2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro: First Drive

Tundra front dirt II

The first time we had the chance to see the new TRD Pro off-road package for the full-size Tundra was during its introduction at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. Toyota really hyped the new package, available this fall, as providing new levels of desert-running four-wheeling capability for the 2015 4Runner, Tacoma and Tundra.

In fact, it even created a huge off-road course inside Chicago's McCormick Place to give hair-raising rides to showgoers through water crossings, over steep hill climbs, on a giant teeter-totter and across a nasty set of broken logs.

The new TRD Pro off-road option will replace the previous Rock Warrior 4x4 option and offers a more comprehensive (and capable) four-wheel-drive package. Like the Tacoma TRD Pro, the Tundra TRD Pro includes a unique set of interior and exterior design features, vastly upgraded suspension components and a TRD exhaust for a little extra grunt (we're told that each of the vehicles we recently tested — the Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner — will get a 5— to 10-horsepower bump from the new exhaust). The new Tundra package will be offered only in four-wheel drive but can be had on both double-cab and CrewMax cabs equipped with the 5.7-liter V-8. To date, the package can only be offered with the SR5 trim level. TRD Pro trucks will only be offered in black, white and Inferno (which is sort of a burnt red).


Parts and Pieces

With the exception of the new shocks and springs, our favorite details on the TRD Pro have to do with how they promote the package around the outside of the truck. Not only does the Tundra TRD Pro have a unique black center-bar grille spelling out "Toyota" across the front like the old FJ, but it also includes a special stamping in the bed sides (similar to the Tundra stamp in the tailgate) that identifies this as a TRD Pro pickup. All badging on TRD Pro vehicles are blacked out, along with door handles and mirrors. Unique 18-inch aluminum five-spoke wheels and Michelin 32-inch (actually 275/65R18) LTX tires round out the special dress code. The package is finished with extra aluminum in front and midsection skid plating for added protection.

The meat of this package is at the corners of the truck in the form of high-tech, specially designed dual-reservoir Bilstein shocks, as well as a unique set of slightly longer Eibach front springs. The springs in front allow for a more balanced stance, raising the front end about 2 inches. Thankfully, TRD Pro Tundras will have adjustable headlights so when cargo or tongue weight is put on the rear of the truck, drivers will be able to limit any nighttime headlight issues with oncoming traffic. The Bilstein coil-over shocks are speed sensitive and have a massive 60 mm piston shaft diameter (stock sizes are 46 mm). This unique setup in front actually softens the factory ride and offers almost 2 inches of extra wheel travel. The extra reservoir (attached to the bottom rear of the shock) allows for better cooling.


Tundra rear wheel II


The rear suspension essentially uses the factory Tundra spring setup and bump stops, but the 2.5-inch overall diameter Bilstein shocks offer more than an inch of added wheel travel to the back end as well. Also using a rear-mounted oil reservoir, the rear Bilsteins will be able to dissipate more heat (generated by punishing terrain) than any other shock offered in the segment. TRD engineers said the rear shocks have a unique three-stage compression technology to better control both soft and hard impacts, which should include everything from high-speed quick hits on a rutted dirt roads to big berms that could launch the vehicle into the air.

Another favorite technology in this package is the TRD-tuned dual exhaust that emits a V-8 rumble that we've never heard from a factory-offered Toyota truck before. The tuning is especially fun to listen to when getting deep into the throttle with vast empty stretches of power-line road in front of you. The throaty exhaust note was accomplished by opening up the cats and reducing the back pressure, all the while making sure that it never exceeded the 95-decibel federally mandated noise limit.


Behind the Wheel

We recently took a Tundra TRD Pro into the Nevada desert where Toyota gave a group of auto writers a chance to test all three TRD Pro offerings. We took the Tundra on the most punishing of the three trail choices, which allowed us to push the front suspension up to and just beyond its performance limits. Our test road was a typical power-line road (a heavily rutted road used by maintenance crews when they have to make repairs), complete with washboard ruts like trenches, endless holes and hidden basketball-size rocks churned up by the trucks in front of us.

