Badass Builds: Chloe Kuo

Badass Builds: Chloe Kuo

Chloe Kuo took one ride in a Tacoma through Ocotillo Wells as a teenager, and she was hooked. These days, she doesn't just have a Tacoma of her own—she reaches 175,000+ followers on her YouTube channel, documenting upgrades, maintenance, and modifications. Dive into her automotive history and check the full details on her 2019 Tacoma TRD Off-Road.

Chloe Kuo's 2019 Tacoma parked on beach near water

When I was in high school, all of my friends had Toyota Tacomas and would take them out to Ocotillo Wells and absolutely rip them in the sand. Well, I suppose that’s where my obsession with off-roading began because I would tag along on these trips (as passenger, I didn’t even have a car at the time!!) and just dream of owning my own and gliding across the open desert in it one day.

I became very determined and almost had tunnel-vision to make this dream a reality, so I spent every summer while in college working and saving up for one. I even stacked up a bunch of classes so that I could work part-time my senior year. Finally, on March 30, 2019, I had saved up enough to buy one of my own! A Silver Sky Metallic TRD Off-Road, 4WD.

Detail shot of Method Wheels wrapped in BFG K02 All Terrain tires

I was so focused on just figuring out how I could buy this dream truck, that when I actually got the keys to it, I realized that I hadn’t even thought about how I wanted to build it. But all I knew was I wanted it to be capable in the sand and be fun to drive in open desert, so I started with changing out the tires as my first modification. I landed on BFGoodrich KO2s All-Terrains because BFG has a huge presence in the off-road race scene, and I wanted a quality, strong, tough tire to match my truck. At the time of purchasing my truck though, I had secured my first full-time job and knew that my Tacoma would be my daily, so an All-Terrain would give me the best of both worlds when it came to on and off-road driving. Later came Method 706 BeadGrip wheels. Not only do they have a bit of a more negative offset to give my truck that aggressive stance, but the bead grip technology is incredible because I could run an extremely low tire pressure (important in the desert sand) without much risk of the tire losing bead. Plus they look badass compared to the OEM wheels.

Detail shot of FOX suspension components

And of course, suspension was quick to follow as well. I knew I wanted a bigger shock for better cooling since driving in the desert/washboard roads tends to heat up the shocks pretty quickly, and a lift to accommodate fitting my bigger tires. I started out with FOX 2.5 Race Series steel-bodied shocks because FOX is local to me, plus all my friends who ran FOX on their trucks loved them. And I came to love how those things could absolutely take a beating and still gave me a comfortable ride on the street and dirt. But I eventually bumped up to FOX 2.5 Performance Elite Series shocks when they came out, because they had remote reservoirs all around and had DSC adjusters for high/low speed compression. And man, especially after getting them tuned by a local shop (AccuTune Off-Road) those shocks are BUTTERY smooth out in the desert (just look at some of my drone footage on IG). I have accidentally done baby jumps in my truck (when it’s noontime in the desert and you can’t see any shadows on the whoops lol) and I’m confident that the stock shocks wouldn’t have been able to handle the abuse I’ve put my FOXs through.

Detail shot of rock sliders installed on Tacoma

Somewhere along the build, I also ended up installing rock sliders (which, I first thought was a silly investment I wouldn’t use since I don’t do a lot of rock crawling—until the one time I did and they saved a door panel), as well as added a low profile front bumper with a bull-bar, skid plates (life savers), and some Baja Designs fog lights for better visibility when it gets dusty at night.

DECKED Drawer System installed in bed of Tacoma

And of course, both literally and figuratively, the biggest modification to my truck has been my DECKED drawer system. With all of the off-road trips I’ve taken, I used to just chuck all of my recovery gear in the open bed of my truck, literally—my ProEagle jack, traction boards, shovel, air compressor accessories, tools, water, etc. all out in the open and a pain in the ass to access. I have no idea how prior to my DECKED, none of my shit got stolen, but after posting multiple videos about my wonky bed-setup, I was finally reached out to by multiple people that I should get a DECKED. And the rest is history. What a life saver not having to pack my truck is. And not having to climb in my truck bed and tie everything down all the time to prevent it from sliding around and being out in the elements.

Detail of Stash Bin on DECKED Drawer System

It’s pretty surprising how much space off-road gear takes up but my DECKED fits it ALL, plus I have room for more. The fact that it sits over the wheel wells too is a benefit I didn’t realize I needed at first, until the nights I’ve camped and slept in my truck bed because of the increased surface area (my dog takes up a lot of space, so this has become a necessity). I also love DECKED for how modular it is too. I’ve installed some lighting for my drawers, as well as cut outs for my Tacoma bed outlet.

Detail shot of engine bay

Over the past 5 years, I just built my Tacoma as I needed it. Of course it’s always fun to go crazy on modifying a vehicle and I had a lot of temptation to dive head-first and just go crazy on my truck. But realizing I wanted a fun off-roader that would still take me to work on Monday mornings, I knew I had to be realistic (but I could still make it more capable than what I ever needed).

Image of Chloe airing up front right tire

I think I’ve stayed pretty true to the initial idea I had in mind for how I envisioned my truck when I first got it, but I definitely took the approach of taking things slow, spending a lot of time figuring out what I wanted and really needed before pulling the trigger on upgrades. There’s not much I’d change because I love the way it drives, feels, functions…and of course, looks. I seriously still look back at it when I park it every single time :)



BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A K02 tires

FOX PES 2.5 Coil-over reservoir adjustable front shocks

FOX PES 2.5 reservoir adjustable rear shocks

Elevate Suspension billet uniball Upper Control Arm

Baja Designs Squadron-R SAE fog light kit

Method Wheels 706 BeadGrip

4WP factory Tacoma front bumper

DECKED Drawer System

TRD Pro skid plate

TRD Performance cold air intake

Cali Raised sequential side mirror turn signals

Cali Raised bed stiffeners

Pop & Lock power tailgate lock kit

Charvonia Design billet rail tie-downs

Redline Tuning hood QuickLIFT PLUS

Me-So Customs Total Tail Stage 1 taillight kit

ARB air compressor

Garmin  Dash Cam Mini 2 

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