2017 Toyota TRD Pro trucks

2017 Toyota Trucks: Three shades of grey

There are so many shades of grey: 50 if you’re into kinky, goose if you’re into vodka, mare (particularly old) if you’re into horses – and Toyota TRD Pro if trucks are your thing.

I’ve got three TRDs for you today: Tundra, Tacoma and 4Runner, all as grey as a winter day in Vancouver. Cement grey metallic is exclusive to TRD Pro.

It’s a trio of aggressive-looking vehicles, two pickups (full-size and mid-size) and an SUV with little if any chrome. All carry Toyota Racing Development off-road packages, each slightly different in the way it goes about the business of taking on the back country.

All three draw admirers for different reasons. Tacoma draws the off-road crowd, Tundra draws the more conservative pickup fans and 4Runner captures the attention of less-aggressive off-roaders and the more family-oriented who want to keep their stuff inside.

The thing admirers have in common is they want their vehicle to look a little different and they like to go where the terrain can get tough. The thing the TRD Pro vehicles have in common is that they are just as happy on city streets as they are in the backwoods.

And they stand out in a crowd even with the grey colour.

Tundra TRD Pro is based on the CrewMax SR5, Tacoma TRD Pro on the 4X4 DoubleCab while 4Runner TRD runs on the base SUV.

What does TRD bring?

Tundra: For $13,595, you get fuel tank skid plates, front skid plate, Bilstein shocks front and rear, TRD Remote Reservoir Suspension kit, all-terrain tires on 18-inch black alloy wheels with TRD centre cap, performance dual exhaust with performance tailpipes, AVN premium navigation, blind spot monitor black leather seats with red stitching and heat for the front passengers, power sliding rear window, garage door opener, clearance and backup sensors, power moonroof, black Tundra badging, TRD Pro box-side stamping, TRD decals, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, TRD Pro shift knob, theft deterrent system and TRD-branded carpet floor mats.

Tacoma: $12,850 brings you Heritage “Toyota” grille, TRD Pro stainless steel exhaust, Bilstein shocks and remote reservoir suspension, TRD tuned front coil springs and rear leaf springs, 16-inch black alloys with TRD cap, TRD Pro black leather seats, hood scoop with matte black decal, badging, Rigid Industries LED fog lamps, black bezel headlights and tail lights, blind spot monitor and TRD Pro carpet floor mats. 4Runner: For $7,395 you lose the third row seat while adding lever-type 4WD selector, 4-wheel crawl control, multi-terrain select, rear differential lock, automatic disconnecting differential, TRD-tuned front springs, Bilstein high performance shocks with remote rear reservoirs, all-terrain tires on 17-inch black aluminum wheels with TRD caps, multi-terrain ABS, black seats with red stitching, Optitron instrumentation, Heritage Toyota grille, hood, scoop, front skid plate, TRD floor mats and appropriate TRD badging.

Even in standard trim these three vehicles are capable back-roaders, but adding the TRD Pro equipment means you don’t really need roads to get waay out there. A goat path will do or no path at all, if it comes to that.

Being winter, there’s no water or mud around, but plenty of opportunity to tackle snow. These things bring a whole new meaning to winter beater. They plowed their way through anything I could find to challenge them. Push them in to their hubs and they will use crawl to extricate themselves and crawl will get you up some spectacularly steep and slippery rises. It lends a sense of confidence when heading into unplowed territory.

Crawl Control, designed for low-speed off-roading in extreme conditions, is an intuitive sensor system that judges driving conditions and adjusts acceleration and brakes to each wheel as the vehicle tackles rough going, letting drivers take their feet off the pedals and focus on steering. The system adjusts each wheel’s output based on terrain conditions.

It’s bragged up for sand, rocks or deep mud, but it works in snow, too. Mind you, I didn’t go out with the intention of getting stuck, but the system crawled me out of some deep piles of the white stuff.

All three vehicles feature part-time 4WD. The pickups have a selector knob for 2WD, 4Hi and 4L while 4Runner uses a shift lever to make selections.

Three different vehicles bring three different powertrains. Tundra uses a 5.7L V8 harnessed to a six-speed automatic transmission to get around while Tacoma links a six-speed automatic to a 3.5L V6 and 4Runner uses a 4.0L V6 with 5-speed automatic to get around.

None of these explorers is shy about bellying up to the gas bar, but Tundra is the thirstiest of the trio, followed by 4Runner and Tacoma.

On the road, all have decent acceleration and respond to driver inputs without much hesitation. Steering is most responsive when running in two-wheel drive. Cornering is precise and body lean is not an issue. In 4WD, they all have a dislike for tight U-turns.

Highway ride of all three vehicles is surprisingly smooth with Tacoma being the harshest, but still acceptable although the cab is cramped for rear seat passengers. Tundra and 4Runner are much more friendly toward second row passengers. Wind noise is another matter. 4Runner is quietest although the most influenced by strong crosswinds.

Amenities in all three vehicles are good with Tundra (surprisingly) the most upper crust closely followed by 4Runner. Tacoma is a little more austere, but it does have a feature the others don’t: an inclinometer on the information screen.

My choice? It depends on my needs.

Looks? Tacoma or 4Runner. Trailering and hard going? Tundra. Really rugged back-country exploring? Tacoma. Getting family into the wilds? 4Runner. Carrying stuff? 4Runner if you want to keep it dry and out of sight. (A tonneau cover would take care of that on the pickups.)

Long drives? 4Runner and Tundra.

Toyota TRD Pro Trio

Tundra                     Tacoma                      4Runner

CrewMax                   Double Cab               Sport Utility

Price as tested:       $60,025.00                $53,295.00                $52,195.00

Freight:                     $1,760.00                  $1,760.00                   $1,760.00

Configuration: Front engine four-wheel drive

Engine/Transmission:   5.7L V8/ 6AT               3.5L V6/6AT               4.0L V6/5AT

Power/Torque:          381 hp/401 lb-ft       278hp/265 lb-ft       270 hp/278 lb-ft

Fuel Economy city/hwy: 18.1/13.9 L/100 km   13.2/10.7 L/100km   14.3/12.0 L100km

Warranty: 3 years/60,000km (basic) 5 years/100,000 km (powertrain)

Test Drive

Equipment:              80%                       75%                          85%

Styling:                      70%                       76%                          80%

Comfort:                   80%                       70%                          75%

Handling:                 70%                       70%                          70%

Performance:           80%                       80%                          80%

Storage:                    75%                       70%                          80%

Related links:
Toyota Canada

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