Toyota has just shown what equates to a mid-cycle refresh for the mid-size Tacoma pickup at the Chicago Auto Show. After having been completely redesigned for the 2016 model year, the 2020 Toyota Tacoma boasts a slightly different style at the front and many improvements in technology and comfort. Almost every trim level of the 2020 Tacoma will receive a new grille and new wheels. It’s a minor change, but maybe they’re working from the old mantra, “If it’s not broke, do not fix it.” Tacoma is the best seller in the segment for 14 years.
A new infotainment system now occupies the center of the dashboard, with features for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and even Amazon Alexa. The SR trim will have a seven-inch infotainment screen, while the SR5 and higher trucks will get the eight-inch unit. Each new Tacoma (with the exception of manual transmission trucks) will receive an upgraded JBL audio system, matching the new screens. For your convenience, Toyota has added a power driver seat to most shades of the Tacoma – they were previously manual. If you choose TRD Sport or later, you will get keyless access. LED headlights are standard on the luxurious Limited, while the lamps are optional on the TRD Sport trim.
Toyota has also made changes to the TRD Pro for those who want the maximum off-road capability. Exclusive sequential LED / DRL headlights look super cool. You’ll find 16-inch wheels and black-backed taillights, as well as a new green-green option to complement the exterior. These new wheels weigh four pounds less than before, which has prompted modifications to the Fox’s 2.5-inch internal shock absorbers and springs. It probably will not mean much on the trail, but it’s always good to see improvements.
The 2020 Toyota Tacoma also adds cameras to off-road driving, with its new panoramic vision monitor and standard multi-function field monitor for the TRD Pro. These systems consist of cameras to see the terrain around you from all angles. There is even a camera pointing down so you can see the ground directly under the truck. This should help prevent unnecessary damage when crossing rough terrain. The extra luxury of other versions, such as the power seat and infotainment, is also standard on the TRD Pro.
In case you’re wondering, the same powertrains as before are transferred to the refurbished truck. This means that a 2.7-liter four-cylinder developing 159 horsepower and 180 pounds of torque is standard. Our preference is for the 3.5-liter V6 with 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. Fortunately, you can still pair the six-speed manual transmission with the V6. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, otherwise.
Toyota did not say when the Tacoma 2020 would reach dealers, nor any price adjustments. However, we expect the model year 2020 truck to be this summer or fall. When it goes on sale, the mid-size truck market will be a bit more crowded, with the Ford Ranger now on sale and the Jeep Gladiator on the way.