• 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro: The “Rocky Road” of Tacoma Flavors [Review]


    Just like Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream, the 2017 Toyota Tacoma offers 31 flavors based on two cab types, the extended Access Cab and four-door Double Cab, each available in 4×2 or 4×4 configurations. Access Cab models provide under-seat rear storage space, while the fold-up seat cushions increase carrying capacity. Double Cab models feature 60/40 split rear seats with adjustable headrests and under-seat storage. Tacoma comes in six model grades, each suited to a specific purpose and with a unique appearance: a work-ready SR; a high-value / high-style SR5; an athletic TRD Sport; an adventurous TRD Off-Road; the top-of-the-line Limited; and the ultimate off-road Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.

    Last year (for 2016), a lot of things changed in the Toyota Tacoma lineup, all of which seemed to be really good things. Some things on the other hand didn’t change all that much, or at least not enough to be dramatically different. The Tacoma has pretty much owned the midsize pickup truck market as the best-selling pickup for 10 years running, since it first appeared on the scene, more than twenty years ago in 1995.

    The first Tacoma came with a starting price tag of $14,678. and it was powered by a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine. The 2016 Tacoma had a starting price of $24,200 (including a $900 destination charge) for an SR trim Access Cab with the base 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder motor, six-speed automatic transmission in a rear-wheel drive configuration.
    One of the most noticeable things was the seating position. My last recollection of earlier Tacomas was of nearly sitting on the floor with a relatively low seat height. The seat height has been raised, but so has the beltline, so the same sensation still exists, although to a lesser degree. Other interior improvements were more pronounced and distinctive for each of the available trim levels offered.

    The base engine remains a 2.7-liter inline four-banger, with an optional 3.5-liter Atkinson Cycle, Direct Injection V6 with D4S (Direct and Port Injection) replacing the 4.0-liter V-6, which is phasing out. The 3.5-liter engine delivers 278 horsepower at 6,000 rpm for a net advantage of 42 horses, while reducing the pound feet of torque delivery by 1 lb-ft. (now 265 at 4,600 rpm) The torque and power peaks have bumped up higher in the rev range, and the V-6 redline is elevated from 5,500 to 6,200 rpm, while EPA estimated fuel economy has been slightly enhanced.

    Available transmissions consist of: a 5-speed manual for the 2.7-liter four-cylinder, or a 6-speed ECT automatic; a 6-speed manual for the 3.5-liter V-6, or the same 6-speed automatic that does optional duty for the four-cylinder. Both 4×2 (rear) and 4×4 drive configurations are available in either of the two Cab styles: Access Cab (Toyota’s terminology for Extended Cab); and Double Cab (Toyota-speak for Crew Cab). There hasn’t been a Regular Cab available since 2014. Double Cabs are expected to account for roughly 80 percent of the mix.Toyota-Tacoma-TRD-Pro-Whl

    Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

    The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro 4×4 Double Cab takes its inspiration from Toyota’s legendary desert race trucks and was designed by CALTY designers in Newport Beach, California and Ann Arbor, Michigan. The new TRD Pro displays a bold athletic and unmistakable stylish identity, retaining the brand’s rugged functionality.

    The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro adds the following features and equipment to the TRD Off-Road model: 16-inch TRD black alloy wheels; Goodyear Wrangler® All-Terrain Kevlar®-reinforced tires; TRD-tuned front springs with a 1-inch lift; TRD-tuned rear suspension with progressive-rate off-road leaf springs; FOX 2.5-inch Internal Bypass shocks tuned by TRD; TRD Pro aluminum front skid plate; Rigid Industries® LED fog lights; Projector-beam headlights with black bezels, LED Daytime Running Lights and an auto on/off feature; Taillights with black bezels; TRD Pro badge on front door with diamond-pattern knurled finish; Unique TRD Pro hood; Black TRD Pro and 4×4 rear tailgate badging; and a standard V6 Tow Package.

