2015 Toyota Tacoma
John Goreham's picture

Toyota Tacoma's two-step plan to match Chevy's 2015 Colorado

The Tacoma does need updating, but the path to continued success by the Tacoma is not as hard as it might seem.

The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado could be the best thing that ever happened to the Toyota Tacoma. Visit any Tacoma forum or blog and you will see that although the pickup has a tremendously loyal following, those fans know that it can be better. Chevy is not pulling punches with the Colorado. It intends to be the top-selling vehicle in the mid-size pickup market, and the Colorado has the potential to steal away market share from the long-in-the-tooth Tacoma.

Some suspect the Tacoma will emerge in 2015 as a Colorado-beater. We think not. The 2015 model year is now, not later. If Toyota was planning to meet the Colorado’s challenge head on from the first moment it arrived, we would have already seen the new Tacoma at shows, and we would have learned some details. For example, the Lexus NX 200t is going to be a 2015 model and we already know pretty much every detail on that vehicle. No, Toyota is going to sit back at least one year and see what the Colorado actually brings, then Toyota is going to adjust its game (and product) and come back with a solid update capable to sustaining its 140,000 trucks per year sales pace.

Tacoma Update Step One – Engines
If there is one area that is already a problem for the 2014 Tacoma versus the 2015 Colorado it is engines. In our previous story we explained that the base engine may be fine for some, but by comparison to what the Colorado will offer, it is way too weak as an affordable truck. We still think the main parry by Toyota will be to place the new 2.0 liter twin-scroll turbocharged engine in the Tacoma. In the upcoming Lexus NX 200t the new turbo will produce 235 horsepower and about 260 ft-lbs of torque. After the Tacoma’s next redesign, this will be the engine most frequently selected by individual buyers. It matches the output of the current V6 almost exactly. Toyota may retain the inexpensive base 2.7 liter four cylinder engine, but it will be for commercial 2wd delivery vehicles and for fleet sales.

We cannot rule out a new V6 engine for the Tacoma, but given the 2.0 turbo’s ability to carry 70% of the truck’s sales, with the base 2.7 handling maybe 20% of the production slated for fleets and bare-bones value trucks, the current 3.5 liter V6 now used only by Lexus may make an appearance. This engine is more expensive than necessary for the Tacoma, and its torque is nothing special, but that isn’t the point. Toyota needs a V6 with a high horsepower number to offer “homeowner buyers” that plan to drive the Tacoma as if it were a car most of the time, but occasionally need the bed and basic towing ability a few times per year. The 3.5 liter, direct and fuel injected V6, with over 300 horsepower is already in widespread production. Why re-invent the wheel?

Toyota Tacoma plan – Step 2 Features
Look closely at the Colorado’s marketing and we see three themes. First, fuel economy. Toyota will have no problem matching Chevy there. The current Tacoma is already lighter than the Colorado and the new turbo will improve the overall fuel economy numbers for the Tacoma family. No new carbon fiber or aluminum alloy panels needed to catch up. Second, Chevy is talking about making the Colorado a full size pickup in the minds of buyers crazy enough to think that. Toyota will ignore this angle because its larger Tundra is already selling amazingly well. Conversely, the full size Chevy Silverado has been shrinking in sales. Third, Chevy is making the Colorado seem modern and fun. Modern “confotainment” options and lots of fun outdoor gear are a big part of the Colorado marketing blitz.

Toyota will add more sophistication to the Tacoma inside. This pickup truck will need to have optional navigation, entertainment, and connectivity the equal of anything in the Toyota line, including some Lexus models. Again, we stress optional. With little difficulty Toyota can also offer new and improved kayak, tenting, motorcycle, ATV, snowmobile and other outdoors-related gear for Tacoma buyers to see in photos and then either buy or not buy. Much of this type of stuff is simply “wish-book” marketing.

Those hoping to see a completely new platform for the Tacoma in 2015, or even anytime soon may be disappointed. Toyota’s goal is not to keep Colorado from succeeding. It can’t. Rather, this author believes the mid-size pickup market will expand overall, and regardless of the sales of the Colorado, Toyota will update its truck and continue to make its Tacoma a high-volume, profitable, and much-loved pickup truck. Fans of Toyota Tacoma should cheer the arrival of the Colorado.

