2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Road Test
Quick Summary: The 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is a new and more capable high-performance off-road package meant to slot in above the wildly popular (and similarly named) TRD Off-Road package.
It consists mainly of a rugged long-travel suspension that is expert at gobbling up rocky trails with ridiculous ease. But don't let that fool you, because this well-crafted suspension is anything but stiff. In fact, in many circumstances the TRD Pro rivals the smoothest-riding Tundra 4x4 you can get.
The TRD Pro doesn't possess the outrageous stance and menacing wide-body presence of Ford's F-150 Raptor, but it approaches that level of performance for thousands less.
What Is It?
Toyota's TRD Off-Road package has been an extremely popular option since it was first offered in 1998 on the Tacoma 4x4 compact pickup. Full-size Tundra versions enjoyed equal success when they arrived on the scene soon after.
Unlike the original, the TRD Pro package features a raised-stance long-travel suspension that's built around massive remote-reservoir Bilstein shock absorbers.
TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development, so it should be no surprise this package is best suited to covering unpaved tracks at barely diminished speeds. That said, the TRD Pro setup delivers an enormous amount of front and rear axle articulation, and greatly enhanced front ground and approach clearance.
The only thing holding the TRD Pro Tundra back from being a true mountain goat on slow and technical boulder-strewn Jeep trails is its lack of a lockable rear differential. And, of course, it's a hulking full-size truck, not a compact.
What Has Changed?
While the Tundra TRD Pro option is brand-new for 2015, the underlying Tundra 4x4 pickup itself is essentially unchanged from 2014. The stout 5.7-liter V8 still makes 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque, and it's backed by the same excellent six-speed automatic transmission.
The stars of the show are the aforementioned large-diameter (2.5-inch) Bilstein remote-reservoir shocks that adorn all four corners. Beyond keeping the shock oil cool when the suspension hammers over rough surfaces, the remote reservoirs also enable internal changes that let the shocks grow longer at full extension. Total suspension travel has therefore swelled by 1.75 inches up front and 1.83 inches out back.
This allowed the front ride height to be set 2 inches higher, which increased ground clearance. The higher stance enabled the use of somewhat softer coil springs because there's simply more compression travel to work with. Finally there's the secret weapon: The beefy front Bilsteins employ three-stage damping that gets progressively firmer as the suspension compresses.
Meanwhile, rear ride height is unchanged. This results in a level truck and, by our measure, a slightly lower (0.5-inch) open tailgate. The rear leaf springs have not been significantly altered, which means the Tundra TRD Pro retains the payload and tow capacity of the SR5 4x4.
Peer underneath and you'll see a hefty quarter-inch-thick aluminum front skid plate and a TRD dual cat-back exhaust system. The P275/65R18 Michelin LTX A/T2 tires and 18-inch alloy wheels are carryovers from the entry-level TRD off-road package except for the black finish and TRD center caps.
All badges have been blacked out to match, and the black grille sports the word "TOYOTA" instead of the usual sombrero logo. There are no messy graphics, but the TRD Pro logo has been stamped into the bed sides. Climb inside and you'll find unique TRD Pro seat fabric and door trim with contrasting red stitching. More TRD logos adorn the shift knob, center console and floor mats.
Which Trim Levels Can You Get?
The Tundra TRD Pro option package is only available on the SR5 4x4. Content-wise it amounts to a trim level of its own, but you go through the SR5 route to get there.
If you go with the Double Cab configuration, it comes with a standard 6.5-foot bed. With the larger CrewMax Cab, it only comes with a 5.5-foot bed.
How Does It Drive?
The first thing we notice is the throaty burble of the TRD exhaust. The 5.7-liter V8 packs a powerful punch in stock trim, but the TRD treatment imbues it with a pleasingly intoxicating V8 rumble every time we roll onto the throttle. It's enough to turn us into those people who rev their engine for no reason at stoplights.
Toyota hasn't yet published any revised TRD Pro horsepower and torque figures, but the exhaust seems to count for something other than a bit of burble and snort. Our 2015 TRD Pro CrewMax 4x4 finished the quarter-mile in 15.1 seconds at 90.4 mph, a half-second quicker and 0.4 mph faster than a similar 2014 Tundra 1794 CrewMax V8 4x4 we ran a few weeks ago.
And the last 6.2-liter Ford Raptor Crew Cab we tested did the deed in 15.3 seconds at 90.0 mph. The gap to 60 mph is even more distinct, with the TRD Pro on top by a score of 6.7 seconds to 7.1 seconds. The Raptor's extra 424 pounds and ultra-wide bodywork are clearly not helping.
