Vehicle Spotlight: 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro

TRD Pro: Good Things, Small Packages

To put it mildly, times have changed in the mid-size truck universe. The days when only bed size and towing capacity stats mattered are a way of the distant past. Today’s truck aspires to be more than just big and powerful; it has to be c-a-p-a-b-l-e. Capable off-road, for whatever backwoods adventure du jour is on the docket. Even more importantly, it’s capable on the highway pavement where most spend a majority of their time. And so, drivers needn’t suffer a poor everyday experience. The all new Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is next in line to give the modern-day truck customer “the full package”.

Toyota resurrects the TRD Pro after a one-year hiatus, in the midst of a market gone mad to crown the next off-road ready mid-size king. The TRD Pro even made a legit run at the throne as one of Truck Trend’s “Truck of the Year” nominees. This Taco (or taco supreme, if you’ll allow just one more terribly overstretched joke to be foisted upon this poor vehicle) is powered by a 3.5L V6 that produces 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque, and it’s paired with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

Wherever You Go

To earn the TRD Pro badge, all the underpinnings (frame, cab, bed, and drivetrain) of a TRD Off Road Double Cab get better suspension, new 16” wheels, a TRD cat-back exhaust system, and a front skid plate. An upgrade from cloth to leather seats is now standard after Toyota heeded the pleas of this model’s early owners. New front springs heighten the lift by an inch, and they get a little help from four Fox internal-bypass shocks. This patented technology offers position-sensitive damping that adapts to any terrain, on or off the road.

Numerous cosmetic and technological bells and whistles round out this package. An aggressive black hood scoop and a large bold TOYOTA across the grille help this Taco stand apart from the rest. And tech heads will love that heated seats, climate control, navigation, a Qi wireless charging pad, blind-spot monitoring, a backup camera, and a proximity key come standard—an impressive list of gratis gadgets for a luxury vehicle, let alone a pickup often known for its no-fuss interior.

The Price Is Right

The TRD Pro, available since January in the US and Canada, is certainly pricier than lesser Tacomas. It starts at $41,700 for one with a manual transmission, and an extra $2,000 for an automatic—this option is a sound investment for the off-road set, as the terrain select and crawl control features are not available with a brainless manual transmission. Cheap? Certainly not. But the bare bones model isn’t bare bones in any way whatsoever. And compared to larger competitors like the Raptor, which begins just a skosh below $50,000, it’s a damn fine deal.

That extra $6,000-$8,000 dollars can certainly come in handy for consumers looking to drop the savings in aftermarket parts at the local truck accessory shop. No matter how well equipped a truck may be when it rolls off the lot, our national thirst for perfection—the very same competitive drive that took us to the moon—tells us that we can make it better still. Are those TRD Pro-exclusive black alloy wheels and Goodyear Kevlar-enforced Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure tires sweet? Yes, yes they are. And they come standard.

The TRD Pro is a shining example of how the new breed of pickup truck is ready for serious action right off the lot—no questions asked. But we’re talking about the North American market, so if consumers need to go even bigger and better for whatever reason, or for no good reason whatsoever, then by all means the Keystone Automotive Operations, Inc. team has the inventory to get the job done right. Throw some savage-looking 20” wheels and a Fab Fours bumper on that bad boy; fire it up and drive it to the moon. Simply because it’s there. Simply because you can.

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