Upon first seeing the Tundra TRD Pro we weren't impressed. We expected this off-road package to be like many of the offerings supposedly capable of conquering nasty terrain but basically amounting to slightly upgraded parts and stickers (that's the way we felt about the Rock Warrior package). We've seen plenty of packages with extra skid plating, upgraded shocks, nice graphics, and bigger wheels and tires. And we've had to be careful with every one of them when pushing them in the backcountry — excluding the Raptor.

However, the first thing we noticed about the Tundra TRD Pro was that we had to completely recalibrate the way we looked at road obstacles and terrain. Where we thought we needed to brace for impact, nothing happened. Where we felt the instinct to slow down to save the front end, this new spring and shock pairing just swallowed the ruts right up. After a while, our speeds picked up to 10, 15 and 20 mph faster than when we started. We were increasingly impressed that the setup was able to absorb so much nastiness and at the same time keep all four tires on the ground. Clearly, a lot of tuning work has been done to the front shock/spring combination, and the speeds at which the rear shocks are able to quiet and slow rear axle motions is impressive.


Tundra group 2 II


Additionally surprising was how well the front and rear of the truck worked together. Normally, with so much extra weight in the front of a pickup (especially with a V-8 motor), problems with nosing into mounds or launching the front end and scraping the front air dam or bumper is typical for basic off-road packages. But this package wasn't doing any of that, nor was it banging into bump stops. The new springs do a remarkable job of progressively controlling the big inputs, while the shocks seem equally capable of keeping all the smaller tire motions smoothed out.

As those who drive off-road in pickup trucks know, an empty bed can chatter and dance around when the roads get rough or are covered with gravel. Thankfully, with only a small modification to the rear springs (one that will likely affect — although just slightly — overall payload and towing numbers on the TRD Pro-equipped Tundras), the softness of the springs helped prevent the horrible bucking motions a pickup can make on bad roads. We felt little discomfort from the back of the pickup when running at dust-throwing speeds down battered dirt roads. And the faster we drove, the smoother the truck's chassis responded. It almost seemed like it was giving us feedback about how much faster we could safely take the truck over washboard roads.

Although pricing has not been released yet, and we don't expect that to happen until closer to the fall, we wouldn't be surprised if the TRD Pro option carried a $3,500 or $4,000 premium. And as difficult as it might be to believe, it would be worth every dollar.


There's Room to Grow

But this isn't the perfect off-road package. We were a little disappointed that there wasn't more integration of the package directly into the four-wheel-drive system with some kind of off-road screen or information readout. Likewise, it seemed a bit odd not to have an extra setting (or two) in the traction control system or four-wheel-drive gears to allow for a more sophisticated or differentiated (high-speed) drive experience. The Tundra is clearly more capable than ever before, so why don't we get more traction or a 4x4 setting to take advantage of the added bandwidth? We'd also want some kind of interface with a unique navigation screen (or two) to let us know what type of cool things this truck could do that regular pickups can't.


Tundra skidplate II


If the truck has a weakness, it's that this new off-road package doesn't seem completely integrated with hard parts and invisible software; it's almost like Toyota isn't completely sure it wants to commit resources to promoting the true capability this truck offers. Fine, don't call it a "Raptor fighter," but don't back down from what this truck is: an all-terrain-capable full-size pickup.

To more clearly state it: This is, in our estimation, one of the best off-road packages offered by any full-size pickup truckmaker around (the Raptor is in a different class). If Toyota wants to improve its credibility with off-road enthusiasts, it could also let us know something even more impressive might be coming (maybe to challenge the Raptor) that could also include an upgraded intake air system, a matching full-size spare or even a more aggressive tire tread option. Heck, toss in a TRD supercharger while you're at it.

This new TRD Pro seems like a great first step (especially for the Tundra); it's the best-integrated TRD effort we've seen from the Toyota team ever, but there's room for more and we hope Toyota fills it. Although they wouldn't go on record, we hope the TRD guys and next-gen Tundra engineers are working even closer together to get something a level or two higher than what we have here. It certainly seems within their grasp.

To read more about the TRD Pro details, click here.

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams; manufacturer images


Tundra front dirt 2 II

Tundra badge II

Tundra bed II

Tundra front wheel II

Tundra wheel II

Tundra group II

Tundra slide II



@papa jim
I am sorry I was away at work but this talk of warranty please clear up something if I have it wrong.
1. Does GM promise you anything instead of a warranty?
2. Isn't a warranty good for a specific time and distance as long as you don't modify it or abuse it?

