Monday, September 1, 2014


Get ready to go where even roads fear to tread with the adrenaline-pumping TRD Pro Series from Toyota. Already favorites among serious off-roaders, the 2015 Toyota Tundra, Tacoma and 4Runner will get even more capable with these new, aggressive off-road packages designed by the experts at Toyota Racing Development (TRD).

The TRD Pro Series arises from Toyota’s storied off-road racing heritage, with numerous victories in the grueling Baja 500 and 1000 endurance races. Born from this experience in the desert, Toyota’s terrain-conquering vehicles will help serious off-roaders go places they never dreamed possible.

Serious Specs for Serious Off-Roaders
The new factory-installed TRD Pro Series is aimed squarely at extreme off-roading enthusiasts who push their trucks and SUVs to the limit.

Available on 4X4 models of Tundra, Tacoma and 4Runner, all TRD Pro Series vehicles will be equipped with:
TRD Bilstein shocks with remote reservoirs
TRD-tuned front springs
TRD front skid plate
Unique front grille with “TOYOTA” badging (pays tribute to early iconic Toyota models)
TRD floor mats
TRD shift knobs
Black wheels 
A hot new color, Inferno, is joined by Black and Super White, cool classics for off-road rigs.

Rock Star 4Runner
Adding to its rock-crawling prowess, 4Runner TRD PRO will be exclusively equipped with:
1.5” lift for the front of the vehicle
1” of additional wheel travel
All-new 17-inch TRD all-black alloy wheels
Black TRD Pro badges
Black front and rear lower bumper accents
Street Cred On and Off-Road   .A Face Only a “Mudder” Could Love

The basic recipe is the same for all three Toyota models. New, longer Eibach springs give an increased ride height and suspension travel, while Bilstein shocks keep the ride tolerable both on and off pavement. A new skidplate protects the engine, black wheels dress up the exterior, a special retro Toyota badge adorns the grille, and TRD Pro-specific floor mats and shift knobs outfit the cabin. The three color choices are black, super white, and inferno.

The current Toyota 4Runner, refreshed for 2014, is no looker. But we gotta admit that, on the new 2015 4Runner TRD Pro, the sheer ballsiness kind of works, especially for the off-road crowd. The head- and taillamps have been darkened, and the gaping grille is rendered in matte black, with FJ40-inspired “TOYOTA” lettering and a matching lower bumper insert. The whole front end has been raised by an inch, showing off its broad, quarter-inch-thick silver skid plate as if to dare you to punch it in the chin. Don’t. It’s the kind of truck that might sock you back.

The TRD Pro trucks were created with a particular focus on desert running, and the 4Runner is right at home charging through sandy river washes and bounding across the desert landscape. During our time behind the wheel, we find grip to turn and stop when the ground beneath looks like quicksand, and when we catch air, there’s no crash landing when we return to Earth.

We’re hardly surprised, since the 4Runner “Trail” grade on which the TRD Pro model is based is pretty rugged already, with a standard locking rear differential, crawl control, and a sophisticated multiterrain select system. But the TRD Pro’s lifted front suspension, red Eibach springs, and higher-capacity Bilstein shocks allow an additional inch of wheel travel at all four corners that make this kind of driving a blast, with a ride that gets smoother the faster you go (thank you, softer-than-stock Bilsteins). Even the preproduction models we drove felt rock solid, like they could take this kind of thrashing all day long and not leave you stranded. Clearly, the TRD folks have been playing in the world’s sandboxes for a while.

TRD did not touch the 4Runner’s standard 270-hp, 4.0-liter V-6 and five-speed automatic, which is our only real complaint. More power could allow us to kick out the rear end a bit more easily, especially in two-wheel-drive mode. At least the transmission features a manual shift mode, making it easy to find a lower gear to keep the engine closer to its 4400-rpm torque peak, where you’ll find 278 lb-ft of twist. The V-6 is rather gruff at those higher revs, but look at the truck—some gruffness should be expected.

In addition to being the most family-friendly of the TRD Pro models, the 4Runner is the most comfortable. The interior comes kitted with black seats, red stitching, Entune audio, as well as a TRD shift knob and floor mats. Otherwise, it’s like every other 4Runner inside: busily styled but ergonomically sound and well equipped.

The TRD Pro’s on-road ride is remarkably smooth, and there’s but the faintest hum from the knobby tires. The hydraulic power steering is quick (2.7 turns lock-to-lock) and accurate, even offering a semblance of tactility. Body roll, squat, and dive are more in evidence due to the squishy suspension, but such is the price to pay for the high-speed off-road capability for which the TRD Pro was purpose-built.

Only 3400 examples of the 4Runner TRD Pro will be made in the 2015 model year, ensuring that it will be a pretty hot commodity for the off-road-enthusiast set. There are few truly off-road-worthy SUV options these days, now that old rivals like the Nissan Pathfinder have crossed into crossoverdom and the 4Runner-based FJ Cruiser is soon to climb its last rock. Pricing has yet to be announced, but we expect the TRD Pro 4Runner to come in somewhere around $40,000 The TRD Pro Series will start getting down and dirty in the fall of 2014.

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