Toyota just confirmed a 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro, which means a truck with better much shocks and decorations and toys than the last version. Suddenly I’m excited about the new Tacoma all over again.

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To be perfectly clear; this truck would not be racing in the same class as the famous Ford Raptor. Even though they’ll have the same engine displacement, the Raptor is still set up more aggressively. That said, since both are off-road oriented four-door pickups they’ll absolutely be rivals in the marketplace.

And with this redesign, it looks like Toyota’s really turning up the heat on capability.

In theory, Toyota’s “TRD Pro” line is a cool idea: it’s a mild off-road upgrade that’s basically on par with what might be your “first round of modifications” if you’re going to start building your truck. You could do a little lift and wheels more cheaply if you went aftermarket, but TRD Pro offers that sweet sweet OEM quality and warranty.

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In execution, I couldn’t fall in love with the 2015 Tacoma TRD Pro. Maybe I was expecting something more extreme. Maybe the sticker shock was too strong. (It was a little bit of both.) But reading through the specs for Toyota’s next-gen version, I’m ready to get my hopes up all over again. Here’s the stuff that’s interesting via TacomaHQ:

  • Fox 2.5 internal bypass coilover shocks up front, the same Fox 2.5 shocks on the rear with new progressive-rate off-road oriented leaf springs. Toyota says they’ve improved bottom-out resistance and travel.
  • 1" lift over a standard Tacoma
  • Rigid Industries LED auxiliary lights
  • Aluminum skid plate
  • Sexy hood scoop and grille
  • Big suite of driver aids (parking assist, blind spot monitoring)
  • Locking rear differential
  • Inclinometer and tilt gauge (my favorite!)
  • And you can still get a V6 4x4 with a manual

All 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pros will have the new 3.5 liter V6 and 4WD, putting them at 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque with a peak EPA-claimed fuel economy of 23 MPG.

Trucks with automatic transmissions will also be equipped with Toyota Multi-terrain Select system. “With five modes to choose from, the system helps regulate wheel spin by automatically adjusting the engine throttle and traction control,” as explained by the press release.

Manual-shift versions will get Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) which “uses the 4-channel ABS system to control power flow to the front and rear wheels, all without cutting throttle input, to help make traction no matter where you may be.”

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Will it be as fast as Ford’s new 3.5-liter turbo V6 EcoBoost Raptor? No way. But it’s a different look; less in-your-face while still being aggressive. No price announcements yet, but it should be a little more affordable as well.

The outgoing Tacoma TRD Pro would set you back about $36,000 with the full four-door cab and a manual transmission. Hopefully the new one will stay below $40,000.

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Here’s the full spec sheet per Toyota so far:

The truck’s going on sale later this year. Stay tuned.

Images via Toyota


Contact the author at andrew@jalopnik.com.