Toyota has recently unveiled the new Tacoma, a midsize pick-up truck that is not only aimed at the US market but also holds interest for the global audience. This fourth generation of the Tacoma provides insights into the upcoming Toyota Hilux, the ninth generation of which is expected to be released in the 2025 model year.
Toyota has employed the TNGA-F (Toyota New Global Architecture Frame) platform for Tacoma, which is already utilized in the company’s large SUVs and pick-up trucks like the Toyota Tundra and Land Cruiser J300. Moving forward, this frame platform will also be used for Toyota’s medium-sized pick-up trucks.
As anticipated, the previous V6 petrol engine has been replaced in the new Tacoma. It has been substituted with a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder petrol engine, which is also found in other current Toyota models. The Tacoma will offer the “I-Force” four-cylinder engine in both a combustion version and a hybrid variant known as the “I-Force Max.”
The standard version of the engine in the Tacoma generates 282 horsepower and produces a torque of 430 Newton meters. On the other hand, the I-Force Max Hybrid delivers a system output of 330 horsepower and a maximum torque of 578 Newton meters. The SR base models feature the combustion engine in a variant with 231 horsepower and 330 Newton meters of torque.
Toyota plans to provide the Tacoma in eight trim levels, catering to various preferences and needs. The SR and SR5 models serve as the base, while the TRD Sport and Limited versions are road-oriented models offering enhanced comfort.
Also, there are off-road models known as the TRD Offroad and TRD Pro, and a new variant called the Trailhunter, which comes equipped with third-party accessories directly from Toyota. Notably, there is another model, the Tacoma TRD PreRunner, which is not available as a hybrid. It introduces the Xtra-Cab configuration for the first time in the Tacoma lineup, featuring a shorter two-seater cabin that allows for a noticeably longer loading area.
In terms of design, the new Toyota Tacoma bears a striking resemblance to the concept car that Toyota showcased in 2021, featuring an electric-powered Hilux. This indicates a closer similarity between the design of the two Toyota pick-up trucks in the future.
The new generation of the Tacoma boasts an angular and aggressive design, with a robust front end showcasing large cooling surfaces. One notable feature is the significant front spoiler present on all variants except the TRD Pro and Trailhunter. Although this front spoiler may not be ideal for off-road capabilities, it is likely easy to remove and potentially beneficial for fuel consumption.
Following in the footsteps of its competitors, such as the Ford Ranger, the Toyota Tacoma now incorporates a coil-sprung rear axle with sophisticated guidance, offering improved driving comfort and precision. However, this coil spring axle is optional and dependent on the specific model. The SR, SR5 XtraCab, and TRD PreRunner models retain a leaf spring rigid axle at the rear.
Also, a large 14-inch display for the multimedia system is available as an optional feature, positioned in landscape format on the dashboard. All models are equipped with rear disc brakes, while the TRD models boast a reinforced front-wheel brake system. Furthermore, all hybrid variants feature an enlarged rear axle brake. Another notable addition is the implementation of electric power steering in the new Tacoma.
The TRD Pro version, which is part of the Toyota Tacoma lineup, has gained recognition as a high-performance off-road variant. TRD stands for “Toyota Racing Development,” indicating its focus on enhancing the vehicle’s off-road capabilities. Similar to its competitor, the Ford Ranger Raptor, the TRD Pro is designed to excel in high-speed off-road conditions, resembling a rally-style setup. It features a high-performance chassis equipped with Fox rally dampers to handle the demands of off-road driving.
Toyota has introduced a new off-road variant called the Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter. This model targets customers who desire competent off-road performance but at a more relaxed pace. It caters to activities like camping trips and extended expeditions, where a highly capable off-road vehicle is essential.
In contrast to the more aggressive TRD Pro, the Tacoma Trailhunter offers a different approach that may appeal to off-road enthusiasts in Europe. Toyota outfits the Trailhunter with accessories from the renowned Australian specialist ARB. These accessories are often preferred by many Hilux owners when customizing their vehicles. The factory-installed enhancements include an Old Man Emu lift kit, 33-inch off-road tires, an ARB rear bumper, and various carrier accessories for the truck bed and canopy, enabling the mounting of equipment and roof tents. It even comes with an air-intake snorkel. One notable advantage for customers is that despite these modifications, the full factory warranty remains intact.
The Trailhunter also incorporates additional features such as skid plates, rocker bars, an integrated LED light bar in the grille, and extra LED fog lights. The loading area of the truck bed is equipped with LED lighting, situated at the edges to facilitate usage with or without structures on the bed. Furthermore, it includes a 2.4 kW inverter (standard in all hybrid models) for powering AC devices and an ARB cooler. For future installation of accessories, Toyota has pre-wired three additional switches in the switch unit to the left of the steering wheel.
Toyota offers optional features for the Trailhunter, including a detachable stabilizer bar for the front axle, which can be disengaged at the push of a button. This option enhances the vehicle’s ability to articulate over uneven terrain. Another option is a rear axle differential lock, a valuable feature for frequent off-road drivers. Additionally, the Trailhunter includes the Multi-Terrain Select system, which offers various driving programs and aids for both on-road and off-road conditions. Notably, it incorporates “off-road cruise control” called Crawl Control, which assists in maintaining a steady pace while traversing challenging off-road terrain.
The new Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro introduces a remarkable feature called the IsoDynamic Performance seat. This seat utilizes an air-oil shock absorber system to enable both vertical and lateral movement, effectively minimizing body movements and stabilizing the head and neck. The seat’s cushioning effect can be customized based on weight and personal preferences, and it can be activated or deactivated using a lever.
Additionally, Toyota has made an important announcement regarding the Tacoma and Hilux models. The Limited variant of these vehicles will now come with a hybrid drivetrain and permanent four-wheel drive, featuring a lockable center differential. Unlike the optional all-wheel drive, which is typically used for off-road or poor road conditions, the permanent all-wheel drive offers year-round safety benefits due to the fixed connection between the front and rear axles.
Toyota has specified that the new Tacoma has a maximum trailer load capacity of 2.95 tons and a maximum payload capacity of 775 kilograms. To assist with towing, the vehicle is equipped with various new assistance systems, including a maneuvering assistant for precise steering and a straight-ahead driving aid to ensure the trailer remains on the intended path during reverse maneuvers.
The new Tacoma is expected to be available for sale later this year, most likely in the third quarter, initially in the combustion engine versions. The I-Force Max hybrids will be introduced in early 2024. Toyota has not yet disclosed pricing details or precise technical specifications, especially concerning the vehicle’s dimensions.
With its rugged and aggressive design, the new Toyota Tacoma draws inspiration from the latest Tundra generation, catering to the mid-size pickup segment. Notably, the addition of the hybrid drivetrain, featuring a 1.8 kWh traction battery and a system performance of 330 horsepower, marks a significant innovation.
The introduction of the Trailhunter version further enhances the vehicle’s adventurous appeal, resembling comprehensive customization by an enthusiastic fan, akin to the offerings of Australian accessories specialist ARB. However, this may pose a challenge for conversion providers, as Toyota aims to incorporate these modifications in its future models. Additionally, Tacoma’s utilization of the TNGA-F platform, shared with the anticipated Hilux model in 2025, holds relevance for the European market as well.