I don’t have any issues with the San Antonio, Texas-built Toyota Tundra pickup truck, it’s just not the first truck that comes to mind when I think of pickup trucks. Like many Americans, my mind wanders towards the F-150, Ram, or Silverado. But if you want a capable truck that is comfortable, capable of off-roading, and (in the truck world) reasonably priced, you really need to look at the 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. I had an opportunity to wheel this truck around and while I drove a lot of good trucks at the 2014 Texas Truck Rodeo, I must admit that the Tundra TRD Pro was the most surprising truck of the event.

TRD Pro is a line of trucks and SUVs from Toyota that are designed to be the off-road dominating vehicles that compete with the likes of the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor and the Ram Power Wagon. It has the obligatory skid plates to protect the underside, but the skid plates have been designed to have a panel that’s easily removed for oil changes. Shocks without outboard reservoirs are racing truck spec and provide a solid ride both on and off the road. A 5.7L V8, though a bit antiquated compared to the competition, provides excellent grunt from this truck, and a standard TRD performance exhaust makes the truck sound awesome, without sounding ridiculous. No fake engine noise here, folks.

2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. Photo: Raven Studios Photography

What really impresses me is how it drives. I’m a big fan of the Raptor, as many of my friends know, and this truck is a suitable alternative (now that it’s discontinued for 2015, but should be back for 2016). The suspension travel is excellent, and rarely did I hit the bump stops like I would in other trucks. Grip is excellent from the off-road tires. I could have a lot of fun in this truck.

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While not as luxuriously equipped as the Raptor, it’s not spartan either. Satellite navigation makes sure you get where you’re going, and I actually prefer the cloth interior. What I also like is the price. $41,285 (plus destination) gets you into the game. The version I drove was the bigger Crew Cab, and a must-buy in my book. Regardless of spec, around $45,000 for such a capable truck is really impressive. Even more impressive is a dealer-installed, warranted, supercharger option that shoots horsepower to over 500. For the couple grand that adds to the truck, it’s totally worth it.

Obviously, a quick spin isn’t enough time with the truck to see if it’s truly something livable every day, but optioned reasonably and built intelligently the Tundra TRD Pro should be on your short list of trucks to drive if you’re in the market for some fun.

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