As far as I know everybody has a warranty and not a promise so what is your point? Why should I be worried if I honor my end of the warranty as long as it is valid?

@byAmerican - the Jeep guys I know that have electonic swaybar disconnect hate them. You go in mud and they jam up. My son's scout troup leader's jeep is a month old and had to get them replaced and they are screwed up again. Theh may be okay in rocks but suck in mud.


Sounds like you were able to land a job!!! Great going!

re: Warranty

I asked a question about the difference between a warranty and a guarantee--did you answer it?

@Tom#3: Pretty sure you don't have the same tires as a Power Wagon has. Just because they are Good Year doesn't they are all bad.

Ford, Ram, GM, and Nissan all use Good Year SSAs, Ford even puts them on some trucks that happen to say "OFF-ROAD", lol! Anyway, haven't heard much good about an SSA.

Ford, Ram, and GM have also used the WRANGLER AT tire. My 2010 Ram had them in 275/70 r 17 LTs, and it had one more sidewall ply then Ford and GM's 265/70 r17s did. They also could hold a load better. Traction coyld have been better, but I had 43k on them, I could.have got more.

Then there are Power Wagon Tires. lots more plys, more aggressive.

I am wondering about something here, and Bilstein being the pros and all, not to mention one of the premiere manufacture's of shocks and suspension parts in the world and all, I am wondering why all their shocks I have seen so far are no with the bodies up or upside down like all the other high-performance shocks out there, especially of road shocks, from what I hear it has something to do with unsprung weight and most of not all the other higher performance shocks I have seen are of the upside down variety except for Bilstein? Just wondering......

I like this truck especially the color.

Looks like a nice setup- even if the looks are a bit... polarizing. The suspension travel is impressive, especially when well controlled. The Tundra does have longer front A-arms than other regular 1/2-ton trucks, giving it a little more potential for wheel travel w/o widening the track. KORE sell a coil-over shock that nets 11.5" of travel w/ only slight modification.
We'll have to see what employee pricing on the shocks will be from your friendly stealership parts counter.
Headlight leveling- I don't see why this would be any more of an issue here than with any other pick-up w/o load leveling suspension. Pursuant to FMVSS 108, all motor vehicles legal for road use in the US shall have adjusting devices for the headlights. The fact that the TRD Pro trucks sit "level", rather than some slight angle is irrelevant. I do however think that requirements for an ELECTRIC adjuster wouldn't be all bad for any vehicle that does not maintain proper aim when loaded to GVW.
Rear locker- the 10.5" differential in the 5.7 Tundra is unique within Toyota. There is currently no other vehicle offering that differential with a locker. The only full locker I know of is the ARB, and I don't think they've ever built an OE application. A helical gear LSD would go a long way though, especially with a VDC mode designed to maximize its performance. That might have been cost prohibitive though- the reigns have been very tight for development money on the Tundra.

@papa jim
I have had a job for a long while my hours just change based on whether or not im in school or my companies needs. Sometime I am part time and sometimes I am full time and sometimes I am full time working overtime.

I asked you some questions about GM and do they promise anything or warranty things also? What is wrong with Toyota only issuing a warranty for the above parts? Keep in mind you are the one who has a problem with Toyota only giving you a warranty on the above parts not me so you should be explaining not me. Who knows I may have missed something and might learn something new.

there is a difference between warranties and guarantees.

A guaranty assures that if you're not satisfied--you get your money refunded. Not true with a warranty.

Most dealerships love warranty work because it adds business volume to their service departments--all good!

In some states, the dealers are required by law to charge the same flat rate for off-the-street business as they do for warranty work. In those states there's no incentive for the dealer to avoid fixing your truck's problems under the warranty.

There's more to it than just that, but I don't think there's much difference in the way that various automakers handle warranty work. Some offer longer terms, but it's otherwise about the same.

Bottom line: A warranty is a promise to do something for you in the future, not the present. They are called conditional agreements for a reason.


The Power Wagon uses Goodyear Warngler DuraTrack tires which are diffrent than ofther Goodyear Wrangler tires. the Duratracks are come of the best tires you can buy i have put them on my suburban (replcaed the poor goodyear wranger A/Ts) and my Raptors as my winter tire with the studds of course. I have never had a better tire than my dura Tracks.

