Toyota continues to raise the bar

by Willy Williamson . Feb 15 2019
Photos by Toyota Toyota’s Tacoma got some upgrades for its 2020 edition. The combination of high tech and quality parts continues to keep the Tacoma at the front of the line in the highly competitive mid-size truck market.

Photos by Toyota

Toyota’s Tacoma got some upgrades for its 2020 edition. The combination of high tech and quality parts continues to keep the Tacoma at the front of the line in the highly competitive mid-size truck market.

It may be the top dog in the mid-size truck market, but that didn’t stop Toyota from giving its third-generation Tacoma a refresh for the 2020 model year. According to Toyota, improvements include revised styling, expanded multimedia, added comfort and convenience and additional off-road capability for the TRD Pro.

Unveiled last week at the Chicago Auto Show, the 2020 Tacoma will be available in more than 30 configurations and six models, the SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, TRD Pro and the top-of-the-line Limited.

It comes as no surprise that Toyota refreshed the Tacoma, as competition in the mid-size truck market continues to heat up with the increasingly popular Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, as well as the upcoming Jeep Gladiator and the new Ford Ranger on the market.

If you were hoping for a complete redesign, you’ll have to wait. The first-generation Tacoma model sold from 1995 to 2004, the second-generation sold from 2005 to 2015 and the current third-generation version has been on the market since 2016 — so it will likely be a few more years before Toyota delivers a fourth-generation Tacoma.

Highlights for 2020 include new front grilles across the lineup and fresh wheels on most models. Inside, there’s also a new 10-way power adjustable driver seat with power lumbar support on all models from SR5 up.

This should address some of the comfort issues with the current seating position, which has been criticized for being too low to the floor for taller drivers.

Perhaps the most notable update, however, is a new multimedia system which now includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility and brings the Tacoma in line with the technology found in its competition. Even the base SR features an upgraded seven-inch touchscreen, while SR5 grades and above are fitted with a larger eight-inch touchscreen. Toyota Safety Sense P is also standard on every Tacoma and includes Pre-Collision System with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with sway warning system, automatic high beams and high-speed dynamic radar cruise control.

Tacoma Access Cab models ride on a 127.4-inch wheelbase and have a 73.7-inch-long bed. Tacoma Double Cab trucks are offered as a 127.4-inch wheelbase with a 60.5-inch bed or 140.6-inch wheelbase with a 73.7-inch bed.

The 2020 Tacoma offers the same choice of two powertrains as the 2019 models, either a 2.7-litre DOHC four-cylinder with 159 horsepower and 180 lb.-ft. of torque, or an available 3.5-litre V-6 with 278 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. of torque. Both engines are linked to either a six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission — the V-6 can also be paired with a six-speed manual transmission.

The base Tacoma SR also gets revised tail lights with a new dark housing and intermittent wipers. Tacoma SR5 also gets 16-inch dark satin wheels, darker tail-light housings, and an updated fabric design on the seat backs. The TRD Sport gets new 17-inch wheels, Passenger Smart Key entry, chrome tail lamp inserts and new LED fog lamps. New LED daytime running lights and LED headlights and LED cargo lamp are also available. Panoramic View Monitor (PVM), a camera system which provides views around the truck for easier and safer manoeuvring in tight situations is also optional.

Tacoma TRD Off-Road gets LED fog lamps, chrome insert tail lamps and Passenger Smart Key entry. Multi-Terrain Monitor is also available to provide a better view of the ground beneath the truck. TRD Off-Road also comes standard with TRD-tuned Bilstein shocks, a locking rear differential, Hill Start Assist Control, Multi-terrain Select and Crawl Control.

The loaded Limited gets 18-inch alloy wheels, standard LED lighting and chrome tail lamp inserts and Panoramic View Monitor as standard equipment.

The Tacoma TRD Pro, designed by Toyota Racing Development, also gets a revised look and several new features including sequential LED headlights, new lighter 16-inch wheels wrapped in Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Kevlar-reinforced tires and Rigid Industries LED fog lights. A power moonroof and JBL Premium Audio is also standard. Army Green is a TRD Pro exclusive colour for 2020 and is offered along with Super White, Midnight Black Metallic and Magnetic Gray Metallic. TRD Pro comes standard with on-demand part-time four-wheel drive with an electronically controlled transfer case and an electronically controlled locking rear differential. Automatic transmission-equipped models also include Hill Start Assist Control Multi-terrain Select and Crawl Control.

V-6-powered Tacomas come standard with a tow package which includes a Class IV receiver hitch, automatic transmission fluid cooler, engine-oil cooler, power-steering cooler, 130-amp alternator, four and seven-pin connector with converter and trailer-sway control, and it can pull up to 6,800 lbs.

Although pricing hasn’t been announced yet for the 2020 models, the 2019 Toyota Tacoma starts at $31,825.

willy@freepress.mb.ca

The 2020 Tacoma TRD Pro is ready for off-road exploration.

The 2020 Tacoma TRD Pro is ready for off-road exploration.

The Tacoma’s interior incorporates updated multimedia features.

The Tacoma’s interior incorporates updated multimedia features.

Toyota’s 2020 Tacoma Off-Road comes standard with TRD-tuned Bilstein shocks, a locking rear differential and Hill Start Assist Control.

Toyota’s 2020 Tacoma Off-Road comes standard with TRD-tuned Bilstein shocks, a locking rear differential and Hill Start Assist Control.