Toyota Motor Corp. is bringing an upgraded version of its popular Tacoma pickup to the U.S. market.
The 2020 Tacoma returns mostly unchanged from the current truck. It is powered by the same 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine or 3.5-liter V6 engine with a standard six-speed automatic transmission.
But the new Tacoma features a series of small improvements that will make the truck more comfortable and livable on a daily basis. Toyota has long dominated sales in the midsize pickup segment and is facing challenges from new entrants into the market this year, including the Ford Ranger and Jeep Gladiator. It also faces stiff competition from the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Nissan Frontier, all midsize trucks that grew sales in 2018.
New plant coming online
The Tacoma has a dedicated customer base, and Toyota plans to increase production with a new truck plant coming online in Mexico. But to fend off its new competition, the 2020 Tacoma needed more modern convenience without losing its rugged appeal.
After a look inside the 2020 Tacoma at the Chicago Auto Show, here are five things to know about the new pickup:
NEW FRONT GRILLES
Toyota designers turned to the front grille to set the 2020 Tacoma apart from its predecessor. Nearly every trim receives a new grille. The Tacoma TRD Off-Road on display in Chicago wore a horizontal weave pattern as opposed to the vertical one in previous years. Any design change to the top-selling midsize pickup is noteworthy. Still, it may take a keen eye to spot the 2020 Tacoma based on its grille alone.
A more obvious update on the 2020 Tacoma is the addition of LED lighting. Across various trims the 2020 Tacoma is available with LED bed lamps, fog lamps, headlamps and daytime running lights. Up front, the lights are positioned at an aggressive angle. The Tacoma TRD Pro even adds sequential lights. The scowling look brings a modernized feel to the 2020 Tacoma day or night.
10-WAY POWER SEAT
Tacoma owners do not have many complaints about their trucks. But a common refrain, from overlanders to daily commuters, is that the driver’s seat sits in an awkward position. Worse, current Tacoma seats are only four-way manually adjustable. The 2020 Tacoma driver’s seat is still mounted low to the floor but is now available with 10-way power adjusting. The upgrade could make it easier to stay comfortable on long drives.
At the top of the Tacoma lineup is the TRD Pro trim. For the 2020 truck the Toyota Racing Development division updated tuning on the standard Fox shocks. They are 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks that improve ride comfort and off-road performance. Any change to the tuning could make a big difference to an already athletic truck.
LARGER TOUCH SCREEN
Almost every trim of the 2020 Tacoma will come standard with a new 8-inch touchscreen. It includes a new multimedia system that is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa. The screen is notably larger with more hard buttons instead of the virtual controls found in the previous truck. Only the base Tacoma SR trim receives an upgraded 7-inch screen instead of the larger 8-inch.