Toyota officials pulled the wraps off an assortment of new models in a top-secret meeting with dealers last weekend. And among the 19 all-new or updated products coming to market over the next couple years, one of the standouts is expected to be the 2020 Tacoma.
The midsize pickup is in need of a significant refresh as a lot has happened since the last all-new model made its debut in the 2016 model-year. The midsize market has seen a surge of new competitors, such as the Honda Ridgeline, with even more coming this year in the form of the reborn Ford Ranger and the all-new Jeep Gladiator.
For the moment, we can only guess at what’s in store by perusing this teaser image. The good news is that we’ll get a look at the 2020 Toyota Tacoma in the sheet metal during one of the first of this year’s media previews at the Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 7.
Toyota is offering up no details about the new midsize truck but we’ve had our ear to the ground for a while and have some reasonably solid ideas about what’s in store.
(Toyota set to unleash flood of 19 new products. Click Here for the story.)
From a visual standpoint we note that the grille of the 2020 model largely follows the basic shape of the existing Tacoma. The most notable difference comes in the form of more slit-like headlamps, picking up on a trend already seen on various Toyota passenger cars and utes. We’ll bet that the new Tacoma also gets a broader lower grille, also in keeping with the brand’s latest design language. Updated taillights and tailgate styling is likely, as well.
There’s a bit more sharpness and sculpturing to the sheet metal, from what we can see. But the basic nose-on silhouette doesn’t appear to have any dramatic updates, especially when it comes to overall dimensions. This is, after all, a mid-cycle refresh, so there would be likely to be few, if any, dramatic revisions in what designers and engineers like to call the vehicle’s “hard points.”
Inside, we expect to see some modest updates to the package though, again, it would be a surprise to find anything major from a visual standpoint. There are some hints that Toyota will offer more upscale options for the 2020 Tacoma, reflecting the general, upward trend in the pickup segment and in midsize models, in particular. That could include newly available leather seats.
Expect to see new technology including an updated navigation system and Apple CarPlay for the infotainment system. As with other new Toyotas, we can all but guarantee that a basic version of the Safety Sense suite of advanced driver assistance systems will be standard issue.
(Click Here for details about our first drive in the Ford Ranger.)
The Tacoma has long been the best-selling nameplate in the midsize pickup segment. One key reason is its go-anywhere functionality. So, expect to see improvements to Tacoma’s off-road handling technologies, such as hill climb and hill descent control. Also expect a more modern terrain management system, designed to let a driver adjust multiple functions – such as steering, shifts and throttle response – in one easy step.
As for powertrains, Toyota is expected to maintain both the current 3.5-liter V-6 making 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, as well as the smaller 2.7-liter inline-four. There has been some talk suggesting a diesel could be possible, something that could help Toyota directly target the oil-burning versions of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.
The Tacoma is expected to continue offering both a manual and an automatic gearbox, with both two- and four-wheel-drive models in the line-up.
Despite the flood of new competitors, Tacoma has continued to maintain an iron grip on the midsize pickup segment’s sales crown. Whether it can continue to do so is uncertain, especially in light of the upcoming Ford Ranger and Jeep Gladiator launches.
(Midsize truck wars heat up with arrival of Ranger, Jeep Gladiator. Click Here for more.)
Pricing could be critical and Toyota is expected to hew relatively close to current numbers which start around $23,000 but run all the way up towards $38,000. We should learn more next week.