One Toyota Dealer’s Rugged Off-Road Course Puts Toyota Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner to the Test
As I interact with the Toyota world through my stories and my YouTube channel videos, I am constantly being made aware of amazing people who do things just a little bit differently. These are the parts of my day I really enjoy. On that note, meet the dealership that is changing the way its customers think about truck and SUV off-road and 4WD capabilities.
Milton Martin Toyota is found in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Gainesville, Georgia. Located just over 50 miles northeast of Atlanta in a crowded playing field of surrounding Toyota dealerships, setting itself apart from the rest of the pack is essential to success. You see, this is a very large truck market, and Toyota trucks are big business.
The Overland Course evolved from the suggestion of one of their customers, who also happens to be an off-road enthusiast. He wanted to know if the dealership could give customers a chance to test drive their Toyota trucks and SUV’s in 4WD mode.
With this “outside the suggestion box” idea getting the creative juices flowing, along with the good fortune of owning vacant land adjacent to the dealership, Milton Martin Toyota found just the opportunity to set itself apart. Get ready for the Overland Experience.
How will the Toyota Tundra and 4Runner and Tacoma course help customers?
The course was designed to give customers a chance to get to know their trucks before they buy them – to experience the 4WD and off-road capabilities of the Toyota product.
And it makes sense. Many truck buyers might want and need to utilize off-roading necessities like crawl control, multi-terrain select, locking rear differential and active traction control (A-TRAC) as part of their normal routines. However, what good is having these essential systems if drivers are not familiar with how to engage them and to use them based on the terrain they encounter?
According to Tommy Martin, the company’s owner and general manager, the off-roading course was a perfect match with their market. “When you’re a family dealership that’s been around since 1961, you’re always thinking about the families and the people you serve and how you can better serve them. Building the Overland Course just made sense for us because it gives our customers an opportunity no other store in our area has to offer."
"4WD is part of life in the North Georgia mountains, so customers seeing what the trucks can do before they buy, they are 100% confident in their purchase and happy with their experience with us. And to be honest it’s an adrenaline rush and a heck-a-va lot of fun!”
Tell us about this Tacoma and Tundra and 4Runner Off-Road Course
Built last year in 2018, the Overland Course took 6 weeks to build. It was designed based on researching a Toyota product testing course in Japan and from seeing elements of a Michigan Jeep store experience (you know how Jeeps love their off-roading).
Well, and then Milton Martin customized their own obstacles based on the landscape of their land and the type of 4WD features customers would appreciate learning. Mix in active input from their resident customer/enthusiast and the experience of their staff and you have the makings of a world-class off-roading experience.
The course consists of 7 overland and off-road experiences that are specifically named for the performance or agility required of the vehicle. Spoiler alert: with a top elevation of 1,286 feet, you can bet one of these sections is a hill climb.
What are these overland obstacles a 2019 Tacoma might encounter anyway?
Milton Martin Toyota has demo vehicles on hand ready for truck enthusiasts to test out. So, 2019 Toyota 4Runner and Tundra and Tacoma…start your engines. I’m also told a Toyota Land Cruiser or two or several have made their way around Overland Course as well. Truck buyers are also allowed to take their newly purchased vehicles on the course after they purchase it.
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Now let us get to these 4WD experiences.
Can Toyota Tacoma stand up to Rock Yo Taco: Offset Moguls
The Tacoma, or “Taco” as it is known in Toyota truck circles, is a frequent participant in the Baja 1000. The course experience begins with a similar suspension tilting ride of the Baja 1000 that will engage your driving abilities.
Will Toyota Tundra survive The Summit: Hill Ascent
At the highest elevation in the area, The Summit demonstrates the power of Toyota’s 4WD while offering an unforgettable view of the North Georgia Mountains, where your real-life adventure comes to life. Prepare to meet all 1,286 feet. I think Miley Cyrus said it best, “It’s the climb.” Or something like that.
Hill Descent - the Toyota 4Runner goes up and then it comes back down
What’s that old saying – you know, the one they say all the time? What goes up, must come down. Get a feel for how your 2019 Tacoma descends from high elevations. You may just need this on your next overlanding journey.
The Hootch: River Run and the Land Cruiser that Crosses it
Named after Georgia’s own Chattahoochee River, overlanding in North Georgia will inevitably lead to a creek or river crossing. Experience the changing terrain and uncertainty of rocks in your path compared to the flexibility of the Toyota suspension.
I must admit, the sound of Toyota Tundra tires muscling their way over and across these uneven giant river stones is music to my ears. My favorite section of the course.
See Toyota Tacoma conquer Oak “Wood” Overpass: Log Suspension Test
Imagine driving over a life-size Jenga game that’s fallen. There is your visual. Adventuring brings unexpected surprises and the log overpass proves Toyota’s are equipped to navigate those challenges. Step right up Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road and Tacoma TRD Pro.
Let 4Runner Feel the Berm: Trail-Rated Angle Ascent
Owning a 4WD gives you free reign to ditch the road and take your Toyota off the beaten path. In this trail-rated offset berm, you will experience the gripping of tires and the tilt of the suspension in opposition to the terrain.
Tacoma and Tundra and 4Runner play in The Sandbox: Crawl Test
Fun in the sand and sun has new meaning with this obstacle. Experience the 4WD Toyota mastering the light and airy inconsistency of sand and understand the true strength of Toyota’s 4WD capabilities. This is also the ideal time to test your 2019 Tacoma Crawl Control. Don’t wait too long 4Runner – you are next.
What do you think of this Toyota Tundra and Tacoma and 4Runner playground?
After researching this one-of-a-kind customer-meets-truck-meets-course interactive experience, I came away thoroughly impressed. The customer service meter must shoot through the roof when customers are given the opportunity to see what their Toyota trucks are capable of, which only helps reassure them they are making a smart decision to choose a new Toyota Tundra. Or Tacoma. Or 4Runner. Or Sequoia. Or Land Cruiser.
What do you all think of this off-roading course? Would you enjoy being allowed to experience more of your truck before you buy it? What truck or SUV do you own and where do you plan to take it next?
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Jeff Teague is a Toyota news reporter at Torque News. You can reach Jeff on Facebook and Instagram. Twitter @toyotajeff1 and tweet him tips for new stories. Jeff also shares Toyota news videos on his Youtube Channel at ToyotaJeff1.