Amid the hustle and glitz of the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, a new breed of off-roaders sat on display at the Toyota booth. Although it might not be the most hardcore 4×4 news from the show, it’s still a major move for Japan’s largest automaker. And it’s likely to appeal to a very specific sort of customer.
For the 2018 model year, the experts over at Toyota Racing Development (TRD) have released unique variations of both the Tundra and the Sequoia, calling them the TRD Sport. Designed to offer active families an “extra dose of sportier styling and performance for added fun and excitement,” these V8-toting behemoths are restyled and retuned to offer a balance between practicality, performance, and appeal.
But Toyota didn’t stop there. It also introduced a semi-solid version of the rally-prepped RAV4 driver Ryan Millen has been campaigning with. Labeled as the RAV4 Adventure, this approach to family-friendly performance features what Toyota calls a “sportier take-me-anywhere attitude for the weekend warrior.”
The Tundra and Sequoia TRD Sport grades, as well as the 2018 RAV4 Adventure grade, won’t arrive until sometime in September. But buyers still have plenty to be excited about now. Here are 10 key touches adventure-ready TRD Toyota fans will appreciate when it comes time to buy.
1. Safety still comes first
TRD Sport grades of the Tundra and Sequoia, as well as the new RAV4 Adventure, will receive Toyota Safety Sense-P as standard equipment. In its press release, Toyota lists this safety suite as having pre-collision systems with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert, auto high beams, and dynamic radar cruise control. Drivers can view safety updates through Toyota’s latest multi-information display, as well. The RAV4 Adventure will come standard with trailer sway control, and a wiper de-icer will be part of a new Cold Weather Package.
2. Embrace after-school suspension
Handling tweaks for both the Tundra and the Sequoia TRD Sport have been upgraded via the addition of a set of finely tuned TRD Sport Bilstein shocks and a pair of stiffer TRD sway bars. The RAV4 Adventure will come with an equally agile suspension system that increases ride height, which allows buyers to swap out the factory 18-inch, five-spoke black alloy wheels and 235/55R18 tires with more rugged rubber and smaller circumference wheels for an even more capable setup.
3. Gripping, isn’t it?
Both the 2018 Tundra TRD Sport and Sequoia TRD Sport will be offered in 4×4 and 4×2 grades, along with Toyota’s stoic 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter i-Force V8. The pickup version will sport both CrewMax and Double Cab configurations.
In a similar fashion, the “lifestyle-inspired” RAV4 Adventure will also be available in front-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive variations. Both versions of the CUV will feature a standard Tow Prep Package that includes a uniquely engineered radiator, as well as both supplemental oil and transmission fluid coolers. Even the front-wheel drive version of the RAV4 Adventure will be available with an automatic limited-slip differential. And in all-wheel drive models Toyota’s clever dynamic torque control system will be offered as standard fare.
Meanwhile, both the Tundra TRD Sport and Sequoia variants feature a 4×2 configuration that will sport an automatic limited-slip differential and a massive 10.5-inch ring gear for pushing power to the pavement. As for 4×4 models, active traction control systems activate the ABS to keep those sizable 20-inch black alloy sport wheels in check. There’s also a central Torsen limited-slip for added control on the fly.
4. Colorful characters welcome
Key pigment upgrades on Tundra TRD Sport models will include color-keyed mirrors and hood scoops that match both front and rear bumpers, as well as a mesh grille with body color surrounds. Exterior colors will include Super White, Magnetic Gray, Midnight Black Pearl, Blazing Blue Pearl, and Barcelona Red Metallic paint.
Some of the colorful features found on the Sequoia TRD Sport will be metallic black mirror caps, black satin finish TRD Sport badging on the front doors, and a Metallic black and chrome Sequoia badge on the liftgate. Exclusive paint jobs for the Sequoia TRD Sport will include Super White, Magnetic Gray Metallic, and for the first time Midnight Black Metallic.
As for the RAV4 Adventure, it will be available in five exterior colors, including Black, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Silver Sky Metallic, Super White, and a fresh RAV4 color called Ruby Flare Pearl. Black roof racks and Adventure badging will come standard.
5. Just gimme the light
Black headlight bezels, fog lamp surrounds, LED headlights with smoked chrome bezels, daytime running lights, and LED fog lights will come standard on Tundra TRD Sport models. There will also be standard darkened rear taillight housings, new LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, and LED fog lights on Sequoia versions. RAV4 Adventure models will receive black headlight bezels and fog lamp surrounds.
6. And pass the mud
While both Sequoia and Tundra TRD Sport models will receive Bilstein and TRD suspension upgrades for additional off-road agility and corner control, the RAV4 Adventure gets some touches that are surprisingly mud-worthy. Hill-start assist control, lower body guards, door-sill protectors, and all-weather floor and cargo mats with Adventure logos are all designed to complement the lifted suspension setup.
7. Externally on point
TRD Sport bedside graphics on the Tundra will be the biggest giveaway as to what you’re driving, along with its mesh grille and those aforementioned 20-inch wheels. Other exterior features on the Sequoia TRD Sport will include a new front upper grille, a bumper insert, a chrome surround, and all of the appropriate badging. RAV4 Adventure buyers will get a black striped hood, a set of black 18-inch wheels, larger fenders, contrasting under-panel plates, and mountainous-shaped badges.
8. Internally yours
The Tundra TRD Sport will receive features, including a TRD shift knob and TRD Sport floor mats. Meanwhile, Sequoia TRD Sport models include black fabric seating, black leather captain chairs (part of an optional Premium Package), a TRD shift knob, TRD Sport floor mats, and TRD Sport branded sill protectors. Also new are updated center speaker grilles that are smoothed to the surrounding dashboard and interior trim.
RAV4 Adventure buyers also will get exclusive interior features, such as unique interior trim panels, a leather-wrapped shift knob, 120V/100W power outlets in the cargo area, optional heated power front row seats, and a heated steering wheel.
9. Driven by demand
It’s no secret performance and custom versions of almost any vehicle will strike a chord with certain buyers. And with interest in CUVs, SUVs, and trucks at an all-time high, Toyota has made a wise move in adding both TRD Sport and RAV4 Adventure models to its lineup. Not everyone wants or needs a hardcore TRD-Pro Tundra. And by providing a slightly stiffer and taller set of suspension upgrades, along with a few cosmetic upgrades, the automaker has found a way to appeal to buyers who want a mild variation of the extreme.
10. Reliability and affordability rule
At the end of the day, Toyota is not trying to reinvent the wheel with its latest line of off-road, adventure-ready automobiles. At their mechanical core they’re the same Sequoia, RAV4, and Tundra vehicles we know — but with fresh suspension and appearance upgrades.
This does two things. One, it means Toyota’s world-renowned reliability will remain intact. And two, it won’t send ownership costs and purchase prices through the roof. Although pricing has yet to be announced, the affordability associated with similar packages are rarely too pricey. So stay tuned because chances are you’ll be seeing plenty of TRD Sport and Adventure models once they go on sale in September 2017.