2016 Toyota Tacoma: Everything We Know

Illustration for article titled 2016 Toyota Tacoma: Everything We Know
Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma has been dispatched to stop the company's mid-size truck market share from being lost to GM, who now offer many variations of a comparably sized pickup (the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon). Here's what we know about the new Taco before it bows in Detroit this month.


Quick And Dirty

  • First redesign since 2005
  • Teasers suggest performance focus
  • Unveil date: 1/12/15

We've seen front and rear quarters of the new Tacoma, and it seems as though the new truck's borrowing styling cues from the bigger Toyota Tundra. The company's promising "new, rugged tech," and "off-road prowess more formidable than ever," which makes me think they might be keeping or expanding upon their TRD Pro off-road offering.

Nothing's been discussed regarding new engine options, but we all know the wheezy 236 horsepower V6 isn't cutting the mustard anymore. If Toyota's not planning on tuning that up, I can't imagine they'd bother with a redesign.

Fortunately the audio track from this teaser clip pretty much confirms something's been done about the truck's power plant:

I don't think we'll see anything as radical as a diesel engine option, but I'll be very curious to see if Toyota uses the redesign to drop the manual transmission option.


As for suspension and technology, Toyota has been tightlipped and given us nothing further than the "can't comment on future product" line. One thing's for sure; the 2016 Toyota Tacoma is going to have to bring its game to a whole new level on driving refinement, standard equipment, and safety (so, pretty much everything) if it wants to hang tough with the Chevy Colorado as the American public's go-to "accessible utility vehicle."

Image via Toyota



Here are my predictions:

Style - Tundra light with tall flanking sides and smaller greenhouse

Mechanical - same rear axle, but with discs. Same transfer case. frame will stay C channel through the bed for weight savings, perhaps be fully boxed into the mid section. Same strut design, slightly bigger front diff.

Transmission - This is such a tough call, because Toyota doesn't have anything more than a 6 speed longitudinal truck trans right now and building one just for the Tacoma doesn't make sense. There is an 8 speed AWD ready longitudinal transmission for the GS, but it might be too big and expensive. I suspect we will get the 6 speed from the Tundra/gx460 (4.6) and the 6MT will stay. Alternative: A new 8-9 speed trans family that will go into the 4Runner, Tunrda, Land Cruiser, GX460. Remember that Toyota sells a LOT of trucks in other countries that rely on their small offering of truck transmissions. Code: NEW A780F or the existing but expensive AA80F

Engine - It has to be longitudinal, and it has to have the same bell pattern housing whatever engine family Toyota will be going forward with for their trucks. That means that its not going to be a clean slate design, like the transmission. My guess is that we will get the series 2 1GR-FE in the 4Runner and elsewhere with dual VVT-i. Don't count on direct injection. The base engine will be the same 2.7 2TR-FE but there might be a middle option of an engine based on the AR family, what I would like to call a 9AR-FTS turbo direct inject 2.5 liter I-4 with 250+ hp and 300 ft-lbs. What I would wish for with gas engines

base: 1AR-FE 2.7L I-4 (187 hp/186 ft-lbs)

Mid level engine: 2GR-FSE 3.5L V6 (305 hp/278 ft-lbs)

Top engine: 9AR-FTS 2.5L I-4 (290 hp/315 ft-lbs)

Weight - gains, hopefully small

Capability - gains, probably small