TRD Pro Test Drive!

TRD Pro Test Drive!

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2015 TRD Pro Model Line up Test Drive

A very “Happy Anniversary” for Toyota Racing Development (TRD)!  This year TRD is celebrating 35 years in the US market, and the official Racing Division of Toyota USA has been a crucial part of the company’s success, not only with their motorsports racing victories, but with their performance and accessory parts for both on and off-road.  Over the years TRD has earned the reputation of being one of the leading developers of motorsport-derived retail performance accessories with offerings such as wheels, exhausts, suspension parts, brakes, superchargers, body kits, and more for Toyota, Lexus, and Scion cars, trucks and SUV’s.

What better way to celebrate this milestone anniversary than to introduce an all new line of performance package and parts for three different platforms for the model year 2015; the Tundra, Tacoma, and the 4Runner.  TRD is being very vocal that this is not just a new model for each vehicle; rather this is a re-launching of the TRD brand around the TRD Pro family.

In May we flew out to Las Vegas to see, feel, and experience the all new TRD Pro performance package vehicles in the desert.  Toyota set three tracks for us to test drive on featuring wash crossings, bumps, rocks, and high speed sections.

TRD Pro Test Drive Group Photo

Before a long day of putting these three platforms through their paces there were still a couple of big questions floating around my head and they seem to be mainly focused toward the Tundra.  

  • If you want to take over the “Work Truck” market why do you not offer a diesel power plant?  
  • Will anyone ever try to compete with the Ford Raptor?

After posing these questions to the designers and engineers we may have come up with some answers.  With the new emission regulations coming out in the next couple of years the diesel may just not be prudent at this time and we all know that Toyota is a very, conservative manufacturer (almost too conservative).  We have found out some possible explanations as to how and why Jeep and Nissan have made the leap.  Cummins may have been left high and dry by one of their largest customers, leaving a large volume for them to unload in the open US market very “inexpensively”.  Jeep may be considering this a good trial to see what the desire actually is.  Nissan on the other hand, may be using this to build their market share on the back of Cummins’ reputation.  As far as the Raptor, the TRD Pro Tundra has now put Ford on notice.  The Tundra is lighter, faster in some instances, and with the TRD Pro package it can handle a little air time as well.

Putting these trucks to the test

2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Test Drive

Tundra TRD Pro:

  • Available in Double Cab 4X4 or CrewMax 4X4
  • “Toyota” front grille
  • TRD Pro stamping on the bed quarter panel
  • TRD Interior & Exterior touches
  • Aluminum Skid Plate
  • Custom Bilstein Suspension Package with TRD tuned coil-overs
  • Wheel & Tire upgrades

The TRD Pro Tundra was the first platform to be reconfigured to take on this make-over project.  Being the flag ship for the TRD Pro, a lot of thought and effort went into creating this package for the Tundra.  From the tuned suspension setup, tires specifically matched for best ride possible, to all of the details in between.  The Tundra took every bit of what we could possibly come across and still didn’t touch a bump stop.  It handled the corners, the braking, the drifting, and the bumps like we were on a Sunday drive with the family.  I have to admit, the Tundra surprised me the most.  I thought it was going to be too heavy and big to be able to throw it around.  I found out, by way of, Toyota Racing Legend Ivan “Ironman” Stewart that I was wrong, way wrong.  I am still not sure how this truck will handle mountain trails here in Colorado.  It will take on the red & blue without question.  It’s the narrow shelf roads and the tight lines through the trees that will probably be the only stopping point for this beast of a truck.  We’ll just have to wait and see when the production truck gets here.     

2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Test Drive

Tacoma TRD Pro:

  • Available in Access Cab 4X4 or Double Cab 4X4
  • “Toyota” front grille
  • TRD Pro badging
  • TRD Interior & Exterior touches
  • TRD Cat-Back Exhaust
  • Custom Bilstein Suspension Package with TRD tuned coil-overs
  • Wheel & Tire upgrades

TRD packages make up about 40% of the overall makeup of the “Number-One-In-Segment” Toyota Tacoma.  This TRD Pro is an improvement on what Toyota has come up with to date.  Like the Tundra, the Tacoma has its own all new Bilstein suspension package, tires matched for performance, and cosmetic improvements.  As a whole, this is the only predictable model of the three.  To put it bluntly, it is exactly what you would expect for looks and performance.

2015 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Test Drive

4Runner TRD Pro:

  • “Toyota” front grille
  • TRD Pro badging
  • TRD Interior & Exterior touches
  • TRD Tuned Front Shocks + Bilstein Remote Reservoir Rear Shocks
  • 1" Lift TRD Tuned Springs (Front)
  • Wheel & Tire upgrades

So they might have done the least to modify the 4Runner, however, what was done is spot on!  Yeah, they did not put the same effort into the suspension as the Tundra or Tacoma, but they did level the ride and made it a little more useful on the bumps.  They did do a few little touches to the interior and exterior to dress up the package as well.

After driving the 4Runner for a while, it is comfortable, stable, and even impressive.  It might not be the prettiest SUV on the road, but it will sure eat up the competition off pavement.  It is a little “Hippy” and we drug the rear bumper a couple of times, but that can be fixed by trying to not hit the bumper (we may have been trying to see if it would hit).  The 4Runner would definitely be my first choice of the three for a daily driver.  The cabin and the ride in general are quite comfortable.  

If you decide to buy a TRD Pro here are a couple of recommendations for additional modifications:

  • Tundra - Bigger tires and put a Supercharger on it.
  • Tacoma - Bigger tires and more heavy duty armor.
  • 4Runner - Supercharger, Supercharger, Supercharger.  

I got to ride in a 4Runner with a Supercharger and all I can say is “hold on tight, it’s an incredibly fun ride”.

With all of this being said, if the last 35 years are a sign of what is to come, I for one cannot wait to see where we are headed.


  All Photos!

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