Toyota should keep the 2015 Tacoma simple
Toyota should create a “Tacoma Classic” version of its popular compact pickup truck and focus on making the vehicle simple, reliable, and durable. That is a recurring message Torque News commenters and forum readers have conveyed to us after reading our recent series on the Tacoma’s future in light of the coming Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.
Tacoma Sales Leadership Threatened
The Toyota Tacoma has enjoyed a number of years now as the leader in the compact truck market. The Tacoma is also the number one vehicle of any type in terms of resale value. Ford quit on the Ranger, and is not likely to bring it back anytime soon. Dodge gave up on the Dakota, and until recently, GM was not really selling Colorados and Canyons. That is about to change, and it seemed natural to us that Toyota should respond by changing the Tacoma to meet or exceed the Canyon’s new abilities. Some agreed with this idea, but many did not. There are many Tacoma owners that love the truck just as it is and are not interested in seeing many of the modern touches we thought might help the vehicle retain some of its declining sales.
Not All Tacoma Fans Want More Power
The comments from Toyota Tacoma fans and owners about keeping the truck simple have a general theme. First, with regard to engines, this group does not think the new 2.0 turbo we expect Toyota to use is necessary as a base engine. Commenter “Somebody” wrote “Toyota needs only sit back and do nothing to remain ahead in every conceivable way. As far as needing engine changes... nonsense. 2.7 for everybody with a brain.” Picking up where this commenter left off, Brett wrote “Totally agree, as far as small trucks go... The things that I am looking for are simplicity, reliability, economy. Yeah you can put turbos on small engines but how long will it last, and what's the cost to replace. I'll buy something that I'm pretty sure will not need some kind of dumb maintenance issues before 200k. All my ‘Yotas are 4-bangers. Change the oil and keep going.”
Keep the Tacoma Simple
The idea that Toyota should focus on simplicity, durability, and reliability extends beyond the engine category. Adam writes “I own a 1998 Tacoma, and since the regrettable 'upgrade' to the current generation, have seen nothing that interests me. If Toyota really wants to create a Colorado fighter, what they need to do is return to their roots in the segment...affordability, durability, and fuel economy are more important to compact/midsize truck buyers than go-fast cosmetics and 'wishbook' accessories.” Although we agree with Adam, the Tacoma does need to improve its fuel economy. It is hard to imagine that happening without some new technology. Perhaps transmission changes (more gears would be preferable to a CVT!) and some other tricks like the ValveMatic system could offer that without making the vehicle less reliable.
Other Brands Have Tried This
Nissan's brands have experimented with keeping the older model on the sales floor while introducing its replacement. For example, Infiniti tried that with the outgoing G37 and incoming Q50. Perhaps this is an idea that Toyota should explore with the Tacoma. Create a new model, but continue to offer the current generation in its base format indefinitely. That might be the best of both worlds for Toyota Tacoma fans.