2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Review By John Heilig
THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
REVIEWED MODEL: 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
ENGINE: 3.6-liter V6
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with sequential shift
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 278 hp @ 6,000 rpm/265 lb.-ft. @ 4,600 rpm
WHEELBASE: 127.4 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 212.3 x 75.2 x 71.6 in.
CARGO CAPACITY: 1,175 lbs. payload
ECONOMY: 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway/17.8 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 21.1 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 4,445 lbs. #/HP: 16.0 gal.
TOWING CAPACITY: 6,400 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Colorado, Honda Ridgeline, Nissan Frontier
STICKER: $44,814 (includes $940 delivery, $1,114 options)
BOTTOM LINE: Then Toyota Tacoma is almost a perfect size for a pickup, with decent power and good ride quality.
Toyota introduced an all-new mid-size Tacoma pickup in 2016, joining a niche in the market that only Chevrolet and GMC fill on the domestic side and Nissan and Honda on the import side. For 2017, there’s a new Tacoma option, the TRD Pro, aimed at, as Toyota says, “The most dedicated adventure-seeking, off-road-loving, work-hard-play-hard enthusiasts.”
Well, constant readers will realize that in urban Eastern Pennsylvania, off-roading locations are a challenge to find, so what you’re going to get here is an on-road “adventure" review. We took the Tacoma to get lawn mower parts while it was in my driveway. First, the man who owns the Cub Cadet store said the Tacoma was just what he wanted. He could tow his trailer with his ATV and still use the truck for work.
We had a slight problem with the cargo bed, though. It was equipped with a bed extender, which is normally a great feature. However, our lawn mower parts were in a large heavy box, and two older men (me included) couldn’t lift the box over the extender, so we had to remove it, load the box, then re-install it.
The TRD Pro looks tough. Again, according to Toyota, “its heritage-inspired ‘TOYOTA’ front grille with color-keyed surround, blacked-out hood scoop and graphic, color-keyed power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, color-keyed door handles, black overfenders, and color-keyed rear bumper” serve to separate it from more pedestrian Tacomas.
Yes, it looks tough, almost like a super duty US truck. With its double cab (pseudo rear door handle) and short bed, the TRD Pro has all the off-road goodies one would want. To the base TRD Off-Road model, the TRD Pro adds18-inch black alloy wheels, Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain tires, TRD-tuned front springs, TRD-tuned rear suspension, FOX 2.5-inch Internal Bypass shocks, TRD Pro aluminum front skid pad, standard V6 tow package, and all the visual goodies you’d want.
Overall, the TRD Pro is a nice package, not just a souped-up Tacoma with a hard ride. The 3.6-liter V6 engine offers good power at 278 horsepower. Acceleration is good, even from 50 mph up. The engine is relatively quiet. It does get noisy on hard acceleration, but what engine doesn’t?, but in general the engine is quiet.
Road feel is good. The Tacoma has good ride comfort. Parallel parking can be a challenge thanks to the long wheelbase, but in general handling is good. Rough road surfaces don’t get into the cabin. For example, we have a road we travel often that has been grooved for repaving for at least a year. That section felt like a normal road.
Entry is relatively easy. There’s an assist handle on the A Pillar for the front passenger, while the driver has to make do with grabbing the wheel. One problem I had was that the wheel seemed to be positioned low and couldn’t be raised any higher. I had to squeeze under it every time I entered. While the transmission is automatic, the shifter has a nice feel.This is good for when you decide to use the sequential manual shift.
At the base of the center stack is array of optional switches and outlets - Blind Spot Monitor, ECT power, Park Assist, USB, 12-volt.
Rear legroom is cozy. On my wife’s side, where she likes her seat positioned further back, it’s almost non-existent. For rear entry, there are assist handles mounted over the rear semi-doors. The rear seat backs fold to make it possible to use the rear as an added cargo area. Folding the seats reveals a “secret” storage area behind the seats.
As I said earlier, the cargo bed is a good size, but then I don’t use a truck for work. The bed extender helps for longer loads, and it’s easy to remove and re-install. The tailgate lowers and raises easily. The bed has inserts to place 2x4 planks with a 4x8 sheet of plywood over them to create a double cargo space. The cargo bed has numerous tie-downs, and there’s a light that goes on when you unlock the doors, handy at night. In addition, there are 12-volt DC and 110-volt AC outlets in the cargo bed.
While the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is designed for hard-core off-road enthusiasts, it also serves well as a standard mid-size pickup truck with a bit of styling panache.
(c) 2017 The Auto Page
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