    The Tacoma’s face is characterized by the tall muscular hood and hexagonal grille flanked by slender projection beam headlights, which may be fitted with available LED daytime running lights. The tailgate provides a damping feature for ease of opening and closing. There’s also an available factory-installed trifold hard tonneau for added gear security.

    The fuel tank size remains at 21.1 gallons, but the fuel conscious V6 coupled with the six-speed automatic should translate to an extended range. The power steering, which is hydraulically assisted, retains the same ratio and turns lock-to-lock so don’t expect a change in feel or response. The automatic Limited Slip Differential indicator lights up when the stability/traction control button is pressed.Toyota-Tacoma-TRD-Pro-Bed

    The Tacoma TRD Sport’s hood scoop remains purely cosmetic and is non-functional. Tacoma’s rear brakes continue to be drums, the reasoning being that owners don’t do much towing, although the GVWR is now increased to 5,600 lbs.) and that drums are more desirable for off-road exercises. Thanks to an improved brake booster and ABS actuator, braking force is doled out precisely as needed.

    The Toyota Tacoma’s bed interior is made of a sheet-molded composite, which is 10 percent lighter than steel, is very durable and is resistant to corrosion. On the down side, it can prove slippery when wet. Beds are available in two lengths: short 60.5-inches and long 73.7-inches, both slightly longer than before and deeper as well, by 1.1-inch. The tailgate locks and incorporates an upper edge integrated spoiler.

    The interior complements the exterior’s toughness while serving up an enhanced comfort level coupled with increased functionality. Soft-touch materials and metallic trim accents. Available premium features include: Qi wireless charging; Smart key with push-button start; Leather-trimmed seats; Power tilt/slide moonroof; Dual-zone automatic climate control; Enhanced touchscreen audio; and Blind-Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
    My 2017 Toyota Tacoma TDR Pro 4×4 Double Cab’s base sticker read $42,760, while the final price totaled $45,042 after adding a Glass Breakage Sensor, First Aid Kit, Bed mat, emergency assistance kit, paint protection film, Spare tire lock, universal trailer holder, mudguards, deck rail camera mount and alloy wheel locks. My test truck wore a Cement exterior, exclusive to the TRD Pro with the interior finished in Black.

    SUMMARY: The 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro 4×4 Double Cab provides improvements over its predecessors, some more meaningful than others from the perspective of some current Tacoma owners. Let’s face it, some people don’t like change and can exist in a happy state with the status quo. The truck has received some positive styling enhancements without losing sight of its heritage – nothing revolutionary mind you, but rather evolutionary. The lockable, damped tailgate is a nice touch.

    I found the new Tacoma TRD Pro to be a totally satisfactory hauler. The 3.5-liter V6 is quieter, more powerful and more capable than the old 4.0-liter V6 that it replaced, and the 6-speed transmission is considerably smoother than the old 5-speed automatic.
    The truck delivers a comfortable and stable ride on road and handles well. The TRD Pro 4×4 shines in challenging off-road scenarios.

    The most impressive off-road feature is the Crawl Mode, which may be set to one of five crawling speed settings. The Crawl Mode is ideal for exercising precise control when ascending or descending steep grades without any input from the driver other than steering and setting the appropriate mode parameters in advance. There are settings for sand and rocks, etc. to coincide with existing terrain conditions. Other manufacturers of off-road capable vehicles have similar set-ups, but none really surpass the Tacoma’s capabilities when the going gets tough.

    Some of the switchgear still seems oddly placed in an overhead panel, centered above the interior rear view mirror, which really isn’t an issue for an owner familiar with the operation.

    In the final analysis, the new Tacoma stable offers enough model variations, with enough improvements and enhancements to satisfy most discerning consumers. Will it continue to own the market segment, or will the ever-increasing competition and number of current satisfied owners threaten its status? Only time will tell. In the meantime, the Tacoma TRD Pro model is most impressive as the off-roading master, while also serving as a really good, all-around reliable hauler.

    SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro 4×4 Double Cab
    Base Price: $42,760.
    Price as Tested: $45,042.

