2021 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro
More consumers are attracted to pickup trucks than ever. They are not looking at them for work these days, but for play. In fact, consumers are looking at trucks that can go through the woods, across the desert, and over the rocks.
These off-road ready pickup trucks are a part of a high stakes battle that now include high horsepower. There are now trucks that are pushing over 700 horsepower that are designed to tackle wide open trails.
What if you wanted to tackle uncharted territory, but do not need a lot of horsepower?
After wrapping up our time in a 2021 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, we might just have the right answer.
The Tundra TRD Pro comes in either the extended “Double Cab” or the full four-door “CrewMax.” Our tester is the latter CrewMax, which provides one of the largest cabs among full-size half-ton pickup trucks.
Toyota also distinguishes the TRD Pro version of the Tundra by giving it a distinctive black grille with the Toyota wordmark in the middle, plus specific headlamp units, a pair of Rigid Industries LED fog lamps, 18-inch TRD Pro alloy wheels from BBS, embossed logos on the side of the bed and a monochrome paint job. In our case, we got a rather cool light gray color known as Lunar Rock.
On the outside, it really looks like a tough pickup truck. Underneath, the TRD Pro adds a front skid plate to protect the frame from loose rocks and other debris that might cause undercarriage damage. In all, this Tundra TRD Pro looks like one tough pickup truck.
Inside is a tough leather upholstery with two large and comfortable bucket seats up front split by a wide console. The rear seat is a full bench which its cushions can be folded up with a 60/40 split. Rear seat room is spacious and good for three adults to sit across its wide cab.
Instrumentation is straight forward with dials that are readable and large. Both main dials are flanked by a clean TFT screen providing key information to the driver. You also get all four gauges, including oil temperature and battery charge. Every control is familiar with a solid Toyota touch, including the cruise control stalk, climate, and steering-wheel controls. The audio system resides in the center stack with a seven-inch touchscreen.
Our TRD Pro tester was powered by a 381-horsepower 5.7-Liter V8 with 381, putting down 401 pound-feet of torque. This is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission and a robust four-wheel-drive system and a two-speed transfer case. This truck has a payload rating is 1,560 pounds with a maximum towing capacity of 9,200 pounds.
In terms of fuel economy, we averaged 14.4 MPG.
Our tester came standard with a set of FOX shocks for the front and rear suspension. This off-road set-up serves up a very smooth ride overall and greater absorption over rougher conditions. This lends to some soft handling characteristics, but without a lot of roll or lean.
The steering felt a bit soft and loose. However, it can be responsive when it needs be. On-center offers some play even at high speeds. Brakes are quite good, with strong stopping power in normal and panic situations. This truck also has a great pedal action and response down to the wheels.
Pricing for the Tundra lineup starts at $33,675. You get a choice of two cab types, three bed lengths, and two- or four-wheel-drive. Trim levels include SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, the 1794, and our TRD Pro tester. The sticker price of our TRD Pro CrewMax came to $55,224.
When you want a truck for playing off road, you have plenty of choices among Toyota’s full-sized pickup rivals. Those rivals include the Chevrolet Silverado Trail Boss, GMC Sierra 1500 AT4, Nissan Titan PRO-4X, and the Ford F-150 Raptor, the Ram 1500 Rebel and TRX.
It brings up the question whether one should spend a lot of money for a high-performance off-road pickup truck. Or, get something that is fun to drive in any condition that won’t completely break that bank. If you are considering the latter, the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro should be your choice. It will do everything you ask it to do…and more.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors