In an effort to improve the credibility of its off-road performance packages, Toyota has created an all-new extreme 4x4 trim called the TRD Pro Series. It will make select models of the Tundra, Tacoma and 4Runner even more capable terrain-conquering, high-speed desert-running medalists. Developed by Toyota Racing Development, the packages will be revealed during the 2014 Chicago Auto Show.
The new trim package will replace both the Rock Warrior and Baja T/X off-road packages but will incorporate aspects of each. The package will include front and rear remote-reservoir Bilstein shocks, new TRD-tuned front coil springs (softened for better high-speed "squish"), a unique front grille with the FJ-style "Toyota" badging, blacked-out wheels and several interior badges.
Each of the two truck models will have unique designs, but they will both offer extra skid plating, a TRD dual exhaust, a 2-inch front suspension lift for a taller stance and more rear-wheel axle travel due to the new shocks and tire package. The Tundra will exclusively have 18-inch TRD wheels, Michelin off-road tires, thicker skid plating and unique seats with accent stitching.
No doubt detractors will say that Toyota didn't go far enough, but we like this more aggressive direction. The Baja series had a good run but this strategy looks like it will have a wider appeal. Is this Toyota's answer to the Ford SVT Raptor? We hope not. With a storied past packed with trophies from desert racing in the infamous Baja 500 and Baja 1000 classics, it seems like Toyota could do something a little more dramatic and extreme to better compete with the Raptor, but there's no reason it can't do that in the future.
We'll have more on both the Tundra and Tacoma TRD Pro Series pickups when we get a chance to put the vehicles through a few off-road tests of our own with their segment competition.
To read more about Toyota's new TRD Pro Series off road package, click here.
Editor's note: This post was updated Feb. 10 to correct the model year for the TRD package.