Toyota unveiled the full build of its Tacozilla Tacoma Camper at SEMA. And I come bearing sad news, the Tacozilla is not a production vehicle. I’m not even sure it’s really a build that’s meant to “inspire” Tacoma owners, which is what carmakers usually say when they want to persuade drivers to buy overpriced OEM accessories.
Still, the Tacozilla looks like an awesome build that modernizes the old-school Chinook campers, and I would guess Toyota wouldn’t have trouble selling it.
The build’s platform is a Tacoma TRD Sport with an Access Cab. The Tacozilla’s camper compartment is mounted in place of the truck bed, and the designer says they were trying to avoid an overtly boxy or clunky look:
Designed and built by Marty Schwerter and his team at the Toyota Motorsports Garage, Tacozilla is 100% custom.
“We really didn’t want it to look like a refrigerator on the back of a truck, so you’ll see it’s all rounded edges,” said Schwerter.
While the easiest solution was to have sharp edges everywhere, Schwerter believed rounded edges and smooth aluminum surfaces would better complement the Tacoma’s body lines and look more integrated and finished.
The end result was a tapered design that allegedly performs better off road, because Toyota wanted something to complement the Tacoma without decreasing its capability on the trail.
Toyota even claims the truck cabin and camper will articulate, working together to twist over uneven surfaces. The camper’s design had to be repackaged and shrunk down for that to happen, but the brand says there’s enough length in the interior for drivers over six feet tall to walk through comfortably.
And comfort does appear to be a big focus for the build, which features a full bathroom!, as in you get a working toilet and hot-water shower. It also has a full kitchen complete with a fridge, stove and sink. The dining table turns into wall-art when not in use, and of course, there’s that comfy bed over the truck cabin. There’s even a Lexan canopy, or pop-up skylight, that’s 4 feet by 4 feet to let in natural light.
The Tacozilla is powered by a 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine, making 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. In keeping with that old-school Chinook charm, it’s also equipped with a six-speed manual transmission.
The camper build also keeps the Tacoma’s TRD suspension mostly intact, but has a two-inch lift despite its sensible 17-inch tires. That might not be tall enough for the most technical stuff, but it’s fine. I wouldn’t want to have to jump into a very tall camper after a long day outdoors.