Tacoma goes anywhere in TRD-Pro style
The Tacoma is still a body on frame “real” truck with all the longevity and durability that implies, the TRD-Pro off-road package is coming early next year.
THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: Serious off-road credentials, excellent utility and Toyota’s renown build quality and reliability
- What’s Worst: Atkinson Cycle V6 seems down on power at low speeds, especially when climbing
- What’s Interesting: The TRD-Pro Tacoma is the first in its segment to fit a Go-Pro mount as standard
BLUE MOUNTAIN, ON: Already available on the Toyota Tundra, the very popular TRD-Pro off-road package is coming early next year on the 2017 Toyota Tacoma.
The Tacoma is an intermediate pickup and, because of the shorter wheelbase than a full-size pickup, it gets through tighter spaces — greatly increasing its appeal.
But like the Tundra, the Tacoma is still a body on frame “real” truck with all the longevity and durability that implies.
It starts out as a regular five-seat Double Cab with composite-lined “short” box (1,536 mm/60.5 in) with a standard 3.5-litre DOHC V6 producing 278 hp and 265 lb/ft of torque.
With on-demand four-wheel-drive, there is a choice between a standard six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with manual gear mode with transfer case and automatic locking rear differential and Toyota’s Active Traction Control.
The TRD-Pro Tacoma is fitted as standard with a Class-IV towing receiver hitch, engine oil cooler, seven-pin and four-pin trailer wiring harness plus trailer sway control.
With the automatic I drove, towing is rated at 2,948 kg (6,400 lb) with a payload of 450 kg (1,000 lb).
The bed is equipped with an integrated 400w/120v power outlet, cargo bed cleats and tie-downs plus Toyota’s easy lift and lower, locking and removable tailgate.
TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development whose engineers have learned a lot over the years from competing in the Baja 1000. Much of this has found its way into the Tacoma TRD-Pro.
It starts with P265/70R16 Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Kevlar-reinforced tires.
To this is added the TRD-tuned front coil springs with Fox Racing Shocks (with a one-inch lift and progressive-rate rear leaf springs) and a TRD Pro quarter-inch aluminum skid plate.
A nice touch is a tuned exhaust system that adds a “growl” to the package.
There are only three color choice – white, red and an all new hue, Cement Grey.
There are a host of detail items to help the TRD-Pro stand out, such as exclusive 16-inch black alloy wheels, TRD Pro badge on the front doors, black TRD Pro and 4×4 rear tailgate badging, a hood scoop with matte black decal, a heritage “TOYOTA” front grille, Rigid Industries LED fog lights, colour-keyed mirrors, door handles and rear bumper, and black bezel headlamps and tail lamps.
On the inside, special TRD-Pro trim is used liberally, while this model is the first in its segment to be equipped with a standard Go-Pro mount so drivers can record their off-road adventures.
Toyota says the manual versions start at $50,000 and the automatic at $53,295 not counting the $1,760 shipping fee.
I drove the automatic that started with a nice “brap” from the tuned exhaust.
Because it was just about to start raining, my co-driver and I headed down to a spot I know near our Blue Mountain hotel with access to a beach with a mix of sand and pebbles.
Venturing too close to the sand and water can be tricky for most vehicles because they might sink, but the big Kevlar Goodyear tires were more than up to the task and great photos were the result.
From there we headed primarily south towards Caledon, where Toyota had set up an off-road track.
On highway curves I found there was more body roll than I expected, but it was on a number of forested lanes where the climbing power at low speeds was lacking partially because the TRD-Pro weighs in at a hefty 1,975 kg (4,355 lb).
My co-driver felt 50-100 hp more turbo was the answer, but that would, in my opinion, be counter productive because of the higher fuel consumption and need for premium fuel.
But that was in rear-wheel-drive not the four-wheel used at the off-road track, where in increasing rain and clay-packed mud, the autowriters there had a field day roaring around with great abandon.
Driving back, we took the quick route up mostly straight Airport Road to the hotel in Blue Mountain.
This is where trucks like the TRD-Pro will spend most of their lives.
I found it didn’t drive as harshly as one might initially expect, but more like the intermediate pickup it is supposed to be rather than a full-blooded off-roader.
The cabin is nicely laid out. The front seats have limited aft travel, but that results in an adequate 828 mm (58.9 in) of legroom for those in the back.
With a more than usable towing and payload rating and the ability to get into and out of places where a normal pickups couldn’t go plus the off-road fun capability, the 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD-Pro offers the best of both worlds.
Toyota Tacoma TRD-Pro 2017
BODY STYLE: Body-on-frame mid-size pickup
DRIVE METHOD: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift, on demand four-wheel-drive.
ENGINE: Atkinson-cycle 3.5-litre DOHC V6 (278 hp, 265 lb/ft)
TOW RATING: Automatic, 2,900 kg (6,400 lb); manual, same
PAYLOAD: Automatic 450 kg (1,000 lb), manual, 430 kg (950 lb)
FUEL ECONOMY: (Regular) 13.2/10.7/12.0L/100 km city/highway/combined (21/26/24 mpg)
PRICE: Manual, $50,000; automatic, $53,295 not including @1,760 shipping fee.
WEB SITE: www.toyota.ca