    Engine Type and Size: 3.5-liter Atkinson Cycle, Direct Injection V-6 with D4S (Direct and Port Injection) and TRD exhaust

    Horsepower (bhp): 278 @ 6,000 rpm
    Torque (ft./ lbs.): 265 @ 4,600 rpm

    Transmission: Six-speed automatic electronically controlled.

    Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / Four-Wheel Drive on Demand – part time 4×4 system with 2-speed electronically controlled transfer case.

    Suspension: Front – Coil spring double wishbone with 1.18-inch
    stabilizer bar.
    Rear – Leaf spring with staggered outboard-mounted
    gas shocks.

    Brakes: Ventilated front discs / Leading-trailing rear drum with ABS, EBD, BA, TRAC, VSC and Auto LSD.

    Tires: Goodyear Wrangler All Terrain Adventure P265/70 R16 112T mounted on 8-hole/spoke black painted alloy wheels.

    Wheelbase: 127.4 inches
    Length Overall: 212.3 inches
    Width: 75.2 inches – with Overfenders
    Height: 70.6 inches
    Curb Weight: 4,480 lbs.
    Turning Circle: 40.6 ft.
    Fuel Capacity: 21.1 gallons
    EPA Mileage Estimates: 18 mpg city / 23 mpg highway
    Drag Coefficient: 0.386
    0 – 60 mph: Not tested.

    32 thoughts on “2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro: The “Rocky Road” of Tacoma Flavors [Review]

      1. It really would be a better off-roader with electric motors cranking those big TRD wheels. Totally doable because…

        Honda CRV and Honda Accord 2018 hybrids have finally realized they need no transmissions.

        “Honda’s two-motor system doesn’t need a traditional transmission and instead uses a single fixed-gear ratio to put power down to the wheels.”

        So the gas motor only acts as a generator or range extender and does not connect to the wheels.

        the CRV and Accord are two of the most sold vehicles in the U.S. and around the world.

        Its all going that way, becasue that way is better, cheaper, faster, stronger, simpler etc.

        But still, so many of you just don’t get it.

          1. Choosing to trust Honda or Ford with their new hybrid F150 or Cummins new big rig, or heck all of them, or choosing to trust Druggie Daniel is a very clear choice.

        1. Hal take a look at the new leaf on TFL car and the review Andre does in the video on the Chevy Bolt. The Bolt stops rather quickly so you rarely have to use the brake pedal as the regenerative braking gives the vehicle its energy back that it used to accelerate with some losses of course. The new Leaf is saying they can eliminate the brake pedal altogether, yet another advantage for electric drive. I would imagine you would only ever use the brake pedal for an emergency because the one pedal on the EV car controls its speed, no need to count brake applications on the way down the Gauntlet:) My knees and foot ache when in stop and go traffic, with the new leaf they are saying you will only need the one pedal. How awesome is that, yet another advantage to electric drive that a typical motor and tranny cannot provide the level of braking that these EV vehicles will have, they will come to a complete stop with no brake pedal needed and no need to automatically shut the engine off to save fuel at a light and no losses in power at higher elevations.

          1. I am very excited for the new Leaf. Once the 60kW version launches, it would have the range I need without going full steve jobs insane on the interior like tesla did.

            hopefully they used water cooled batteries this time.

        2. Honda can’t build a truck.they are the lawn mowers and generator geeks and the article is about trucks not unibody cars with pickup bass.

    1. That’s ALOTTA scratch. If you don’t insist on everything being on the truck from the dealer, A TRD OR gets you all but the suspension and skid plate (as far as hard parts) for 12 grand less- that leaves you plenty left over for a suspension, tires and accessories.

      1. That is probably the biggest issue with the TRD Pro. It really isn’t anything special over the regular OR. You don’t even get any better tires. The suspension is nice but you can get better for overall less cost by doing it aftermarket.

        1. Greg, there is no doubt the OR is the better buy, I opted for the OR because for the price difference I could blow the Pro out of the water. I’m not planning on many mods because my truck will do everything I need it to as is now. I will get more aggressive tires a size up but that’s it.

