2015 Toyota Tacoma Pro Series Test Drive

20152685 Toyota Pro Series logoBy Bill Schaffer

Tillamook Forest ? Oregon — There is reason purpose-built vehicles are so great, and there is a reason they are not so great. For example, a race-ready sports car might be a dream on the track, but if you have to drive it on a highway, or around town, the rough ride and noise can be a nightmare. The same goes for an off-road vehicle ? running through the rocks and ruts at speed it can be like a great gymnast executing a perfect floor routine. On the highway, the same purpose-built off-road vehicle may have muted handling and may not even be able to pull your boat or trailer.

Toyota has developed three purpose-built off-road vehicles that transcend off-road skills to retain the capabilities of a normal pickup truck or SUV. These three new Pro Series Off-Road Vehicles perform exceeding well off-road without compromising their original capabilities.[su_pullquote align=”right”]Toyota has developed three purpose-built off-road vehicles that transcend off-road skills[/su_pullquote]

2015 Toyota Pro Series groupDeveloped from Toyota?s off-road racing heritage on events like the legendary Baja 500 and 1000 endurance races, the 2015 Toyota TRD Pro Tacoma, TDR Pro 4Runner and TRD Pro Tundra are built to handle the rigors of hardcore off-road driving while still being comfortable and capable for the type of driving and the tasks owners use their vehicles for on a daily basis.[su_pullquote align=”right”]”TDR Pro 4Runner and TRD Pro Tundra are built to handle the rigors of hardcore off-road driving”[/su_pullquote]

I had a brief introduction to these three new models up in the Tillamook National Forest east of Portland recently and it was easy to see that Toyota planners had done their homework when designing these off-roaders.

2015 Toyota Pro Series shocksAll three new Pro Series models are equipped with TRD Bilstein shocks with remote reservoirs to help keep the shocks from overheating during hard use. They also have TRD-tuned front springs and other modifications that will allow drivers to take on extreme conditions right out of the box without having to spend time and money retrofitting original equipment. Each of the three models is also dressed in one of three available paint schemes (Inferno Red, Black and Super White), special badging and a variety of cosmetic enhancements. Even with all the special modifications, all three models are backed by Toyota?s three-year, 36,000 mile comprehensive warranty.[su_pullquote align=”right”]”three available paint schemes (Inferno Red, Black and Super White), special badging and a variety of cosmetic enhancements.”[/su_pullquote]

2015 Toyota Pro Series TundraThe Tundra TRD Pro is designed with a two-inch lift in the front and in addition to the extra two inches of wheel travel and an improved approach angle. The rear also has an extra inch and a quarter of wheel travel. The wheels are black 18-inch alloy with Michelin Off-Road tires designed specifically for the Tundra. Other than the striking Inferno Red paint the feature that most distinguished the Pro Tundra was the great-sounding rumble of the TRD Dual exhaust system. The rest of the changes are mostly cosmetic and include red seat stitching and a unique instrument panel ornament insert.[su_pullquote]”Pro Tundra great-sounding rumble of the TRD Dual exhaust system”[/su_pullquote]

2015 Toyota Pro Series Tundra interiorPowered by Toyota?s 381-hp 5.7-liter V-8 engine and six-speed automatic transmission, the Pro Tundra still has a 9,800 pound towing capacity so it can perform both on- and off-road. Prices for the Tundra have not yet been announced.

2015 Toyota Pro Series TacomaThe smaller TRD Pro Tacoma has similar lifts, black beadlock-style wheels with 16-inch BF Goodrich All Terrain tires and special badging. The 2015 Tacoma TRD Pro is based on the 2012-2014 model year Tacoma TRD TJX Baja Series Package. It?s available in both the Access Cab and the Double Cab models and is powered by a 236-hp 4.0-liter V-6 with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission and an electronically controlled locking rear differential which combine to deliver a 6,500-pound towing capacity. The Tacoma TRD also has a performance exhaust system that adds a nice throaty sound for the powerful engine. The 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro pricing ranges from $36,410, including the destination charge for the Access Cab version with the manual transmission up to $38,300 for the Double Cab with the automatic transmission option[su_pullquote align=”right”]”The?Tacoma TRD?also has a performance exhaust system that adds a nice throaty sound for the powerful engine. “[/su_pullquote]

2015 Toyota Pro Series 4RunnerThe 2015 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is equipped much like the mid-level 4Runner Trail model. The 4Runner is the last Toyota SUV built with the rugged body-on-frame architecture and is powered by a 270-hp 4.0-liter V-6 engine driving through a standard five-speed automatic transmission. It also has a 4,700 pound towing capacity. The 4 Runner also has a Multi-Terrain Selectable four-wheel drive system with locking rear differential and an innovative CRAWL mode that works like an off-road cruise control holding a comfortable speed going up or down hills. The TRD Pro includes additional skid plates and 17-inch black TRD Alloy Wheels with Nitto Terra Grappler tiers. Pricing for the 2015 Toyota TRD Pro 4×4, with auto transmission, starts at $41,995.

2015 Toyota Pro Series Tacoma & 4RunDuring a short drive in all three TRD Pro models, I had a chance to experience gravel, paved roads and a short off-road course. The TRD Pro appears to very well suited for someone looking for a truck or SUV what will give them the ability to handle some very difficult and challenging off-road conditions, while still being comfortable for day-to-day driving and the tasks pickups and SUV are designed to do.

I did get one bit of sad news, however. Toyota announced that the rugged FJ Cruiser will be discontinued after the 2014 model year. 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser

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