The new fourth-generation Toyota Tacoma may be the most eagerly anticipated new truck arriving in the next few years. A lot of people love the Tacoma — sales have always been strong, and the midsize truck is more popular now than ever. Tacoma build quality is formidable, and resale values have remained absurd.
But nearly everyone who loves the Tacoma wants something more from it, whether that's better performance to challenge rivals like the Colorado ZR2 and Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, a more spacious and family-friendly cabin or better fuel economy. Toyota, then, is under an awful lot of pressure to make sure the next-gen Tacoma has more of what buyers want — without compromising on the things that made the Taco so great today.
Here's what we know right now about what the fourth-generation Tacoma will look like.
Expect Toyota to come out with a new Tacoma by the 2024 model year. The current-gen Tacoma debuted in 2016, which makes it the youngest of the Toyota off-roaders; hat means it may be the last one that gets an overhaul. Reports about Toyota product planning suggest that the Tacoma will debut in 2024 after the Tundra this year, the new Sequoia in 2022 and the next 4Runner in 2023.
Yes. Toyota debuted its new body-on-frame TNGA-F platform on the new J300 Land Cruiser. That platform is expected to underpin new versions of the Tundra, Sequoia, 4Runner and Tacoma trucks and SUVs in the American market.
Yes. Toyota has announced that every Toyota and Lexus model — except the hydrogen-powered Mirai — will have at least an electrified option by 2025 at the latest. If we accept that Toyota doesn't plan to kill off the Tacoma (which would be a shocker, since it's one of their most successful cars in America), we can presume it will have at least a hybrid powertrain option. It's possible the hybrid could be the only option, even.
Toyota brought us out to its headquarters for a week. Here's what we learned.
Unclear. Toyota announced it will build an electric pickup truck, but there has been no clarification yet about whether it will be a Tundra or Tacoma or a new truck altogether.
Almost undoubtedly. The major knock on the current generation Tacoma is the dated six-speed automatic; the Tacoma's midsize competitors all feature an eight-, nine- or 10-speed automatic transmission. Moving to one would offer benefits Toyota will be looking for in performance and fuel economy. It would be shocking if Toyota didn't upgrade from the six-speed.
Unclear..but we suspect the next Tacoma will lose the manual. Toyota has been phasing out manual transmissions from its product lineup, and the Tacoma is one of only two pickup trucks (along with the Jeep Gladiator) that still offers a stick shift on the TRD trims and the take rate for it is low. Getting rid of the manual to save costs would be really tempting, especially if the Tacoma is adding a hybrid.
Because you should give your 4Runner or Gladiator the fancy rubber it deserves.