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Toyota Tundra Pro Runner Off-Road Review – Japanese Raptor with a Warranty

Discussion in '3rd Gen TRD Pro (2014+)' started by Sean266, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. Jun 30, 2016 at 6:19 PM
    #1
    Sean266

    Sean266 [OP] #ThinBlueLine Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

    Do you yearn to feel your truck lunge forward under moderate throttle, the hood heaving up before you? Do you ache for that gentle linear pre-runner sway into every corner? Does your current rig sport a sticker with Calvin maliciously relieving himself on a Blue Oval? If so, Dealer Services International’s Tundra Pro Runner may be the truck for you.

    The Raptor is said to have no real peers. And while that is strictly true, this Toyota makes a compelling argument to look hither. But it’s not the truck’s canyon-absorbing wheel travel, miraculous hydraulic bump stops, or bad-ass 18-inch black aluminum wheels in 35-inch rubber that make this Tundra exceptional. What makes this a viable Raptor alternative is that you can buy one right off a Toyota showroom floor today. No lapse in warranty coverage, no payload penalty, and no need to max out your credit card for the modifications.

    The Pro Runner gives Raptor drivers more than one reason to check their rearview mirror.


    [​IMG]

    This is not a product comparison, but juxtaposing these two products is unavoidable. The Pro Runner was bench-marked against the wildly popular Ford and engineered for the same mission: pounding across the desert at freeway speeds. Just like the Ford, this Toyota meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS 126), which means the electronic stability control system remains OEM compliant. On the flip-side, that means without a terrain management system like the Raptor has, the Tundra may lack some of the at-limit off-road capabilities exhibited by the Ford.

    What about the TRD Pro? Sure, the TRD Pro offers a meaningful 10.5 inches of wheel travel in front and 9.5 out back, versus 11.2 and 12.1 inches for the Raptor. But the Pro Runner goes several steps further with a 4-inch Pro Comp lift including new cast upper and lower control arms, internal bypass coilovers at the front, and reservoir shocks at the rear. Along with modified fenders all around, the package delivers a well proportioned rig with 14 inches of wheel travel, well within the range of a Sportsman Class race truck. That all sounds great, but aside from the Ensenada-Swing, how does the Pro Runner perform?
    [​IMG]

    The 85,000 acre Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area straddles the San Diego/Imperial County line and is one of Southern California’s premier off-road destinations. On weekends and holidays, tens of thousands of off-road enthusiasts gather there. But on one Wednesday in May, it was an empty playground. No need to watch for fast-moving flags bobbing through the desert.

    Testing began in the broad San Felipe Wash. Its 100- to 200-foot wide sand-blown washboard with occasional sets of whoop-dee-doos and encroaching dunes were an invitation to get the Pro Runner up to speed. Accelerating through 30 miles per hour makes for a bumpy ride. Arriving at 40 mph, about where a stock full-size truck would generate enough head-toss to eject its driver, the Pro Runner begins to smooth out. At 50, it’s composed. And at 60 the Pro Runner is in its serene, exhilarating element as it cruises flat, devouring 3-foot sand banks and laughing at 2-foot whoop-dee-doos.

    [​IMG]

    It’s a blast through the long straights. The extra 5 inches of track along with its capable 381 horsepower V8 give this rig a powerful, planted feel. The hydraulic steering is sensitive, requiring more input than would be ideal, but it dealt remarkably well with a testing regime for which it was not originally designed. One does however need to match forward speed with the span between bumps to find the right frequency. When the truck gets out of sync, generally due to too much speed, the hydraulic bump stops step in to prove their eye-opening capabilities. They provide 2 inches of progressive deceleration at the height of suspension compression, all but eliminating impact-energy transmission to the frame. In other words, that teeth-rattling, frame-risking experience of finding the limit of suspension travel in just about any other truck, Raptor included, is not present here.

    The long, wide curves in the wash passed without drama, which was disappointing. In spite of healthy throttle input, the tires refused to rotate at the requested velocity and the back-end remained right behind the front. And just to add distraction to the mix, the ABS and Traction Control lights lit up the dash like a Christmas tree. Alas, operator error was to blame. One must hold down that VSC button for at least three seconds to disable 75 percent of the traction and stability control. Failing to do so allows the truck’s yaw sensor to intervene, cutting the throttle and applying braking to the inside wheel. Oversteer is thus eliminated, as are both forward and lateral progress. In this environment, failing to employ the VSC button properly turns the promise of a maniacal Six Flags roller coaster into a kiddie teacup ride. The Pro Runner may lack the drive modes offered by the Raptor, but with the VSC properly managed, this rig enjoys getting sideways. And when its full performance envelope is opened up, which is perhaps 9/10ths that of a Raptor in the open desert, it has about as much go as any non-SCORE race driver will be capable of extracting. If that is not enough, there may be a 40 amp fuse you can pull to disable the electronic nannies.