The six-speed transmission shifts smartly when we're hard on the gas, then it goes all smooth and economical when we're not. A tow-haul switch it there to tighten things up. Or we can slide the lever into the manual shift gate and take matters into our own hands.
Steering response isn't terribly immediate (we'd prefer a ratio quicker than 18-to-1) but the hydraulic assist offers up good feedback and effort build-up as the Tundra bends into corners. A bit of body roll comes at the same time, but it's held nicely in check by the well-balanced suspension. There's decent poise and composure on offer here, even if ultimate grip is limited to 0.68g on our skid pad by the off-road tires.
What About Ride Comfort?
The ride quality is excellent. In fact, the Tundra TRD Pro may just be the smoothest-riding Tundra 4x4 Toyota makes. The softer front springs are adept at taking the edge off little stuff, and most minor road disturbances occur in the softest zone of the three-stage Bilstein shocks.
At the other end of the spectrum, the long-travel suspension and firmer end-range damping of the Bilsteins conspire to absorb potholes, intersection dips and speed humps without flinching. Sure, there's some empty-truck freeway hop on our local segmented highways, but it's not terribly pronounced.
That TRD exhaust note fades to a murmur when cruising. It's never entirely gone, but it's never intrusive, either. Same goes for the distant thrum of the Michelin LTX A/T2 tires. It's there, but totally within character.
How About Off-Road?
Our local National Forest access roads tend to be uneven and somewhat rocky. In most vehicles, the ride is jarring and passengers get tossed about despite efforts to the contrary. It's a different story in the TRD Pro.
The extra travel, ground clearance and sophisticated damping allow this Tundra to glide over loose rocky surfaces that might turn a hiker's ankle. It can play through in places where a stock pickup must proceed deliberately. Our passengers were grinning in places we've seen them wince before.
The folks who won't tag along because they don't want to get "bounced around" will be happy to ride shotgun in the TRD Pro.
Frame twist obstacles? Better than any stock pickup, according to our Ramp Travel test. The extra suspension travel improves its articulation score to 484, while base pickups barely crack 400 points. Water bars? No problem. The stock Tundra's already generous approach angle of 26 degrees is further enhanced by the 2-inch front lift.
What's the Interior Like?
All 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro trucks start out life as an SR5-grade truck, which means cloth seats and a three-knob manual climate control system. The TRD Pro option includes a center console with buckets instead of the three-across bench, and those seats are covered with TRD-specific black fabric with contrasting red stitching. Matching red-on-black stitchwork extends to handsome inserts on the door panels and dashboard.
The cloth seats are exceedingly comfy and the driver's perch is power-adjustable. Combine this with a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and it's easy to find an agreeable driving position.
The instrument panel that was redesigned last year is much easier to read than the old one, but the trip computer between the main dials is somewhat rudimentary compared to what's currently available in the Tundra's domestic competitors.
Likewise the central controls and the audio system are much easier to reach and use than they were in years past when they were offset toward the passenger side. But the steadily improving Entune touchscreen audio and navigation system still has its quirks. For instance, the navigation system is concealed within the Apps menu. Something used that often deserves top billing.
Our test truck had the CrewMax Cab, which has more rear legroom (42.3 inches) than many limousines. A friend who rode back there (with two others, and a dog) described it as "an apartment."
What About Cargo and Towing?
All TRD Pro Tundras ride on the 145.7-inch wheelbase, which pairs the CrewMax cab with the 66.7-inch short bed. You can get the 78.7-inch standard bed if you can live with the reduced rear legroom (34.7 inches) of the Double Cab.
The SR5 4x4 CrewMax has a payload of 1,440 pounds and maximum tow capacity of 9,800 pounds, and those figures hold firm even when the TRD Pro option is added. No optional tow equipment needs to be purchased because the hitch, necessary powertrain cooling and 4.30 axle ratio comes standard.
What's more, Toyota is the only truckmaker than certifies its tow ratings to SAE J2807, the Society of Automotive Engineers tow capacity standard. The Big Three continue to thumb their nose at the procedure because it'll take a bite out of their internally generated towing claims.
We've towed with this engine and transmission combination before and were suitably impressed. The 2009 Tundra would have won our four-way towing comparison test if not for its unloaded ride comfort, a shortcoming that isn't nearly as pronounced in the 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro.
What Kind of Mileage Does It Deliver?
On paper, the 5.7-liter V8 fuel economy doesn't impress. The Tundra 4x4 is rated at 15 mpg combined (13 city/17 highway). The four-wheel-drive competition from Ford (EcoBoost V6 turbo) and Ram (Hemi V8) are rated at 17 mpg combined. The Chevy Silverado 4x4 (5.3-liter V8) is good for 18 mpg combined.
