Excellent when off-road. Comfortable and spacious cabin. Lags behind other trucks in key areas.
Roomy Rear Seating
The Toyota Tundra TRD Pro took a year off to get some upgrades, and now the Japanese automaker brings it back better than ever for off-road enthusiasts. It’s the trim you want for extreme off-road performance. It also receives new wheels that set it apart from previous years, although it gets a significant price bump from the 2016 TRD Pro we tested a few years ago. So is the 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro worth the extra money?
Well this week, we’ve been driving the 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro CrewMax.
TRD Pro is back after a year hiatus and comes with a revised suspension that includes Fox internal bypass shocks. The new BBS wheels feature Michelin P275/65R18 all-terrain tires. The TRD Pro trim is only available for CrewMax models. The current-generation Tundra was primarily designed by Toyota’s Calty Design Research centers in Newport Beach, California and Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Features & Options: Safety & Off-Road Treatments
The 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro CrewMax ($49,645) comes standard with heated mirrors, damped tailgate, rearview camera, an integrated trailer brake controller, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and USB port. The upgraded tech interface includes a seven-inch touchscreen, HD and satellite radio, traffic information, and a navigation app. The crew cab adds a power rear window and an overhead console.
Safety features include forward collision warning and mitigation with automatic braking; lane departure warning and automatic high beams; and adaptive cruise control. TRD Pro also comes with variable, intermittent windshield wipers and wiper de-icer.
For improved off-road performance, the TRD Pro trim features larger aluminum Fox shocks for better heat dissipation and damping control; a two-inch front lift for more clearance, lighter BBS forged wheels, and LED headlights and fog lamps to help light up the trail at night. A shiny black exhaust tip and TRD Pro exhaust change the note, while a front skid plate prominently features the TRD logo in red.
Visually, a unique grille, TRD Pro stamping on the rear quarter panels, and a hood scoop separate it from the rest of the line. On the inside, TRD Pro logos are pretty much everywhere. Total MSRP including destination for our tester: $51,040.
Stepping inside the Toyota Tundra reveals a spacious cabin ready to haul five adults and/or kids around with ease. There’s sufficient leg room for every rider, but the CrewMax is definitely the correct choice if you are carrying six-footers in the second row. The leather-trimmed bucket seats are plush and comfy. They feature attractive red stitching that sets off the black seats and dash. The rear seats slide and recline, though the backrest reclining angle isn’t too comfortable and the cushions are somewhat low.
All the controls are easy to locate and use, and there are plenty of storage compartments and cupholders for those long trips. Also for those longer trips is the TRD Pro’s Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite. When connected to your smartphone, the system gives you access to different apps via the dashboard touchscreen.
Just two things are missing in this spacious cabin: push-button start and heated seats. We think these are a must in this price range. There is tons of room in this Tundra for even the tallest adults, but the absence of heated seats is an oversight by Toyota.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs: Room For Improvement
The 2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is powered by the i-Force 5.7-liter V8, which is synonymous with the Tundra name. The engine produces 381 horsepower (5,600 rpm) and 401 lb-ft. of torque (3,600 rpm). It comes mated to a six-speed automatic with sequential shift technology. Another i-Force powerplant is also available, a smaller 4.6-liter that produces 310 horsepower and 327 lb-ft. of torque. Both engines utilize an aluminum cylinder block and variable valve timing.
EPA fuel economy estimates are 13/17 city/highway and 14 combined with 4WD. This is one mpg less combined than previous models. The larger fuel tank (38 gallons) is useful for longer hauls. However, when compared to other trucks in the market, the Toyota Tundra is way behind the pack in terms of fuel economy.
All Tundra beds are 22.2 inches deep and, when properly equipped, offer a payload capacity of up to 1,730 lbs. When properly equipped, the 2019 Toyota Tundra can tow 10,200 lbs. While this is a solid towing figure, it lags behind the current and updated offerings from the Big Three.
Driving Dynamics: A Good Sounding Truck
Thankfully, one thing Toyota didn’t change on the TRD Pro is the dual exhaust system. The 5.7-liter engine comes to life when you step on the pedal with a nice throaty rumble. We pushed the big full-size truck up I-70 west of Denver and into the mountains without issue. The TRD Pro is especially quick due to the engine’s high torque rating. The six-speed automatic shifts up and down smoothly, with shift points ideal for pulling a long mountain pass or hauling a larger trailer.
Driving Dynamics: Off-Road Test
On the open road, Toyota seemed to improve the ride quality somewhat over the previous model. With regard to our TRD Pro tester, it has the extra ground clearance and the right suspension setup for extreme off-road use, including 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass shocks. If you want to get away from civilization, this is the model you want. We tested it on an off-road course west of Denver, and the big truck had no problem pulling up steep trails and navigating a rocky stretch. Toyota says the suspension changes provide an increase in rear wheel travel of more than two inches, something we noticed on the course.
In urban settings, the Tundra has a civilized manner and it handles well enough. But around town, the CrewMax is tricky, as the truck is a bit long for most parking spots. If you need to get into smaller areas, this truck will leave you hanging out.
Conclusion: Still Pretty Good
Those interested in venturing off-road or getting away from the city would be wise to consider the capable TRD Pro. It comes with plenty of creature comforts too if you do take it on a long trip. While it does fall behind the competition in some areas, the 2019 Toyota Tundra is still a solid truck with a strong track record of reliability behind it.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his firsthand reviews are archived on our test drives page. Follow Denis on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy
2019 Toyota Tundra Gallery
Photos: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (Additional models and trim levels shown).