The good news about the 2020 Toyota Tacoma is that its maker finally recognizes increasing competition from other midsize pickups. The Tacoma has dominated the class for more than a decade, but recent arrivals and updates from Ford, GM and Nissan mean the Tacoma is no longer that automatic choice it once was.
Toyota continues to pick around the edges with its Tacoma upgrades, however, saving a complete overhaul for some distant future in which the Chevy Colorado or the new Ford Ranger starts challenging its position.
More Comfy, More Connected
For the 2020 Tacoma, chipping at the margins means attending to some long-awaited details that make the truck more livable. Chief among those upgrades are a power-adjustable driver's seat and full integration for iPhone and Android devices, with bonus Alexa functionality thrown in.
While the Tacoma's advance materials don't specifically list a height-adjustable driver's seat, it is described as "10-way adjustable" and is a good indication that Toyota has addressed lingering gripes about fixed seat height.
Toyota is also finally on board with third-party tech solutions, adding both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone control to the 2020 Tacoma as well as Amazon Alexa integration. Toyota's proprietary Entune software is likely to continue uninterrupted for drivers with different smartphone systems (or even, egads, no smartphone!), but now at least it's not the only choice.
Other tech upgrades include a new 7-inch touchscreen for SR trims and an updated 8-inch touch display in SR5 and higher trims. TRD Sport and Off-Road models get a 360-degree camera view, while the Off-Road takes it a step further with an underbody camera for viewing challenging obstacles out in the wild.
The TRD Pro comes in with some of the more notable changes for 2020, including a new 16-inch wheel design that is 4 pounds lighter than before, LED headlights and foglights, and upgraded shocks and springs. The Pro will also offer both 360-degree and underbody cameras, along with a new Army Green color option.
Look Close. No, Even Closer
Elsewhere, changes are more modest, highlighted by revised grilles up front. You'll need to squint hard to see the difference, but there's a new honeycomb-mesh look. And on the TRD Pro trim, the Toyota name replaces the brand's traditional logo. An LED bedlamp is also available.
Like today's Tacoma, the refreshed model will come with either a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (159 horsepower, 180 pound-feet of torque) or a 3.5-liter V6 (278 hp, 265 lb-ft) hooked to a six-speed manual transmission or an automatic. Tacoma V6 models are rated to tow up to 6,800 pounds, thanks to the included tow package, which provides a Class IV receiver hitch, fluid coolers and an upgraded alternator.
All Tacomas will also come with the Safety Sense suite of driver aids, which includes automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, trailer sway alert, automatic high beams and adaptive cruise control.
Pricing and Release Date
Toyota hasn't announced pricing or availability yet, but we estimate the Tacoma will cost slightly more than today's model and range from around $26,000 to $36,000. We expect it to go on sale in late fall or early winter.