Toyota turned to Thursday’s Chicago Auto Show to get dirty.
No, the cleaning staff wasn’t snowed in, and risque photos weren’t part of the press conference. Instead the brand better known for milquetoast appliance sedans introduced a new line of off-road packages for 4X4 versions of its 2015 Tundra and Tacoma trucks and its 4Runner SUV.
Dubbed the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) Pro Series, these factory-installed editions bolt on items like Bilstein brand shocks, lifted springs, skid plates, wheels, tires and exhaust to the underside of the vehicles. Body modifications include unique grilles, badging, and white, black or orange paint.
The trio of Toyotas seeks to capitalize on the success Ford has had selling the snarling, bad-boy Raptor edition of its F-150. That Baja-inspired machine was introduced in 2010 and sports a massive 6.2-liter V-8 and a host of off-road friendly upgrades to the suspension, wheels, tires and body.
The lineup also hopes to leverage the success TRD has had racing in the Baja 500 and 1000 endurance races. "Born from this experience in the desert, Toyota’s terrain-conquering vehicles will help serious off-roaders go places they never dreamed possible," Toyota said in launching the Pro Series.
The Tundra, Tacoma and 4Runner each offer specific upgrades that have been tuned for the respective vehicle. The Tundra TRD Pro gets a two-inch lift to the front springs and suspension travel, and an additional 1.25 inches of rear-wheel travel. Wheels are of the 18-inch variety and a stainless-steel dual exhaust system adds a hearty growl.
The Tacoma sees the same two-inch lift up front, with one addition inch of front travel and 1.5 inches of extra cushion in the rear. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels come standards, and a stainless-steel, cat-back exhaust system is also included.
SUV fans looking for off-road fun in the 4Runner TRD Pro get an extra inch of wheel travel on all four corners and 17-inch alloy wheels.
None of these TRD Pro Series upgrades boosts the vehicles’ power in a meaningful way, though Toyota’s TRD aftermarket catalog already offers items like superchargers and cold air intakes for those interested.
All three of the TRD Pro Series models will begin stomping through sand dunes in the fall. Pricing will be announced closer to their on-sale date.