TRD Pro First Look: Waku-Doki

TRD Pro First Look: Waku-Doki

TRD Pro Series Test Drive Tundra 4Runner Tacoma | TCT MagazineLadies and Gentlemen, we are here to introduce you to the TRD-PRO series of the 4-Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra vehicles.  This is something that to my knowledge no manufacturer has ever done: release an entire family of very special vehicles all at the same time. 

The creators of the TRD-PRO wanted us to share with you part of their inspiration; Waku-Doki, this is a Japanese expression that translates to – “Heart Pumping, Adrenaline Racing”.  It can’t be easy for a manufacturer to get a product, much less three, to market that can get your heart pumping or your adrenaline racing AND make it past the lawyers and bean counters at the same time.  Everyone knows that Toyota’s mechanical dependability is unmatched throughout the industry and, with the TRD Pro trucks it’s seems that they just might be listening to us consumers as well. 

We just got back from getting down and dirty with all three vehicles in the desert outside of Las Vegas.  It was very exciting to see just what the Engineers at Toyota have done to progress the evolution of all three platforms. 

Tundra 4Runner Tacoma TRD Pro Photo by Chris CHRIS BURKARD | TCT Magazine

The TRD PRO is made up of some nice new features.  A completely new performance suspension package tuned and built for each specific platform.  A fully functional engine protecting ¼” aluminum skid plate (I wish they would protect the rest of the vitals) was nice to see.  Vehicle specific tires and wheels were an interesting touch; they help with the performance on each platform specifically.  The Tacoma and Tundra picked up a new cat-back TRD Performance Dual Exhaust that sounds amazing.  The new color scheme was quite striking.  Inferno just screamed that it was on fire blasting through the desert sun.  They also come in Super White and Black.  Attention to detail was not missed on the interior either; the leather and inferno stitching throughout the cabin was needed and dressed up all three nicely.  All got upgrades in shift knobs, cluster appearance, floor mats, and badging as well.  The one thing that catches your eye straight away was the new “Toyota” front grill paying homage to the original and forefather the FJ.

 The TRD PRO is the culmination of 63 years of Toyota’s Off Road Heritage and they seem to be heading in the right direction.  With this new lineup, the engineers and designers went above and beyond.  By harmonizing equipment and direction between the three vehicle platforms Toyota has solidified TRD’s place in the future market.   

TRD Pro Series Test Drive Tundra | Photo by David Dewhurst | TCT Magazine
Photo by David Dewhurst

Toyota boasts that the TRD PRO is not a new model in the Toyota Lineup.  They are, in fact re-launching the TRD line around this TRD PRO family.  Toyota is evolving and moving their vehicles in a favorable direction.  Maybe not as fast or dramatically as some would hope, however it can’t be easy to maintain the durability, quality, and integrity of these vehicles while always pushing the limits of what will work for each specific platform.

4-Runner: This is the last of a generation, in that it’s the last remaining “Body on Frame” SUV on the market.  The exterior look is downright intimidating; pushing its boundaries about as far from a “Grocery Getter” SUV as you can get.  Then they upgraded the suspension to make the 4-Runner a superbly capable family vehicle for both on and off road.  Once you find that sweet spot in the suspension ride; hold on tight, it’s a lot of fun to drive.

TRD Pro Series Test Drive 4Runner | TCT Magazine

Tacoma: Okay, we all know Toyota is due for a new generation of the Tacoma and we are all looking forward to it in the next couple of years!  The path that Toyota is taking in the evolution toward the next gen is setting them up to have a really amazing platform. With the TRD PRO Tacoma the engineers have tightened up the ride, smoothed out the bumps, and given it a grown-up look in the cabin. 

I do own a Tacoma myself so testing this model meant something special to me.  Being comfortable “throwing” this truck around in the washes and on the dirt road, it was nice to see what it could handle right off the showroom floor. 

TRD Pro Series Test Drive Tacoma | TCT Magazine

Tundra: This was by far the most eye-opening of the bunch.  Put simply, my mind was blown!  To take a truck that is this large and heavy, put it through the paces that it shouldn’t be able to walk away from.  Not only did it “Walk Away” from the day, this TRD PRO Tundra didn’t even show a sign that is was off road.  Well, we did put some new pin striping all over the sides and front (we were in the desert). 

TRD Pro Series Test Drive Tundra | TCT Magazine

My Take: Going into this weekend, everyone I talked to were hoping that Toyota would install superchargers or offer a diesel package. You know, drastic and unrealistic dreams.  The truth of the matter is that superchargers are an aftermarket option that you can get installed on your own, and as much as we’d all like to see it, diesel is just not in the cards right now.  The ride, feel, and performance of all three TRD-PRO platforms have come a long way in the evolution of Toyota Off-Road and I for one can’t wait to see what’s next.  No one at Toyota can begin to tell us a price point for any of these just yet.  They keep saying that they are trying to make this a very affordable purchase for what you are getting.  My hope is that they are priced so that I can put a supercharger on the Tundra so I can take it out and eat all of the Raptors alive! 

Tacoma TRD Pro Test Drive  | TCT Magazine

Test Drive Tacoma TRD Pro | Photo by David Dehurst | TCT Magazine
Photo by David Dehurst

We will be doing some trail specific testing of all three models here in Colorado over the next couple of months.  I can vouch that these are all really amazing in a desert scenario, but I can’t wait to see how they handle for us on some serious rock trails!

In the mean time let’s all welcome to the newest addition to the Toyota Off-Road Family!