Toyota is feeling the heat.
For years, it enjoyed a near-monopoly on the midsize pickup truck segment in America, but the competition has finally awakened. It now needs to fend off the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins, the Ford Ranger, and the Jeep Gladiator. It gave the popular Tacoma updates inside and out for the 2020 model year in a bid to keep it in the lead.
Stylists penned headlights with a more futuristic design characterized by new-look LED inserts. Nearly every 2020 Tacoma wears a redesigned grille, and the rear lights also went under the knife, though the changes made to them are minor at best. Some of the available alloy wheel designs are new for the next model year, but it takes a well-trained eye to tell the 2020 Tacoma apart from the 2019 model. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Buyers will certainly notice the difference between the two trucks inside, however. The Tacoma comes with a brand-new infotainment system displayed on either a 7- or an 8-inch touchscreen. The graphics are sharper than before, and it’s finally compatible with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa. That’s a major step forward for the model. Toyota also added an available power-operated driver’s seat as it follows the rest of the truck segment’s shift towards more car-like interiors.
Every Tacoma regardless of trim level comes with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P), which bundles adaptive cruise control, pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with sway warning, and automatic high beams. The off-roader-approved TRD Pro model returns for 2020 with Fox suspension components, standard four-wheel drive, and a panoramic view monitor that relies on cameras to give the driver a 360-view of what’s around the truck. There is even a camera that shows the driver what’s under the Tacoma, a feature which comes in handy on the trail.
Toyota is not making any mechanical modifications for 2020. The standard engine remains a 2.7-liter, four-cylinder rated at 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Buyers in need of extra power can pay more for a 3.5-liter V6 tuned to deliver 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. Drivetrain options include two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, a six-speed manual transmission, or six-speed automatic transmission.
The 2020 Tacoma is available in no less than 32 configurations of cab, bed, trim level, and powertrain, according to Toyota. A base rear-wheel drive Access Cab starts at $27,170, but prices climb quickly from there. The TRD Pro off-roader has a base price of $45,080 with the six-speed manual transmission, or $47,785 with the automatic. That’s a $1,000 increase over 2019, but it’s fairly close to the $47,040 base price of an automatic-transmission Jeep Gladiator Rubicon. But the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 undercuts both with a base price of $44,095.
Updated on September 7, 2019: Added pricing information.