Toyota Holds It’s Own with the Tundra TRD PRO
The 2019 Toyota Tundra might not get the attention it deserves in a year when all-new GMC, Chevrolet, and Ram full-sized trucks hit the market. However, Toyota has kept the Tundra interesting with the return of their top-of-the-line off-road trim level: the TRD Pro.
The TRD Pro distinguishes itself from other Tundras in a few ways. The most obvious distinction is the Voodoo Blue color, the exclusive TRD Pro color for 2019. Also unique is the legacy-inspired “TOYOTA” lettering on a blacked-out grille. I was nostalgic when this first appeared on the 4Runner TRD Pro and am happy they’ve continued the tradition on their off-road models. The latest incarnation doesn’t have the solid crossbar through the middle of the grille, but instead, the letters float in the center, creating even more of a focal point. Also on the front, you can find aftermarket-inspired LED fog lamps created by Rigid Industries.
You’ll notice smaller 18” gloss black rims that allow larger sidewalls on factory tires and create more options for specialty rubber. TRD-unique exhaust tips match the TRD wheels. Inside, you will see a very familiar setup to previous Tundras but with a new, larger center stack screen. The Tundra TRD Pro also has some unique working equipment to back up its off-road aesthetic. 2.5” Fox shocks create a modest lift (+1.5” wheel travel front, 2.1” rear). The undercarriage is protected by a ¼” aluminum skid plate with a small access door for easier oil changes. The aftermarket has really exploded for these trucks, so for the enthusiast, few platforms are as exciting to modify.
The Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is only available with the largest Crew-Max cab and features no engine updates from previous model years. It still has the beefy 5.7L V8, which might win over some returning buyers who perform maintenance at home and would otherwise struggle with the maze of engine variants across the full-sized pickup market. The Tundra has simplicity on its side, and the only trade-off is fuel efficiency. While it’s good to respond to market dynamics and guard against potential future regulation, you must admire Toyota for not digging into the trenches the way other truck manufacturers have. They build good trucks in Texas, and they don’t scramble for an extra MPG so they can brag about it on an overpriced commercial slot.
Toyota is not the technology leader in full-sized pickup trucks. However, they do have technology where it counts, with Toyota Safety Sense™ P. Things like pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, radar-assisted cruise control, and automatic braking used to be optional equipment on top of the line vehicles, but they are standard on the Tundra TRD Pro. Not burdening customers with the cost of safety equipment, Toyota was the first and is still leading in value for safety tech.
While competition mounts in the street-going truck market, the Tundra TRD Pro keeps its status as an off-road truck platform that excites enthusiasts. While high-performance off-roaders like the Ford Raptor soar in price, the TRD Pro stays in its own lane, starting under $50,000.