This pkg from toyota is what z71/Fx4/Pro4x/ and outdoorsman should be suspesnion whise they need to go back all work on their electronic integration and add elockers. after owning a truck with an elocker im never going back to a g80 style locker, or an limited slip.
They should have used stickers on the bed side so people who dont like the logo on the bed could take them off.

What an ugly waste of money. The ONLY thing I care about is will Toyota vehicles have limited slip? If not, you're stuck, Chuck.

I'm also a fan of E Lockers.

I haven't encountered the same issues Lou has with the E Locker disengaging at speed, but I have yet to try that out.

It seems if I can drive at 35-40mph I don't often require 4x4 or my E Locker. I can drive with the E Locker engaged without 4x4 apparently.

You are very correct regarding the Wranglers A/Ts. They are terrible and puncture very easily. This has occurred to me twice in the past. They are nothing but an aggressively treaded road tyre.

the comments on here baffle me.... everyone talking smack about the Tundra talking about it doesnt have this and that and they should have this and that meanwhile the Tundra HAS most of what you know it alls are yapping about but never looked at the truck close enough to know its there...... sad really, maybe Toyotas fault for not advertising it better....... dont know....

Auto LSD: in every off road situation it works BETTER by about 15% over any mechanical limited slip..... the best mechanical only gets 25% to the wheel not spinning..... the auto LSD can change progressively up 100% to the wheel on the ground if you get high sided....... Maybe you all should also know this is the ONLY truck that comes with that option on the front axle as well....... standard feature on all 4x4's not an option that 10 people out of 100 get.

how is it the tundra "supposedly" doesnt have the money for development when it has a list of items on it standard since 2007 that other trucks still dont have today???

people seem to think that you cant turn off the nannies on the tundra and complain that you cant on others either...... on a tundra you can turn them all completely off.......

theres many others but it cracks me up how often people talk crap and dont know the first thing about the truck........

just thought of another one i read on here yesterday.........

The Tie rods on that tundra are as big and most cases much bigger than the HD competitors and noone has a half ton with parts under it even close to as heavy built as whats under the tundra. the steering components are heavier, all of them..... the rear diff is way bigger than all of them, the brakes make the other competitors look like childs play..... comical

@ Lou_BC

It is unfortunate for the Jeep owners that you speak of that have had issues with their electronic disconnect anti-sway bars. In Jeep's defense, the Wrangler Rubicon was designed as a rock crawler and not really a mud bogger or sand dune runner. The Rubicon with its rear and front electronic lockers, electronically disconnecting front anti-sway bar, 4.10:1 axle gearing, and 4.00:1 low range is intended for low speed crawling. A Sport or Sahara with 3.73:1 axle gears and 2.72:1 are better for the mud and sand.

I have had my Power Wagon for nine years now and have not had any issue with the electronically disconnecting anti-sway bar. It works like a charm every time I use it on rocky/rutted trails.

@Buy American or say Bye to America - it's about time someone stands up for good old American products...




Keep up the good work Jeep!

Tom#3's comments about tierods are pure BS or ignorance. Toyota dealers used to (maybe still do) have a display comparing the competitors tierods to the Tundra's--they are all smaller.

@Hemi LOL- The statement regarding the tight funds for the Tundra... comes from people inside TTC in Ann Arbor. They did what they could with the mid-cycle refresh- complete new exterior AND interior. Retuned the suspension. All great stuff. They had to keep the powertrains exactly as is- a big disappointment in terms of fuel economy. The hardware is "on the shelf", but Toyota limited the (engineering) investment based on projected sales impact. So no 1UR-FSE (DI 4.6 V8), no 6spd for the V6, no 8spd for the 4.6... and no special VDC calibrations for a limited production run vehicle.

Sorry- correction. They went to an on-damand capable T-case from BW.

