2020 Toyota Tacoma Preview

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
February 6, 2019

Myriad detail upgrades keep the 2020 Toyota Tacoma competitive in the increasingly competitive mid-size pickup truck market.

Look beyond the 2020 Toyota Tacoma’s revamped headlights and grille and the big news is inside, where the mid-size pickup truck’s new infotainment system finally bakes in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

It was about time, especially since Jeep and Ford are angling for a place at the mid-size pickup truck table.

Smartphone compatibility as well as Amazon Alexa integration will be standard on all versions of the refreshed pickup truck, from base SR through the SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, TRD Pro, and Limited trim levels.

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Though the 2020 Tacoma largely carries over from last year’s model aside from the tech upgrade and styling updates, Toyota addressed a number of common complaints.

SR5 and higher trim levels now feature a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support in place of last year’s non-height-adjustable manual seat. The keyless ignition system available on higher trim levels of the Tacoma now features a sensor on the passenger’s door in addition to the one on the driver’s door. An LED bed lamp has been added to the options list for increased nighttime visibility while loading and unloading cargo. Also, a surround-view camera system is newly available on TRD Sport, TRD Pro, and Limited trim levels, while the TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro feature a camera that points under the vehicle to help the driver keep tabs on off-road obstacles.

Some versions of the 2020 model sport new styling details that will be most obvious to Tacoma faithful. Revised LED running lights and taillights, a different grille, and new wheel designs are on most versions of the Tacoma. TRD and Limited trims can also be had with LED headlights that sport a new design. The truck’s body panels carry over from last year.

The Tacoma is available in extended- and crew-cab configurations. Extended cabs feature a 6-foot-7 bed. The crew cab can be had with either the 6-foot-7 bed or a 5-foot-5 bed. Regardless of dimensions, the Tacoma’s bed has a composite interior that saves weight and resists dents compared to steel.

2020 Toyota Tacoma performance and safety

Underhood, the Tacoma retains a standard 2.7-liter inline-4 rated at 159 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, although most trucks are built with a 3.5-liter V-6 that puts out 278 hp and 265 lb-ft. The V-6 offers a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic. The base 4-cylinder is only available with the 6-speed automatic.

The V-6’s standard trailer-towing package includes a Class IV hitch and an upgraded cooling system that gives the truck a 6,800-pound rating.

Most 2020 Tacoma trim levels come standard with rear-wheel drive and offer a part-time four-wheel-drive system. The TRD Pro comes only with four-wheel drive while the TRD Sport exclusively sends power to the rear wheels.

New, lighter 16-inch alloy wheels fitted to the off-road-ready Tacoma TRD Pro meant that Toyota had to modify the truck’s Fox internal bypass shocks and springs.

We have not driven any version of the 2020 Tacoma, but we’re hoping that the revised suspension tuning in the TRD Pro makes for a softer ride. Other Tacomas we’ve driven have been bouncy but composed, with decent around-town power. The turbo-4 engine in the new Ford Ranger provides better passing power, but the Tacoma’s V-6 should be adequate for most users.

While it may be short on power compared to some rivals, the 2020 Tacoma is tops when it comes to active safety tech. Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, and lane-departure warnings are standard on every version of Toyota’s mid-size pickup truck.

The 2020 Tacoma goes on sale later this year. Prices have not been announced.

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