When it comes to style, there’s no doubt the camera loves the 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRDpro. In the kick your ass color of Inferno, the TRDpro simply cannot be ignored. And the contrast with its 16-inch bead-lock style TRD wheels really makes it pop.
Note I said bead-lock style, as they aren’t the real deal. But in the end I doubt anyone will care. Our tester was optioned with the aluminum TRD front skid plate which really ought to be standard as I think this truck would look naked without it.
Out back you’ll see the big fat polished tip of the standard TRD exhaust which adds a sound which like its styling also cannot be ignored. In the bed, a standard 115-volt power outlet, an adjustable bed rail system, and storage compartments are all complimented by an optional rubber bed mat.
Giving the Toyota Tacoma TRDpro its stance is the staring attraction here, a buff off-road suspension which adds a near 2-inch lift up front. Spring rates are softer and the suspension has increased travel. Up front are hugely upgraded Bilstein shocks and at the rear an elaborate pair of Bilstien external reservoir shocks.
The interior of the TRDpro gets a few extra duds as well including a pair of logo floor mats and a shift knob. Outside of that, this cabin is otherwise mid-grade with cloth trimmed manually adjustable sport seats.
Design is simple and relatively basic, having been with us for the better part of a decade with few changes or upgrades. There is a 6.1-inch touchscreen audio system which does offer the expected connectivity options, but it’s by no means audiophile material.
The rear seat of course in the largest Double Cab offers plenty of space and is reasonably comfortable. It can be folded down easily in a 60/40 split with rugged decking on their backs for long life with gear being tossed around on them.
Controls for the four-wheel drive system are found on the center stack, with manual but electrically assisted shifting of the transfer case. Buttons for the various traction toys can be found both here and on the left of the instrument panel.
And to that, the Toyota Tacoma TRDpro has a lot of toys. You not only have a robust transfer case with a true low range, but electronic control programs like A-TRAC which is a traction control system on steroids. I’ve tested it in the worst of conditions before, and trust me it’s good.
Also at your disposal is hill descent control and an electronic locking rear differential for those times when you really need to put the truck on lock-down. Brakes are front discs, but believe it or not this thing still has drums at the rear.
Overall, I was impressed with the Tacoma TRDpro’s ability to be pushed around out on the back trails without showing weak knees. It’s suspension however is tuned a bit stiffer than most off-road oriented vehicles, and you’ll feel that after a long day out here.
Under the hood is Toyota’s venerable 4.0-liter V6 truck engine with 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. In the TRDpro it’s available only with a five-speed automatic transmission. Worth noting however, our tester was optioned with a high-performance air filter from TRD.
For 2016 the Toyota Tacoma will receive the brand’s newest 3.5 liter V6 with port and direct fuel injection which offers up some 306 horsepower. It will also be paired with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission which should bring better fuel economy.
Back to the present, the EPA rates the 2015 Tacoma TRDpro as tested at 16 mpg city, 21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined. Having spent a week not only driving off-road and in the mountains as you see here, but on the highway and in town we achieved 15 mpg combined, well below EPA estimates.
When it comes to safety, the 2015 Toyota Tacoma receives good ratings from the IIHS for the moderate overlap and side impact crash tests, as well as performance of the head restraints and seats. It did receive a marginal rating for roof crush, and has not yet been tested for the small-overlap crash.