The Toyota Racing Development moniker as applied to trucks has long been associated with Baja racing. Tacomas and Tundras dot the peninsula as pre-runners and chase vehicles, and often function as the base for a race vehicle.
In the 2014 Baja 1000, Toyota entered a 2015 Tundra TRD Pro in the Stock Full class. They won their class by 50 minutes.
Why mention that here? Because if a stock Tundra TRD Pro can emerge victorious from one of the toughest off road races in the world, it can handle whatever trouble you, Joe and Jane Off Roader, manage to get yourself into.
Let’s start with the basics. The underpinnings of the Tundra remains unchanged from 2014. The 5.7L V8 emits an intimidating rumble, knocking out 381 horsepower and 401 lb/ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission with a shiftable sport mode is standard.
The TRD Pro package adds all the off road goodies. 2.5-inch Bilstein shocks with remote reservoirs add 1.4 inches of wheel travel to the front, and 1.5 inches in the rear over the standard Tundra. Specially tuned springs give the TRD Pro a 2 inch lift in the front, the better to show off the TRD front skid plate, with the added benefit of increasing the approach angle to 31 degrees, compared to 26 degrees in lesser models. The springs are tuned for a bit of a softer ride, allowing it to soak up the whoops easily.
The Tundra comes with Michelin off road tires on 18-inch wheels, but our test model arrived with 17-inch wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich 285/70 off road rubber. These easily gripped the Colorado mountain dirt and rocks in our testing, and would be one of the first swaps I would make.
So what’s it like to drive off road? It’s pretty awesome. I never found the need to kick it into 4L on our excursion on Bunce School Road in Colorado. It easily handled rocks and sand, and scratched up a fairly sketchy rock section, all without airing down. However, this is a large truck. At nearly 80 inches wide, you have to pick your trails carefully. Overall length is 228.9 inches, on a 145.7 inch wheel base. Tight corners are not your friend.
Conspicuously missing is a locking rear differential. Instead Toyota gives us an Auto LSD, applying brakes individually to wheels with no traction. This may sway folks toward the Ford Raptor, with it’s electronic locking rear diff, especially those plan on pushing the limits of physics.
Of course, one must usually travel on pavement before the fun starts, and the Tundra shines on the blacktop as well. Body roll is present in the twisty mountain roads, due to the softer springs, but it’s manageable. As expected, the ride is smooth over even the roughest roads.
Steering is a little on the light side and it’s not the quickest response out there. The hydraulic set up could offer more feedback, but it works well in the dirt. I’m willing to take the hit on the pavement as long as it performs out on the trail.
Throttle response is very quick and the transmission shifts smoothly, pushing all 5,625 pounds of the Tundra TRD Pro towards 60 mph at a decent clip. Maximum payload in the 5’5″ bed is 1,575 pounds, and it can tow up to 9,800 pounds with no additional tow package necessary.
Visually the Tundra is an arresting sight, especially with our Inferno paint job. The new grill with the Toyota logo spelled out is a bold statement, and “TRD Pro” is stamped on the rear quarterpanel of the bed. Inside the cabin is a nice place to spend some time, although it took me a while to get fully comfortable with respect to seat and steering wheel position. The infotainment and navigation is fine for pavement, but those wanting to really hit the trails should invest in a Lowrance or equivalent GPS. Or better yet, grab a compass and a good map.
EPA fuel ratings are 13 mpg in the city, 17 mpg on the highway, and 15 mpg combined. I averaged 15.6 mpg during my time in the Tundra TRD Pro, which included 500 miles of highway driving and a day on the trails.
Competitors include the new Ram Rebel, Chevrolet Silverado, and of course, the Ford Raptor.
Our test model’s MSRP is $43,900. The grand total, including destination, bedliner, remote engine start, emissions, and a paint protector, is $46,259.
On the TFLcar scale of:
- Buy it!
- Lease it!
- Rent it!
- … or Forget it!
I give the 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro an enthusiastic Buy It! While the lack of a locking rear end may turn some folks off, the fact that it conquered the Baja peninsula speaks volumes for this truck’s capabilities and ruggedness.
Check out this off road review of the TRD Pro as Roman puts it to the test in Monument, Colorado.