2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Road Test: Conspicuous conservatism

2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Road Test: Conspicuous conservatism

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HOLLY, Mich. -- The redesigned 2023 Toyota Tundra came with several key “first-ever” innovations. A pair of turbocharged six-cylinders replaced the old truck’s V8, a new Capstone trim intends to play in the uber-expensive half-ton space, and an overhauled tech suite makes for a significantly better user experience than before. That’s all well and good, but does it enhance ownership in a meaningful way? To answer that, we spent some time in the TRD Pro – Toyota’s tried-and-true off-road model, which returns packing a new powertrain and some fresh gimmicks.

While the market has trended toward luxurious half-tons and near-six-figure packages (something Toyota’s new Capstone line acknowledges), Toyota settles for just two tiers of off-roadiness: its TRD package (similar to GM’s Z71, Ford’s FX4 and Ram’s cleverly named “Off Road Group”) and this, the TRD Pro, which bakes in all of those goodies (plus a few more). TRD Pro lines up almost perfectly with a Chevy Silverado Trail Boss, GMC Sierra AT4 (no X) or Ford F-150 Tremor. These are all trucks we’d consider mid-tier off-roaders, equipped with locking or limited-slip rear axles and beefed-up suspensions but retaining open front differentials and relying largely on the brakes for most of their electronic trickery.


But, TRD Pro is not merely a package. In fact, it’s the second-most costly Tundra variant offered. Its base price ($69,300) is nearly an entire truck more expensive than a standard Tundra SR ($37,745). Luxury appointments like camo-patterned and perforated leather adorn an interior packed with abundant (and blessedly functional) gadgetry. It’s busy, quite frankly, but at least it matches the exterior. For a complete rundown on trims, pricing and positioning, check out our full 2022 Tundra review.

Like the range-topping Capstone, the TRD Pro is sold exclusively with Toyota’s new i-Force Max hybrid powertrain, which adds 48 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque to the already-gutsy turbocharged inline-six. It’s fed by a 1.87 kilowatt-hour battery pack. Total system power comes in at 437 hp and 583 lb-ft — the most in the segment for a gasoline burner not named “TRX” or “Raptor R.” It’s a pleasant, accessible grunt that makes around-town driving uneventful while keeping a bounty in reserve for short merges and highway onramps.

Despite its offroad pretensions, the TRD Pro is plenty composed on the street. The Bilsteins take enough of the edge off that you don’t feel your guts getting jostled over every railroad crossing or pothole, both of which are in abundance in my neck of the woods. Despite its hybrid engine, the TRD Pro’s compulsory 4x4 configuration makes it thirsty. Even with all of its various tricks, consumption never managed better than about 20 mpg even on the freeway. Fellow editor James Riswick did even worse out in California with a Tundra Platinum, averaging 14.7 mpg in almost 500 miles of suburban driving. The EPA says you can expect 19 or 20 mpg combined; your mileage will most certainly vary.

Like any good freeloader journalist, I had plans for my half-ton loaner that included a trip to the local big-box home improvement store. No mulch this time, but an 80-pound air compressor found a home in the bed. The grippy bed mat could have held the compressor in place without the aid of straps, but I brought a set along anyway. Nobody wants to be that guy. With components for my new storage lift blocking access to my garage work bench, I turned to the Tundra as a temporary replacement. Paltry work, as truck things go, but still probably more than many half-ton owners will ever do. Hey, it’s your money.