By on February 8, 2018

Image: Toyota

It’s leg day at the Toyota Athletic Center. As the Chicago Auto Show kicks off, Toyota has changes in store for its off-road TRD Pro lineup that should help drivers of the brawniest Tacomas, Tundras, and 4Runners keep their sunglasses perched on their nose while blasting through an arroyo.

For the 2019 model year, the same 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass shocks found on the existing Tacoma TRD Pro make their way into the full-size Tundra and midsize 4Runner SUV, along with other suspension improvements. The net effect is a higher ride height and milder manners both on-road and off.

In the case of the Tacoma, going TRD Pro means you’ll never leave home without your snorkel.

If you’re looking for big sheetmetal changes, forget about it. 2019 brings mainly content improvements, though there’s a few minor styling tweaks coming to the Tundra. (The Tacoma gains a very conspicuous external attachment, but more on that in a bit.)

Image: Toyota

The Fox shocks found on each TRD Pro model utilize internal bypass zones to keep things calm and tranquil on the commute to your IT job, amping up the unit’s damping abilities — and stiffness —as the vehicle starts approaches the limits of its suspension travel. A piggyback reservoir brings extra oil volume to each rear shock, helping soak up extra-hard bumps (and landings) during your stress-relieving weekend excursions. As before, extra ground clearance comes by way of TRD-designed springs.

In the Tundra, which joined the TRD Pro team for 2018, the suspension upgrades amount to an extra 2 inches of lift, front and rear, when compared to lesser trims. Up front, those new Fox shocks feature 11 bypass zones (seven on the downstroke, four on the rebound), while the aft tubes offer 12 steps to a softer life (eight compression, four rebound). Wheel travel increases by 1.5 inches in the front and 2 inches in the rear.

Image: Toyota

Sharp-eyed viewers might notice new LED foglights, complimenting the model’s LED headlights and accent lights. Above them, a hood scoop opens another portal into the engine bay, and the grille adopts a black, honeycomb mesh. Five-spoke satin black 18-inch wheels from BBS help shave just over 13 pounds from the heavy package, while the model’s black chrome tailpipes will surely get some notice from neighboring Miata drivers.

In the 4Runner, one of the longest-running “true” SUVs, the big news is those Fox shocks on each corner. The front dampers offer seven bypass zones; the rears, eleven. Going TRD Pro on this model lifts your butt an extra inch from the ground. Outside, the only change is the addition of a roof rack designed to put olfactory distance between occupants and a weekend’s worth of dirty socks and drawers. You’d want to abide by the 4/60 rule (four windows down, 60 mph) on the way home.

Image: Toyota

The most recognizable TRD Pro member, the Tacoma, doesn’t enter 2019 unchanged. Upgraded Fox shocks offer eight bypass zones in the front tubes, eleven in the rear, and a beefier front sway bar should aid drivers when they hit that fork in the road. Out back, a black chrome exhaust tip lurks below the rear bumper.

Poking above the passenger-side A-pillar is something else that’s new. A TRD Desert Air Intake ensures the Tacoma’s air filter doesn’t get clogged during lengthy, high-speed blasts across dusty landscapes. It also signals to everyone that you, the driver, are primed for serious adventure.

All TRD Pro models gain a quarter-inch thick front skid plate with TRD lettering, plus badging aplenty. An Entune Premium JBL audio system with integrated navigation and a suite of apps joins the Tacoma and 4Runner equipment roster, leaving the Tundra uninvited to the dance party.

Pricing details will land closer to the trio’s fall 2018 release date. Buyers can choose from three colors: Super White, Midnight Black Metallic, or the far more eye-popping Voodoo Blue — a color unavailable to non-TRD owners.

[Images: Toyota]

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38 Comments on “Mighty Like a (TRD) Pro: Toyota’s 2019 Off-roaders Hit the Gym...”


  • avatar
    grinchsmate

    Looks goofy.

    Do snorkels usually stick up so high or is it just the photo being taken from below?

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Peak Snorkel.

