The newest generation of Toyota’s venerable Tacoma midsize pickup, made in the automaker’s plant on San Antonio’s south side, arrived for 2016.

Now, rejoining the lineup for 2017 is the all-new Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro model, which is designed for extreme off-roading and tackling just about any weather conditions.

Based on the Tacoma TRD Off-Road Double Cab short-bed four-wheel-drive models, the TRD Pro will be offered in two versions: the Double Cab with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and six-speed manual transmission for $40,760; and the same model with a six-speed automatic and V-6, with a starting price of $42,760.

This model comes with factory-installed off-road equipment designed by the Toyota Racing Development team, making it more off-road capable than before, the company says.

“Aimed squarely at extreme off-roading enthusiasts who know the value of body-on-frame construction, and challenge themselves and their trucks and SUVs in some of the harshest conditions, the new 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro will raise the bar on TRD Pro performance,” Toyota said in an announcement of the new model.

The TRD Pro will be available in three exterior colors: Cement, Barcelona Red Metallic, and Super White.

Exterior features include 16-inch TRD black alloy wheels with Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Kevlar-reinforced tires; a TRD Pro aluminum front skid plate; Rigid Industries LED fog lights; projector-beam headlights with black bezels; LED daytime running lights; and new taillights with black bezels.

There is also special TRD Pro badging.

These models also will come with a grille featuring a color-keyed surround, blacked-out hood scoop and graphic, color-keyed power outside mirrors with turn signals, color-keyed door handles, black overfenders, and a color-keyed rear bumper.

Inside, there are black heated/leather front seats with TRD Pro logo on the headrests; leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth; Entune Premium Audio with integrated navigation and App Suite; a power sliding rear window with privacy glass; TRD shift knob; TRD Pro floor mats; rear parking assist; blind-spot monitor; Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.

Special TRD Pro badging and embossing are used on the new 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro off-road pickup, including these logos on the front headrests.
Special TRD Pro badging and embossing are used on the new 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro off-road pickup, including these logos on the front headrests.
Also featured are analog instruments, a 4.2-inch color Multi-Information Display with an inclinometer and tilt gauge, outside temperature, odometer, trip meters and average fuel economy numbers.

As in all Tacoma models, Toyota says, “a GoPro mount is located on the windshield for serious off-roaders who like to document their exploits” with GoPro video cameras.

The TRD Pro is equipped with 4WDemand part-time four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case and automatic limited-slip differential. There is also a V-6 Tow Package that includes a Class-IV hitch receiver, automatic transmission cooler, engine oil cooler, power steering cooler, 130-amp alternator, four- and seven-pin light connectors with convertor, and Trailer-Sway Control.

The manual-transmission models also get Active Traction Control, which uses the four-channel antilock braking system to control power flow to the front and rear wheels, all without cutting throttle input, to help maintain traction in all conditions.

On automatic models, the standard Crawl Control will automatically modulates the throttle and brakes on five low-speed settings.

The TRD Pro also comes with the Toyota Multi-terrain Select system. It has five driver-selectable modes, and helps regulate wheel spin by automatically adjusting the engine throttle and the traction control.

Other features include Hill Start Assist Control (automatic transmission models only), which helps the vehicle start off on hills without rolling backward when the driver releases the brakes.
There is also an electronically controlled locking rear differential, which helps distribute engine power evenly to both rear wheels.

As for the new Tacoma overall, Toyota says this is “the most powerful and most fuel-efficient” version ever.

Prices for non-TRD two-wheel-drive models begin at $24,120 (plus $940 freight) for the base SR Access Cab with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission, and range as high as $35,720 for the Double Cab Limited 3.5-liter V-6 with a six-speed automatic transmission.

With four-wheel drive, prices start at $24,825 for the SR four-cylinder model with a five-speed manual transmission, and go as high as $42,760 for the TRD Pro with automatic.

The Tacoma has been America’s top-selling midsize pickup for the past 11 years, largely because it’s not only a good truck, but it’s been one of just a few small trucks left. Ford has discontinued the Ranger, and until last year, both the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon had been out of production for three years. The only Tacoma competitor during that period was the Nissan Frontier.

This newest Tacoma was partly developed by the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The center’s engineers started with the frame, adding high-strength steel to help enhance rigidity, Toyota said. Ultra-high strength steel was integrated into the body with a new hot stamping process that helped reduce the vehicle’s weight while building strength at the same time.

Also, the new truck’s suspension was fine-tuned to help deliver a smoother on-road ride, while making it even more capable off the road, Toyota said.

The base 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine produces 159 horsepower and 180 foot-pounds of torque. EPA fuel-economy estimates for the rear-drive base model with the four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission are 19 mpg city/23 highway/21 combined; for the four-wheel-drive four-cylinder with manual transmission, the ratings are 19/21/20, and for the automatic, 19/22/20. The manual gearbox is not offered with two-wheel drive.

There also is the 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle V-6 engine with Variable Valve Timing with Intelligent Wider Intake. It’s rated at 278 horsepower, an increase of 42 over the previous V-6, and 265 foot-pounds of torque. EPA estimates are 19/24/21 for the two-wheel-drive automatic, while the ratings for the four-wheel-drive manual are 17/21/19 and the automatic 18/23/20.

Both engines can be paired with a new six-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift. The four-cylinder can also be ordered with a five-speed manual gearbox, and the V-6 with a six-speed manual.

When equipped with the V-6 Tow Package, the new Tacoma can pull trailers weighing up to 6,800 pounds.

As for styling, the new Tacoma looks like a junior version of the full-size Tundra from the front, sporting the same chiseled front end with a hex grille. There is also a new, taller hood, projector-beam headlights and optional LED daytime running lights.

At the rear is a new locking tailgate with an integrated spoiler for improved aerodynamics.