It was cold and snowy the last time we drove the Toyota Tacoma. We found the bright orange TRD Off-Road a capable ally over snow-covered terrain. But it’s now sunny and warm for our second go-round. This time, we’re tasked with gauging the capabilities of a gray Tacoma TRD Pro. Has this truck sacrificed its on-road comfort for off-road capabilities?
Interestingly, Tacoma TRD Pro is based off the TRD Off-Road 4×4 Double Cab short bed model. That means the foundation for our TRD Pro tester is exactly the truck we tested last winter. From there, Toyota adds a host of upgrades. TRD-tuned front springs and rear leaf springs combine with FOX 2.5” shocks to add 1-inch of additional lift. The unique TRD Pro hood and front grille ensure nobody will mistake this Tacoma for anything but a Pro. Unique to the TRD Pro model, Rigid Industries LED fog lights almost outshine the projector-beam headlights. A front skidplate and unique 16” TRD alloy wheels wrapped in Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Kevlar-reinforced tires complete the package.
In Cement Gray with the numerous dark accents and badging, this is as custom-looking as your Tacoma can come from the factory. It’s almost shouting as to not be overlooked as a serious off-road contender. But this isn’t a bare bones truck. Heated, power front seats are trimmed in leather, Toyota Entune with navigation and Bluetooth is standard, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Parking assist, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert are all included, and the V6 Tow Package is standard. TRD logos are prevalent, as are a unique TRD shift knob and floor mats.
So is this just a well-optioned TRD Off-Road with a lift kit? Actually, yes. With no powertrain modifications or clever suspension, the TRD Pro is a stiffer and slightly more capable off-roader. The extra ground clearance and specialized all-terrain tires give this Tacoma the edge over all others off road. But on road, things suffer. The ride is noticeably harder than before, which is something we didn’t expect from the all-new suspension. The rest of the driving experience is quite the same. The same 3.5L V6 produces the same 278hp and 265lb-ft torque. Combined with the same 6-speed automatic, the truck exudes no sporty tendencies. Things do perk up a bit when pressing the “ECT PWR” button. This oddly-derived button remaps the Electronic Controlled Transmission for higher shift points. Toyota suggests using this button when “high levels of response and feeling are desirable”. We think it should have been the default state from the start.
There’s no doubt the TRD Pro sits atop the Tacoma range. Its unique visuals and revised suspension give it the “cool” factor compared to the myriad of other Tacomas on the road. In the on-road aspect, however, it falls short. When it’s time to go off road, however, there’s no doubt it is the most capable Tacoma of all. That’s the TRD Pro’s tradeoff.
|2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
|All-Weather Floor Liners||$290|
|TRD Air Filter||$90|
|Paint Protection Film||$395|
|As Tested MSRP||$44,814|