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Brand loyal cheerleaders are the only force driving the current Tacoma sales. Ford had the courteous to cancel the outdated Ranger, Toy is happy selling the outdated and flawed Tacoma. Look I really don't care who builds it, I want significant mileage stretching technology in a smaller pick up.I don't want to drive or garage one of the giants now regarded as standard size 1/2 tons. Not a fan of Gov Mtrs but I will be driving one if no other alternatives are available. Its about mileage with $4 gas and garage friendly size. Not really a fan of turbo either, another maintenance issue I can do without
Ford isnt exactly innocent of bailouts. THEY actually did restructure as in 'mortage everything' they had in 2006 to the tune of $23+BILLION. RIght down to its blue oval logo rights, which it got back recently. Also, In 2009 they had another $9BILLION floated (they called it a line of credit) to them by the GOV and a $5BILLION loan from the energy department... So all 3 of the big 3 are GOV Motors. Actually FORD got the most. GM got 13Billion. Ford got 14Billion of which they still owe more on their loan than GM owes on their bailout. Added to the 24 billion it borrowed before, ford got itself in a 37BILLION dollar hole. Im glad to see though that all 3 are doing well financially and are releasing good products after years of substandard products. Fiat was the best thing that could have happend to Chysler/Dodge after Mercedes raped them. Mercedes makes a good car but they totally left CHrysler for dead and helped it happen.
Good perspective. I don't know if your facts are correct, but I know your sentiment is. One of my favorite stories ever was the one I did about Ford getting its Blue Oval back from the pawn brokers. If interested you can copy and paste this link to the browser. Sorry the comments don't support direct links. http://www.torquenews.com/1083/ford-returns-pawn-shop-pick-its-stuff
One word "Diesel" at 21-28 MPG. That's something Toyota will never offer in the US.
I would not bet against you on that.
Just want a small p/u with a CHROME front bumper.
I own a 2009 Tacoma double cab long bed TR D sport pick up. I love everything about the Tacoma. However I'm looking for something different. I drive often and when I get in my car/truck I want to feel attached to it. I went and looked at 2014 Tacoma double cab long bed With leather, entune and Nav. $40,000. Why would I spend $40,000 to get leather seats and GPS? No one will. Tacoma fans are itching for a change. Am curious if a Tacoma owner of a 2005 or above goes out and buys another Tacoma. I wonder if you can get figures on same generation Tacoma sales to one owner. There is no reason for me to buy another Tacoma, I have 140,000 miles on it, I'm just bored and want a new truck. I do not need a new truck. I want one. But I do not want to spend $40,000 on the exact same truck that I have that has not changed at all.
I'm an art student and I can tell you Tacoma styling is long over due but unfortunately Toyota design dept. does not sees that giving Toyota horrible history of not keeping up with the trend. They're too busy with their Prius for Yuppies. There are diesel option trucks coming out but not soon enough. Dodge Colorado will have a diesel model in 2016 and nissan already show off their Frontier diesel concept. The only diesel truck available now is the RAM 1500 but unfortunately it's only on their premium package costing $40k plus! This is also a sad trend of car companies offering trucks with premium features you don' need and jack the price. They make money this way.
Truth. I agree with everything except the part about the Prius. It is even more overdue than the Tacoma for a completely new design and sales have nose-dived. The Tacoma is still healthy sales-wise, though down over last year. Hopefully, both will be refreshed and Toyota will continue to enjoy the massive sales it worked hard to get.
The difference is that Toyota is teasing a new Prius all the time. Saying things like the generational jumps should be about x%. They don't do that with the Tacoma. They sell it, they'd rather sell Tundras for bigger profits off the exact same assembly line. That's one thing really holding the Tacoma back. Toyota is happy with its sales because it keeps the labor busy since they don't have big 3 truck sales, but it's a zero sum game. Every Tacoma built means one less overpriced Tundra. What Toyota doesn't understand is the Tacoma is not the Corona/Corolla. It's buyers aren't upgrading to the pricier models no matter how much you entice them because small truck drivers are just a different animal than full size drivers.
