Next-gen Tacoma could align with Hilux

2013 Toyota Tacoma Baja III

2013 Toyota Tacoma Baja III (Credit: Handout)

Someone is making good guesses about what happens in the next few years at Toyota. Automotive News reporter Mark Rechtin has the next-generation Toyota Tacoma on the verge of a few significant changes by the 2014 model year.

One possibility is that the chassis from the Tacoma and Hilux will become more closely aligned with engineering and design. The official word from Toyota, however, is that it doesn't plan to make any such announcements at this time.

It is quite odd for a company to make two identically sized and equipped vehicles that fill the same market segment but keep two entirely different styles and models for separate markets. The North American Tacoma is the best-selling midsize truck in the U.S. market, but the Hilux enjoys great success in the Asia, Europe and South America.

The Tacoma and Hilux are based off very different designs, largely because of the very different uses each truck is typically subjected to in those different markets. The Hilux is more of a workhorse truck around the world, and as a result it offers a more robust frame and chassis than the U.S.-sold Tacoma, which has not needed much revision over the years as it dominates the shrinking non-full-size pickup segment.

All we know for sure is that at some point in the next few years, the Tacoma will undergo a significant redesign that isn't likely to mess too much with the winning formula. But if the upcoming Thailand-sourced Chevy Colorado becomes a hit when it debuts latter in 2014, we expect Toyota to have a contingency plan to put into play rather quickly.

As for the Tundra, Mr. Rechtin is reporting Toyota is likely to keep the same engine lineup and chassis strategy for the fullsize, but put a good amount of re-engineering effort to improving the power and fuel economy performance of the 4.0L V-6. Most significant changes, according to Automotive News, will come in the form of interior and exterior styling changes to make the truck less rounded and more "trucky". We'd also guess that a more aggressive diesel-hybrid option is likely to debut with the new look but some reports have it that the new powertrain may be held for the 2014 or 2015 model year.

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