And could a TRD Pro model be on the way?
At this year’s Chicago Auto Show, Toyota maintained its tradition of introducing a slew of fresh TRD offerings in the Windy City. But alongside a new (but in all honesty, still very old) Sequoia TRD Pro and a facelifted Tacoma TRD Pro there was a big surprise: the RAV4 TRD Off-Road. In the past, Toyota has restricted the TRD upgrade to body-on-frame vehicles. Not only is the RAV4 a car-based crossover, but an off-road oriented RAV4 already exists in the form of the Adventure, making the new TRD Off-Road seem a bit redundant.
Motor Trend spoke with Toyota North America’s general manager for the Toyota brand, Jack Hollis, to get to the bottom of what differentiates the TRD Off-Road from the Adventure. When they enquired what the former could do that the latter couldn’t, Hollis responded, "You know, it's funny because the technical changes are not totally significant. Obviously, there was more attention from the TRD side, but to try to tell you there's a significant amount of difference, there's no way to try to do that.”
Rather than clearing up the matter, Hollis’ answer has solidified the redundancy. However, though the TRD trim is not substantially more capable, the upgraded suspension should make all-terrain driving a more pleasant experience, while the tougher tires should be less prone to punctures. Perhaps Toyota could even be planning on replacing the Adventure with the TRD Off-Road in the near future, seeing as they are so closely matched.
And what about the possibility of a full-flight TRD Pro model for the RAV4? Hollis acknowledged that "The TRD Pros have traditionally been based upon body-on-frame vehicles,” concluding that a RAV4 TRD Pro is "not our plan right now.” Instead, Toyota and the TRD brand is focused on "really finishing with Sequoia to round that out.”
Hollis left some hope for a hardcore RAV4 off-roader, asking "do I think there's [potential for a RAV4 TRD Pro]?” before answering his own hypothetical: "There may be.” However, don’t expect to see a RAV4 TRD Pro anytime soon. In the meantime, if you want a trail-trekking RAV4, you have two options, and as we now know, you can’t really go wrong with either.