Looking to take full advantage of their success in the Baja 500 and Baja 1000 desert racing series’, the world’s largest automaker has unveiled their high-performance off-road desert truck package, called the Toyota TRD Pro Series, in three awesome configurations. The full-sized Toyota Tundra, mid-sized Toyota Tacoma pickup, and mid-sized Toyota 4Runner SUV will all be offered with the upgraded off-road package. “Born from this experience in the desert,” said the Toyota representative in Chicago, ”Toyota’s terrain-conquering vehicles will help serious off-roaders go places they never dreamed possible.”
The 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Series is expected to replace both specialty model Tundra off-road trucks currently in production. While not making a significantly bigger splash than either the Tundra Rock Warrior or the Tundra Baja 1000 version, the newly debuted Tundra TRD Pro Series is poised to step up to the plate; single-handedly taking on the proven Ford F-150 Raptor and the recently introduced Chevrolet Silverado Reaper off-road super-trucks. Unfortunately for the Tundra, no added punch under the hood seems to leave it coming up a bit short.
The standard 5.7-liter V8, which makes an adequate 381hp and 401 lb.-ft. of torque, gets the nod for the TRD Pro Series, as well. A TRD dual-exhaust system with distinctive tips gives it a throaty rumble and it is equipped exclusively with a six-speed shiftable automatic transmission.
Without the presence of electronically locking differentials, a front view camera, a side step bumper, or bead-lock wheels, this great looking Toy is not likely to be taken seriously as an off-road factory super-truck. Then again, it is not in production yet and these items could be added in the future, as could an optional TRD supercharger, cold-air intake, and other high-performance goodies.
The Tundra TRD Pro does feature some pretty impressive suspension upgrades, such as a 2-inch suspension lift, Bilstein remote reservoir shocks, TRD tuned softer coil springs, and 18-inch tires and wheels. All of this yields the Tundra an increase in ground clearance and wheel travel. Thicker skid plates underneath give the driver added peace of mind.
The 2015 Tacoma TRD Pro Series and 2015 4Runner TRD Pro Series stand in virtually the same predicament. Both are equipped with the top-trim level 4.0-liter V6 engine option, though a less restrictive cat-back TRD exhaust system gives them both a seductive sound.
Of the three TRD Pro Series package trucks, only the 2015 Toyota Tacoma Pro Series features bead-lock wheels, which keep the tire from breaking off the bead when contacted by roots and debris from the side, and 16-inch BF Goodrich all-terrain tires. The Tacoma version is also fitted with the remote reservoir Bilstein shocks and softer springs, as is the 4Runner. Both have been outfitted with suspension lifts; 2-inches in the front for the Tacoma and 1.5-inches in the front for the 4Runner, which is equipped with 17-inch wheels. Many off-road enthusiasts are no doubt holding out hope that the Tacoma TRD Pro will retain the six-speed manual transmission option which, combined with the lower gear and healthy V6 could prove interesting, but standard equipment will likely be a five-speed automatic. The same holds true for the 4Runner.
All three trucks feature unique interior accents with custom stitching, stylishly brandished badge work, TRD shift knobs, and TRD floor mats. Naturally, these off-road specialty trucks will be outfitted with all of the latest GPS, connectivity, and communication amenities.
All three share a paint scheme, as well. They will be available in the TRD Pro only color shown here, which is called “Inferno”, in addition to Black, and White. All of the trucks feature blacked out wheels, with the exception of the dull silver metallic bead lock around the diameter of the Tacoma, with specially designed TRD center caps. The blacked out wheels look fantastic with the beefy all-terrain tires.
Both pickup model examples unveiled during the 2014 Chicago Auto Show were of the four-door variety, along with the five-door 4Runner. All three look ready for action, with custom designed racing bumpers which are painted to match the body, and visible heavy-duty protective skid plates for an even more aggressive appearance. A dark grille with TOYOTA spelled out in old school block letters, which resemble the old FJ40 Land Cruiser, serve to warn the road less traveled that there is a new brand of Toyota coming to the desert.
In typical auto show fashion, no pricing numbers were mentioned, but an official announcement is expected from Toyota in the near future. All three versions of the TRD Pro Series are expected to roll into showrooms in the fall of 2014.