Tag: star wars

2015 TRD Pro 4Runner – Behind the Wheel

So much buzz went on when Toyota first announced in Feb. 2014 that they will be launching a trio of off-road vehicles that will cater to novice and expert trail junkies.  Typically, the SUV and truck segment of the automotive industry is heavily dominated by domestic vehicles.  With this announcement, it reawakened the off-road gods and goddesses as well as stints from Baja 500 and 1000 endurance races; Toyota  showed off the TRD Pro vehicles – the TRD Pro Tundra, TRD Pro Tacoma and TRD Pro 4Runner.

Toyota Racing Development (TRD) is an in-house hop-up / tuning shop for Toyota, Lexus and more recently Scion vehicles.  TRD accessories and upgrades are readily available to update a common Toyota vehicle with performance enhancements such as supercharger, big brake kits, and suspension components.  In recent years, it seemed that Toyota had concentrated its efforts to promote TRD components for the new sport compact baby – the Toyota GT 86 / Scion FR-S.  With the introduction of the TRD Pro vehicles, Toyota encourages an enthusiast to kick some dirt and be ready to discover uncharted places.

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With the current media demand, it took some time to get a hold of at least one vehicle from the TRD Pro fleet.   It seemed like everyone wanted to get the first crack on how these vehicles performed on and off-road.  Tagged with the phrase, “Let’s Get Dirty!” while aligning with the summer season, everyone in the industry wanted to put these pre-production babies to the test.  Luckily, the team was able to get a hold and go Behind-the-Wheel of the 2015 TRD Pro 4Runner.

The 2015 TRD Pro Series trucks only comes in 3 color pallets – Black, Super White and the all-new exclusive color Inferno.  “It  is the most-advanced yet in a long line of TRD packages for Toyota trucks that dates back to 1998 when the first off-road package was introduced for the Tacoma.”

The Super White TRD Pro 4Runner does have that intimidating front end and exterior.  It seemed to be really bold and unconventional which could be a love it or  hate it affair.  Some said it looked like a Star Wars Stormtrooper or as one DaYUUM Instagram (@instaDaYUUM) follower chimed in and said it looked like Bane from Dark Knight.  However,  it just slowly grows on you – as you get to appreciate the lines and overall outlook.  Also, the TRD Pro Series fleet are the only trucks that rock the unique front grille “TOYOTA” badge that pays tribute to iconic models such as the FJ40 and FJ Cruiser.  Additional blacked out TRD Pro emblems can be found on the side panels showing people this isn’t an ordinary family hauler. While on the rear end, you can hardly notice any distinguishable accessory aside from the blacked out lower bumper accent piece that differentiated it from an ordinary 2015 4Runner.

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To get a good feel of the TRD Pro 4Runner enhancements, the vehicle needed to be evaluated on and off-road. Surprisingly, the truck was very comfortable to drive through the city streets and highway speeds. Cracks, bumps, dips or any on-road imperfections were all trampled by the TRD Pro Series 4Runner. Weaving through traffic isn’t its forte due to its width and length, however it is more than capable with the use of its 270-horsepower / 278-lb-ft of torque 4.0-liter V6 (1GR-FE) engine coupled with a 5-speed automatic transmission.

The team decided to dust up the truck so we took it to Cleghorn Ridge Trails off the I-15 and 138. Joining in for the run, we also took a 2013 Tacoma Pre-runner (TRD Package) as well as the 2013 Trail Team Edition FJ Cruiser.

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Inside the 4Runner, premium convenience was incorporated to satisfy the driver and passenger. Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite, the Black SofTex-trimmed seats with red stitching, TRD shift knob and TRD floor mats were included in the TRD Pro 4Runner package.

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Even before arriving at the trail I was already impressed with the ride of the TRD Pro 4Runner. It wasn’t too stiff but just enough for the daily travel. I was more impressed as we took the truck to the trail – with how the TRD Pro 4Runner conformed with the rough terrain that Cleghorn trail served us. The TRD-Tuned Front Springs gave the truck a 1.5 inch front lift. This unique tuning provided decreased spring rate improving ride quality over the rough or harsh terrain. The front shocks also have a 1.0 inch of additional wheel travel and improved approached angle. It used 60 mm pistons and 18 mm shafts as opposed to the 32 mm piston vs 12 mm OE shock counterpart. The rear also provided a 1.0 inch of additional wheel travel. The addition of the remote reservoirs increased the oil capacity for efficient heat management and for more controlled suspension articulation. These were also beefed up with   46 mm shock piston which was 14 mm bigger than the OE shock piston.

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As we arrived at the trail, we also found some Jeep Rubicon owners getting ready to trail as well. I am sure that these trucks are more that capable to rock crawl as well –seeing their beefed up long travel suspension and bead-locked wheels.

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With its trail stands dialed in, the 17 inch matte black TRD alloy wheels wrapped with Nitto Terra Grappler tires (P265/70/17) were great complements for the suspension upgrade. The Nitto Terra Grappler tires were to my surprise quiet and nimble both in highway and trailing speeds. Also, protecting the front end of the vehicle is a quarter of an inch thick aluminum “TRD” stamped front skid plate with venting for the front differential.

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Some may recognize the 2013 Trail Team Edition FJ Cruiser as this was also featured in one of our Behind the Wheel post – Now comes equipped with an audio upgrade from OEM Audio+ as well as a few exterior and lighting pieces from Metaltech, Rugged Ridge. Warn, DigiDiodes and Fourtreks.