    2. The composite bed in my experience with my 2015 Tacoma is superior to Aluminum or steel. It has all the strength I need and scratches don’t show, it is lighter and wont corrode, even aluminum will corrode with salt water but the biggest thing I want to touch on within the article is that the bed is slippery when wet. I do not have a problem like that, maybe because mine is used without Armor All on it. But it is very convenient to be able to slide heavy objects within the bed from the side to the back or vice versa and not worry about scratches. I just use a strap to secure anything that needs to be secured but mostly enjoy the advantage of being able to slide things in and out of the box.

      1. X2 on the composite bed. I love it and don’t know why more manufacturers don’t follow suit. You don’t need a bed liner.

    3. Carbon fiber is coming Rambro. Sooner the better.

      I’ll take a Bollinger 4 door in carbon fiber body with a diesel 2.8 Duramax generator in the frunk.

    4. Why does the Taco still use rear Drums, when the rest of the midsize market trucks have 4 wheel discs?

      1. They still stop faster than their competition does but they should change it just due to the amount of complaints on it. Reality is that it is not a problem though for the majority buyer and it keeps costs down

        1. Toyota is still blowing smoke about drums being superior off road whereas they put discs on everything else they have to include their might Landcruiser. The reality of it is drums last considerably longer and this truck out stops everything in its class and Toyota is slow to change anything. The saddest reality is that Toyota saves a few bucks on drums that still perform well so they are fine with blowing smoke up our rears to save some coin. The truck should have 4-wheel discs.

        2. It’s cost cutting, nothing more. An argument can be made that discs on the rear are unnecessary but it certainly isn’t a ‘feature’.

      2. John Robert Osborn (and Rambro, too!) – – –

        JRO: “Why does the Taco still use rear Drums, when the rest of the midsize market trucks have 4 wheel discs?”

        Dirty Little Secret #1: (Shhhh!) – – –
        You don’t really “need” disc brakes on the back of a pickup truck. It’s just that the sports-car/race-car technology infected the entire industry, and now everybody thinks that the “old” shoe brakes are only suitable of oxcarts and railway carriages.

        A normal pickup truck has a 65/35 weight distribution unloaded (which is 90% of the time). Under normal (non-emergency) braking, this becomes a 75/25 weight distribution (or greater) by momentum transfer. So, how much actual “Braking” do your think the rear wheels provide, regardless of whether they are shoe or disc?

        Dirty Little Secret #2: (Double Shhhh!) – – –
        With modern composites technology and drum construction, shoes brakes can actually dissipate heat and stop ALMOST as fast as disc brakes! (But you didn’t hear it from me: I might get burned at the stake for heresy!) And, shoe/drum brakes:
        1) Are enclosed, to keep out dirts, stones, and water (if not submerged);
        2) Last longer, since the surface area is 5 times greater;
        3) The shoes are easier to replace, since no caliper compression is needed;
        4) Are less expensive;
        5) Weigh less, to minimize unsprung weight.

        My ’96 Dodge Ram has rear drum/’shoes; I have 200,000 miles on it; I have NEVER changed the shoes (still 1/3 left); and I have NO trouble stopping, either loaded or empty!

        Disc bakes? Yeah, a good way for truck makers to make truck, if you get my meaning..(^_^)…


        1. BERNIE K
          You are absolutely correct. I also had a 96 dodge (v10 dually) I never had to a replace the rear drum brake shoes over the 17 years I owned it. And I have to say it stopped just as well as my 13 ford dually does now,empty or loaded.

          1. It is still cost cutting by Toyota combined with a “don’t mess with a good thing” or “it it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality. If the trucks stops this well without discs in the rear it would really do well with them. But, my Taco has exceptional stopping abilities so it is a non factor for me. Should it have discs? Yes, but it is also just fine without them. I think Toyota needs to be pushed and prodded forward and think Ford and maybe even Jeep are about to oblige them in that regard. Like I always say, competition makes for better products.

            I do think we have all gotten a little carried away with all the tech stuff. I never use 90% of my tech goodies. So, we are told that the younger generation likes tech. I’m not so sure because all four of the kids I have that are driving age hate the tech and all view it as a distraction.

