When Toyota announced the RAV4 TRD Off-Road at this year’s Chicago auto show, we were just as surprised as everyone else. The RAV4 had already dipped its toe into the off-road market with the Adventure, but since it’s not a body-on-frame vehicle, we didn’t expect Toyota to give it the TRD treatment. We also couldn’t help but wonder how much more capable the RAV4 TRD Off-Road is than the Adventure.
To get our answer, we tracked down Jack Hollis, Toyota North America’s general manager for the Toyota brand, on the show floor. Then we asked him what someone in a TRD Off-Road could do that someone in an Adventure couldn’t. His answer was surprisingly honest.
“You know, it’s funny because the technical changes are not totally significant. Obviously, there was more attention from the TRD side, but to try to tell you there’s a significant amount of difference, there’s no way to try to do that.”
At least for now, though, it sounds like the Off-Road is the only RAV4 TRD we’ll get. When we asked Hollis about the potential for a TRD Pro, he said, “The TRD Pros have traditionally been based upon body-on-frame vehicles. So do I think there’s [potential for a RAV4 TRD Pro]? There may be. But that’s not our plan right now. Our plan is really finishing with Sequoia to round that out.”
Just because there aren’t enough mechanical changes to make the TRD Off-Road significantly more capable than the Adventure, don’t assume it’s purely an appearance package. The suspension upgrades should make driving over rough terrain more comfortable, and the tires are likely more resistant to punctures. Toyota may even be planning to drop the RAV4 Adventure altogether and replace it with the TRD Off-Road.
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