Ready for Anything: The Toyota TRD Pro

Ready for Anything: The Toyota TRD Pro


The outgoing second-gen Toyota Tundra underwent three facelifts during its 14-year production life from 2007 to 2021. Finally, in 2022, the all-new third-generation Toyota Tundra began rolling out of the assembly line at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing plant in San Antonio, Texas. Bumper to bumper, the 2023 Toyota Tundra is a notably different beast from the outgoing model. We got to put it to the test at the annual Texas Motor Press Association Off-Road Invitational, in Bryan, Texas.

Among the truck's evolution in styling, the most notable difference is the i-Force MAX 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 hybrid drivetrain.

This hybrid V6 engine packs a performance punch that rivals V8-powered full-size competitors with 437 horsepower and 583 lb.-ft of torque. Moreover, the Tundra's 360-view cameras, versatile interior layout, and satisfying performance made it a top candidate to be voted the Texas Off-Road Truck of Texas by the Texas Motor Press Association in 2022.

Ready for Anything: The Toyota TRD Pro

TRD Pro and Sport Packages

Among the seven trim levels of the 2023 Toyota Tundra are the two TRD Performance packages. The TRD Pro and the TRD Sport offer a yin and yang choice for Tundra buyers on whether they want their truck to look and perform well off-road or on the streets.

The TRD Pro includes selectable 4-wheel drive, an electronic locking rear differential, and a 1.1-inch lift kit featuring FOX shocks as a mark of its off-road tuned suspension. In addition to 18-inch BBS forged aluminum wheels wrapped in Falken WILDPEAK all-terrain tires. Other upgrades include mudguards and a TRD-branded aluminum skid plate under the radiator.

TRD Pro models are also christened with a heritage-inspired Toyota front grille with embedded orange marker lights and LED light bar. In addition to a TRD Off-Road decal on the side of the truck's bed.

Inside, TRD Pro adds a JBL 12-speaker premium audio system and a Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) drive mode with a Crawl Control (CRAWL) feature. This driving aid works like an off-road cruise control allowing the truck to "crawl" over rugged terrain while the driver focuses on steering and braking input.  

In contrast, the $2,360 TRD Sport package lowers the Tundra's suspension featuring Bilstein shocks. It also includes 20-inch TRD Sport exclusive alloy wheels and a unique TRD grille. TRD Sport decal tells the world that it's been prepared from the factory. Inside, the sport package adds premium details to the interior, like a red ignition button, red TRD branded shift lever and aluminum pedals. The steering wheel is also wrapped in leather.

Toyota's Twin-Turbocharged Hybrid V6 Engine

The new Toyota Tundra is the only full-size half-ton pickup truck without a V8 option. Instead, Toyota offers two variants of its 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 backed by a ten-speed automatic transmission. The standard engine produces a healthy range of 348 to 379 horsepower, depending on trim levels. Meanwhile, the Hybrid variant, dubbed the i-Force MAX produces a satisfying 437 horsepower and 583 lb.-ft of torque.

The secret to its power comes from an electric motor installed in the transmission's bell housing. Like a spotter helping a bodybuilder, the electric motor supports the engine's burden by sending additional power through the transmission. A 288-volt sealed Nickel-metal Hydride battery is powering the electric motor under the rear passenger seat.

Moreover, the Hybrid drivetrain earned an EPA-estimated combined 22 mpg, with 18 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. However, given its three-ton curb weight, real-world MPGs could be slightly lower. There is reason to doubt the Toyota Tundra Hybrid will pass gas stations as effortlessly as the Prius.

Compared to its V8-powered competitors, the 2023 Toyota Tundra falls short in payload and towing – but not by much. Nevertheless, the Tundra offers a max towing capacity of 12,000 pounds and a max payload of 1,940 pounds. For comparison, a Ford F-150 can tow up to 14,000 pounds.

Ready for Anything: The Toyota TRD Pro

2023 Toyota Tundra's Trim Levels

The TRD Pro Hybrid rests near the top of the 2023 Toyota Tundra lineup and starts at $68,520. The seven available trim levels begin with the SR model at $36,965. For 2023, Toyota introduced an SX appearance package to the SR5 model with 18-inch wheels and black/grey trim for the exterior and interior. 

At the other end of the spectrum is the top-of-the-line Capstone edition with a starting price of $75,245. The Solar Octane painted TRD Pro Hybrid model featured in this article is priced at $69,315.

A significant difference in the interior between trim levels is the 14-inch center-mounted infotainment screen. Entry levels come with an 8-inch screen as standard. In addition, premium models include a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Walnut wood interior accents are exclusive to the Texas-proud 1794 edition and top-tier Capstone Toyota Tundra.

 Among the array of trim levels, the 2023 Toyota Tundra is available in two body styles with three different cargo-bed lengths. The double cab (extended cab) can be optioned with a 6.5- or 8.1-foot-long trunk bed. In addition, the CrewMax (crew cab) models offer a 5.5- or 6.5-foot-long cargo bed.

Ready for Anything: The Toyota TRD Pro

A New but Familiar Alternative to the V8

The 2023 Toyota Tundra Hybrid is setting a new standard for full-size trucks. While electric pickup trucks are still a few years away from overtaking ICE, hybrids offer a suitable alternative. The i-Force MAX twin-turbo V6 engine provides the brawn and the brains for truck buyers who need a vehicle for work and play.

Post a Comment