Toyota knows what a lot of its truck and SUV customers want: off-road capability, or at least the idea of it. That was on display this week at the Chicago Auto Show, where it revealed Tundra and Sequoia models outfitted with TRD Sport trim and a new model called the RAV4 Adventure. Make no mistake: TRD is big business for Toyota.
Last year about half of Tundras and Tacomas had some kind of TRD package, and 140,000 total Toyotas rolled off dealer lots with the trim. "It helps with the overall image of our trucks and SUVs," Toyota vice president Bill Fay said at the show.
TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development, and the company offers it in a variety of flavors. Take the Tacoma. Sport is largely an appearance pack, while Off-Road adds some capability with crawl mode and an electronically locking rear differential. TRD Pro, the most capable, offers performance Fox Shocks, skid plates, cat-back exhaust, and LED lights.
The TRD Pro represents a roughly $10,000-difference in price, giving buyers a capable vehicle, or at least one that looks the part. "It's understanding what customers want," Fay said. He noted "a fair amount do" take the Pro models off-road.
The Sequoia and Tundra TRD Sport versions similarly are beefed up with Bilstein shocks, front and rear anti-sway bars, and snazzy appearance upgrades like grille inserts and 20-inch alloy wheels. Underscoring their importance, the TRD variants were the headliners as Toyota revealed the 2018 mid-cycle freshenings for the Tundra and Sequoia in Chicago.
At the other end of the spectrum, Toyota is hawking the RAV4 Adventure as a lifestyle variant, and it's the first Toyota to get the new name. It has a higher ride height, standard tow package, and styling cues like fender flares, black bezel headlights, and lower body guards.
Fay said this is a test case for the Adventure badge. "We will take a look at the success of it once we start selling it in the fall," he said.