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There is an outpour of eagerness for the launch of the TRD Pro vehicles in the market. It is anticipated that give or take only 7500 units total will be released for the TRD Pro trio. Rumor has it that if you aren’t on a waiting list for the Tundra or Taco you might be the unlucky one who will not get a unit. However you may have a greater chance of getting the TRD Pro 4Runner that is due to be released next month September 2014. With what I have experienced during the few days driving this vehicle, you will not be disappointed. Be ready though to cough up that gas card as it gulps quite a bit- averaging 17.5 mpg on regular gas. Who buys an SUV for its gas mileage anyways???. With its menacing looks and stance, I really liked it a lot to the point that I was having separation anxiety as I gave back the keys. Overall, the highlight of this vehicle is the great engineering put in the suspension components / assembly straight from Toyota with factory warranty. The vehicle stayed composed on turns and rough surfaces at various speeds. It was a good balance that catered both On and Off-road duties. What did I expect from a well-engineered, tested and tuned vehicle from the experts of Toyota Racing Development (TRD)? Nothing less than exceptional.  So let’s dust it up going places and “Let’s get Dirty!”

Until the next one…. Peace!

-jayson

Instagram: @DaYUUMjayce

DaYUUM.com

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Star Wars Legion Art Show

This not the car feature you are looking for…

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Art features on DaYUUM have been too few and far between, but even with such a packed show schedule this season it’s always refreshing to step back and take in something different.

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In a city far, far (well not really that far) away, Disney, Lucas Films, and Neff Headwear teamed up to present the Star Wars Legion exhibition at the Robert Vargas Gallery in downtown Los Angeles this weekend in honor of May the Fourth (be with you) a.k.a. Star Wars Day.

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Disney and Neff handed out mini Stormtropper helmets to some of their own talented artists, animators, and product designers – as well as some street artists selected by Neff – to transform these popular helmets into out of this world creations. Over 250 helmets were distributed and each one crazier than the next, below are some of the artworks that really stood out to me. Whether your a Star Wars freak or an art junkie or neither, you have to admit these are pretty cool either way.

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Some artist literally transformed the helmets into completely something different.

StarWarsLegion_005Chisato Kashima Kim’s Storm “Usage” Tropper, from Imperial Soldier to Pink Bunny

StarWarsLegion_006Jessica Kim’s Trooppy Bank

StarWarsLegion_007This untitled piece by Ryan Terry turned the Stromtrooper into space transporation

StarWarsLegion_008Imperial Bling by Elena Timman

StarWarsLegion_009I’m a sucker for wood textures. Aradhana Modi’s Wooden Soldier

StarWarsLegion_010Check out Neff’s own C3P-BRO, dude!

You know we couldn’t go completely through a DaYUUM! article without something automotive related, which is what really drew me into this one.

StarWarsLegion_011 StarWarsLegion_012Alex Jaeger’s Imperial Racing helmet

StarWarsLegion_013 StarWarsLegion_014The artwork on this one is just amazing, I think this one is my clear personal favorite. Jay Lee’s Doodletropper

Some artists decided to keep it in the galaxy with Star Wars themed helmets, with a personal twist of course.

StarWarsLegion_015Kevin Deters’ fanboy collage titled A Long Time Ago in a Kid’s Room Far, Far Away

StarWarsLegion_016Irene Lee’s Stormtrooper Playground

StarWarsLegion_017I’d party with Iris Goudjabidae’s Spring Break Chewie, wouldn’t you?

StarWarsLegion_018George McClements’ Yub Nub is a mean looking Ewok

Crossing over into another universe (still owned by Disney) there were some cool Marvel themed troopers

StarWarsLegion_019 StarWarsLegion_020Susan Fang’s Supertrooper

StarWarsLegion_021Nathan Sawyer’s Iron Trooper

StarWarsLegion_022The symbiote came from space, what if a it came across a Stromtrooper? The Darker Side by Adam Cichowski

Even the foodie game was on point at this gallery

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StarWarsLegion_024Nontra Null’s Fallen Scooper Trooper

StarWarsLegion_025Kim Porter’s Scooper Trooper – Available in “66” Flavors

StarWarsLegion_026Alex Riegert-Waters’ Do You Want Ants? Because This Is How You Get Ants

StarWarsLegion_027This one is Dark Side Graded. Marvin Lao’s Hard Boiled

StarWarsLegion_028 StarWarsLegion_029Taste the Darkside at Tacos Imperial by Eric Acasio

StarWarsLegion_030Mmmm…..Jeffrey Zikzy’s S’more Trooper

StarWarsLegion_031 StarWarsLegion_032A complete meal, Jackie Ma’s Trooper Trooper w/Cheese, Vaders Taders, R2T2 Sweet Tea

What’s a Disney sponsored exhibit without Disney themed designs?

StarWarsLegion_033Oh boy! Robert Farrell’s TKI-1928

StarWarsLegion_034 StarWarsLegion_035So much fine detail in Barry Atkinson and Fred Warter’s Mickey’s Empire

StarWarsLegion_036Rocketeer is one of my all time favorite classics. How do you think Pete Ferk’s helmet looks like? A hood ornament? Yup, I agree 🙂

StarWarsLegion_037Ka-Chow! Randal Ouye’s Lightening Stormtrooper

StarWarsLegion_038Vince Wang’s Do You Want To Build A Snowman?

StarWarsLegion_039Ricky De Los Angeles’ Enchanted Stormtrooper looks like it just came out of the Tiki-tiki, Tiki Room

StarWarsLegion_040 StarWarsLegion_041Some Disney artists are just plain crazy, Enrique Pita’s Runaway Brain Stormtrooper

The exhibit wasn’t only helmets. The gallery had a few other unique stormtroopers out on display.

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StarWarsLegion_045Hope you enjoyed our little art feature on this May 4th. If you’re reading this early enough you can still catch the last day of the exhibit today from noon to 4:00 P.M. at the Robert Vargas Gallery (620 S. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA).

-Just (@justdayuum)

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