    [​IMG]

    The Pro Runner is not a one trick pony. It ran more than 40 miles of high-speed washes and baked desert with aplomb, its raison d’etre. But it also tackled numerous technical obstacles on the Freedom and Pumpkin Patch Trails where its clearance, ability to keep all four patches of rubber on the ground, and aggressive 35-inch Pro Comp tires served it well. This rig does not have traditional running boards. But given the lengths the development team — which includes former Toyota TRD Design Engineering Manager Ted Moncure — went to their omission was not a cost cutting measure. Rather its creators understand that cab access does not trump break-over angle, so they offer the Pro Runner either without running boards or with automatic retracting side-steps. This 146-inch wheelbase Toyota is long. Nonetheless, it took off-camber, steep uphill, and abrupt downhill bumper-grazing approaches and departures with ease. Four-wheel drive would not have been required for any of these low-speed shenanigans were it not for the fact that this was a you break it, you bought it affair.

    Dealer Services International (DSI) offers a range of off-road performance packages for Ford, GM, Jeep, Ram, and Toyota trucks, all sold exclusively through new car dealers. According to DSI director Dan Ciganovich, the company’s expanding dealer network moves 1,200 of its modified trucks each month. Its Toyota range includes packages for Tacoma, Tundra, and 4Runner. There are now hundreds of Toyota stores across the U.S. and Canada offering DSI products.

    [​IMG]

    I sat down with Sales Managers Michael Boone and Scott Messier from Toyota Carlsbad, which has been selling about 60 DSI modified rigs annually for the last decade. Michael and Scott confirmed what Honolulu Ford told me a couple of months ago about DSI customers. These modified rigs are purchased overwhelmingly by men, 35-55 years old. At least 70 percent finance their purchase and they rarely arrive planning to buy one of these rigs. Michael and Scott went on to say, “Over more than ten years selling these trucks, we have never seen a rig come back with a mechanical problem related to DSI’s upgrades. And when a customer is dissatisfied [fuel economy is the most common complaint] DSI jumps right in to help, even contacting customers directly. Their service is incredible.”

    [​IMG]

    Dealers establish their own markup on DSI packages. The Pro Runner, not including the wrap on our tester, adds $19,950 to a Tundra MSRP at Toyota Carlsbad. Thus a 2016 CrewMax Pro Runner with a 5.7-liter V8 will set you back between $60,000 and $70,000, depending on how it is optioned. Pricing for the 2017 Raptor has yet to be released, but will likely maintain Ford’s $5,000 to $10,000 pricing advantage. It is a modest premium for a truck that does not compromise on quality, warranty, or load capacity but will be one of a 1,000 versus one of more than 15,000.

    In exchange for its healthy passenger and cargo volumes, as well as a track widened nearly half a foot, the Pro Runner will be compromised in wooded terrain and other tight spaces where compact trucks, SUVs, and Wranglers reign supreme. But those rigs cannot offer the boundless delight associated with bringing the back-end sideways through an arroyo seco at 60 miles per hour. The Pro Runner is not for everyone, but automotive individualism is part of our cultural fabric, and standing out is exactly the point.

    Disclosure: Dealer Services International provided the vehicle and insurance for the purpose of this review. Seth paid out the nose for fuel.

    Source
     
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  2. Jun 30, 2016 at 7:07 PM
    #2
    ToyotaTundraMike

    ToyotaTundraMike Not A New Member

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    $19,950 for 4" procomp lift, "custom fenders", and an ugly wrap?

    What am I missing here? Seems like you could do a lot better with $20,000...
     
  3. Jun 30, 2016 at 7:14 PM
    #3
    Sean266

    Sean266 [OP] #ThinBlueLine Staff Member

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    Procomp = made in China. :anonymous:
     
  4. Jun 30, 2016 at 7:42 PM
    #4
    boardude

    boardude I am Batman!

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    Lol. I guess to color match the bumper, grill, and flares would be an additional 500k Yen
     
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  5. Jun 30, 2016 at 8:38 PM
    #5
    MotoTundra

    MotoTundra Adrenaline Addict

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    Well it's understandable that the typical customer rarely arrives planning on buying one, because if they did, they would have realized beforehand that they could save a ton of money by doing their own mods....

