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22 Reasons to Love the new Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

Posted in Features on October 21, 2016
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Photographers: Courtesy of Toyota

World-wide the Tacoma pickup is one of Toyota’s best-selling vehicles, offering durability, performance, utility, and capability in a tried and true package. There seems to be a Tacoma for every need, but when it comes to off-road capability, no compact pickup truck we can think of comes close to matching the performance offered by the Tacoma TRD Pro. The new 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro takes all the off-road technological advances like Crawl Control (auto transmission only), an electronic rear locker, active traction control (manual transmission only), five-mode Multi-terrain Select system, and Hill Start Assist Control that earned the 2016 Tacoma TRD Off Road our 2016 4x4 of the Year award, and throws even more incredible off-road performance goodies on it. And it’s all at a price that you probably won’t believe.

Available only in Double Cab, short-bed models with the 278 hp, 265 lb-ft V-6 with a six-speed manual or six-speed auto transmission, the Tacoma TRD Pro can be had in three colors: Barcelona Red Metallic, Cement, and Super White. With a 3-year/36,000-mile comprehensive and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranties and a price of $40,760 for the manual and $42,760 for the auto, it’s a deal that’s hard to pass up. But if you’re still not impressed with the 2017 Toyota TRD Pro, check out our 22 reasons we love this pickup and see if you still don’t agree.

The Tacoma TRD Pro color palate is bold and simple, with three really cool choices to select from: Barcelona Red Metallic, Cement, and Super White. It’s one way to really stand out apart from the crowd.
The TRD Pro offers an additional 1-inch of ride height with specially tuned multi-rate front coil and rear leaf springs that, along with the Fox shocks, offer an additional 1-inch of suspension travel front and rear. More on those awesome Fox shocks later.
The TRD Pro comes with special black powdercoated 16x8 inch TRD alloy wheels and Kevlar-reinforced 265/70R16 Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure tires that offer a generous, off-road-friendly sidewall for safer running when aired down. We found the tires to be really grippy in all sorts of terrain and love the look of the TRD alloys.
The fog lamps are specially designed high-performance Rigid Industries LED units that feature split optics. The lowers are a more traditional fog lamp, while the uppers feature high-intensity beams that shine down and light up an area measuring 15x20 meters in front of the truck, which is roughly twice as large as the area illuminated by standard fog lamps. Despite having roughly twice the output, the Rigid Industries LED fog lamps in the TRD Pro meet the stringent SAE J583 government-spec for on-road use.
The TRD Pro features a special grille with cues harkening back to classic Toyota designs from the past. We always dig it when an auto manufacturer embraces iconic elements from its design history so stylistically; the grille is one of our favorite parts of the TRD Pro package.
The front suspension and components is protected by a special TRD skidplate manufactured from sturdy ¼-inch aluminum which tucks up tight and looks killer.
Special red and black TRD Pro badging is found on the fenders and tailgate hammer home the obvious point that this is a special breed of Tacoma.
A TRD Pro special interior is available in black only with leather seating, steering wheel wrap, and TRD Pro floor mats. Only one color choice for an interior might seem funny to some, but we really think it underscores Toyota’s purposeful design of this model.
Special TRD Pro stitching in the heated leather seating is another way this model sets itself apart from the rest. The decision to omit a cloth option and go with a leather-only seat covering was rooted in the TRD Pro’s off-road mission. Simply put, the cloth was too hard to clean dirt and mud from, while the high-quality leather used in the 2017 TRD Pro simply wipes clean.
A leather-wrapped shifter with a special TRD-embossed gearshift knob with red and chrome accents feels great in the hand and is just one more special touch that reminds you you’re driving the pinnacle of off-road Tacomas.
All 2017 TRD Pro models come equipped with a TRD after-cat exhaust system that sounds meaty and a bit throaty without being overly loud or obnoxious. It’s one of the better sounding exhausts in our opinion and perfectly fits the performance-oriented nature of the TRD Pro.
Thanks to its lack of a front valence, special front bumper, and slightly taller suspension, the TRD Pro enjoys a very good 36-degree approach angle and a 24-degree departure angle. Breakover angle is also a very respectable 26 degrees. It all makes for a pickup you can actually take into the rocks without ripping plastic part off or denting the rockers to snot.
To compensate for the slightly higher center of gravity and off-road-tuned Fox 2.5-inch shocks which feature a softer valving, the TRD Pro increases the anti swaybar diameter from 28mm to 30mm to help counteract body roll and help prevent understeer. Despite the slightly larger antisway bar, we found the IFS flexed very well and slow-speed off-road comfort was exceptional.
LED projector headlamps with special black trim offer increased nighttime visibility. Plus, they just look sinister and wickedly cool.
The rear selectable locker is a true off-road show stopper when it comes to pushing the Tacoma through tight, off-camber or rocky trails. There aren’t very situations in which you can get yourself hopelessly stuck if you simply turn on the locker.
If you do, however, manage to get hopelessly mired….or simply want or need a little help getting up, over, or through a technical portion of the trail, there’s always the Crawl Control system available for the six-speed auto-equipped vehicles. Simply select the mode, 1-5 (1 is roughly 1 mph, 2 is 2 mph, and so on) and engage the system. The vehicle will continue forward or backward in a very controlled manner. It’s a remarkable system, but the ability to use Crawl Control for descending steep gradients forward or backward is one of the nicest off-road safety additions to come along from any vehicle manufacturer.
Just to sing the Crawl Control System’s praises once more time…there are always going to be limits to traction. You’re not always going to be able to climb every obstacle. What gets most off-roaders into trouble is getting out of control trying to back down out of a failed ascent. The ability to use Crawl Control in Reverse allows you to focus on safely steering the vehicle back down out of a sticky situation while the traction aides, throttle, and braking system work together to keep you from sliding sideways and potentially rolling.
And Crawl Control works equally well descending forward down steep obstacles. We played with the system descending a 41 degree loose and slippery lava flow that could have gone pretty bad with only a small mistake.
The TRD Pro features a bold, black-trimmed hood scoop and graphic that screams “I mean business, fool!”
It’s still a pickup with utility! Despite the killer looks and off-road performance, you can still fit five adults inside, cram the bed full of gear, and stick a 6,400-pound trailer behind it.
Internal bypass 2.5-inch Fox shocks (coilover, front and rear remote-reservoir, rear) shocks are the real party piece of the Tacoma TRD Pro and are the key to its incredibly smooth, consistent, and controlled performance in virtually all terrain. The front shocks feature five compression and three rebound zones while the rear feature seven compression and four rebound zones and employ a 47mm floating pistons front and rear. The valving is a work of art, with no cavitation.

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