Unveiled at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show.
Let it be said that Toyota is no stranger to Baja victories. Two years ago several endurance races that are part of the Baja fell victim to Toyota’s ferocity, proving that the Japanese automaker is no slouch when it comes to roughing it in the great outdoors. Unveiled in Chicago this week, it shows this in its street trucks too, and next year is no exception as it continues this pace with the new Tacoma TRD as part of Toyota’s Pro line, alongside the Tundra and 4Runner, supposedly fulfilling the needs of off-roaders.
Toyota Racing Department (TRD) has developed suspension, many complicated differentials to handle the power from its direct-injected 3.5-liter V6, lots of cooling and a multi-terrain select system, but that’s only on automatics. Yes, that means this Tacoma comes with a manual transmission. One of the differentials is electronically controlled to lock, in order to distribute even power to the back wheels so traction will be a more realistic goal where it wouldn’t normally be. The suspension and electronics seem to almost jolt this truck into becoming the GTR of off-roading vehicles, which is not a light thing to say. It seems to have everything an off-roader would like in a vehicle, down to the floor mats.
Aside from the massive suspension upgrade, including TRD springs up front with a one-inch lift, and progressive-rate leaf springs in the rear, the Tacoma TRD Pro, available exclusively as a 4x4 Double Cab Short Bed model, also sports some visual upgrades. Black 16-inch wheels come wrapped in Goodyear Wrangler Kevlar-reinforced tires, the 'Toyota' emblem features in the blacked-out grille, the hood comes with an obligatory scoop, and the Tacoma also gets an aluminum skid plate and LED fogs. Highlights of the interior include leather-trimmed heated seats, TRD Pro branding, and a 4.2-inch color display.