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2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Supercharged First Test Review

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 8/4/2015 Alex Nishimoto, Robert Guio
2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Supercharged First Test Review

Heads turn as a blur of Inferno orange whizzes past a group of 15 to 20 older-model Toyota Tacomas staged outside the Hungry Valley, California, off-highway vehicle park. I can't hear them over the constant drone of the TRD exhaust, but I can read their lips. "Damn." That's exactly what I said when I first gazed upon the 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro I was now piloting.

It's an imposing sight: ample ground clearance, beefy off-road tires, and distinctive orange finish. Not only is it easy on the eyes, but nearly all the exterior upgrades are also functional. We found out in our First Test of the Tacoma TRD Pro just how capable it is, but this time we've gotten our hands on one with the dealer-installed TRD supercharger. With that said, another round of testing both on- and off-pavement is in order.

2015 Toyota Tacoma Pro Supercharged© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Toyota Tacoma Pro Supercharged

The TRD supercharger is a roots-type unit with an air-to-liquid intercooler and its own supply of coolant. The kit also adds larger fuel injectors and iridium spark plugs, but it relies on the stock ECU to recalibrate air/fuel mixture for the supercharger. All of that adds up to an increase of 68 hp and 68 lb-ft of torque over the Tacoma's stock 4.0-liter V-6, going from 236 hp and 266 lb-ft to 304 hp and 334 lb-ft. Not bad gains by any means, but they do come at a price. The TRD supercharger retails for $4,140 and requires a $580 installation kit. Toyota tells us that out the door a supercharger installation will typically cost between $6,000 and $7,000, including parts and labor.

You can install the supercharger on other models besides the TRD Pro, but our tester just happened to be the top dog of the 2015 Tacoma lineup. In addition to the supercharger, our 2015 Tacoma Double Cab 4x4 TRD Pro came with a five-speed automatic transmission, 16-inch alloy wheels with simulated beadlock accents, 265/70R16 BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A off-road tires, TRD springs that raise the front end 2 inches, and Bilstein shocks with remote-reservoir rear units. Once the supercharger was factored in, our tester rang up right around $47,000.

2015 Toyota Tacoma Pro Supercharged© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Toyota Tacoma Pro Supercharged

Just as you'd expect from a blower, the TRD supercharger seems to improve power just about everywhere along the rpm band. You get a bit more oomph off the line, and you also get better passing ability at the top end. Testing showed that the belt-driven compressor shaved 0.3 second off the 0-60 time of a stock Tacoma TRD Pro, dropping from 7.7 to 7.4 seconds. The quarter mile also improved by 0.2 second to 15.9 at 85.2 mph. The slight increases in acceleration come with a generous amount of supercharger whine. In normal driving, you won't hear it much, but once you get into the gas, you'll catch that unmistakable wail emanating from the engine bay. That's not all you'll hear, though, as the Tacoma TRD Pro comes with a cat-back exhaust that rivals the supercharger in loud-noise-making ability. Naturally, you're going to lose some fuel economy with the supercharger. I averaged 15 mpg during my time with the truck, which included half a day of off-roading. My best tank was 16 mpg, which is still down from the Tacoma TRD Pro's combined EPA rating of 18 mpg.

2015 Toyota Tacoma Pro Supercharged© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Toyota Tacoma Pro Supercharged

To test the TRD Pro's fancy off-road bits, I took the truck to Gorman, California, just a couple hours north of Los Angeles. The Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area offers the off-road enthusiast thousands of acres to play, with trails for the novice, the seasoned pro, and everyone in between. Because I consider myself to be the former, we started easy. The truck's slow steering ratio feels strange on the street, but when you're trying to carefully position your wheels in the dirt, you appreciate the amount of control it gives you. The touchy brakes, which are difficult to modulate going down a steep hill, are less helpful. In these situations, I was thankful for the Tacoma's Downhill Assist Control system, which uses ABS to maintain a constant, slow speed.

2015 Toyota Tacoma Pro Supercharged© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Toyota Tacoma Pro Supercharged

A heavily rutted section allowed me to really test the supercharged Tacoma's four-wheeling abilities. With the TRD Pro's plentiful ground clearance and suspension travel, not to mention the grippy BFG tires, even the most eroded ditches weren't a problem. Despite that, I somehow managed to get stuck—though not for long. Immediately after engaging the truck's rear locker, I crawled out as if I were never stuck in the first place.

The TRD Pro easily proves its worth off the beaten path, and it's not bad at eating up paved road, either. The ride is a bit bouncy, but you don't get as much tire noise as you'd expect from such an aggressive tread pattern. You could easily drive one of these on a daily basis, but there are a few things I'd wish for to make that a little easier. Considering the truck's substantial lift, choosing the optional running boards would make getting into the truck less of a chore. Although the seat fabric is no doubt durable, it feels rough. And as we've said before, you're going to notice this is an old truck once you step inside. If that's a problem, wait and see what off-road tricks Toyota has up its sleeves for the updated 2016 Tacoma. Otherwise, the cabin is just fine for an off-road rig.

2015 Toyota Tacoma Pro Supercharged© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Toyota Tacoma Pro Supercharged

The Tacoma TRD Pro has a lot to offer the off-road enthusiast. But at a starting price of around $40,000, it does spur the argument that you could move up to a full-size truck for close to the same amount. That goes double for the supercharged version. Still, you get impressive capability in a truck that's manageable to drive around town. Even without the supercharger, the TRD Pro is a pedigreed off-roader that looks the part and has the performance to back it up. But with it, this Taco Supreme is a little bit more supreme.

2015 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4x4 TRD Pro Supercharged
BASE PRICE$40,035
PRICE AS TESTED$47,035*
VEHICLE LAYOUTFront-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck
ENGINE4.0L/304-hp/334-lb-ft supercharged DOHC 24-valve V-6
TRANSMISSION5-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)4,432 lb (56/44%)
WHEELBASE140.6 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT221.3 x 74.6 x 70.1 in
0-60 MPH7.4 sec
QUARTER MILE15.9 sec @ 85.2 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH140 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION0.70 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT29.5 seconds @ 0.56 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON16/21/18 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY211/160 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB1.08 lb/mile
* MT ESTIMATE

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