2016 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro REVIEW

2016 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro VIDEO REVIEW by Auto Critic Steve Hammes


Have you ever given any thought about ratcheting up your game and going pro?  Well, Toyota has and that’s good news for you off-road fans because you can spec three of their vehicles for TRD Pro duty, including this 2016 Tundra.

There are 3 color choices when it comes to this Tundra but none that ignites confabulation like this. Its formal name is Quicksand, though I heard other less flattering terms used to describe it this week. New for 2016, I give it a thumbs up, mostly because I love when automakers do something bold, but also because it really does fit a TRD Pro truck. TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development and the Pro part is added to distinguish this as a serious off-road kit. In addition to the Tundra, it’s offered on Tacoma and 4Runner. Going beyond the TRD Off-Road Package already offered on certain Tundra grades, the Pro goes all in where it matters most…underneath. That’s where you’ll find these Bilstein High-Performance shocks with bump stops for more impact control and external reservoirs to help dissipate heat, provide more sensitive damping and extend wheel travel. Red Eibach coil springs pop from inside the front wheel wheels and are TRD tuned for a softer ride. The ¼”, silver, powder-coated aluminum skid plate keeps the underbelly safe while black, 18” TRD alloy wheels come fitted with Michelin LTX tires designed to resist chipping and tearing, provide long life on gravel and deliver on road refinement. And for the aesthetic, the TRD Pro wears a throwback TOYOTA grille, special bed panel stamping, matte black badges and black headlight bezels. Inside, there’s new black leather seating with red stitching for 2016 and a TRD shift knob for the 6-speed automatic transmission.

2016 Toyota Tundra TRD ProThis here is the Double Cab with the 6.5’ box with seating for up to 6 though an even more commodious rear seat can be specified in the Crew Max though that comes with the short bed.

With a 2” lift in the front and no side steps, it would have been nice if Toyota had put a grab handle on the driver’s side.

Unlike the Ram Rebel I recently tested, you can’t lower this Tundra for easier access. The driver’s seat is the only spot that doesn’t get a helping hand. Turn the key – there is no push button start – and there’s the familiar sound of the TRD Performance Dual Exhaust System, the same setup I had on my last Tundra tester. It is something with a deep, throaty resonance that turns heads making it the best sounding truck on the market. But with no on-off switch it can get a little droning. The ruckus it creates starts with the standard 5.7-liter V8 – a Toyota big truck staple that produces 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. It helps this Tundra tow up to 10,300 pounds and provides sport-truck acceleration – it’s quite fast. But it’s also one of the least economical engines on the market, rated at only 15mpg in combined driving. I only netted 13mpg. So Toyota has some work to do here. To compensate for the requisite short driving range, the gas tank has been enlarged to 38 gallons this year – that’s 12 more than before.

Off-roading in a pickup is fun but rigs like this are so big that you’d better make sure your trail is wide. But it’s on-Road where this Tundra will surprise you. Not only are the Bilsteins tough enough for serious dirty work, but they do a magnificent job in giving the Tundra a super smooth ride. And of course the i-Force provides more than enough power and with the TRD exhaust there’s no hiding from it.

10.6” of ground clearance affords the freedom to go just about anywhere and the TRD Pro is all poise under pressure. Unlike the Rebel, 4-wheel drive is standard as is an auto limited slip differential activated by pressing the traction control button. Smooth and effortless is the name of the game on and off road and I always felt confident on the trail. It’s a great truck and at $43,640 it’s 10 grand cheaper than the Rebel I tested. But, that price cut is evident in the more work-like nature of the cabin and the absent features, such as power folding mirrors, power, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, etc. Plus, the leather isn’t as rich and the seats are formless and somewhat uncomfortable. The Entune system with navigation is pretty good and simply laid out but like some others, the Apps are slow to load.

The 6.5-ft. box is nice to have, but it’s pretty rare these days that I test-drive a truck without at least some sort of bed liner.

It’s big, looks cool, sounds awesome and isn’t afraid to go anywhere at an attractive price point for a specialty off-road truck. But The Tundra TRD Pro will also please the owner who keeps it primarily on the pavement.

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