Americans like their SUVs – and for some customers, bigger is better. One need look no further than parking lots filled with Tahoes and Grand Wagoneers for confirmation, not to mention their extended-length brethren like the Suburban and upcoming Grand Wagoneer XL.
Toyota has been in this game as well, albeit with an offering older than Methuselah. That changes for 2023, with the introduction of a new Sequoia.
Thanks to Toyota’s glacier-like design cycle, the full-sized Sequoia SUV looks largely the same as it did when it rolled off the ark in 2008. With seating for seven, the big body-on-frame rig harkens back to the days when SUVs were unapologetically truck-based. For 2020, the Big T is tossing some of its TRD Pro toys at its house-on-wheels, including a set of dandy internal-bypass Fox shock absorbers.
While they were at it, Toyota engineers took the opportunity to breathe on the hot-selling Tacoma. You’ll have to look closely to see those changes but, if past sales performance is any indication, the company didn’t need to spend much money on a refresh, anyways.
The Chicago Auto Show is less a trade event for showcasing new models and more of an industry dumping ground for special editions and appearance packages. Toyota is already bringing one of those to the party with the Land Cruiser Heritage Edition, but that’s not all it plans to unload from its trailer.
With the event just hours away, Toyota felt compelled to issue a last-minute teaser of an unidentified TRD Pro model. However, we’re disinclined to believe it’s destined for the updated Tacoma display.
Since the introduction of its fifth generation, the Toyota 4Runner has been sold in three flavors: the base SR5, the loaded Limited, and the off-road focused Trail. But Toyota has a history of making small batches of special edition models and, for 2015, the carmaker showed off the Trail-based TRD Pro.
The TRD Pro featured unique suspension with remote reservoir Bilstein shocks and taller springs, black TRD wheels wrapped in Nitto Terra Grappler A/T tires, unique skid-plates, grille, badges, interior trim, and one special red color.
For 2016, the TRD Pro is back, and this time it’s in everyone’s favorite color: Brown Quicksand!
2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
4-liter, DOHC V-6 with variable-valve timing (236 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm; 266 pound-feet @ 4,000 rpm)
5-speed ECT-i automatic
16 mpg city/21 mpg highway (EPA Rating, MPG)
17 mpg combined (observed, 40 percent highway/20 percent city/40 percent off road/100 percent totally bruh!)
Tested Options: TRD Performance Air Filter $90; Bed Mat $120; Paint Protection Film $395; Security System $469; Front Skid Plate $205.
As Tested Price:
* Prices include $885 destination and handling fee.
Forgive me for getting all emotional here.
The 2015 Toyota Tacoma represents to me the end of the road for the truck I knew so well, complete with a growl more familiar to me than my own father’s voice. Like many mountain-state millennials, the Tacoma seemed for me to be just the right size for a party in the mountains, a last-minute move (or eviction, perhaps), a camping trip or hauling an over-welded pig smoker and cherry picker to a friend’s backyard.
I expected the 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro to be a greatest hits album, replaying the most successful tunes from my young adulthood through its chunky tires and searing orange paint package.
It turned out to be more of a remix.
When I had the chance to drive the all-new 2016 Toyota Tacoma and the 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro back-to-back, I presumed that I’d get misty-eyed and nostalgic for one; geezerly and cynical for another.
In a way, I am. The TRD Pro feels like a rough-and-tumble truck, the kind of burnt orange brick to throttle through your neighbor’s window if they call the cops too many times for loud music. The 2016 Tacoma has a 3.5-liter engine like a Camry for chrissakes.
I just didn’t count on the fact that I grew up.
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- Wjtinfwb We had one of these LTD wagons in the daily rental fleet I worked while in College. It had been returned early from the lease customer and dumped into daily rental duty to milk a few more dollars out of it before it went to auction. As a lease/rental car, it's maintenance had been... eh, spotty at best. But one Friday night I needed a big car to take some friends down to the coast for dinner. The LTD was available so I grabbed the keys. Loaded with 3 couples and a cooler full of beer and wine, we set of on the 60 mile drive to the coast. The HOT light came on about halfway but there was no service station open on the drive down US 319. So we kept driving. Parked at the restaurant, food and many beers and wine ensued, we poured back into the LTD and headed back to campus. The HOT light popped on 20 miles in, so we kept driving. Dropped the wagon back at the rental lot, the V6 dieseling to a clanky end. Monday came, I figured the Ford was toast so avoided it but returned from lunch to find an associate had rented it again. Surprised it even started, I figured a rescue call was soon to be requested. Nothing. Two days later it was returned, the lady returning it said the HOT light came on, but she kept driving as everything seemed fine but she noticed a really bad smell. I drove it around back, popped the hood and started checking fluids; radiator, dry as a bone. crankcase, no oil on the dipstick. Even the transmission and power steering fluids were MIA. I filled the radiator with tap water, poured 3 quarts of 30 weight Quaker State in to the filler and slammed the hood. Eventually, the thermostat was replaced as the cause of the overheating but the LTD kept running until I got fired for wrecking a Fairmont. Tough car...
- Oberkanone Honda has made an effor. Carmakers Try to Cajole Consumers Into Caring About Air-Bag Recall - WSJAnd this was in 2017.
- Verbal Back in the 90's there was a bumper sticker that said, "Would you drive any better with that cell phone up your a$$?"
- FreedMike On the one hand, it doesn't look good. On the other hand, not releasing the car into the hands of the general public until the obvious bugs are worked out is a good idea for a brand new company. Time will tell.
- FreedMike I do take phone calls using Car Play if I'm not in traffic; it's a little bit of a distraction, but not much. I think it's certainly within an acceptable risk margin if you're not in heavy traffic. Back in the old days when I had a manual car and no Bluetooth, I never used the phone while driving at all.