With the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon set to arrive in dealers in the near future, it's high time Toyota got to work on a replacement for the Tacoma, a vehicle whose present generation debuted in the middle of the Bush Administration. Now, we have images of that new pickup undergoing testing.

Our spy photographers picked up this heavily modified mule undergoing tow tests in the desert. It rides on a modified version of the current Taco's frame, as evidenced by shots of its undercarriage, although our spies cite the lack of riveted sections as indications that the current truck's footprint should remain unchanged.

Aside from underbody changes, this particular Tacoma featured a six-speed manual transmission, which we're expecting to be joined by a six-speed automatic. The current four- and five-speed autos found on the current truck will almost certainly be killed off. Marching to the grave with those slushboxes will be the two-door Regular Cab body style. Our spies are expecting Toyota to focus its efforts on the larger, more accessible Double Cab.

Take a look up top for the heavily detailed gallery of images of the new Tacoma in action. Expect the next-gen Tacoma to arrive later in 2015, likely as a 2016 model.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 81 Comments
      Dave
      • 4 Months Ago

      A 6-speed manual is not new to the taco, but a 6-speed auto would be.

       

      A hi-lux diesel in the taco would be awesome: 30 mpg in a double cab 4x4? 

      Come on Toyota, I know you can make it happen.


       

        r67bennett
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Dave

        Same old ugly looking manual shifter/boot design that never change, looks like it's been stuck in the late 80's.

          Carmaker1
          • 4 Months Ago *Edited*
          @r67bennett

          That's not even representative of a production Tacoma gearbox you idiot, in it being a mule. Some of you trolls simply have mush for brains. In fact, that is one area (gearbox) Toyota did right in terms of design aesthetic. Everything else is aging.

      sloturbo
      • 4 Months Ago

      They have to get more MPG out the next engine/transmission combo if they want keep their edge. 17-21 won't to cut it anymore.

        Caldude
        • 4 Months Ago
        @sloturbo

        No doubt when you have full sized fairly low tech gas trucks returning 25mpg averages ie Dodge and possibly but not betting on it the new lighter F150. Toyota's biggest improvement needs to be mileage.

          Shannon
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Caldude


          Caldude, the only gas truck that dodge has that returns 25 mpg is a regular cab v-6 mated to the chrysler 300 8 speed transmission.  It's junk as far as trucks are concerned

        RickT
        • 4 Months Ago
        @sloturbo

        I'm looking to downsize from my 06 F-150 V6 long bed soon. Since I'm close to retirement don't need a truck that big anymore but I like having somewhat of bed, they always seem to come in handy. Am looking at a Tacoma with a 4banger and manual, I'll probably keep it till either it croaks (or I do)but the rated mileage is horrible! (for the 4cyl) I'm with you, that kind mpg DON'T cut it anymore.

          J Page
          • 4 Months Ago
          @RickT

          I have exactly what you're wanting, 5spd 4x4 Access cab with larger than stock tires and I average 24.3mpg all summer long. Around 21 in the winter. Don't believe the ratings.


          J Page
          • 4 Months Ago
          @RickT

          I have the 4cyl Tacoma with 5spd, access cab, and larger than stock tires. I average 24.3 mpg all summer & 21 in the winter. I'm pretty happy with that.

        DCbound
        • 4 Months Ago
        @sloturbo

        So true! Toyota need to go smaller not bigger.

        My 1986 Toyota 2WD SR5 X-cab 5-speed manual gets 32 mpg highway doing 60-65 mph. Gets 29 mpg doing 70-75 mpg.

        I get several people a year, mostly mid 20s age, walk up and ask me if I want to sell it. They say they want  a small truck. I tell them it has 425,000 miles on it and they say they don't care.

        Wrong direction with bigger Toyota!



      404 not found
      • 4 Months Ago

      Offer a turbo-diesel 4 cylinder and i'm sold. 

        jedss454
        • 4 Months Ago
        @404 not found

        Ditto! I'm a bog Toyota fan, but they need to get their act together and offer a diesel in the US; especially w/ the GM twins coming out with a turbo-diesel option soon. 

      mitytitywhitey
      • 4 Months Ago

      "this particular Tacoma featured a six-speed manual transmission"

      Interesting...   

      If this  mule was for power train testing, it may mean they've already  been  in development of a  new engine that pairs to the manual. 

      Hopefully the manual lives on for another generation... and  we who hope for this don't  have to 'go back  business school' because they will ' only sell ten of them'.


        carguy1701
        • 4 Months Ago
        @mitytitywhitey

        "...and  we who hope for this don't  have to 'go back  business school' because they will ' only sell ten of them'."

        How many Tacoma manuals have been sold in the last 3 years, then?

      Ryan Schneider
      • 4 Months Ago

      If they can't come up with something to replace that ancient V6, they may as well not even bother.

        SpikedLemon
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Ryan Schneider

        If Nissan can take keep the VQ as a modern and relavent engine: there's no reason Toyota can't update the 4.0.

         

        Though that's not to say they shouldn't consider the 3.0 diesel instead.

          jmopar1
          • 4 Months Ago
          @SpikedLemon

          ford is coming out with a 2.7 4 cyl next

        carguy1701
        • 4 Months Ago *Edited*
        @Ryan Schneider

        I'm sure the 1GR will be updated with dual VVT and possibly direct injection.

