Toyota Motor Corp. is giving its top-selling Toyota Tacoma midsize pickup truck – a favorite among off-roaders and adventurers – a number of upgrades for the 2020 model year.
The new truck will make its public debut at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show on Thursday. It arrives as increased competition from the upcoming Ford Ranger and Jeep Gladiator threaten its domination of sales in the segment.
The 2020 Tacoma will attempt to fend off the newcomers with new styling inspired by Toyota’s off-road race trucks. The pickup has new front grilles and updated daytime running lights, headlamps and taillights.
Refreshed TRD Pro
Toyota also enhanced its venerated off-road variant, the Tacoma TRD Pro. The truck now offers new suspension tuning, standard Rigid Industries fog lights, sequential LED headlights and an Army Green color that is exclusive to the trim.
Tacoma’s interior gets several changes, including a new Panoramic View Monitor that provides the driver with greater visibility around the truck for better maneuverability on cramped trails. The view projects onto a larger 8-inch touchscreen.
The larger screen comes on the SR5 trim and up. Panoramic View Monitor is available on TRD models and standard on the top-level Limited.
Toyota also addressed a common complaint among Tacoma drivers: the seat. On previous models the driver’s seat is positioned at an awkward angle that makes it difficult to maximize visibility. It is also not easy to manually adjust the 4-way seat.
The 2020 Tacoma will offer a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. It will also have power lumbar support, key for comfort during long road trips or jostling off-road adventures.
All six Tacoma trims return for the new version. The base Tacoma SR has dark taillight housings and compatibility with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa. The Tacoma SR5 offers darker taillights, updated seat fabric, dark satin wheels and the 10-way power seat.
Tacoma TRD Sport brings smart-key entry, chrome taillamp inserts and LED fog lamps. The TRD Off-Road adds a Multi-Terrain Monitor from the Land Cruiser SUV that shows the driver front and side views in tight spaces. Standard TRD Off-Road equipment includes Bilstein shocks, a locking rear differential and various driving modes for traversing rugged terrain.
In addition to its new suspension, lighting and color, the Tacoma TRD Pro adds a new 16-inch wheel that is four pounds lighter than the previous version. Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires and a power moonroof are standard. TRD Pro models with an automatic transmission receive JBL Premium Audio, hill-start assist and Toyota’s Crawl Control feature that helped conquer rocky trails in Colorado.
The highest Tacoma Limited trim comes with a wide array of standard equipment including LED headlamps and daytime running lights. It also has standard Panoramic View Monitor.
All Tacoma trims come with new grilles and wheel options. Toyota Safety Sense P, or TSS-P, is standard on every Tacoma, with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert and adaptive cruise control.
Both engines carry over in the 2020 Tacoma. Choices are a 2.7-liter four-cylinder with 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque or a 3.5-liter V6 with 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. Both are paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.
A six-speed manual is available with the V6, which also comes standard with a tow package. The Tacoma has a maximum towing capacity of 6,800 pounds, good for a midsize pickup but lagging behind Ford, Jeep and Chevrolet’s Colorado.
The refreshed 2020 Toyota Tacoma will go on sale this summer.