Toyota's TRD Pro editions will be ready for off-roading

The TRD Pro off-road kit for the Toyota Tundra includes special shocks and springs, larger alloy wheels and a -inch-thick skid plate.

LAS VEGAS -- Toyota Racing Development, mostly known for racing parts and accessories for street-legal vehicles, will offer factory-installed TRD Pro off-road kits on the Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner.

Ready for extreme rock-stomping duty, the TRD Pro editions will carry the same 3-year/36,000-mile warranty as a stock pickup or SUV. They will be sold only in conjunction with four-wheel-drive versions of those light trucks, starting in the 2015 model year. Toyota engineers say this is the most advanced off-road package Toyota has ever offered in a retail setting.

"Toyota is king of the dirt," said Jack Hollis, Toyota Division vice president of marketing. "Focusing on authentic performance prevents us from getting into appearance-over-substance, which some of our competitors have gotten into."

Hollis noted that, because they carry a factory warranty, the TRD Pro parts are meant to have a level of durability that short-use racing parts do not.

Among the performance additions: 

-- Bilstein monotube shocks with remote reservoirs add 1 to 2 inches of wheel travel, depending on the vehicle. The shocks' 60-millimeter pistons are substantially larger than the stock units, providing better damping capabilities. 

-- Dual cat-back exhaust systems provide up to an additional 10 hp and a throatier exhaust note, just on the border of the 95-decibel legal limit. 

-- Higher ride-height Eibach front springs add 1 to 2 inches of ground clearance, depending on the vehicle, and smoother off-road response. 

-- Larger alloy wheels, some with knobbier tires for off-road use.

A 1/4-inch-thick aluminum skid plate is placed under the engine bay. The 4Runner TRD Pro also comes with Multi-Terrain Select, Crawl Control and a locking rear differential.

Pricing for the TRD Pro vehicles will be announced closer to the on-sale date this fall. For budget-minded consumers, TRD Pro parts will be available on an a la carte basis, installed by the dealer.

You can reach Mark Rechtin at mrechtin@crain.com -- Follow Mark on Twitter: @markrechtin

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