We are happy to report Toyota won't be waiting 14 years to launch a new generation of the Tacoma as it did with the larger Tundra. Currently in its third iteration, the midsize pickup has been around since 2015 and it looks as though an all-new version of the truck is coming sooner rather than later, possibly as early as the 2023 model year. Spotted for the first time, the next-gen model was seen in Las Vegas by a reader of The Fast Lane.
The Tacoma wasn't all alone as Toyota was benchmarking it against the Ford Ranger, which itself is gearing up for the next generation debuting in 2022. The folks over at TFL are speculating the disguised prototype had a turbocharged engine since the Blue Oval's truck also boasts forced induction. It could be a sign the naturally aspirated 2.7-liter four-cylinder and 3.5-liter V6 will be replaced by a turbo engine, likely a four-pot unit already used in other Toyota/Lexus models.
The 2023 Tacoma is expected to switch to the TNGA-F platform shared with the Tundra, Land Cruiser, and the new LX unveiled earlier this week. Rumor has it Toyota plans to merge the Hilux and Tacoma into a single model to achieve significant cost savings, and build the 4Runner SUV on the same architecture. It remains to be seen whether these models will get the 10-speed automatic available in the larger vehicles. Logic tells us the Sequoia SUV is next in line to get it.
In regards to styling, Toyota went all out to camouflage the new truck, but we are already getting the impression of a smaller Tundra judging by the front fascia. The extra disguise hanging from the underside of the tailgate is probably there to conceal the rear suspension setup, which could switch to a multi-link layout with coil springs to mirror the Tundra.
If the Hilux and Tacoma will indeed become a single global model as reports say, it could also mean the Hilux-based Fortuner will be mechanically identical to the 4Runner.