The Toyota Tacoma was once the master of the midsize pickup truck realm. It was innovative, powerful, good looking, capable and modern, however, after nearly 20 years and only one generational change, it has become quite long in the tooth and the likes of the Chevy Colorado pose a serious threat to its success. This is all set to change next year, as Toyota will launch an all-new Tacoma for the 2016 model year at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.
Earlier this month, Toyota revealed a teaser image that gave us a glimpse at the 2016 Tacoma’s new tailgate and part of the bumper, and today we get a quick glance at its front fascia and a short video (below). From the looks of things, the Tacoma’s design will take cues from the current model and make them more aggressive and stylish. A close look reveals that the headlights are a similar shape as the current Tacoma, but they are skinnier and more angular — they even have the same open section on the lower inside corner . The Grille is a familiar angular unit, but it is more defined than the current model and its insert looks far more stylish. The front bumper appears to borrow no styling cues from the current model, as it features a full-length intake, which almost leads me to wonder if that opening it to feed air to an intercooler for a turbo.
That turbocharged possibility may sound ridiculous, but considering that Toyota needs to retain a high-output four-cylinder, but also dramatically increase fuel economy, this is an outside possibility. Toyota already has the perfect engine for the job, and that is the 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder found in the Lexus NX 200t. In the luxury SUV, this engine puts out 235 horses and 258 pound-feet of torque, while delivering up to 28 mpg on the highway. All of those numbers are dramatic increases over the current 2.7-liter engine, and sharing the engine with a more volume-sold model like the Tacoma can help spread the cost of this turbocharged unit.
In terms of the V-6 unit, we’ll likely see a revised version of the 4.0-liter engine. This new unit will likely deliver closer to 300 horsepower and gain a few mpg to get it in line with the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado.
For now, I am just playing a guessing game, but we’ll soon find out as the 2016 Tacoma debuts on January 12, 2015 at 12:50 p.m. EST.