            The Taco still offers two good engines and a stick or a slightly psychotic but getting better with meds tranny and more than enough flavors and configurations for me. Peace to all….

        2. 1. uhm- but when you DO submerge either one, disks fling dirt back out, while the shoes get ground to death in short order.
          3. Have you ever done this? Doesn’t sound like it.
          5. no, just no

    5. Andre – – –

      Who is “Arv Voss”, the author of this article?
      Can you “introduce” him to us, please.
      I thought he did an excellent job here!


    6. Here is my take on drum brakes:

      They will stop a vehicle just as well as disc brakes. Even from 70mph, once or twice. Possibly even three times. However, they quickly fade as they warm up.

      Toyota even alludes to this when they mention that Tacoma owners rarely tow.

      AFAIK, the J2807 tow standards do not have excessive brake tests. They consist of holding on a grade, and fully-loaded stops from 20mph, nothing that would really tax a drum.

      However, most if us here realize that stopping a load is just as important (actually more important!) than starting a load. Brakes are critical when towing, hence the proliferation of engine braking and exhaust braking in dedicated tow vehicles.

      This wasn’t such a big deal twenty years ago. Now, however, more people are towing heavier loads, and manufacturers have placed additional emphasis on towing capability and safety. This is also a key reason of why larger rims are becoming more popular. They are not just to look cool, they are bigger in order to house larger brakes.

      So, yes, your drum brakes may stop your loaded vehicle and trailer just fine a couple times, and even more when allowed to cool for a while in between stops. But if you’re running down a mountain pass like the TFL boys often do, I would think you would much rather have disc brakes all around than a disc/drum combo.

      1. Towing wasn’t as big of a deal twenty years ago. There weren’t any standards. Safety wasn’t as big of a deal, either. With today’s mass media, no automaker wants to suffer the social liability of having an unsafe truck, let alone the legal liability.

        Now mfrs have to live up to J2807 standards due to peer pressure, and they want to have brakes to match the towing capacity. It is relatively easy to improve loaded braking performance, especially when going from drums to discs.

        Tacoma owners don’t typically tow heavy loads, so Toyota saw fit to not undergo the expense of changing over the rear brakes. If you’re selling trucks with a marketing goal of towing heavy loads, however, then you will want brakes to match.

        Again, in most cases, the disc/drum setup will be fine. It is only with repeated heavy braking, such as coming down a mountain road with a heavy load, where you might run into a serious problem. Many mountain roads have brake check areas or runaway vehicle areas for this exact reason.

      2. Engines are also mkre powerful now, and overall packages are faster-accelerating. It helps to have brakes that hold up with quickly moving heavy loads from stoplight to stoplight.

        My brother still tows his goose-neck horse trailer with his 1987 Dodge W250. It’s got four-on-the-floor, 4×4 with 4.10s front and rear, and a 175hp 360-4v. It moves the load along just fine, but he doesn’t accelerate too quickly nor brake too quickly. Fortunately, he doesn’t live in mountain country, and his towing forays are usually pretty rural.

        It does help immensely if you have good trailer brakes in good working condition, as well as a programmable brake controller.

        There are a lot of foolish drivers nowadays, towing loads in ways that they Probanly shouldn’t, and dont know any better since today’s vehicles tow so much better, from a power and stability standpoint. Mfrs want their brakes to be up to the same standards, and that also helps to deal with some of these more foolish drivers.

    7. Besides the lack of rear disc brakes. 31 flavors and that is it? When Ford comes out with the ranger imagine it will have twice as many flavors. Something F-150 has that the rest don’t. That is why they can sell so many trucks. I don’t think the ranger will be any different. Toyota will see this in sales when rangers comes on line. The question is, is it to late for Ford to get in the mid size game? Probably will not know when they start selling them.

      1. I hope the Ranger is a great truck. Even though I drive Tacos I admit they need to be pushed more. So, get to pushing Ford. I guess it would help if they could actually get a truck ready to sell just in time for the market to start cooling down.

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