Skip to main content

Toyota Refreshes 2020 Tacoma with Important Changes, but Truck Enthusiasts Have Mixed Reactions

Toyota announced an upcoming model year refresh for its popular 2020 Tacoma. A majority of truck enthusiasts were thrilled, while others not so much, having mixed reactions to these new 2020 updates. Here is why:


The Toyota Tacoma has long been America’s best-selling midsize truck and it is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, Tacoma has seen 18 consecutive months of increased sales. However, it is mid-cycle with its current generation, meaning it is not quite time for a redesign. But, with increased competition in the segment, 2020 Toyota Tacoma needed some important updates and improvements.

So what are these 2020 Tacoma updates Jeff?

Although not earthshattering like a new engine and transmission, 2020 Tacoma changes were based on extensive customer feedback. Nearly all Tacoma grade levels will be seeing new grille and wheel designs. Also, the most talked-about “small” feature for the truck is the addition of an electronically powered 10-way driver’s seat on the SR5 and above. Tacoma now comfortably accommodates drivers both shorter and tall (I sound like I just ordered a Starbucks drink there).

Every trim level will receive its own unique additions, but all will receive a boost with multimedia improvements. A larger 7” touch-screen (up to an 8” screen in higher level Tacoma’s) starting with the base SR version will improve convenience for passengers, along with standard Android Auto (yes I said Android Auto), Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility.

Refreshed 2020 Toyota Tacoma Updates by Grade Level and Subscribe to Torque News Youtube for Daily Automotive Videos

TRD Pro gets some love with a 2020 Tacoma exclusive color in Army Green. You can also choose Super White, Magnetic Gray Metallic and Midnight Black Metallic. Also, look for new sequential LED/DRL headlights and retuned Fox 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks and front and rear springs. Off-roading thrill seekers should find the new Multi Terrain and Panoramic View Monitors helpful as they journey to parts unknown. By the way, consider the advantages of the 2019 Tacoma here.

READ MORE: 2020 Toyota Tacoma – All Changes by Grade Level

What Truck Enthusiasts Liked

When I wrote my original 2020 Tacoma article last week, I never realized what a polarizing conversation it would inspire. I guess you could say this is every writer’s wish for their stories. I love reader feedback. It gives me a great pulse for what is important to car and truck buyers.

Most of the comments I received on both my Torque News article and my “Toyotajeff” Toyota YouTube channel (subscribe to my Toyota enthusiast channel here) was positive, with everyday truck fans looking forward to what is coming this fall. Reader Amir commented that he is ready to go, “When can I order one and when is it coming out?” To answer that second part, 2020 Tacoma is scheduled for a September retail delivery time frame Amir.

“I love those new full LED lights. Sharp looking truck!” was how Chris, a loyal YouTube viewer of mine, felt about the new 2020 Tacoma. Another reader Debbie marveled, “Power driver’s seat and Android Auto? I can’t wait. Good job Toyota!”

As you can imagine, driving out west brings its share of challenging and difficult terrain. James commented, “Big fan of Taco. 360 view is the best for off-roading in Montana.” He is clearly looking forward to the new multi-view cameras that show the views in the front, sides, rear and even underneath the Tacoma.

And the flip side…

Other Tacoma loyalists were not as excited about the updates. They were hoping 2020 would be the magical time for a full redesign.

One Truck owner “M” lamented, “…so the upgrades for 2020 don’t interest me much without an improvement in drivability via powertrain improvement.”

“A lot of new gadgets, that’s not what made the Tacoma the Tacoma. They need to add to its capabilities” commented another truck loyalist.

Many Tacoma fans felt it should be time to make updates to Tacoma’s engine, transmission and the all-important miles per gallon. There have been rumors about a shared platform with Toyota Tundra as well as powertrain improvements for the next generation Tacoma. Time will tell…

To sum things up

I am personally pleased to learn of the plans for 2020 Toyota Tacoma. Since this is not the year for a full redesign, these are key upgrades that customers have been asking for. You have no idea how many hundreds of YouTube comments I get monthly (and I am not exaggerating) asking about Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and when Toyota will add these popular applications to their favorite models. They also ask (though not quite as often as the apps) about the lack of a Tacoma power driver’s seat. Fortunately, Toyota listened with the 2020 Tacoma.

READ: Toyota adds software update to retrofit 2018 Camry and Sienna vehicles with Apple CarPlay
Perhaps one Tacoma owner Tom summed it up nicely regarding 2020 Toyota Tacoma updates, putting in a simultaneous plug for Tacoma’s reputation for long-term dependability. “Changes like this might make me think about upgrading from my 2002 Taco! I'm the original and only owner, and it's still going strong with almost NO issues in its lifetime. #toyotareliability.”

What do you think of the refreshed 2020 Toyota Tacoma? Do you plan to be in the market for a new truck within the next year? Thanks for reading and following along with my Toyota news coverage. See you next story…

Jeff Teague is a Toyota news reporter at Torque News. You can reach Jeff on Facebook and follow his Instagram for his popular "Toyotajeff Minute" quick Toyota reviews.

Follow Jeff on Twitter at @toyotajeff1 and tweet him tips for new stories. Jeff also shares Toyota news videos on his Youtube Channel at ToyotaJeff1.


Steve F (not verified)    May 22, 2019 - 2:06AM

The engine and transmission combination is so bad, a few new "gadgets" won't entice me to upgrade from my 2017 TRD Sport. Still Toyota's worst powertrain combination of all the Tacoma generations that I have owned starting in 1983.

