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Its Back: Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

The toughest midsize pickup truck is coming back, as the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro arrives this fall in time for the 2017 model year.

Created by Toyota Racing Development, the Tacoma TRD Pro along with similar models for the Tundra pickup and 4Runner SUV are designed with extreme off-road enthusiasts in mind. The second-generation model may set a new benchmark in off-road utility just as the manufacturer claims.

Second-Generation Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

In 2015, the first TRD Pro model was released and then pulled after one year as Toyota brought the all-new 2016 Tacoma to market.

For 2017, the Tacoma TRD Pro is based on the four-wheel drive Tacoma TRD Off-Road with a double cab and short bed. The TRD Pro is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine making 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. That engine is paired with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The manual gearbox includes a clutch start-cancel switch.

Standard Creature Features

The Tacoma TRD Pro comes with its equipment installed at the factory. Cement, Barcelona Red Metallic and Super White are the three exterior color choices. Every model will also feature a heritage-inspired front grille with “TOYOTA” affixed to the center of it, which is a design element most recently used on the now-retired Toyota FJ Cruiser. Blacked-out and color-keyed highlights will also elevate the look of the hood scoop, side mirrors, door handles and bumpers.

Suspension and Interior Upgrades

This truck also comes with TRD-tuned front springs with a one-inch lift, FOX shocks tuned by TRD, and a TRD-tuned rear suspension with progressive-rate off-road leaf springs.

Additional equipment includes 4WDemand, which is a part-time four-wheel drive system with a transfer case and a limited-slip differential. A tow package and a receiver hitch are also included.

The TRD team also reserved a few special touches for the interior. The Tacoma TRD Pro will feature analog instrumentation with a 4.2-inch color multi-information display, an integrated inclinometer and a tilt gauge. Outside temperature, odometer, average fuel economy and trip information are also a part of that unit.

Getting Dirty

Building on the previous model’s “Get Dirty or Go Home!” marketing theme, the new Tacoma TRD Pro looks dirtier than ever. Beyond the promotional audacity, the Tacoma TRD Pro just may deliver as promised.

In an earlier CARFAX review of the 2016 Toyota Tacoma, this writer lauded its off-road credibility, reserving high praise for its available CRAWL control feature, which makes it unique among smaller pickup trucks. Equipped on models with automatic transmissions only, the TRD PRO with CRAWL control activated covers the toughest terrain at speeds ranging from 1 to 5 mph.

Aiding in the cause is a multi-terrain select system with five modes to regulate wheel spin by adjusting engine throttle and braking pressure. Mud, sand and loose rock are just a few of the obstacles handled. Also at work is an active traction control system utilizing a four-channel anti-lock brake system to manage power to the front and rear wheels without reducing throttle input.

Tacoma TRD Pro Considerations

Toyota has not yet offered a price for the 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro. With the 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road priced from $30,765 and the top-of-the-line Limited edition retailing for $34,745, a price point between the two seems likely. With a total of six trims available beginning this fall, the Toyota Tacoma offers yet another example why its chief competitors, which include the Chevrolet Colorado, Nissan Frontier and GMC Canyon, may remain firmly in its rear view mirror.

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