    They definitely should have put a SC on it too....
     
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  6. Jun 30, 2016 at 9:04 PM
    #6
    csuviper

    csuviper Moderator Staff Member

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    Come on toyota. What were you thinking. Procrap. There is so much potential and they failed.
     
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  7. Jun 30, 2016 at 9:12 PM
    #7
    csuviper

    csuviper Moderator Staff Member

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    Since its a truck that is to beat out the raptor and they know its specialty that will have minimal sales they should have gone all out. Supercharger, long travel by total chaos or cambitg, kings or icon and painted fender flares or fiberglass.
     
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  8. Jun 30, 2016 at 9:44 PM
    #8
    boardude

    boardude I am Batman!

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    I would hope this isn't a serious run at the Raptor... that would be an embarrassment.

    I just hope people aren't that dumb to fall for one of these. Everytime I see a Raptor I can't help but think to myself "there goes another sucker who overpaid for a truck because he's afraid to modify his own truck and be unique". Or they just have too much money to give a shit.

    I am proud of the Tundra that I built and when I see a Raptor I make sure to pull next to them and give them the look like "that's right, I built this shit and had enough money left over to take your mom out to a nice seafood dinner and never call her again!!"
     
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  9. Jun 30, 2016 at 10:33 PM
    #9
    bandit

    bandit New Member

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    Duh Tundra
    Ironically ProComp is the company that snapped control arms in half after testing their "cast" long travel kits out in vegas lol..That would definitely stray me away...But they compensate their lack of quality products with a killer warranty I suppose.

    My only gripe is that it's labeled "Japanese" yet out of all the big manufacturers for trucks. We Tundras have the 2nd most american made parts in our trucks...Ford F series pickups are number 1 in the kogod's index based off of total domestic parts overall.

    Link for anyone interested....It's fun info.
    http://www.american.edu/kogod/autoindex/2015.cfm
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
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  10. Jun 30, 2016 at 10:35 PM
    #10
    bandit

    bandit New Member

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    Remember when Chevy teamed up with lingenfelter and came out with the Reaper to go head to head with the Raptor...That's what toyota should do. Crazy aggressive body panels, agreed on supercharger and internals, solid mid travel etc.
     
  11. Jul 1, 2016 at 4:09 AM
    #11
    Sean266

    Sean266 [OP] #ThinBlueLine Staff Member

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    Personally, I like the look of Raptors.

    Toyota does sell multiple Tundras with ProComp LT setup. How well that Ly setup will last..who knows.
     
  12. Jul 1, 2016 at 6:07 AM
    #12
    matluth

    matluth Fish On!

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    Do Toyota engineers actually talk to any four wheelers or check the forums to get any kind of ideas? I'm thinking ....NOT
     
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  13. Jul 1, 2016 at 7:04 AM
    #13
    Tundrazy

    Tundrazy New Member

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    It seems to me if you have that much money to spend on a truck you would be way way way better off with the 2017 Raptor. That thing is SICK.
     
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  14. Jul 1, 2016 at 7:07 AM
    #14
    matluth

    matluth Fish On!

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    Ditto^^ . Although @bandit is turning his Tundra into a Raptor killer.
     
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  15. Jul 1, 2016 at 9:56 AM
    #15
    csuviper

    csuviper Moderator Staff Member

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    Agree
     
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  16. Jul 1, 2016 at 10:10 AM
    #16
    owslystnly

    owslystnly New Member

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    That was a seriously ugly truck (as is the one at the top).

    And how'd it work for Chevy? I've seen a lot more Raptors.
     
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  17. Jul 1, 2016 at 10:35 AM
    #17
    boardude

    boardude I am Batman!

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    Totally agree - That Chevy is hideous! Looks like it has a pig snout from the side
     
  18. Jul 1, 2016 at 10:46 AM
    #18
    csuviper

    csuviper Moderator Staff Member

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    2017 Chevy Reaper:
    5.3 liter EcoTec V8 turbocharged engine: 475 horsepower and 510 lbs/ft torque.
    6.2 liter EcoTec turbocharged V8 engine: 550 horsepower and 575 lbs/ft torque.
    $55,000 to $65,000
    [​IMG]

    2017 Tundra Pro Runner
    5.7L V8 engine: 381 horsepower and 401 lbs/ft torque
    $60,000 and $70,000
    [​IMG]

    2017 Ford Raptor
    Twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6; 450 horsepower and 450 lbs/ft torque
    $50,000-$60,000
    [​IMG]

    2017 Ram Rebel
    3.6L Penstar V6 engine: 309 horsepower and 255 lbs/ft torque
    5.7L 8-cylinder Hemi engine: 400 horsepower and 409 lbs/ft torque
    $40K – $42K
    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Jul 1, 2016 at 10:55 AM
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    matluth

    matluth Fish On!

