Thursday, January 19, 2017

2017 Tacoma TRD Pro is a rugged, refined ride

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, CaliforniaToyota added the TRD Pro to its Tacoma pickup lineup for 2017, billing it as a truck for folks who like to work hard and play hard.

Message received.

At first glance – my tester was the mouthful of 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro 4X4 Double Cab – the truck just looks like a rugged performer, complete with 16-inch black alloy wheels and all-terrain tires that looked capable of motoring up Mount Everest.

The tested truck worked just fine on the local roadways, and my humble journey off the paved surfaces didn’t really come close to getting the absolute bottom line on this Tacoma’s off-road capabilities, which is a shame.

Visually, the Tacoma TRD Pro appears ready to smash through miles of dirt and streams.

The specialized equipment includes heavy-duty shocks, LED fog lights, a TRD front skid plate and TRD exhaust.

Naturally, the package included a serious 4WD system, an electronically controlled transfer case, an automatic limited-slip differential, crawl control, hill-start assist and much, much more.

Toyota says the TRD Pro’s body is composed of high-strength steel riding on a double wishbone coil-spring front suspension and a leaf spring rear suspension, bolstered by outboard-mounted gas shocks.

Ample power was supplied by a 3.5-liter V-6 dishing up a max 278 horsepower.  The engine was surprisingly responsive, but it served up power in impressive, smooth steps.  No lurching here, a most pleasant development.

Engine noise was fairly muted, but I actually could hear those heavy-duty tires on the freeway.  No complaint from me.  I know what the truck is capable of, and the sound was a happy reminder of the TRD Pro’s solid-footed stability.

Fuel mileage, alas, is a not-so-hot 18 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.

For all its rugged exterior looks, the interior cabin was refined and comfortable for driver and passengers.  Controls were thoughtfully positioned an easy to operate.  Leather trim dominates the interior, creating a warm feeling in a cabin likewise loaded with today’s necessary communications/technology bells and whistles.

The starting price on the tester was a somewhat hefty $42,760, pumped up to $45,042 on the bottom line with the addition of some extras.

If you have the cash, this is an A-grade pickup offering from Toyota.  How you divide work and play time in it is up to you.

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