Here is Why the 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Is Better Than the Tacoma and Tundra (Video & Op/Ed)

2019 toyota 4runner trd pro texas rodeo
2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro (near Austin, TX)

Which new 2019 Toyota TRD Pro truck or SUV is the best off-roader? Toyota has recently released the updated versions of the Tacoma TRD Pro, Tundra TRD Pro, and the 4Runner TRD Pro. They put the “TRD Pro” badge on their most off-road worthy models.

The final answer depends on how you plan to use your truck or SUV, but from a purely off-road perspective I choose the 4Runner. I had an opportunity to drive all three new 2019 Toyota TRD Pro trucks back to back on a wet and muddy Texas trail at the 2018 Truck Rodeo event.

The chosen trail had several water crossings thanks to a seemingly non-stop rain around Austin, TX this week. It had several steep rocky sections, gooey mud, and ditch crossings. Good old ranch road in Texas.

Granted, the trail we were on was not very difficult, the 15 minute route was enough to show some strengths and weaknesses of each of the three machines.

2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

Actually, the crew can Tacoma is not a very small truck on the outside, I still have issues fitting on the inside. I am a hair over 6’2’’, and I generally feel a bit crammed inside any modern Tacoma. People have recommended that I recline the seat back and readjust the steering wheel position. I have tried a few things, but I simply do not feel very comfortable inside.

On the plus side, the Tacoma offers good outward visibility and maneuverability. It has a low-range transfer case, a rear locker, selectable terrain modes, and a crawl-control system. The 2.5-inch FOX off-road shocks and underbody skid plates are there as well. All the off-road technologies and components are working well together, but the Goodyear Wrangler Kevlar tires are somewhat underwhelming. The tires works well on rocky sections, but they are not aggressive enough for Texas mud or Colorado’s loose dirt. I felt the truck slide more on the muddy trail when compared to the Tundra and the 4Runner.

If you do some light towing, the Tacoma TRD Pro is rated to pull a trailer with a weight of up to 6,400 lbs. The 3.5L V6 and the 6-speed offer adequate power for the trail and the daily drive.

2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

The Tundra TRD Pro was absent from the market in 2018, but it’s coming with new hardware. The 5.7L V8 engine and the 6-speed automatic are still there. The glorious V8 roar of the dual TRD exhaust system returns as well. This engine sounds really great at light or full throttle.

The TRD Pro is available as a crew cab with a short bed. It’s ultimately a big and comfortable truck, but the outward visibility on the trail suffers due to the truck’s sheer size and a hood with an additional hood scoop. Additional care is requires to navigate the Tundra through the tighter parts of the trail.

The Tundra TRD Pro can still tow just over 9,000 lbs, while offering FOX off-road shocks and the underbody skid plates. The Tundra still rides on Michelin LTX A/T tires.

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

The 4Runner TRD Pro is the goldilocks of the three as it combines a comfortable interior, good outward visibility, well-tuned suspension, and more aggressive Nitto Terra Grappler tires into one package.

The 270 horsepower 4.0L V6 and the 5-speed automatic transmission return for 2019, but the TRD Pro model also gets the FOX off-road shocks and a sturdy roof rack for those longer adventures.

The Nitto tires return for the 4Runner, but their more aggressive tread pattern worked better on the muddy trail than the tires on the other two trucks.

The 4Runner’s shocks, suspension, and tire combination work really well on rough terrain, thus making it my favorite. However, the 4Runner is rated at just 5,000 lbs of maximum towing. The lowest of the three.