@Hemi lol
The Auto LSD is a marketing term for traction control set up toyota uses its very similar to the ford system as shown in the 2008 light duty shootout where the tundra and the f150s with out lockers made it up the ramp in 2wd and the others didn't traction control works on all 4 wheels and uses the ABS system .

this is from an FJ forum Toyota must be doing a bad job of explainig their tech if the fan boys are stumped on what the acctually have

Yes, great summary, BUT, there's still no real significant difference in any of the control systems (diff lock excluded). TRAC, ATRAC, and VSC all use the brakes to control wheelspin. So what if one only works in 2wd and one only works in 4lo, or if you have to push a switch to make you think you're stimulating the magic traction fairies, it's still performing the same function. The only difference is the computer programming logic involved.

"TRAC - If the system detects wheel spin, it adds brakes to increase traction."
"ATRAC - detects wheel slippage and adds brakes accordingly to give added traction"
"ALSD - uses the traction control system (TRAC) to control engine performance AND braking when one of the rear wheels begins to spin (or slip). "
"VSC - prevent the vehicle from skidding when cornering on a slippery road surface or operating steering wheel abruptly"

Does anyone see any real difference here? I just want someone to admit that it is one system that performs these functions. It's all the same computer, the same abs sensors, the same brakes. The abs sensors are used to detect wheel slippage, and then the brakes are applied individually as needed. The ALSD says it also controls engine performance, though I don't see why that function would be labeled ALSD, as it really should be part of TRAC. And then VSC is to prevent doing 360s around a corner, as opposed to the other systems that are designed for assistance with forward acceleration. BUT, even the VSC is detecting a loss of traction and applying brakes to individual wheels.

"RRDIFF - for use only when wheel spinning (as oppose to wheel slipping)"
There is no difference in slipping and spinning, so long as you're referring to forward acceleration (as opposed to braking). And how could one wheel ever spin anyway, with TRAC always active?

"Hit the Auto LSD to get added traction in the rear wheels."
So the TRAC only gives you a little extra traction, but ALSD applies the brakes a little harder? I don't get it.

"Hit ATRAC switch for added traction."
Again, added traction?

I know you didn't make this stuff up Tran, I'm not blaming you, but you have to admit it's baloney. That's why you can buy a $40 ATRAC switch to "unleash" this magic. Imagine how much money they've made by getting people to buy the upgrade package just for the ATRAC.

Customer: Why do I want this package?
Dealer: It has ATRAC!
C: It has an 8-track?!
C: Aww that sucks, I have some old 8 track tapes at home that would sound great on the FJammer.
D: (fake chuckle)
C: So what is ATRAC?
D: It's a traction control system that controls wheel slippage in adverse conditions.
C: Oh. Doesn't it already have that standard?
D: No. That's TRAC.
C: So what's the difference?
D: Well, that's TRAC, this is AAAAA TRAC!
C: So the A makes it better?
D: Well it's more than just an A sir. See, it controls the wheel spin when you're in the 4wd low gear.
C: And TRAC doesn't do that?
D: Well it does, but it's different.
C: How?
D: Well, ATRAC only works in 4lo.
C: And TRAC doesn't?
D: Yes TRAC works all the time.
C: So TRAC also works in 4lo.
D: Well yes.
C: So why do I want ATRAC?
D: Because it's better.
C: And you can only get ATRAC in the 4wd? What if I wanted 2wd?
D: Well you can get Auto LSD.
C: 8 tracks, LSD, what's going on here?
D: (another fake chuckle) Not that kind of LSD sir. It stands for Limited Slip Differential.
C: What's that?
D: It's actually a simulated LSD, it uses the brakes to control wheel spin.
C: I thought that's what TRAC does.
D: It does, but TRAC is on all the time. You have to push a button to use ALSD.
C: Hmm. You people are proud of your buttons aren't you. So back to the ATRAC, how do I turn it on?
D: You push this little button right here.
C: And how can I tell it's working?
D: There's a light on the button.
C: Oh, a light. Well that's pretty cool. Alright, I'll take it. And how much extra is this package?
D: It's just a little bit more, we'll make the numbers work. Let's go sign those papers... (as they walk off into the sunset)

I'd hardly call that diffrent that what other companies offer with traction control.

@ carilloskis

You are on track with your TRAC/ATRAC dealership scenario. That is some funny stuff!!!

Viva Ford F-150 S.V.T. Raptor!


your right you dont get it......

the dialog is funny but you dont get it. lol

these systems are different on all the different Toyota products. let me help you a little.

TRAC: cuts engine power and will apply brake to slipping wheel. standard and normal operating condition.

