2019 Toyota TRD: Tricked-Up Trucks

SUE MEAD
Motor Matters

There is no pavement in sight. No hotel. No phone or Internet service. The road to the campsite where I’ve spent the night is a dirt track.

It’s the second of four days of an authentic off-road test drive in Colorado and Utah with Toyota as a part of the launch of a new off-road package for its 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra special vehicles. Toyota Racing Development adds unique styling, as well as a host of impressive off-road equipment tuned and designed by the TRD engineers.

I am a “happy camper” with a small contingent of auto writers that like to test 4WD trucks and SUVs, along with representatives for Toyota and a talented staff of outdoor gurus from Expedition Overland. We are “overlanding”: it’s what many buyers who purchase these vehicles might do, as well. We are self-reliant and using our vehicles to travel to a remote destination to experience the “journey.”

First unveiled in 2014, the TRD Pro lineup was born from Toyota’s rich racing and off-road heritage; calling it “the ultimate tool to get you there and back,” the TRD Pro package upgrades each of these vehicles with a long list of performance off-road equipment, specifically tailored for when the pavement runs out. The beauty of this 4WD package is that it allows you to go fast — or to take a slow ride through the backcountry. Plus, the lineup allows enthusiasts to select between a midsized SUV or a midsized or full-sized pickup, choosing a vehicle that meets their needs as an everyday driver and for adventure.

The biggest news for 2019 is shocking — the TRD Pro triumvirate now rides on 2.5-inch TRD Pro-exclusive Fox Internal Bypass shocks with 46-millimeter pistons. What does that mean? Forget the millimeters and pistons; it means the trucks get an improved, more comfortable ride and increased wheel travel, which allows each vehicle to have more capability off the road.

Specifically tuned for the Pro package, the aluminum-bodied Fox shocks bring impressive performance and supreme damping for a wide variety of driving situations. The front shocks are paired with specially-tuned TRD springs designed for ride comfort and additional lift, giving each TRD Pro an aggressive, heightened stance for improved trail-conquering capability. Each truck receives individualized lift kits, a bespoke rear setup, and a host of additional features.

Based on the trail-capable TRD Off-Road grade, the 2019 Tacoma TRD Pro ups the ante with enhanced front shocks, a larger front sway bar, progressive-rate off-road leaf springs, and an updated front skid plate with TRD red lettering for style and durability. Tacoma also gets a factory-made snorkel — the TRD Desert Air Intake — that takes the 278-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine’s air intake away from dust that hovers inside the wheelwell (where traditional air intakes are located) during off-road driving.

It rides on 16-inch TRD Pro black alloy wheels shod with P265/70R16 Goodyear Wrangler Kevlar all-terrain tires. Additional touches include TRD badges, a black grille, projector-beam headlights with black sport bezels, LED daytime running lights and fog lights, and a cat-back TRD exhaust that is accented with a new black chrome tip and comes with Entune Premium JBL Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite.

In addition to the front Fox shocks, the 2019 Tundra gets a 2-inch lift kit with beefy rear leaf springs that come from TRD Off-Road package. The TRD-tuned springs provide an additional 2 inches of front lift, and front-wheel travel is increased more than 1.5 inches. The Tundra also gets rear Fox shocks that increase wheel travel by more than 2 inches in back, plus satin black 18-inch BBS forged-aluminum wheels wrapped in P275/65R18 Michelin all-terrain tires, a black Toyota grille, a dual TRD exhaust fitted with black chrome exhaust tips, LED headlights and Rigid Industries LED foglights, TRD Pro 1/4-inch skid plate, a hood scoop, and special TRD Pro stamping on the bed’s rear quarter panels. Inside is a leather interior with TRD Pro badges and red stitching accents on the dash, seats, and armrests, plus TRD Pro floor mats, shift knob, and center-console logo.

The 2019 4Runner TRD Pro takes 4Runner’s world-renowned trail capability to the next level with Fox shocks in front with a 1-inch lift and TRD off-road-grade rear coil springs. Additional equipment includes a new roof rack for stashing additional gear outside of the cabin, a 1/4-inch-thick front skid plate with red TRD lettering, and 17-inch matte-black TRD alloy wheels with an offset change to provide it with nearly a 1-inch-wider track front and rear for added stability.

It rides on 17-inch matte-black TRD alloy wheels wrapped in Nitto Terra Grappler P265/70R17 tires. Additional TRD Pro exterior features include LED fog lights, blacked-out Toyota grille, and projector-beam headlights with smoked trim. Interior appointments include TRD Pro floor mats, TRD shift knob, red-stitched Softex seats with red TRD logos on the front headrests, and a new standard Entune Premium JBL Audio with integrated navigation and App suite.

All three TRD Pro models feature the Star Safety System. The 2019 TRD Pro series is offered in Super White, Midnight Black Metallic, or Voodoo Blue (a TRD Pro exclusive color).

First unveiled in 2014, the TRD Pro lineup was born from Toyota’s rich racing and off-road heritage; calling it “the ultimate tool to get you there and back,” the TRD Pro package upgrades the Tundra, Tacoma and 4Runner with a long list of performance off-road equipment, specifically tailored for when the pavement runs out.