GMC is getting into the game releasing a diesel model of their Canyon in 2016 also. I guess the small pick up are coming back with diesel trend which makes sense.
DJ, I love the torque of a diesel, but the extra cost of that engine and the fuel to run it, makes absolutely no sense to this truck lover.
This^, so much this. I have an 06 Tacoma Access Cab just crested 100k miles, I'm just bored with it. 17-19MPG average sucks so much when full size V8s can match that with more horsepower. Have you ever driven a Short Wheel Base like mine? My dad has an 07 TRD LWB and it rides like a cloud in comparison to my 06 SR5 SWB. I am itching with anticipation for the MPG specs on the new Colorado. The new Colorado steals its looks straight from the Tacoma (not the ugly face-lift version from a few years ago either) and has the potential to give a decent MPG rating. If they can get 28ish Highway MPG out of that V6 I am sold. 28ish mpg + a 20 Gallon tank = 560miles a tank that would be so much better than the 360 - 380 I am lucky to get out of the Tacoma. Sure you can get better gas mileage vehicles out there, but most of them are extremely boring and/or way to expensive. I'm a man I want my truck, but I do care about MPG and realize there are way too many idiots out there who drive full size V8 hogs to work everyday with an empty bed and nothing but air being hauled behind them.
Just give me a new Taco, Toyota.
Does anyone remember when Toyota was a cutting edge relevant auto maker? Why not just keep the current model forever. You know like the Beetle in South America or Trabant in Eastern Europe.
Or a more modern version of that - The Prius in California!
I had gmc canyon 2004 2.8 4 cylinder mileage 189,312 engine great no trouble at all. Gas mileage great and 19.5 gallon great mile 390-405 amazing. My dad had Tacoma 2005 2.7 nice one but my dad said gmc cayon better than Tacoma 2.7 4 cylinder
I am kind of burnt out on the Tacoma getting bigger faster nicer. It is a very successful model. However, us old school 4wd Toyota people want more of what you have in Australia(I think its called the FJ40). Simple diesel, without a million things to break. Also I am holding on to my 2004 Tacoma. The new editions may be better on paper, but I have seen to many of them break off road, and lots of little problems, feel cheap, and for what I want, too big. Can you bring back the mini truck? You have like 8 SUVs why not 3 trucks? If Nissan brings a diesel Frontier, I will be changing! It is sad when I get in my aunts 07 Tacoma, and the trim feels cheaper than my buddies Kia Rio!
"The 3.5L used exclusively by Lexus"... And the Toyota Camry... Oh the Avalon, and let's not forget the Sienna as well. Hmm Venza seems to have that same 3.5L. Difference being tuning. Don't get me wrong the Toyota 3.5 is a nice motor. I have a Sienna and a X-runner with the 4.0. Times I feel the 3.5L is just as powerful. But Toyota is long overdue with a REAL update to the Tacoma, not just a last minute face lift down from the 4-runner. With Nissan looking around the corner with a possible 4cyl Cummins frontier, and GM with their Isuzu diesel Colorado, they are falling behind. But the designers aren't as blind to this as people think they are. New emission laws in 2018 has halted Toyota of their plans until a diesel can meet the requirements which none can currently. Toyota's logic seems to be why waste money tooling up for a motor that will be obsolete in a few years? Such is one of the reasons why they have halted their work with Cummins on the tundra.
Toyota produced a World Beater but blew the marketing, The T100. For example, I'm still driving a 1995 Toyota T-100 (normally aspirated V6 with a five-speed transmission). The truck is original with 318,000 miles and it "is still ticking, Ladies and Gentlemen". Incredibly, the truck is still delivering 22 to 23 MPG overall! It cranks up the first time and has never left me on the side of the road. You can load 4' x 8' building materials in the bed, flat on the floor. The "new" Tacoma doesn't deliver even this. Who can get excited?
I did not read all the comments, but Toyota defiantly needs to at minimum update the engine. I had a double cab 2014 for all of about 3 months (the gas it sucked was killing me) with an inline 4 rated for 19 mpg and I averaging 16.8 at best. I must say though it would be interesting to see what would happen to the TRD supercharger if Toyota turbo charged the Tacoma's engine.