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    Those HP/torque and price #'s speak for themselves.
     
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  20. Jul 1, 2016 at 10:55 AM
    #20
    jberry813

    jberry813 The Mad Scientist

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    2015 Tundra Platinum Craptor Killer
    5.7 liter Supercharged V8 engine: 505 horsepower and 550 lbs/ft torque
    Total Chaos and Kings for the bitches
    $56,000

    [​IMG]
     
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  21. Jul 1, 2016 at 11:00 AM
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    matluth

    matluth Fish On!

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    Very good #'s.
     
  22. Jul 1, 2016 at 11:14 AM
    #22
    jberry813

    jberry813 The Mad Scientist

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    And for those curious about dick measuring (travel numbers). The pro-crap kit is a LT kit. The arms are extended 2.5" each side, but still utilize upper and lower ball joints.
    I replaced the upper with TC uniball uppers and kept the stock lowers and I cycled just a short hair over 13" of travel, metal to metal.


    But cast arms...no thanks. I like to live dangerously, but not that dangerously.
     
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  23. Jul 1, 2016 at 11:49 AM
    #23
    LOTSOFTOYS

    LOTSOFTOYS New Member

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    I got revved at by a craptor the other day...I laughed, and punched it. he took off and blew my doors off... no shit with a 6.2 you make alot of power. It made his peepee feel bigger pickin on my first gen I think.... or was he jealous at how mine looked and sounded???? We will never know....
     
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  24. Jul 1, 2016 at 11:51 AM
    #24
    LOTSOFTOYS

    LOTSOFTOYS New Member

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    Most people imo who buy raptors, just buy them because of the "status" they think they have. Its a cool truck, but it's not the best and baddest on the road that's forsure. Let the owners of them have their fun. We can all smile and wave as we watch our odometers climb and climb higher then theirs ever will
     
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  25. Jul 1, 2016 at 3:05 PM
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    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ I'm a boob guy.

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    Have you driven a Raptor?
     
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  26. Jul 1, 2016 at 3:14 PM
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    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ I'm a boob guy.

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    I would also put the Ram Power Wagon in that mix. That would be my pick, and a true work truck:

    - Swaybar disconnect
    - Lockers front and rear
    - 3/4 ton truck
    - dual alternators

    Out of all these other trucks, these are more for high speed desert bombing. Take these trucks in the mountains and see how they do.
     
  27. Jul 1, 2016 at 5:03 PM
    #27
    owslystnly

    owslystnly New Member

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    Those trucks are YUGE. YUUUUUGE. Somebody (maybe Edmunds?) just had a pretty good online offroad review on those. Yuge.
     
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  28. Jul 1, 2016 at 6:04 PM
    #28
    LOTSOFTOYS

    LOTSOFTOYS New Member

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    Didn't get to drive, but just rode in one in vegas last weekend around a track. I got to drive these;)

    20160624_124231.jpg
     
  29. Jul 1, 2016 at 7:23 PM
    #29
    jberry813

    jberry813 The Mad Scientist

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    I know this wasn't directed at me. I have driven 2 raptors. And truth be told, it killed my first gen tundra. But my first gen taco with a shit 3.4 liter v6 dusted the raptor in everything but strait hard pack. My mall crawler tundra has more ponies, more torque, more travel, and ballsack coolers. They look nice and carry a factory warrenty, but that's the extent of my envy of a raptor.
     
  30. Jul 1, 2016 at 10:10 PM
    #30
    bandit

    bandit New Member

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    Duh Tundra
    yea buddy! I should change my username now lol. Happy I don't have that TC LT kit anymore, 11 3/4 inches of travel with everything maxed out, and with their recommended shock that they supposedly got 16 inches of travel from....there's just no way that number was remotely possible. Just wasn't gonna do it anymore....Mazulla on the other hand..And the geometry is correct :D WINNING! This whole dick contest thing is fun though.


    I'm still looking for mine. I think I lost it in a sheep....
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
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