2019 TOYOTA TRD PRO LINE-UP
The 2019 Tacoma, Tundra and Forerunner were unveiled Feb 8th at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show in the teaser format we’ve now come to expect from auto manufacturers. Let’s start with what we’ve been told. The biggest news is upgraded suspension. The 2019 family of TRD Pro all ride on 2.5” Fox internal bypass shocks, designed and tuned to be better at high speed offhighway driving, slow speed rock crawling and perhaps most importantly, on highway driving. Unfortunately for the Tacoma this is not new, as it has had the 2.5” Fox shocks for a couple years.
Hopefully Toyota has tuned them for an improved highway ride. The Taco has always had a good off-road ride, but it has been recently eclipsed by the performance of the Colorado ZR2, which is not only a stunning performer off-road in our tests, but was also the best driving mid-size truck on-road, using their exclusively engineered and tuned DSSV shocks.
The front springs give the Taco a 2.5 cm (one-inch) lift and are paired with internal bypass shocks with eight bypass zones five compression and three rebound zones. The rear shock has eleven zones - seven compression and four rebound, backed up by progressive-rate off-road leaf springs.
The truck has a 2.5 cm (one inch) wider stance courtesy the offset of the 16-in TRD black alloy wheels. Other cosmetic features include the blacked out grill and black tipped exhaust pipes.
Only one power option has been mentioned and that’s the current 3.5L gas V6 generating 278 hp and 268 lb ft of torque. This Atkinson cycle engine was released in 2015, so while we didn’t expect this gas engine option to change, we had hoped for either the 2.4L I-4 turbo-charged diesel, which generates 148 hp (110kW), and up to 295 ft lbs torque (400Nm), or the preferably the 2.8L I-4 turbo-charged diesel that clocks in at 174 hp (130kW) and up to 332 lb ft (450Nm) of torque, both of which Toyota offers in the Tacoma’s globally selling big brother - the Hilux.
The most noticeable exterior feature for the Taco is the optional factory installed snorkel. Not for improved water fording, although it should help, but mostly as a clean air intake, getting air from above the windshield, to avoid most of the dust at wheel level, which clog air filters, reducing air flow and impeding performance. Another side benefit is reduced air filter maintenance.
Toyota hasn’t provided any further details on the snorkel but hopefully it has a pre-filter to capture dust before it gets to the
main air filter. The air intake is shown in the forward facing ram position, which helps force air into the engine. Hopefully it can be swiveled 180 degrees for folks in wetter coastal climates, so heavy rain doesn’t get sucked in. There are also cons that go along with a snorkel including having it ripped off by low branches, reduced aerodynamics and additional wind noise driving on the highway.
Nothing else substantial was revealed unless you find cosmetic changes substantial. The moonroof will now be standard on 2019 TRD Pro, the cat-back exhaust gets black tips, there will be black sport bezels on front and rear lights, and the TRD Pro branding will be featured on floor mats, head rests, shifter and exterior badges.
Although fuel economy, pricing, towing and payload numbers haven’t been released, we don’t expect any significant
changes from 2018, unless Toyota has another powertrain up their sleeve, which we don’t expect.
From a performance standpoint, nothing revealed so far creates a reason to sell or trade-in your old TRD Pro for the 2019 version, unless you are still driving the old 4.0L V-6. For less than the depreciation it costs to drive a new Tacoma off the dealer lot, you can go to aftermarket parts for a snorkel, and off-set wheels.
The 2019 Tundra TRD Pro also gets the 2.5” Fox shocks which will replace the Bilstein shocks from 2018, and Rigid LED fogs to compliment the LED headlights. We’ve tested and reviewed a lot of different LED lights and Rigid is by far our favourite go-to brand when visibility goes to crap.
Tundra also gets a new hood scoop, updated skid plate and the black-tipped exhaust pipe, but more importantly now has Fox external reservoir shocks in the rear.
The 4Runner has always been one of my favourite SUV’s and the look for 2019 is still 4Runner but with even more of a Lexus vibe than before, which is refreshing as it seems that many SUV’s are becoming indistinguishable Range Rover look-a-likes. The aluminum roof rack makes sense for an SUV, it gets the 2.5” Fox shocks, TRD badged skid plate, black-tipped exhaust pipe and new 17” wheels that also have an off-set to give the 4Runner a wider stance.
Like the Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner get premium sound systems, and updated interiors with the TRD Pro badging on every imaginable surface. They come in white and black but only one new colour option is really worth mentioning and that is Voodoo Blue. While we don’t have any images of this on the new trucks, FJ Cruiser fans will remember the light blue colour.
While not yet verified, you should be able to put a new TRD Pro in your driveway in the fall of 2018.
While it’s nice to see the refinements in the Tundra and 4Runner, neither truck has a commanding presence in any market. The big story for us, or lack of a story, is that the 2019 Tacoma TRD Pro doesn’t seem to offer anything substantially new. Which begs the question, do you think the Tacoma can maintain it’s position as the number one selling compact pick-up, against the likes of the Chevy Colorado and the upcoming Ford Ranger, or has Toyota doomed it to fall?
Will they let the Tacoma slide into history like the FJ Cruiser, pinning their hopes on introducing the Hilux to the North American market in the future?
4Runner gets Fox 2.5” shocks. Look for the badged skidplate on all models including the 4Runner
Fox shocks are new to 4Runner this year.
Could the Toyota Hilux replace the Tacoma?
Factory snorkel in the forward facing ram air position.
This is how you drive the Tacoma to make full use of the factory snorkel.