The 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is Toyota’s toy for the off-road enthusiast. Big bouncy Fox shocks, armor plates underneath, CRAWL-control mode and even a built-in GoPro mount. So we chased a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon into the mud to find out what all those accessories are really worth.
(Full Disclosure: Toyota wanted me to drive the TRD Pro so bad they lent one to me for a week with a full tank of gas.)
When discussing the off-road performance of anything, only one vehicle comes to mind—the Jeep Wrangler. Yes, if you’re going to do 90 miles per hour in the desert over huge jumps and whoops, a Ford Raptor or something like it would be your vehicle of choice. But for traversing normally mudded, rocky, and mountainous areas, the Wrangler is king. And while the TRD Pro is advertised more as a baby Raptor than a low-speed technical rock crawler like the Wrangler is, this trail was just aggressive enough to exploit the TRD Pro’s low-speed capabilities.
Since the TRD Pro’s MSRP is around $42,000, we wanted to get our hands on a Jeep that was in the same price range. As it turns out, a friend of mine just took delivery of a 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, and his price out the door came to $36,000 with a premium soft top and a bluetooth stereo as his only options. And yes, you can spec a four-door Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock edition all the way up to $48,005, but anything beyond the $34,000 mark means you’re adding options that don’t directly affect how the Wrangler performs off-road. A “smoker’s group” package, for example, isn’t going to affect how you get up a set of rocks.
So the stage was set: we’d hit the trails with a $42,000 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro while following a $36,000 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon to see if the Tacoma could keep up.
Watch the video up top for the full play by play, but ultimately, the TRD Pro was only undone in places by its size alone. It’s clear the truck can’t work through its physical shortcomings, though it’s as capable as you’d expect.