Toyota builds tough trucks and when it comes to performance on and off the road, the Tundra TRD PRO is their king of the hill. The Tundra is offered in Double Cab and CrewMax cabs along with two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive powertrains.
The Tundra TRD PRO I put through its paces was a CrewMax model with four-wheel drive, befitting a truck with serious off-road capabilities. TRD is Toyota’s Racing Development team and they design and test special vehicles and equipment for both on-road and off-road performance. The PRO model is equipped with several unique features to provide excellent manners for every day driving while excelling in off-road performance.
The first thing I noticed about this Tundra TRD PRO was the vivid colour — Voodoo Blue. If you feel a little less showy, the TRD PRO is also available in Super White and Midnight Black Metallic but the Voodoo Blue combined with the black trim and wheels is the perfect colour combination for this truck.
The next feature to notice is the stamped TRD PRO names into the sides of the truck box. Not decals, the letters are big and recessed into the metal giving it a custom look. This is matched by the Tundra name stamped into the tailgate.
The third thing I noticed was the height of the truck. The body sits high and there are no running boards, so getting into the driver’s compartment involved grabbing the steering wheel and hauling oneself up into the seat. An interior grab handle helps when getting into the passenger seat but when I went to pick up some female friends who were wearing dresses, they appreciated the step stool I took along to help them get into the truck.
Inside, the cab is rooming and luxurious. Looking out, the view is great in all directions except directly behind and there is the rear-view camera to alleviate that blind spot. Driving in traffic, you can see over most vehicles and when off-road, the tall body height makes traversing rugged terrain much easier.
Power for the TRD PRO is provided by a 5.7-litre V8 gas engine with 381 horsepower and 401 lb.-ft. torque. Combined with a six-speed automatic transmission, acceleration is brisk and the exhaust note from the black chrome-tipped dual exhaust has a throaty rumble that is musical. Fuel economy isn’t great when on the throttle hard but drive with economy in mind and I managed 14 litres per 100 km around town, which is better that Transport Canada figures.
A six-speed automatic transmission with console shifter give both automatic and manual control of the gears while selection of two wheel, four-wheel “HI” and four-wheel “LOW” is done with a rotary switch on the dash.
Four-wheel low combined with the auto limited slip rear differential provide stump pulling power but for those that prefer to tow trailers, the TRD PRO 4x4 comes standard with Toyota’s tow package, trailer brake controller in the dash and active trailer sway control.
Suspension makes or breaks off-road performance and the TRD PRO has soft spring rates for a comfortable ride but high- performance Fox shocks to control wheel movement.
Rear shocks include remote oil reservoirs for additional damping performance. The TRD PRO has about 1.5 inches more front suspension travel and two inches rear wheel travel to accommodate big bumps. Eighteen-inch wheels and tires with tall sidewalls are suited to driving over both potholes and off-road obstacles.
On the highway, the truck is comfortable, stable and luxurious. Black leather seats with red stitching are roomy and attractive. The console is huge and can easily store a laptop or business files.
The dash controls are well placed and instrument panel view is excellent with a full complement of gauges. The in-dash navigation and audio controls are easy to use and see on the centre touch screen, while the three manual climate control knobs are large so they can be operated with gloves on.
Only the heated seat switches located at the front of the console are difficult to see but once you find them, easy to operate.
With aggressive styling, great ride and handling and features like a power opening rear cab window, the Tundra TRD PRO is a truck that attracts attention and I predict buyers as well.
At a glance
Configuration: four-wheel drive, five-passenger pickup
Engine: 5.7-litre V8 producing 227 horsepower and 310 ft.-lb. torque
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel economy: City 17.7 L/100 km; Highway: 13.6 L/100 km
Special features/options: navigation system, heated front seats, blind spot monitor, spray in bed liner, power tilt and slide sunroof, LED fog lights, TRD skid plate, garage door opener
Price as tested: TRD PRO: $64,413 plus $1815 freight charges