6 Cool New Off-Road Vehicles at the Truck Rodeo

Oct. 30, 2014 By Jeff Ross

6 New 2015 Models from Texas Truck Rodeo

2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
I hadn’t even buckled my seat belt after climbing behind the wheel of the 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, and the Toyota representative sitting in the passenger seat introduced this truck as a “Toyota’s answer to the Ford Raptor.” After I responded with something along the lines of “that’s a mighty bold statement,” the Toyota employee backed up his opening line by encouraging me to drive the Super Taco (my new nickname for this truck) as hard as I could around the off-road course. And so I did.

Going over a set of dirt jumps at about 30 miles per hour, the TRD Pro’s Bilstein shocks with remote reservoirs allowed the Tacoma to stick the landing like a race truck with the suspension absorbing the landing rather than bouncing back up. Granted, this course was no Baja 1000, but the level of control exhibited from this truck at higher off-road speeds was remarkable. Even when trail conditions warrant slow speeds, the Tacoma TRD Pro is equally impressive with its two-inch lift and front skid plate. This package also looks and sounds the part of a true off-roader with black, beadlock-style wheels, a retro “TOYOTA” grille and a TRD-tuned exhaust.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71
Although nowhere near as extreme as the Tacoma TRD Pro, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado (and its twin the GMC Canyon) proves that smaller size does have its advantages when it comes to off-road driving. I was able to get plenty of seat time in a Colorado Z71 powered by the optional 305-hp V-6, and after doing so, I’m having a hard time understanding why compact and mid-size trucks almost went extinct. Not only did the Colorado tackle the same terrain as its full-size truck counterparts, it had a smoother on-road ride, offered better maneuverability and it felt confident towing the same 5,000(ish)-pound trailer as the F-150, Ram and Tundra.

Depending on how customers react to the Colorado and Canyon, it will be interesting to see what Toyota and Nissan have in store for this small truck segment. Better yet, as much fun as it was to go off-roading in this V-6-powered Chevy Colorado, I (and probably countless other truck buyers) can’t wait to test out the 2016 Colorado with its new diesel engine.

Next Page... 6 New 2015 Models from Texas Truck Rodeo

Off-Road.com Newsletter
Join our Weekly Newsletter to get the latest off-road news, reviews, events, and alerts!