2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro First Drive: No pavement, no problem

– Hāna, Hawaii

You put a lot of faith in a pickup truck when you’re pointed nose-first down a steep hill made of wet, volcanic pumice, the Earth eroding rapidly underneath your knobby off-road tires. But in the 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, you engage the Crawl Control function and take your feet off the pedals – let go and let God. The braking system and hill-descent control sing the songs of their people, clanging and clunking as you battle the force of gravity on your way down, the whole time thinking that, surely, you broke the truck. But then you’re back on solid ground, safely down the hill, and the Tacoma’s like, “Okay, what’s next?”

This is just one of a few off-road stunts planned for me during a day at Hawaii’s Hāna Ranch, located on the east side of Maui. Normally, the fully operational farm quietly harvests various tropical fruits, and lets herds of cattle graze on the damp, lush Hawaiian grass. I kind of feel like a mainlander asshat, tearing through a cow pasture in Toyota’s most hardcore Tacoma, throwing mud and the occasional cow pie into the air, trying my best to get the pickup to drift its back end around a super slick turn with the four-wheel-drive system in low range and the traction control completely turned off. Hooligan stuff, really.

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro: First Drive
2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro: First Drive
2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro: First Drive
2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro: First Drive

What you end up with is a truck that’s a real hoot to drive off the beaten path, and outrageously capable in serious off-road situations.

Toyota’s TRD Pro series has been on sale for a few years now; the Tacoma, T...