      We’ve found a new way to posture in traffic. We’ve gotten Peak Tailgate Badge; we’ve got Peak Ride Height with the headlights higher than cars’ roofs.

      We’ve got Peak LED, with beams so intense they’re painful to the eyes. And of course, in some places, we have Peak Coal-Roll. Where the slack-jaws can advertise their disapproval of their lessers in cars…motorcycles…on foot.

      All that’s left, I guess, is Peak Snorkel. Is it spring-loaded, for when it catches traffic lights?

  • avatar
    Robert Fahey

    Attention, author: It’s “complement,” not “compliment” in that context.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    So I guess the Tundra isn’t getting redesigned for 2019?

    Also, I had thought that the there was a Tundra TRD Pro in 2015/2016? Article makes it sound like this is the first year for it.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    So highest level off-road trims get more TuRDy?

    Got it.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    This vehicle is basically a necessity for those rainy days when the shopping center puddles get especially deep.

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    I can’t get past how unpleasant all Toyotas look now.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Given CAFE and how the laws of aerodynamics don’t vary from company to company…all cars now have to look like blobs.

      Putting Pac-Man faces on their blobs, seems to be the only way left to stand out.

      • 0 avatar
        VW4motion

        Blaming CAFE laws for Toyoda not giving a crap about design or updating product? That’s a big stretch even for the Toyota lover boyz.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          No, blaming CAFE for the universality of the Blob Design Language.

          What can you do with a blob? Garish grilles, most of them blanked out behind the plastichrome, are about the only option left. There won’t be any cubist or squared-off cars again, until/unless CAFE is mitigated.

          So you’re going to have blank snouts or gaudy grilles, as the brands struggle to keep some sort of identity.

          • 0 avatar
            VW4motion

            You’re hilarious. The blame goes to toyoder, not CAFE laws. They know morons will still keep on buying product that was designed 15 years ago simply because it has the Toyota sticker. Now they can’t sell a Crapmry without $4500 on the hood.

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            So, Toyota is responsible for Ford blobs, GM blobs, VW blobs, Honda blobs?

            How did Toyota get this power?

            Why do you think they wanted to put “different” grilles on their cars? I mean, why not just go Cubist, or some other radical design?…maybe because wind-tunnel testing and the resultant drag of “alternate” body styles led to lower tested MPG?

            So, then, what’s left, if not distinction on the front facia?

            The only thing funnier than a brand-fanboi is a brand-jihadist.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Really? Try explaining that to Jeep. The brand new Wrangler is about as square as it gets.

        • 0 avatar
          Penvon

          Someone had their drink of Toyota Haterade I see…I think you should be more concerned with VW losing new customers ongoing with their testing issues,rather than hate on Toyota who’s just moving along selling their vehicles & minding their own.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        They don’t look like blobs, they look like a cross between poorly style transformers and Rock ’em Sock ’em robots. The 4Runner is especially ugly and it’s so outdated now in it’s 9th year of it’s generation.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Ugly to a fault, each and every one. But I would think their willingness to offer off-road capable versions of three distinct segment offerings would earn some respect from enthusiasts.

    The 4Runner is still a unique offering and the Tundra a reasonably competitive offering in the narrow field of off-road ready half-tons, but the Tacoma seems overshadowed by the ZR2 and vaporware Ranger Raptor.

  • avatar
    TonyP

    “quarter-inch thick front skid plate”

    So they’re using a 3 gauge metal? I find that hard to believe. If that’s steel it’ll be heavy as piss.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Going by the snorkel Toyota apparently wants you to be able to drive while the cab is completely submerged. In which case they should have included a periscope, or is that part of the optional Wolf Pack package?

    • 0 avatar
      VW4motion

      These are just the latest Soccer Mom editions from Toyota. They have done the research and know who buys these TuRDs.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      FWIW the purpose of mounting THAT high is to keep the intake clear of dust/sand, more so than water crossing purposes. Take a look at some mil-spec Land Cruiser 70s in the middle east or Africa, they often have similar setups.

      A bit of an aside, I’m in San Diego right now and blown away by the amount of Tacomas and Tundras (of all generations), the proportions are WAY skewed from what I’m used to seeing in the Midwest.