Nissan is readying Cummins engines both a 5.0 v8 and a 2.8 i4 as well as a new v6 Toyota been sleeping too long and will get a smack down . GM is bringing serious competition those who sleep miss out.
These newer Tacomas are way underpowered! Bring back the x runner with the 4.6 liter V8 option and a 6 speed auto trans.
I was so hoping that this would be the year (2015 model year) that Toyota revamps the drive train of the Tacoma and catapults me out my chair to replace my '99 Taco w/3.4L V6 but I don't think its going to happen, we will know for sure in a couple of months. Next model (2016) year probably, then there will be tough choices, a Colorado Z71 with 2.8L diesel or maybe even surprise a Volkswagen Amarok. It must be hard to be in the Toyota board room and explain you want to upgrade and refresh a model that outsells all your competitors by double put together. Looking at anything but the Tacoma will be hard for me but let me assure you Mr.Lentz or Mr.Inaba or who ever makes these decisions, once a customer gets frustrated with a lack of respect for the sake of company profits like when Elvis leaves the building its already too late.
No, no, no. Tacoma's are simple and indestructible. Keep the formula! I got a new Tacoma when I turned 16 in 2002. I off road-ed and romped the hell out of it every weekend. I crashed it three times in the first three years. Physically, I abused it. And today...at 29...I own the same Taco it works as well as it did in 2002. I am the only person to have ever worked on it. I learned on it. It has never broken down. It has always started on the first try, expect once when my battery ran out (no, I have replaced it twice in 13 years). It is the only vehicle I have every owned. It is the only vehicle I want. I plan to keep my Tacoma forever. I can afford a new car, but I won't buy one. I only have two hopes when it comes to vehicles I hope that I can buy my son a new Taco that is simple enough for him to work on, learn on and abuse, and I hope that when my Taco finally does fall apart, that I can buy a new one just like it.
I just test drove a new crew cab 2015 Colorado. What a disappointment. Of course I guess some may say I have high expectations. You see I have a 2006 Std Cab Tacoma, 2.7L with 168,000 miles on it. All I have done is change filters and oil. The engine and complete drive train is all original. I have pulled a small travel trailer (1,500 Lbs.) over 30,000 miles and I am tickled pick with my truck. I do believe that Toyota has a superior vehicle to GM. In order to keep the sales where they have been they should step up and make a diesel engine available. With all the diesel options available, Toyota could have a Diesel Tacoma on the showroom by Monday of next week. That would put the Colorado in second place right off the bat.
My 2007 Tacoma with 1001,000 miles has been a good truck, has the 2.7 with auto, reg.cab two wheel dr..It needed front pads at 75 thou., but still has the original rear drums. At 80,000 the front and rear u joints had to be replaced, I average 22 to 25 mpg and plow snow with a 7 ft snowsport plow. what it needs to compete would be a 20 hp increase and a good 6 speed auto. I am disappointed that Toyota is not bringing out a new model this year. I paid a little over $17,000 when new.
I hope Toyota doesn't forget that many of us tow. Torque is the ticket when towing, and a four cylinder engine, turbos or not, does not make it. The V-6 discussed would be a great choice to improve performance.
I had a 2005 Tacoma truck of the year and had little prob with the truck for the last 10 years. The only gripes for me was the poor a/c and heating in the truck and for the last 3 years a constant whistling sound coming from the engine. It was a 4by4 sport accsess cab.. I have seen on the net the new 2016 Tacoma that will be coming out and the body is the same to me.. I drove the 2015 Tacoma and it was just like my 2005 Tacoma but had some extras that mine did not but not much. Then I went to the chevy dealership on jan2 and drove the colarado z71 4by4. the comparison between the two trucks is like nite and day.. The chevy has a lot more power better handling and heated seats remote start voice nav and many other extras. The truck went for 37000 dollars and I talked them down to 34000 and they gave me 10000 for my Tacoma.. I have put 2350 miles on the truck and am very happy with it in every way.. I am an electrician and have always bought like trucks so that I can get materials out of the bed without havin to climb into the truck to get stuff.