It's not nearly as bad as it looks, though. Toyota's rating includes all the equipment necessary to achieve its maximum tow rating because it's all standard. The others confuse the issue with optional axle ratios and tow packages, the effects of which are entirely excluded (or seriously watered down) from the fuel economy rating.
Purchase a Big Three truck with the necessary max towing equipment and you'll have trouble matching the rated fuel economy.
At least you know what you're getting with the Tundra. For our part, we found the window sticker rating to be achievable. We tallied 16.6 mpg on our evaluation loop, which is nothing like a pure highway run. It can certainly do better.
Meanwhile, the Ford Raptor, the closest competitor on the off-road front, is rated at 13 mpg combined (11 city/16 highway).
How Much and When Can I Get One?
The 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro will debut in September or October 2014. Pricing has not yet been announced, but we expect the TRD Pro option to cost $5,000 more than the existing TRD Off-Road package.
A 2014 Tundra 5.7-liter V8 CrewMax 4x4 starts at $37,650. Bucket seats are $1,050 and the low-level TRD Off-Road package costs $2,030. So we're probably talking about $45,500 or so for the 2015 TRD Pro, perhaps $46,500 if equipped with navigation like our test truck.
What Are Its Closest Competitors?
The 2014 Ford Raptor is the first truck that springs to mind. It's the more outrageous-looking truck and its suspension has about 1 inch more travel up front and 1.7 inches more out back. It's also a full 6.4 inches wider than the Tundra, which has benefits and drawbacks.
A Raptor Super Crew starts at $48,800, but a host of must-have options come bundled in a $4,760 option package. Most Raptors cost upward of $53,560.
The 2014 Ram Power Wagon is another choice, but it's a heavy-duty 2500-series truck that is optimized for heavy work and low-speed crawling. It comes standard with a winch, front and rear lockers and a front stabilizer bar disconnect. The Power Wagon is more like a heavy-duty pickup version of the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon than anything else.
Why Should You Consider This Truck?
The 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is built for those who want a capable and well-sorted off-road machine that still retains the towing capacity of the base truck. Ford traded away a significant chunk of load-carrying and tow capacity to obtain the Raptor's off-road gains, particularly because of the rear suspension modifications.
And the TRD Pro is not outrageous in an over-the-top sort of way. We love the Raptor, but we know people who think it's a bit much. Do we wish the TRD Pro had knobbier 33-inch tires instead of these conservatively styled (but effective) Michelin 32-inch tires? You bet. But tires are easily replaced after the fact.
No wider than a regular Tundra 4x4, the TRD Pro is easier to maneuver and garage than a Raptor. That extra half-foot of width makes a Super Crew Raptor a parking lot challenge.
And of course there's the price, which is expected to be several thousand dollars cheaper.
Why Should You Think Twice About This Truck?
The 2015 TRD Pro, good as it is, doesn't possess the take-no-prisoners attitude and performance of a Ford Raptor. It doesn't grab you by the scruff of the neck in the same way. It's sensible. Toyota's decision to retain the stock payload and towing capability ultimately holds it back a bit.
And if you only want the look and the badge, if you don't really need or want this kind of focused off-road performance, by all means stick with the regular TRD Off-Road package and save yourself some money.
Finally, if you like the idea of the TRD Pro but want something a little more compact than a Tundra, Toyota is introducing Tacoma and 4Runner versions of the TRD Pro package at the same time.