Auto LSD: no longer cuts engine power unless both tires become overwhelmed or yaw rate is passed a safety point I.E. rear end starts to come out behind you.

ATRAC: This is Auto LSD operation on the front axle. algorithims programmed differently for different vehicles. This is a standard on all 4x4 Tundras and operates in 4HI and 4LO. only on TRD Off Road and Baja Tacos operates in 4LO only. Standard on manual FJ and option on auto trans operates in 4LO only. standard on 4x4 4Runners and operates in 4LO only. Standard on Sequoia and operates 4HI and 4LO and Standard on Land Cruiser and operates in 4LO.

Toyota also has a system called multi terrain selection and crawl control which also changes things and yes one system is pretty well operating it and all but the systems are far more advanced than the typical......... After all Crawl Control when set on a Land Cruiser buried in sand up to the bumpers lifted itself up and out of being stuck after several minutes of it doing its thing........ Fords traction control is very primitive compared to this type of control that Toyota has........ Hopefully this helps explain some. As i have said before VSC systems are not the same which is Why Toyotas sway control works better without ITBC to stop a swaying trailer than Fords does with an ITBC and how many peoples trailer brakes work properly anyway? OR on a boat? OR a rental trailer with surge brakes like a typical boat trailer. these systems sound the same but they are not.

@Hemi LOL- alright- is there a hardware difference between the the TRAC and ATRAC equipped Tacomas?

@hemi lol

First off you dont need the trailer brake contorller to get trailer sway controll on a ford thats standard equipment

From Toyota
Auto LSD works like a traditional limited-slip differential—with a high-tech twist. Instead of controlling slip mechanically, Auto LSD applies brakes individually to wheels with no traction. This helps give you control and distributes power where it’s most effective.

Active Traction Control
The added traction of 4WD is great—but with A-TRAC, it’s even better. A-TRAC is a 4WD traction control system that works with Auto LSD to help restore traction no matter where your job site may be.

Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) 17 helps prevent front and rear wheel slip. If VSC detects a loss of traction, two things can happen to help correct the problem: first, engine output is reduced; then, brake force is applied to individual wheels as needed.

From Ford:

AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control™ (RSC®)
Advanced control comes standard.39

Two gyroscopic sensors measure the rate of turning and roll rate to provide side-slip and roll stability control
RSC® sensor monitors vehicle-roll motion at least 100 times per second
System selectively applies individual brakes and modifies engine power to help keep all four wheels firmly planted

Available Electronic-Locking Rear Differential
Engineered to maximize traction at both rear wheels.

Available on 4x2 and 4x4 models
Locks the rear axle completely
Fully integrated with AdvanceTrac® with RSC®
Excellent control on- and off-road
Driver has control to turn system on or off

According to my owners manuals f-150s dont disengage traction control in 4x4 and superdutys do so only in 4 lo , plus in addtion to electeronic aids the fords have mechanical aids cannot say ive seen to many tundras around MOAB. http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2011/11/2012-ford-f-150-svt-raptor-off-road-trail-test.html

@ mr knowitall

there could be a difference in the sensors but i dont believe there is. otherwise it is electronics. TRD Off Road Tacomas also have HAC (hill assist control.... You use this by pressing the brake pedal harder after being stopped and it will hold the brakes for 3 seconds after you depress so you dont roll backward) and it also has DAC (downhill assist control.... Used only in 4LO it will keep the vehicle at 2mph or under as you decend a steep grade allowing the driver to only have to worry about steering and its BADA**!

@ Carilloskis

You will never get an argument from me that fords marketing people are genius. the systems work similar but Toyotas technology far exceeds fords in this area. the rate of ABS application possible is much higher on Toyotas system, simple proof of that is the adaptation of Crawl control and Multi Terrain select that no other manufacturer has.

Also i'm telling you for a fact that you can use traction control or shut it off on ANY Toyota model whether in 2wd or 4wd on any model made.

Wow! After looking at the under photos of this truck you can truly see it metal. Puny springs, shocks that hang way below the axle and next to the wheel (easy to break off while off roading, great for stability when towing/hauling). Very low front suspension that clearly is built for highway travel in mind. This package should sell well to all the boys and girls that like to look like they could, but truly can't and won't go off road.

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