How about a little Toyota Truck History lesson…

While the Tacoma wasn’t officially introduced until 1995, Toyota’s truck heritage goes back as far as 1969 – nearly 50 years – with the first generation Hilux Pickup Truck. 10 years later, Toyota introduced the first 4WD version of of the Toyota Truck. The sixth generation Toyota Truck ran from 1989 – 1994 and introduced a longer wheelbase along with the 3.0-liter V-6 engine. The 1989 Xtracab SR5 even grabbed Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year Award. Toyota’s “little” truck project had come a long way and was clearly here to stay. 1995 launched the first generation Tacoma, followed but by the second generation in 2005. The third (and current) generation Tacoma came to us in 2015 and included the first-ever TRD Pro Series model.

Given Toyota’s success and Tacoma’s fiercely loyal fanbase, it’s no surprise that Toyota continues to push advances and features in this powerful compact truck. The 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is no exception.

Exterior

First, I’d like to simply give a HUGE thanks to Toyota for their fantastic color options available. Exclusive to the 2017 year TRD Pro is Cement which is a home run for me. I’m also a big fan of Quicksand (2016-specific) Inferno and Cavalry Blue (available on the 2018 TRD Pro).

While there are certainly detractors with every shift, Toyota’s move to a more angular and geometric design has been very well-received. The truck keeps it’s muscular stance with it’s flared, contrast-black fenders and hood scoop, and trapezoidal front fascia. The black wheels only add to the “urban-assault” design. TRD-badging around the truck lets everyone know you’re ready to get down and dirty.

Interior

The interior works well for my short, 5’ 8” stance but taller drivers might squeeze the rear passengers into a bit of a tight spot. But if it’s your kids riding in the rear, you’ll be just fine. Creature comforts such as Bluetooth, heated seats, a touchscreen navigation system, blind spot monitoring, sunroof, and leather-trimmed details help plus-up the mostly rugged theme of the Tacoma TRD Pro.

You won’t find any high-end materials or ultra-plus anything but that’s not why you buy a “Taco” TRD Pro. This truck is rough-and-tumble ready-to-party machine and when it comes to a good time in the off-road, it’s all business.

Performance & Driving

The Tacoma’s power plant is a 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy in this setup is good for 18 MPG city and 23 MPG highway, 20 MPG combined.

The magic in the 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro is a small, black button that says “MTS” – a.k.a. Multi-Terrain Select. The five-mode MTS traction-control settings help you successfully navigate a range of conditions – everything from mud and sand to rock crawling. This feature, along with 9.4 inches of ground clearance, help you pretty much tackle whatever terrain you want with the confidence of a more-seasoned off-road driver.

Pricing

While the 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro’s functionality, off-road capability and daily-driving sufficiency make it a very appealing truck option, The $45,012 price tag (as-tested) might turn away some price-conscious truck shoppers. Yes, the TRD Pro can turn any average driver into a bit of an off-road super hero but they’ll be paying a premium to do so. Consider that a 2017 Ford F150 Raptor SuperCab is only $5,000 more ($50,560 MSRP) and you’ll have to really be in love with the Taco to not make the jump. And clearly, many buyers are.

See you on the road,

Fabian