|Year Make Model||2015 Toyota Tundra SR5 TRD Pro 4dr CrewMax 4WD SB (5.7L 8cyl 6A)|
|Vehicle Type||4WD 4dr 5-passenger Crew Cab Pickup|
|As-tested MSRP||$46,500 (est.)|
|Assembly location||San Antonio|
|Configuration||Longitudinal, front engine, four-wheel drive|
|Engine type||Naturally aspirated gasoline V8 with port-injection|
|Valvetrain||DOHC, four valves per cylinder, variable intake + exhaust-valve timing|
|Compression ratio (x:1)||10.2|
|Redline, indicated (rpm)||5,900|
|Fuel cutoff/rev limiter (rpm)||6,200|
|Horsepower (hp @ rpm)||381 @ 5,600|
|Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)||401 @ 3,600|
|Fuel type||87-octane regular unleaded|
|Transmission type||Six-speed automatic with console shifter and Tow/Haul mode|
|Transmission ratios (x:1)||I=3.333, II=1.960, III=1.353, IV=1.0, V=0.728, VI=0.588|
|Final-drive ratio (x:1)||4.30|
|Transfer-case ratio (x:1)||2.64|
|Suspension, front||Independent double wishbones with high-mount upper arm, coil springs, monotube dampers with remote reservoirs and 3-stage compression damping, stabilizer bar|
|Suspension, rear||Solid-axle, leaf springs, monotube dampers with remote reservoirs|
|Steering type||Hydraulic-assist, speed-proportional, rack-and-pinion|
|Steering ratio (x:1)||18.0|
|Tire make and model||Michelin LTX A/T2|
|Tire type||All-season, all-terrain|
|Tire size||P275/65R18 114T|
|Wheel size||18-by-8 inches|
|Wheel material||Black-painted cast aluminum|
|Brakes, front||13.9-inch ventilated cast-iron discs with 4-piston fixed calipers|
|Brakes, rear||13.6-inch ventilated cast-iron discs with single-piston sliding calipers|
|Track Test Results|
|Acceleration, 0-30 mph (sec.)||2.5|
|0-45 mph (sec.)||4.4|
|0-60 mph (sec.)||6.7|
|0-75 mph (sec.)||10.3|
|1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)||15.1 @ 90.4|
|0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)||6.5|
|0-30 mph, trac ON (sec.)||3.0|
|0-45 mph, trac ON (sec.)||5.0|
|0-60 mph, trac ON (sec.)||7.4|
|0-75 mph, trac ON (sec.)||11.0|
|1/4-mile, trac ON (sec. @ mph)||15.6 @ 90.1|
|0-60, trac ON with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)||7.2|
|Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)||33|
|60-0 mph (ft.)||134|
|Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)||53.1|
|Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph) ESC ON||53.3|
|Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)||0.68|
|Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g) ESC ON||0.66|
|Sound level @ idle (dB)||42.4|
|@ Full throttle (dB)||74.9|
|@ 70 mph cruise (dB)||65.5|
|Engine speed @ 70 mph (rpm)||2,000|
|Test Driver Ratings & Comments|
|Acceleration comments||Traction control takes a big bite out of acceleration when the driver plants the throttle on the floor. Wow is this a loud engine at wide-open throttle. Upshifts are harsh and abrupt in an unexpected way. How ever you slice it, though, this is a darn quick performance.|
|Braking comments||Firm, well-calibrated pedal and consistent, straight stops from first to last. Shortest stop was third of four total, which is a good indication for heat capacity.|
|Handling comments||This is really a silly exercise with a truck like this. That said, Slalom: the truck's steering doesn't affect the direction of travel right away, then truck takes a good set. But then it takes another moment to transition back to the other side for the next cone and so on. When electronic stability control (ESC) intervenes, it forcefully grabs a brake upsetting the rhythm described above, but only for a moment and then it recedes quickly. Skid pad: Steering weight is modest and with an unexpected amount of feedback about the front tires, allows a driver to feel the road. Predictably the ESC intervenes, first by limiting throttle, then with brakes to keep the tires from howling.|
|Relative humidity (%)||52|
|Barometric pressure (in. Hg)||28.80|
|Wind (mph, direction)||5.8, head- and crosswind|
|Fuel used for test||87-octane gasoline|
|As-tested tire pressures, f/r (psi)||30/33|
|EPA fuel economy (mpg)||15 combined/13 city/17 highway|
|Edmunds observed (mpg)||16.6 (evaluation loop); 13.4 (including city and off-road)|
|Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)||26.4|
|Driving range (mi.)||448.8|
|Dimensions & Capacities|
|Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)||5,760|
|Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)||5,786|
|Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)||57/43|
|Height (in.)||77.4 (est.)|
|Track, front (in.)||67.9|
|Track, rear (in.)||67.9|
|Turning circle (ft.)||44.0|
|Legroom, front (in.)||42.5|
|Legroom, rear (in.)||42.3|
|Headroom, front (in.)||39.7|
|Headroom, rear (in.)||38.9|
|Shoulder room, front (in.)||65.7|
|Shoulder room, rear (in.)||65.5|
|Step-in height, measured (in.)||23.9|
|Cargo loading height, measured (in.)||33.4|
|Payload, mfr. max claim (lbs.)||1,440|
|Tow capacity, mfr. claim (lbs.)||9,800|
|Approach angle (degrees)||26.0 (before 2-inch lift added)|
|Departure angle (degrees)||22.0|
|Bumper-to-bumper||3 years/36,000 miles|
|Powertrain||5 years/60,000 miles|
|Corrosion||5 years/Unlimited miles|
|Roadside assistance||2 years/25,000 miles|
|Free scheduled maintenance||2 years/25,000 miles|
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.