’s two inches for the Tacoma and Tundra and 1.5 inches for the already off-road ready 4Runner. The rear suspension is fitted with custom-tuned Bilstein shocks with remote reservoirs that provide for enhanced and more consistent off-highway performance. Both front and rear shock setups allow for increased wheel travel.

Photo Credit: JOHN M. VINCENT - The 2015 Tacoma TRD Pro is available in extended and crewcab models, with a bold black grille leading the way.In a recent test of the new trucks in the Tillamook State Forest, the increased clearance and suspension travel made some challenging situations look easy. The increase approach and departure angle and the increases in suspension articulation allowed the trucks to go places the stock versions would have had issues with. All three receive additional skid plating up front.

The TRD team has also provided enhancements to the exhaust systems in the TRD Pro Tundra and Tacoma. The Tundra’s dual exhaust takes the rather docile note of the standard Tundra and infuses it with a substantial rumble of attitude.

Photo Credit: JOHN M. VINCENT - Tundra TRD Pro models are outfitted with special seats with TRD Pro logos, unique inserts and red stitching.
If the sound and color of the TRD Pro Tundra doesn’t give it away, specially stamped logos on the outside of the bed will. Inside, the Tundra gets a TRD-exclusive seat color with red stitching. Its all-black 18-inch wheels carry beefy Michelin off-road performance tires.

Tacoma TRD Pros will be available in Access Cab (extended) and Double Cab (crew) cab models. Their 16-inch black TRD alloy wheels will be shod with BF Goodrich All Terrain tires. A stainless-steel “cat-back” TRD exhaust system completes the package.

The venerable 4Runner – one of the last body-on-frame SUVs available in the market – gets 17-inch black alloys with Nitto Terra Grappler tires. Its TRD-logoed front skid plate is a quarter-inch thick to protect critical components, including the front differential.

Photo Credit: JOHN M. VINCENT - The TRD Pro series trucks are set up for serious off-highway driving with remote reservoir shock absorbers for consistent performance.

The 4Runner looks ready to tackle the toughest obstacles, and the looks don’t deceive. In addition to the prowess provided by the aggressive suspension setup, the 4Runner is equipped with sophisticated traction management and hill descent control systems to keep the vehicle traveling at a steady, controlled pace over challenging terrain.

The three trucks will be arriving at dealerships in the next three months, starting with the Tacoma in August.

John M. Vincent can be reached at JMVincent2848@gmail.com.

2015 Toyota TRD Pro -Series

Models: Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner TRD Pro

Base prices: Tacoma $35,525, 4Runner $41,110 (plus $885 destination charge). Pricing for Tundra TRD Pro not yet announced.

Type: 4Runner: 4-door 4WD SUV. Tacoma and Tundra: 4WD Pickup Trucks

On Sale Dates: Tacoma TRD Pro: August. 4Runner TRD Pro: September. Tundra TRD Pro, Fall 2014.