2015 Tundra proves Toyota is getting serious about trucks

  • Article by: TERRY BOX , Dallas Morning News
  • Updated: August 8, 2014 - 11:03 PM

The pickup is more than an on- and off-road performer — this time it brings some major attitude to the party.

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Raised two inches to increase its off-road ground clearance, the 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Off-Road rolls reasonably well on concrete, too, on 18-inch wheels with meaty tires.

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Not a single electric spark fell from the overtly orange Toyota Tundra shading most of my driveway.

Hallelujah.

This was absolutely not another halo-hybrid from some automaker determined to save us from ourselves, I smartly concluded.

And boy, was I right.

On Earth Day, a couple of people in starched shorts and $200 walking shoes gave me one-finger salutes as I trundled through the neighborhood in my citrus-colored giant.

Actually, they might have been reacting to the storm of rumble and thunder that tumbled out of the Tundra’s prominent dual exhausts, blowing leaves off nearby trees and jostling small dogs on the sidewalks.

If your image of Toyota revolves around Dudley-do-right, planet-saving Priuses — as mine does — we may need to reboot.

The 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Off-Road pickup I had recently was wonderfully polarizing — even without a gun rack or a “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted Republican” bumper sticker.

And that may be real progress.

As you know, for decades, Toyota achieved great success building billion-dollar babies like the Camry and Corolla that neither stirred nor shook buyers.

They played to the mushy middle with reliable quality and styling so invisible that you could park a Ta-yoot on the emerald-green grass in front of the First Suburban Church of Success and no one would notice.

But even the English build reliable cars now. Toyota needs some style and attitude, and the TRD Pro — Mr. T — just might suffice as a start.

My preproduction TRD Pro looked about as demure as a tattooed college linebacker with a summer Mohawk and a belly full of “juice.”

Dipped in metallic burnt orange, the big truck had been raised 2 inches to increase its off-road ground clearance and rolled on slotted black wheels.

I could rest my chin on the edge of its puffed-up hood — a sight so pathetic I did not capture it in a selfie.

Up front, the TRD glared at the mean old world with a blacked-out grille the size of a small billboard, sporting a nifty horizontal bar across it with “Toyota” stamped into it.

Still too square for me — ironically — the blocky Tundra Double-Cab at least had character lines in the front fenders and sides that gave it some sculpting.

Moreover, all of the chrome had been blacked out, and those 18-inch Mad Max wheels were shod with pretty meaty 275/65 tires.

  • 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Off-Road

    Type of vehicle: Four-wheel-drive, five-passenger, full-size pickup

    Price as tested: Approximately $42,000. The truck was a pre-production model with no window sticker or official stats.

    Fuel economy: Estimated 13 miles per gallon town, 17 highway

    Weight: About 5,700 pounds

    Engine: 5.7-liter V-8 with 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque

    Transmission: Six-speed automatic

    Performance: 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds

    Sources: Toyota Motor Sales USA; Car and Driver

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