2021 Toyota Tacoma Concept Redesign – A recent report from Automotive News states that the upcoming Toyota Tundra and Tacoma will be built on a shared platform. The new platform is reportedly known as the “F1” codename inside the company. The sources report that the platform development is nearing completion and it could support a new production truck for the 2021 model year. A qualified guess would set the next generation tundra to receive the new chassis and a complete redesign. The Toyota Tundra has remained virtually unchanged in the United States since 2007, although it has received several body refreshments and technology updates over the years.
Competition is developing at a faster pace and Toyota needs to make a big leap in the Half-ton segment to remain competitive. Toyota is building Tacoma and tundra at the same facility near San Antonio, Texas — so a common platform should further streamline the production process.
The technical details of the new platform are still unknown. Toyota is currently using a common TNGA platform for its passenger cars. How will a common truck platform work? Medium and half-ton trucks have very different capacity and utility requirements. A modern half-ton truck towing capacity standard is now over 12,000 lbs. The payload requirements continue to go up. A mid-size truck standard is about 7,500 lbs of towing.
A midsize truck tends to be about six inches narrower than a full-size truck. Of course, there are different frame and wheelbase lengths to consider as well.
What does this mean for Toyota Sequoia or Toyota 4Runner SUVs? These SUVs have not been redesigned for many years as well. Sequoia is related to tundra, so this shared platform can extend to it. But the future of 4Runner redesign is less certain.
We know that, at the moment, Mike Sweers is the chief engineer of four vehicles together: Toyota Tacoma, 4Runner, tundra, and Sequoia. Mike has spent a lot of time working in Japan over the last year. We cannot wait to see the fruits of this development. Although we may have to wait until 2020 to actually see and learn about these new trucks.
An earlier version of this story indicated that Toyota’s safety Sense is the latest standard for the 2020 Tacoma. It is wrong. Tacoma has presented Toyota’s active safety package since 2018. TSS is new standard on all 4Runner SUVs. The post has been updated accordingly.
This past year, the midsize truck segment offered an insanely capable Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 bison, a reborn Ford Ranger, and the all-new Jeep Gladiator. And yet, despite a rush of new and improved competitors, Toyota Tacoma is still the best-selling mid-size truck, one of the top 15 best-selling vehicles in America, and Toyota’s body-on-frame sales king.
And Toyota is not waiting for the competition to catch up. When Gladiator and Ranger hit their sales steps, the Japanese company ravaged a few of the joint grievance critics and Tacoma owners bemoan.
First: an electric seat of 10 positions. It is standard on all SR5 or higher V6 models. Drivers have complained about the awkward driving position of the Taco, and the electric seat tilt function should help them feel more comfortable. I never had a personal problem with Tacoma seats, but I didn’t develop any pain after hours of driving on gravel and dirt.
This new truck also receives some very necessary infotainment updates. The Tacoma, along with its brother 4Runner, is the first Toyota vehicle with support for Android Auto. As a handful of the company’s newest products, Tacoma now has Apple CarPlay. However, if you decide to use the Toyota system, you will benefit from an updated version of Entune. These additions do not make Tacoma the best in its class when it comes to multimedia (that honor remains with the Gladiator and his UConnect suite), but it is much better than it used to be.
All Tacomas come standard with Toyota Safety Sense-P, which includes adaptive cruise control, a pre-collision system, lane change warning and automatic headlights. LED headlights are also available in the upper moldings and complement the redesigned grill of the truck, while all the moldings receive improved rear lights. This year’s special TRD Pro color is military green, which looks particularly threatening with the factory tube installed. However, be careful, as Toyota says that the “desert air intake” should not go through an automatic car wash.
The Limited, TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro models also come with a surround vision camera that offers a panoramic view of the truck to help you out of difficult situations. TRD models also include a multi-terrain monitor that feeds on side and front views to help you navigate blind obstacles on the trails.
That was useful during our hiking trail near Moab, Utah and Ouray, Colorado. By dividing our time between the TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro models, we navigate steep and slippery rock formations, muddy trails, snowy mountain passes and descents full of loose rocks.
Tacoma is also far from being the softest vehicle in its class. While the addition of Fox racing dampers last year helped soften the TRD Pro finish on high-speed washboard surfaces, both grades of Tacoma can still be easily solved. Even on smooth pavement, there is an irregularity in the trip that causes the truck to constantly tremble. On the gravel mountain passes between Moab and Ouray, the Tacoma hit us.
Those travel sacrifices were not made in the name of driving, that’s for sure. Like most off-road oriented trucks, the two Tacoma TRD qualities become curves. If you want agility, soft springs and centered masses are not the best places to start. Tacoma is not neglected, but it is far from pleasant on winding roads. The address, predictably, is vague.
Fortunately, cabin updates have made the Tacoma cabin a better place to spend your days. The electric seats mentioned above are a welcome addition, the standard adaptive cruise control lightens your driving load and the infotainment system goes from being frustrating to a bit slower.
Unchanged, of course, is Tacoma’s incomparable reputation for quality and its extensive after-sales support. Our trip concluded at FJ Summit, an annual gathering of Toyota fans from across the country, which floods Ouray with custom Tacomas, 4Runners, FJ Cruisers, Land Cruisers, Lexus GX and more. As expected, we saw a lot of Tacomas skirting the trails as we approached the top of a 13,000-foot mountain.
Combine that community and reputation with some of the best resale values that exist and it’s easy to see how Toyota moved 245,659 Tacomas in the United States last year. Tacoma does not have the best interior, it is not the most refined and does not drag more in the class, but the undeniable charm of the old school is still its strongest selling point.