    • 0 avatar
      Heino

      No it is the Tom Cruise U Boat package.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Geez, tough crowd.

    I think they’re okay.

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    While we’re ON the subject…

    …what’s with the forward scoop? Shouldn’t the snorkel be turned BACK?

    There is not going to be any negligible air-ramming effect on that plastic toy. But, mud, water or dust…if the opening faces rearward, less of it will be led into the laundry-exhaust tubing.

    On my Honda motorcycle, under the trim panel, is the air duct. Slot facing backwards, for just that reason – avoid dust and grit just flying in there. Reversing the airflow – that is, the slipstream of dust has to reverse to enter the airbox – itself, reduces the crud coming in.

    But of course, this assumes that thing is functional. Does it actually mount up to a blank plate on the fender?

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      “…what’s with the forward scoop? Shouldn’t the snorkel be turned BACK?”

      Because it’s an air “intake”.

      “….itself, reduces the crud coming in.”

      That’s why an air filter exists.

      Most vehicles, including motorcycles like my Yamaha and Ducati, have air intakes facing forwards….for obvious reasons. And again, the air filter is to prevent dirt from entering the engine.

      • 0 avatar
        JustPassinThru

        What, it can’t suck air while facing the back

        How much ram-action do you think you get, from that bit of dryer-exhaust, sticking up?

        How does my motorcycle manage to pull air in, without having the intake facing forward?

        You could try it. You won’t even feel any power loss.

        And might not have to change the air filter so often, as when it’s eagerly gulping up the dust cloud.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      I’ve seen mud-bogger types have the snorkel face backwards but the majority face forward and as @gtem pointed out earlier, it is more to reduce dust intake than water. You’d have to charge through water rather aggressively to get fluid into the airbox. Internally the snorkel should be designed to drain off any water that does find its way inside.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    The Chappaquiddick Edition Tacoma. If Teddy’s ‘67 Olds 88 had a snorkel, things could have been very different.

  • avatar
    SkookumFord

    Yo, dawg, I heard you like hood scoops so I put a hood scoop on your hood scoop.

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    The highest approval of the new Toyota’s off-road ruggedness and reliability in extreme conditions…..
    Will the Taliban use the new Toyotas or keep their old ones?

  • avatar
    stuki

    Going solely by experience with the Raptor, bypass shocks like these NEED to find their way into luxury rides, not just offroad ones. Instead of building handbags, Cadillac shouldn’t let anyone on staff leave the office, until every single one of their bigger, more comfort centric, cars have shocks like these, tuned differently for each model.

    If they can make otherwise clumsy platforms like leaf sprung BOF pickups float over dessert trails, they should be standard issue for makes aspiring to luxury status in markets like ours, where the average street now resemble Baja more than what a Swiss or German road engineer would sign off on.

    Toyota should stick them on the Avalon, and the LS and Land Cruiser as well. Again, at least based on Raptor experience, they’ll more than be worth it in ride quality for those cars’ comfort driven, and willing to spend a bit for it, segments.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    I desperately want a Cavalry Blue 18/19 TRD Pro…

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Should call it the “Dante’s Peak” edition, maybe put some lava proof roof cladding for the too-hard-to make look like a scruffy scientist who’s usually is James Bond.

  • avatar
    Bloody-Brit

    Cannot beat the quality of a Toyota Truck. Last truck I bought was an F150 when I wanted a Tundra and constantly regretted my choice, small things like electric windows, fuel filler door kept going wrong. Drivetrain was fine, but I had the 5.4 and knew once past 100,000 it could fail. Anyway cannot beat the small trucks, look at this guy: http://www.dashboard-light.com/are-old-trucks-better-than-new-trucks/

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “the same 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass shocks found on the existing Tacoma TRD Pro make their way into the full-size Tundra and midsize 4Runner SUV”

    Actually no. They might all share the same brand of shock but they will be tuned for each application. A Tacoma tuned shock would not work well on the heavier Tundra and might be too stiff for 4Runner.

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