The Detroit News

Tough Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is ready to rough it up

- BY HENRY PAYNE

— Rural Michigan is pickup country. Huge Ford F-250s towing equipment. Laden Silverados hustling to service jobs. Gorgeous Ram trucks prowling constructi­on sites. And macho pickups of all stripes with big tires, menacing hood scoops and lifted suspension­s eager to go beyond where the asphalt ends.

Despite its rare Toyota badge, my hulking 2021 Tundra TRD Pro tester fits rights in.

Sitting atop 32-inch Michelin allterrain tires, Fox off-road shocks and 11 inches of ground clearance, the Lunar Rock-painted behemoth bristles with hood scoops and tow hooks. This is not your father’s Camry, but a serious bark-chewing beast.

Think of Toyota as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The Japanese automaker has built a reputation as a dependable daily driver (backed up by years of JD Power reliabilit­y MVP awards) and a weekend track warrior. Its Toyota Racing Developmen­t (TRD) shop has climbed podiums at the highest echelons of motorsport­s from NASCAR to

Formula One. That resume includes winning the Baja 1000, North America’s premier off-road competitio­n.

Beginning in 1998, the TRD badge started to show up on the Tacoma (Taco, as it’s known to its legion of fans) as a rough-and-ready off-roader. While the Detroit Three dominated full-size pickups, Taco owned the midsize segment with its Mr. Hyde TRD variants leading the way.

Tundra followed with its own TRD features but has lived in Taco’s shadow

 ?? Henry Payne / The Detroit News ?? The Mounds Off-Road Vehicle Park offered the full-size pickup a place to release its inner Mr. Hyde.
Henry Payne / The Detroit News The Mounds Off-Road Vehicle Park offered the full-size pickup a place to release its inner Mr. Hyde.

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