        Also, your use of the term 'ancient' is curious, as the GR-series V6s have only been around 10 years or so (in North America, anyway; they first appeared in the Japanese market in 2002), which isn't that unusual.  Honda's J-series first appeared in 1996, and the GM High Feature engines first appeared in 2004.  The only 'ancient' engines available in any cars currently on the market are the GM small block V8 and the Bentley 6 3/4 litre V8, and both of those are substantially changed versus the variants that debuted in 1955 and 1959, respectively.

          carguy1701
          • 4 Months Ago
          @carguy1701

          >downvoted 11 times for telling the truth
          You can do better than that, Matt!

          Mark K
          • 4 Months Ago *Edited*
          @carguy1701

          last small block 5.7l was in 1998 in trucks . Try  Gen 3 and Gen4 LS series since then. Not much of a car guy. all new stuff, except the 4.3l

        Bobby Mo
        • 16 Days Ago
        @Ryan Schneider


        That same updated engine is in the current FJ Cruiser and 4Runner at 270 hp!

      Edward Spain
      • 4 Months Ago

      I have a 2003 Tacoma Extended cab TRD and let me tell you, I still get offers to buy my truck for as much as $16,000. from a Dealer no less. It has 182,000 miles on it and the interior is a bit worn but the dashboard looks like new as well as the seat material which I have always kept covered. On the Freeway driving over 1000 miles in States without Ethanol I get 25 mpg, City 18. with Ethanol 19 and 15. I have only replaced, Tires, Brakes, Bodily Fluid, Battery, Belts, Head Gasket and I got taken by an unscruplous National Retail Chain for an Alternator. I kept the original and had it put back on and it works fine..It cost me $13,000 brand new from the Dealer..2 wheel drive nothing fancy except power windows and air conditioning and that is all I want. Now if Toyota does not come up with a truck similar to this one. I'm not going to buy it..I be going from Better to worse. he's something in 1955 The Nash Auto Company was selling a car that they bragged got 25 miles per gallon..SO it just goes to show how all these great mileage ratings are bogus from the very beginining when 59 years they were making cars with almost the same mileage as today.

        pwr2lbs
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Edward Spain

        I have a 2003 four door 4X4 as well. The thing is perfect size for the city, and has enough bed space to take care of all my home improvement chores. The new one is too large for my taste/needs, plus this one just won't quit. I will own this truck until they bring over the Hilux diesel. If my truck had a diesel I would never get rid of it.

      JC914
      • 4 Months Ago

      Is that a diesel under the hood there, Toyota?  Is so, I'm listening.

      Soyntgo4it
      • 4 Months Ago
      Diesel or small V8 would be nice..
      bK
      • 4 Months Ago

      Already been 10 years and it still looks fairly modern. Although they need to keep up with modern powertrain.

      Caldude
      • 4 Months Ago

      I suspect that the big and most important thing in those pictures is the engine. Outside of fixing the weak rear suspension and improving the handling and ride quality the only major thing Toyota needs to do is put an engine in it that puts it back into the acceptable range for mileage.

      bigloop
      • 4 Months Ago

      Just to let everyone reading know,that's not what the new Tacoma looks like.How do I know? I work for Toyota. The new Tacoma has a hood scoupe and Tacoma is stamped into the tailgate like the Tundra but bigger letters and almost all the way across the tailgate.

      dgarr22
      • 4 Months Ago

      I must be a slow learner.  What have they changed.  It looks EXACTLY like the 2014 model.  I thought this model was supposed to look like the European Hilux edition. 

        Trevor K
        • 4 Months Ago
        @dgarr22

        It appears to me that this truck's sole purpose is power train testing, as noted on the white sticker on the window (last picture). The new model probably has a similar platform and they're not going to put the new body on it when they're just testing power train.

        Zoom
        • 4 Months Ago
        @dgarr22

        It's a mule, meaning the sheetmetal is hiding the new underpinnings/drivetrain. At least that's what I think "mule" means.

        Larry Litmanen
        • 4 Months Ago
        @dgarr22

        It's a mule.

        Nurse1
        • 4 Months Ago
        @dgarr22

        I agree...this is the same truck.  I am not sure what they are talking about. 

        jtav2002
        • 4 Months Ago
        @dgarr22

        I hope you're just trolling. Otherwise I don't see how anyone who frequents an auto website wouldn't know what a mule is. Every manufacturer does this. It's only to test powertrains. So yes it's the same body. with whatever powertrain they're looking at using in the next gen truck. Easier to test this in the wild early on instead of having heavily camouflaged versions of the new vehicle, especially if they don't even have a design ready yet.

          Carmaker1
          • 4 Months Ago
          @jtav2002

          I agreed with you until your last comment "especially if they don't even have a design ready yet". SMH. You usually do not even see a mule, before a company has a final design approved in pre-freeze conceptual or production form. I expect someone who frequents an auto website to know that as well.

          If this is for MY2016, Toyota should've done all of that design work through last year, as they're already finishing up MY2017 Toyotas designs (including 2017 Camry).

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