Starting this year the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is available in Canada – that’s a first; and a corporate move that seems just a bit out of place at first glance.
I say out of place because the tan colouring of my test truck is meant to complement the dry, dusty deserts of Baja and California – the natural environment of this off-road runner, not the frozen winter landscape of Ontario. However after just a few days of local escarpment ridge running the truck feels just as much at home here as I’m sure it does on the desert flats of the US southwest.
And, that’s what’s exciting – this truck may have been born in the desert, but where are there more rugged off-road conditions than in the Great White North? Sand is overrated – if it handles snow and mud as well, it will be a welcome addition to the Toyota truck lineup.
Keep an eye out for the new TRD Pro on Canadian roads. You’ll know it by the embossed badging it carries in its metal flanks – and by the brilliant red colour on its oversized coil springs that peak out from behind the aggressive off-road tires.
You certainly won’t miss it as its got TRD Pro written all over it (even on the exhaust pipe tips) – but it’s what’s underneath that makes this truck special. It’s all about suspension and traction.
The truck is sprung at all four corners with Bilstein shock absorbers. These use a remote reservoir system that constantly changes the internal shock pressure to counter the feedback of the terrain. The shocks are surrounds by heavy coils and leaf springs – both of which also give it extra ground clearance and the ability to soak up rutted, potholed roads at speed.
Underside protection starts with a large engine and oilpan skidplate and similar plates for the transfer case and fuel tank. It all rides on 18-inch black alloy wheels.
Inside the cab TRD Pro styling cues are matched with black leather seats with red stitching and badges in the centre console and on the floor mats. Like other Tundra’s the Pro is equipped with a premium audio system and 7-inch centre stack display that is integrated with satellite radio, a navigation system and backup camera.
Powering the truck is Toyota’s 5.7L V8. It makes 381 hp and is coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The 4WD system on the Pro offers the usual two-speed transfer case for HI and Low range engagement along with its Sequential Shift Mode Active Traction Control – which is an auto limited slip control that works through the transfer case – front to back. So, rather than a set amount of torque pushing front and rear wheels the Toyota system uses A-TRAC to push power to the axle that needs it. And, it works in either HI or Low range.
The other half of this system is called Automatic Limited Slip Differential – What this gobble-de-gook means is that the TRD Pro does not have a rear differential locker – in the conventional sense. Instead its system uses its rear brakes to simulate the action of a mechanical limited-slip differential. By braking the slipping wheel it drives torque to the wheel that has traction. The braking does not limit engine power and this combination of A-TRAC and Auto LSD creates a good point to point traction system that switches on the fly.
This model will be available in either Double Cab or the full-sixed Crewmax version. Each is paired with either the 5.5-foot (on the Crewmax) bed or the 6.5-foot cargo box on the Double Cab. Apart from people and gear these trucks will also tow up to 9,700 lb. The tow package includes the trailer brake controller that’s new this year; 4 and 7-pin connectors and a supplemental transmission cooler (which also has an in-dash temperature gauge) and heated towing mirrors.
The Tundra TRD Pro series pickups are now on sale across Canada and start at a MSRP of $54,475 (Double Cab) and $56,975 for the Crewmax model.
Words by Howard Elmer.