Toyota Reveals New Tacoma

Beefier, likely better equipped. But is a V-6 in the offing?

by on Jan.08, 2015

Toyota offers a first official look at the next-gen Tacoma pickup ahead of its Detroit launch next week.

With the North American International Auto Show approaching fast, Toyota has released the first full, official images of the next-generation Tacoma pickup. But the maker is maintaining silence when it comes to specific details about the next-generation midsize truck, despite speculation it will add a new, more powerful V-6 to the powertrain line-up.

That might make sense considering the new competition from General Motors, which is offering both a fuel-efficient four, as well as a V-6, for buyers of its new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon models – with a diesel set to come later this year.

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Long the midsize pickup segment leader, Toyota is facing a potentially serious challenge from GM, while Nissan and Honda are also developing updated models that could chip away at the Tacoma’s long-running lead.

Dubbing it “the beast,” these first images would suggest that Toyota is beefing up the 2016 Tacoma, which has been a fixture of the brand ever since it first began gaining traction in the U.S. market. Toyota division General Manager Bill Fay recently called Tacoma “part of our DNA here in North America.” Early versions of the truck helped win over the Baby Boomers who have become the loyal mainstay of the Toyota brand.

(Nissan begins teaser blitz to promote new full-size Titan pickup coming to Detroit Auto Show. Click Here for more.)

Expect to see a more modern, feature-rich model with improve towing and cargo capacity, according to industry insiders, while the 2016 Toyota Tacoma will almost certainly deliver improved fuel economy over the fairly poor 17 mpg City/21 mpg Highway rating of the current model.

Calling it the "Beast," Toyota is clearly beefing up the new version of the midsize Tacoma pickup.

That’s barely up to the levels delivered by the V-8-powered Chevrolet Silverado, never mind Chevy’s new midsize Colorado which is posing the biggest threat to Toyota’s midsize truck dominance in years. Colorado has received a number of awards, including Motor Trend Truck of the Year, and it is finalist for North American Truck of the Year, as well.

Tacoma sales had a modest rebound in December but still fell 2.8% last year. Though the maker still managed to move 155,041 of the trucks, volume has been falling for a number of years, in line with the overall decline of the midsize pickup segment which was, three decades ago, larger than the full-size truck segment.

 (Chevrolet Colorado a hot contender for North American Truck of the Year – but competition is stiff. Click Here for the story.)

The lack of competitive offerings has clearly led many buyers to either upgrade to full-size models or abandon pickups entirely. The current Tacoma has been criticized – as have other midsize models – for its relatively crude design, ride, handling and features.

Expect to see the new 2016 Toyota Tacoma add a number of new features, including an updated infotainment system and new safety technologies. LED lighting is a possibility, and there will almost certainly be improvements to the bed, such as new ways to tie down cargo.

On the powertrain side, speculation is that it will go with a downsized V-6, possibly even offering a high-mileage, turbo-four, as well. A six, even seven or eight-speed automatic gearbox could also be in the offing.

Expect to see several different cab configurations, including a Crew Cab, but Toyota has already cautioned that the base Regular Cab package is gone for good.

Toyota’s not the only one working up a new truck, but Nissan’s next-generation Frontier is still a couple years away. As for Chrysler, it is still debating the merits of a replacement for the now-gone Dakota. The company has yet to come up with a workable business case, well-placed sources told TheDetroitBureau.com. Ford is also watching to see if the midsize truck market responds to the new sheet metal before committing to a U.S. version of the Ranger it recently launched in other parts of the world.

(GM ready to boost truck production to meet booming sales. Click Here for more on CEO Mary Barra’s New Year news conference.)

Toyota will formally reveal the 2016 Tacoma in its sheet metal glory on January 12 at 12:50 PM at the Detroit Auto Show.

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One Response to “Toyota Reveals New Tacoma”

  1. DanK says:

    I’ve owned a few Tacomas, and a couple Tundras, now on my second, and I really like the Toyota pickups, but damn… Toyota needs to hire a new designer for their pickups. The new Tundra and Tacoma are just butt-ugly. The new Tundra looks like a facsimile of the Ford with just a huge bling chrome front end. Now the Tacoma comes out with very few visual changes. Newsflash Toyota, mid-size pickups don’t pull that much weight anyway, it’s not just about making the #’s bigger, you need to improve the looks, and THIS attempt… just ain’t it. I’ll stick with my 2010 Tundra for a few years.

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