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.
Short answer: we don't really know yet. Toyota has confirmed nothing. Most reporting has the Tacoma arriving after the new 4Runner, which has not been unveiled yet. A leaked Toyota dealer document did not show the new Tacoma hitting dealers in 2022.
We can't imagine recent chaos in the automotive industry is pushing up the timeline. Our best bet would still be the Tacoma debuting sometime in 2023 and probably coming as a 2024 model year vehicle.
The Tacoma is likely going four-cylinder. Toyota downsized the big trucks from V8 to turbocharged six-cylinder engines. The smaller trucks should follow suit, moving from six cylinders to turbocharged four-cylinder engines.
One Toyota insider thinks the Tacoma will get the new 2.4-liter inline-four engine from the Lexus NX, which puts out 275 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque (substantially more than the Tacoma's current V6). This engine will likely outperform the previous model's 3.5-liter V6 in just about every metric — most notably fuel economy.
Toyota has said every model will have at least an electrified option by 2025 at the latest. So some form of electrified Tacoma is coming. But it's not clear whether that will arrive when the truck launches.
Toyota announced some ambitious EV plans in December. Those plans included an electric pickup concept, which should be hitting the road in the next few years. Toyota hasn't confirmed that this concept is an electric Tacoma. But it looks a lot like an electric Tacoma.
If that pickup concept ends up being an electric Tacoma, it's possible that Toyota will not bother with a hybrid one.
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 current six-speed automatic.
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 tempting, especially if the Tacoma is adding a hybrid.
The new Toyota Tacoma is expected to draw design inspiration from the new Tundra. It could look a lot like the Pickup EV concept seen here — just swap in the faux grille for a real one — which has some Tundra-like features.
As the Magic 8-Ball says, all signs point to yes. The 2022 Tundra (pictured here) saw its interior receive a mighty upgrade from the aging past model, complete with new tech, more (and larger) screens and a much fresher design. While the Tacoma won't be as large or as expensive, we fully expect it to receive many of the same sort of updates as Toyota's new full-size truck.
Because you should give your 4Runner or Gladiator the fancy rubber it deserves.