Any questions about Toyota's commitment to American product – and particularly, trucks – were answered in 2017 when the doors to a $1 billion facility opened in Plano, Texas – its second facility in the state after its truck plant in San Antonio. Toyota recently brought us to the Texas State Fair, and its truck-centric car show component, to see the campus and drive the TRD Pro lineup. Before Toyota put down roots in Texas, there was Toyota Racing Development (TRD). But it has not always been TRD, and it hasn't always been an in-house specialty development outfit that focused on off-roading. Toyopet Seibi Co., Ltd. was established in 1954 as a used car refurbisher and shortly after created a motorsports division called the Toyota Sports Corner (TOSCO). It started out by building a Toyopet Crown Deluxe for an endurance rally, and then TOSCO tuned and crafted various types of racecars for the next two decades. It wasn't until 1976, however, that TOSCO was renamed TRD. TRD USA followed in 1979 as a secondary headquarters and new center of performance development for on-road production vehicles. Today, TRD competes in a wide variety of motorsports, such as NASCAR, but most of its public visibility is through is special-edition trucks and SUVs, and accessories sold through Toyota dealerships. The limited-edition Toyota 86 TRD is one of the few reminders in showrooms that TRD came up tuning cars for racing. The now more prominent trucking heritage stems from the 1990s, when Toyota dominated off-road racing at numerous levels. Remember Ironman Stewart? His Baja exploits in Toyota trucks are legendary. "We had a long history of selling TRD components in the U.S. and racing our products via the TRD racing group," said Terry Sell, Toyota's national marketing manager for trucks and SUVs. "Given we have a great history of desert racing, it made sense to capitalize on this image and maximize product capability." This success spawned the first optional TRD off-road package on the Tacoma 4x4 in 1997, followed by the introduction of the 2WD Tacoma PreRunner Xtracab. In 2009, TRD further expanded into the adventure market with its first off-road-themed package on the Tundra. Twenty years later, those two trucks remain two of TRD's core pillars. The timing is good, since the truck business is booming, especially for specialty products like Ford's F-150 Raptor, which has also inspired Ram to build a competitor that will launch in the near future. Midsize trucks are also on the rise, with a new Ford Ranger arriving soon, Honda re-launching the Ridgeline, and GM finding success with its GMC Canyon and the Chevrolet Colorado. The Tacoma didn't have much competition for years, but that has changed. So have customer preferences for very niche offerings, which explains the complicated array of TRD trims. Currently, three levels of TRD exist within Toyota's truck and SUV kingdom: TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, and TRD Pro. TRD Sport, available on Sequoia and Tacoma, caters to the on-road lifestyle, while TRD Off-Road (available …
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|MPG||20 City / 23 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||159 @ 5200 rpm|
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