The Toyota Tacoma has technically been around since 1995, though Toyota has been building a pint-sized truck since the mid 1950s. The classic Hilux truck that is usually associated with Toyota made its North American debut in 1968. The design morphed into that iconic square-body shape by its fourth generation, hitting streets in 1983. The fifth-generation Hilux, or as it was simply called in the U.S., the Toyota Pickup, saw upgrades to interior quality and power. Toyota’s U.S. truck business really kicked off with the 1995 Tacoma. An all-new design with a Camry-like interior, a stout pair of engines, and a robust four-wheel-drive system brought huge sales numbers to Toyota.

Finally getting a major upgrade for 2016, the third-generation Tacoma will compete against the still-fresh 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, the upcoming refreshed Nissan Frontier, and the possible renaissance of the Ford Ranger. Baring those trucks that aren’t at dealerships, the Tacoma already has a fight on its hands with the GM twins. Will the new Taco be enough to dethrone the award-winning Chevy and GMC? Keep on reading to find out.

UPDATED 01/12/2015: Toyota has released the preliminary details on the upcoming 2016 Tacoma. The truck is getting a new V-6 and transmission, along with updated suspension tuning and a completely restyled interior.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Toyota Tacoma.

  • 2016 Toyota Tacoma
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
    six-speed automatic
  • Energy:
    Direct & Port Injection
  • Displacement:
    3.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    9.8 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    115 mph (Est.)
  • Layout:
    Front Engine; 2WD, 4WD
  • Price:
    20700 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • body style:

Live Stream Video

Update History

Updated 12/17/2014: Toyota unveiled a second teaser image for the new Tacoma which will be unveiled on January 12, 2015 at the Detroit Auto Show.

Updated 12/22/2014: After two teaser images is now time for a first teaser video of the future Tacoma. While the video does not reveal much, it highlights the trucks’ off-road capability and its sporty character. Enjoy!

Updated 01/08/2015: The first official images of the all new Toyota Tacoma have hit the web, meaning of course that the official debut is inches closer. Stay tuned!


2016 Toyota Tacoma High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Toyota Tacoma High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Toyota Tacoma High Resolution Exterior
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Meet the new 2016 Tacoma. These are the first images showing the truck’s exterior in its entirety with multiple views from several angles. At first glance, things look pretty cool. The updated front fascia is more exciting than before with a bold grille, Cheshire Cat lower air intake, and a widened stance from the larger fenders. In the rear, the fenders get the same widened look with matching body-colored flairs. The tailgate gets a sharp-looking “TACOMA” stamp along the lower edge and some hard accent lines. A new set of alloy wheels with black accents complete the package.

As noted before in one of the teaser images, Toyota has relocated the trailer wiring harness to the license plate area of the bumper. This keeps connections clear from flying road debris and damage, not to mention making it easier to use.

Side-by-side comparison

2016 Toyota Tacoma
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2016 Toyota Tacoma Interior
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2016 Toyota Tacoma Interior
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2016 Toyota Tacoma High Resolution Interior
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The Tacoma’s interior now features what Toyota calls a “handlebar” design theme in the instrument panel with a driver-focused deign. Upgraded soft-touch materials cover the dash and center console and imparts a more upscale look while still holding true to the sport truck theme.

Updates include the Qi wireless charging station for Qi-equipped devices, smart-key activated doors and ignition, leather-trimmed seats, a power moonroof, dual-zone climate controls, an updated Entune touchscreen, and Blind-sport monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

What’s more, every Tacoma features a built-in GoPro mount near the rear-view mirror. Talk about a simple yet awesome addition.

In addition to the updated materials, the Tacoma’s interior is made more quite by a laminated acoustic windshield, a sound-absorbing headliner, and a thick silencer pad beneath the floor carpeting.


2016 Toyota Tacoma High Resolution Exterior
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Toyota is finally replacing the Tacoma’s tired 4.0-liter V-6 with a new 3.5-liter V-6 running an Atkinson combustion cycle. The engine features both direct and port fuel injection to provide the best combination of power and efficiency. Toyota hasn’t revealed the engine’s horsepower or torque numbers, but promises the engine is more powerful than the outgoing V-6. The 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine carries over from the previous generation. Both engines are mated to a new six-speed automatic transmission. Thankfully, Toyota is offering a six-speed manual transmission with both, yes both (!) engines.

Helping its off-road credibility, the Tacoma gets Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system similar to the one in the current 4Runner. It includes driver-selectable settings for loose rock, mud, sand and snow. In addition, Crawl Control is also added, allowing the driver to select a crawl speed and let the truck modulate the gas and brake pedals. Active Traction Control, Hill Start Assist, and Clutch Start Cancel (manual trans. only) are also available.

The Tacoma rides on a revised frame that is stronger and stiffer than before.


2016 Toyota Tacoma High Resolution Exterior
- image 610528

Expect the Tacoma’s price to stay stagnate at its current $20,765 rate. With the Colorado starting at $20,120 and the Canyon at $20,995, the Tacoma has a perfect base MSRP to compete. The Tacoma will be available in five trim levels: the base SR, the mid-level SR5, the TRD Sport, the new TRD Off-Road, and the range-topping Limited.


2015 Chevrolet Colorado

2015 Chevrolet Colorado High Resolution Exterior
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The Colorado and its twin the Canyon are completely new for 2015, offering loads of style, power, capability, and functionality at a cheaper-than-full-size price. New four- and six-cylinder engine options, plus a turbo-diesel for 2016, make the Colorado a powerhouse. The four-cylinder even offers a manual transmission with certain body configurations.

Prices start at $20,120 for the base Colorado.

Nissan Frontier

2009 Nissan Frontier
- image 249828

The Frontier is still in its current, almost forgotten state. While a refresh is well overdue, Nissan has been talking more about the upcoming 2016 Titan. We should expect an updated Frontier by at least 2017. While the Frontier has always been the third mutt in a two-dog fight, debuting a truck after the competition could result in a perfected model – having learned the market’s reaction to the Colorado and Tacoma. It will be interesting to see how Nissan does in the mid-size market in the next five years.


2016 Toyota Tacoma High Resolution Exterior
- image 609473

The 2016 Tacoma is a great step in the right direction for Toyota. Though it’s not a completely new truck, enough has changed to make it a strong competitor again in the midsize segment. The upgraded interior, the bold new looks, the new TRD Off-Road trim package, and the all-new V-6 make the most of the updates.

While Toyota should have no problems keeping up with the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon trucks in terms of sales, only time will tell which truck American buyers will go for. It should be an interesting fight to watch.

  • Leave it
    • Late to the fight
    • Looks like a refresh rather than a fresh start
    • Still waiting for engine details & fuel economy
Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read full bio
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Press Release

Toyota’s rolling out the all-new 2016 Tacoma at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 12.

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Press release

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