I spent 20 years in the construction industry and I’ve seen my fair share of tough pickup trucks. On the job site, there was a hierarchy of trucks based on your position.
There were basic, base-model trucks for everyday use – hauling tools and materials, transporting people, and towing light equipment.
Supervisors got mid-range trucks that worked just as hard but provided a little more comfort. Perhaps they got a crew cab and other creature comforts such as a stereo system and air-conditioning.
As a project manager, I was privy to the top-of-the-line trucks – double crew cab, adjustable leather seats, premium sound system.
I often had to drive company and client executives around the project to give them updates on our progress and I needed a nice vehicle to make a good impression.
I’m no longer a construction project manager, but if I were, the 2021 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro CrewMax would be my truck of choice. There are few trucks that can match it in ruggedness and refinement.
What Does TRD Mean?
A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Toyota manufacturing plant in Kentucky.
During the tour, I had one burning question, “What does TRD mean?” The engineers on the TRD team were more than happy to explain.
TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development. The engineers take what they’ve learned from developing technology and performance enhancements for race cars, and apply it to street cars and trucks.
Various Toyota products such as 4Runner, Tacoma, Sequoia, Avalon, Camry, and Tundra bear the TRD badge. These vehicles get performance and appearance enhancements.
TRD also produces tuning products and accessories, including performance suspension components, superchargers, and wheels.
2021 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro CrewMax Overview
Let me start by saying the 2021 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro CrewMax is a good looking and comfortable truck.
It is the type of truck that isn’t afraid to get dirty on backroads but is just as capable of serving as a date night chariot for you and your spouse.
While I had the truck, a contractor was doing some work at my house and noticed the truck in my driveway. He owned a 2012 Toyota Tundra and was impressed by the test model.
“That truck makes me want to upgrade,” he said with a laugh.
Although the Tundra’s basic design hasn’t changed much since 2007, the 2021 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro CrewMax has a few design upgrades that make it stand out.
The front design integrates the hood and grille for a chiseled and modern industrial image. I like the way TOYOTA is boldly stamped on the grille.
In addition, the fenders and wheel wells are squared-off for a wide and sturdy stance. And the 18″ BBS forged aluminum TRD wheels give the truck an aggressive style.
These design elements are marked improvements over the bubble-like cabin of previous generations of Toyota Tundras
The bed design helps carry the chiseled character lines all the way down the profile, leading to a rugged bed and tailgate, with an integrated spoiler and “TUNDRA” stamped into the sheet metal, creating a one-piece forged look.
The TRD Pro trim level also includes a TRD dual exhaust, TRD skid plate, and TRD-tuned FOX shocks with 3-stage compression dampening.
I must admit, I’m not a fan of my test model’s Lunar Rock paint job, but it seems to be a popular color among Toyota truck owners. As I drove around Houston, I saw many trucks in this particular color.
2021 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro CrewMax Interior
The interior of the 2021 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro CrewMax is just as impressive as the exterior.
My test model had black TRD Pro leather-trimmed front bucket seats with red contrast stitching.
Matching soft-touch materials also accent the shift console, the front, and rear door trim, and the instrument panel.
This premium cabin made me feel like I was sitting in Blake Shelton’s living room. Listening to Boys ‘Round Here on the premium 12-speaker JBL Audio system only enhances that experience.
When my kids got inside, they were awestruck.
“Wow,” said my 13-year-old son. “This truck is so big. We could live in here.”
Even my 19-year daughter, who doesn’t care much about Toyota trucks (see’s loyal to another brand) said, “This truck is pretty cool.”
My favorite thing about the Tundra is that my three kids were able to sit in the back seat without complaining about getting touched by a sibling.
2021 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro CrewMax Performance
I used the truck as our primary vehicle during the week that I had it. It was spacious and comfortable and fully capable of hauling groceries, carrying sports and band equipment, and making an occasional trip across town to visit grandma.
While I was satisfied with how the 2021 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro CrewMax handled basic family-related tasks, I wanted to see how it performed when I put it to work.
One weekend, I headed to the local nursery and to buy some supplies. I told the workers to fill the bed of the truck with 2 yards of mulch (approximately 1600 lbs).
Even with that load, the Tundra didn’t miss a beat thanks to its strong frame, enhanced suspension, and powerful 5.7-liter, DOHC i-Force V8 with 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 401 foot-pounds of peak torque at 3,600 rpm.
My only regret was that I was unable to take the truck offroad, but I know it would have performed well on some tough, Texas terrain.
The 2021 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro CrewMax is a good looking truck with performance upgrades that will handle anything you throw at it.
It performs well as a work truck or daily driver.
- Comfortable and roomy interior
- Powerful V8 engine
- Toyota Safety Sense driver safety and assist system
- Fuel economy is average (combined fuel economy of 14 MPG)
- Keep in mind, that this is a BIG truck, and you may have trouble navigating tight parking spots and narrow roads.
Price as tested $53,050.