2020 Toyota Tacoma - February 7th, 2019 - Chicago Auto Show Update - Changes Announced
The 2020 Toyota Tacoma has officially debuted, and stays very true to its existing form, with just some grille and headlight changes on the front in terms of exterior changes.
Toyota made a big announcement in the late hours of last night (or early hours of this morning, depending on your perspective), and we're getting our first good looks at the new 2020 Tacoma! For the most part, things look much the same as the existing model. There will be no changes to the powertrain or trim level arrangement. You can still choose from the SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, TRD Pro, and Limited variants. The truck is getting its first media coverage at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, along with a few other additions that Toyota has announced.
The biggest additions in terms of new features and upgrades are:
- 8-inch touchscreen (except for SR trim, which gets an upgraded 7-inch)
- Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa Compatibility
- 10-way power adjustable driver's seat (including power lumbar support)
- LED/DRL headlights (all trims besides SR)
- Surround-view camera system (standard on higher trims, optional on all trims)
- Revised grille
- New and updated wheel designs
- 10-way power adjustable driver's seat (including power lumbar support)
- LED bed lamp
- Revised taillights with darker housings (SR and SR5 trims)
- Multi Terrain Monitor (on TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro, used to view obstacles under the truck)
- Panoramic View Monitor (or PVM, which supplements backup camera with front, side, and rear angles)
- Toyota Smart Key passive entry now works on passenger side door as well
- The top-of-the-line off-roader TRD Pro adds lighter wheels, revised shocks, and a new Army Green color
Though some of these options, specifically the Multi Terrain Monitor and Panoramic View Monitor, are not available on the lower trims, every model still comes standard with Toyota's Safety Sense bundle of assistance technology.
Apart from the revised Tacoma, it's also worth noting that the new teased TRD Pro vehicle is, in fact, the Sequoia, which will join the Tacoma, Tundra, and 4Runner on the list of TRD Pro vehicles. However, there was a surprise addition to the TRD Off-Road family: The RAV-4! As the best-selling non-pickup vehicle in the United States, this mildly enhanced crossover will surely be a highly-appealing as a weekend lifestyle vehicle.
All in all, the general vibe from fans could be qualified as "disappointed." While the new headlights and addition of some tech are great to see, it hardly warrants calling this a "design refresh." These features could have been added without all of the pomp and circumstance, and simply considered a needed update that manufacturers often make on a yearly basis. But sometimes, that's just the way the auto industry is! And the most die-hard loyalists are certainly glad that Toyota is sticking to the old adage of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
We'll keep you posted with any further information that is officially released.
2020 Toyota Tacoma - January 2019 Teaser
This teaser image released by Toyota in January is the only official picture of the new 2020 Tacoma so far.
Although the new 2020 Supra is generating the most internet talk and was featured in its own Super Bowl commercial, Toyota quietly released a subtle teaser image of the upcoming 2020 Tacoma pickup truck at the end of January 2019. Further updates are anticipated for February 7th at 11:00 am EST, which is when we expect the new Tacoma to premiere at the Chicago Auto Show. Toyota is also teasing the reveal of a new TRD Pro model (perhaps the Sequoia?), and we expect to see some of the features and design language from that on the new Tacoma TRDs as well.
The most recent version of the Tacoma, the third generation, began as a 2016 model year. It’s definitely not time for a major change yet, and the truck remains a popular option for work and play alike. With that said, small changes are necessary to stay competitive in this segment. There was even a minor refresh in 2018, which made the Toyota Safety Sense suite of technology standard on all trucks, added a dark mesh grille, and dropped the 5-speed manual transmission option.
Our artist rendition of the teaser image shows what the 2020 Toyota Tacoma's full front profile could look like.
However, the release of the Ford Ranger and Jeep Gladiator, the strong competition from the Honda Ridgeline and Chevy Colorado, and even the promise of a 2020 Nissan Frontier redesign means that Toyota has to fight for every sale in a highly competitive market.
This new teaser photo released by Toyota doesn’t give us much to work with yet, and a layman could easily mistake the front profile view as the current model. We certainly think that “evolution, not revolution” will be the name of the game for the moderate tweaks that will arrive on the new trucks that hit dealer lots later this year.
The most obvious feature that we can examine from this photo is the new, squarer headlight setup. More reminiscent of the Tundra’s, it’s almost certain that they will now be LED/HID. The taillights could also receive this technological update. Aside from that, it’s difficult to discern many differences from the teaser shot. The front grille and fascia are reworked but seem to stay very true to the character of the existing model.
Apart from the lights, Toyota fans likely have few qualms with the current exterior styling though; it’s ruggedly handsome and utilitarian in nature. The place where Toyota is a bit behind the curve is inside the cabin.
2020 Toyota Tacoma - Potential New Features
The current Tacoma's exterior styling is well-loved by fans, so we expect very subtle visual changes.
Drivers (rightfully) want modern features that provide comfort and convenience, like power seats that are also at least heated, if not cooled. It’s confirmed that at least the driver’s seat will now be available as power-operated as seen in a promotional video, but the rest remains to be seen.
Push-to-start ignition is now considered almost a must, and the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is sure to be a dealbreaker for many shoppers. Most, if not all, of the above, are going to be considered must-haves in the Toyota community, and failing to include them in the 2020 model would be a serious miss of the mark. We remain optimistic that Toyota has listened to consumers' needs here, and expect the refresh to address these important features.
Other potential additions could include more interior storage, more USB ports, a larger touchscreen, and an improvement to the oft-derided seating position. There may be full-leather seat options as opposed to the leather-trimmed ones that are currently an option.
The current Toyota Tacoma interior isn't bad, but could likely use a refresh and some updated tech.
In terms of performance, we don’t expect any engine changes for this refresh, leaving the 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder and 3.5 liter V6 as options. Some Toyota fans would like to see a turbocharged or diesel engine, but we don’t anticipate that at this time.
A mild ECU tune plus some aerodynamic tweaks (like a revised front spoiler area) could provide a modest but noticeable increase in MPG, which would also help the Tacoma in its competitive segment. With so many of Toyota’s trucks and SUVs still rocking outdated 5-speed and 6-speed automatic transmissions, it begs the question of whether or not the updated Tacoma will get a more modern gearbox (like the 8-speed in the RAV-4). This is a much more extensive change, so while it could happen, we definitely aren’t betting the ranch on it.
The beloved Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro upped the ante even more in 2019 by offering a snorkel right from the factory.
Some drivers are also asking for disc brakes on the rear wheels instead of drums, which are typically regarded as extremely outdated at this point in the automotive technology timeline. However, hardcore off-roaders retort that the drums are much better for blocking out mud and water while hitting the trails, and are worth the tradeoff of slightly worse performance on the pavement. Off-roaders would also like to see a front locking differential available, at least on the TRD trims.
With more information sure to surface in the near future, check back on this article as we update it with the latest news and rumors!
Image Credit: Toyota