Steve F (not verified)    May 23, 2019 - 12:13AM

In reply to by Ken Santoro (not verified)

I think the real problem is the transmission/motor combo. The trend of automakers is making more horsepower and more torque out of smaller motors, so I am not against the smaller motor, but the previous 4.0 and transmission combo seemed perfect to me. The 3.5 makes roughly 40 more horsepower, but has the same torque. So the previous motor had the "grunt" where it counted, in the low RPM. This motor is a dog off the line, and then glues you to your seat at higher RPM. The transmission isnt capable of handling it correctly (see the Technical Service Updates from Toyota to try and address this), so you are left with a jerky ride and constant shifting. I would like to see the next motor make the same horsepower, but with better torque numbers. I personally don't care about fuel mileage if the sacrifice is terrible performance for a truck. I get about 17 MPG on average in my real world driving conditions. I would love to have more, but am happy enough with that. If I could get a smarter transmission (one that isnt freaked out by the slightest uphill grade) and more torque at the same time, I would consider re-purchasing a Tacoma. For now, I am looking at other makes for my next truck in about 2 years.

Lee Taplinger (not verified)    June 27, 2019 - 10:25AM

In reply to by Dave (not verified)

Ha ha that's funny, the other way to reduce texting is to stop doing it.

I bought an OR AC and manual was not available. Found out later that in Canada it is available. But then I heard the clutch and shifting weren't very smooth.

Q (not verified)    January 24, 2020 - 2:26PM

In reply to by Ken Santoro (not verified)

%100 agree. This 3.5 might do a good job of burning excess fuel, but at the cost of more fuel. The efficiency is worse. The response is disappointing and leaves me with no notion of buying a gen 3, even though I think they are the coolest looking trucks out there and I’m a Toyota loyalist. Heck a small v8 would have me at the bank tomorrow

Digitaldoc (not verified)    January 25, 2020 - 10:37AM

In reply to by Q (not verified)

A smaller V-6 turbo be a nice solution to balance out more power, and torque down low, while keeping the fuel economy reasonable. Supposedly coming for the Land Cruiser, but would like to see it in some other models as well. Upgrade to an 8 spd tranny, and the Tacoma would lead the segment.

LeeT (not verified)    January 30, 2020 - 11:35AM

In reply to by Digitaldoc (not verified)

They already lead the market segment. GM and Ford can't make a dent and the Frontier is one of the oldest models ever. I think one of Toyota's problems is they can do what they want and skip what they want because of their reputation.

Lee Taplinger (not verified)    May 22, 2019 - 9:11AM

My Taco is a one driver truck so power seats don't do much for me but I really wish they had added some more interior grab handles especially on the driver's side.

As you get into the higher trim levels it seems like some of the corners Toyota cut like grab handles and drum brakes are just stingy on their part.

I bought an OR AC and JBL wasn't available. The standard radio is labeled "premium" and it's quite pitiful.

Garrett S Sullivan (not verified)    May 22, 2019 - 12:38PM

In reply to by Lee Taplinger (not verified)

Considering the power seats actually have adjustments beyond front/back it really doesn't matter how many drivers you have. I had to get a new vehicle and went with a 2018 last year, but the seats are an absolute disgrace for adjustability and comfort. I'll certainly be looking to retrofit. Same story with the infotainment, worst system available on a new vehicle >30k for that year.

Digitaldoc (not verified)    May 22, 2019 - 12:15PM

Really needs to get some refinement to the 6 sp auto transmission that many folks take issue with. Too bad Toyota did not work on this, or better yet upgrade it to an 8 gear one.

T$ (not verified)    May 22, 2019 - 8:59PM

I realize no one buys them but Tacoma's still had better come with Manual transmissions available. That's my favorite combination on a truck. In fact, I wish the 4Runner had a manual available because I'd buy that.

Techoma (not verified)    May 22, 2019 - 9:08PM

As the original owner of an 05TRD, I won't get rid of it till there's more power... V8 would be great or a V6 WITH IMPROVED TRANNY. Colors and things I can bolt on myself don't intrigue me at all. I want to be able to climb and tow without getting 8MPG... Yes, I run 35s. If Toyota doesn't come out with a decent engine / tranny package before my engine dies, I will put an LS1 in this thing.

Jesse (not verified)    May 25, 2019 - 6:20PM

I have tried to love the Tacoma......the last 3 generations to be exact. For me it is the seats...they sit too low to the floor and for me, uncomfortable. The power seat sounds like the answer but it isn't. Even if you could raise the seat to a comfortable level, that would put the angle you would have to duck down in order to get in/out of the truck more acute. But I am looking quite intently at the new RAV4.

Lee Taplinger (not verified)    May 27, 2019 - 2:55PM

In reply to by Digitaldoc (not verified)

I don't understand Toyota's corporate thinking. They can produce some of the best most reliable vehicles in the world and at the same time have colossal misses with new models. Who at Toyota thought that potential RAV4 buyers wanted a new generation complete with a crappy interior and noise and vibration?

Who at Toyota has missed the fact that this auto segment is highly competitive?

Digitaldoc (not verified)    May 27, 2019 - 10:40PM

In reply to by Lee Taplinger (not verified)

Toyota has missed that V-6 RAV4 from some years back was the one to keep making. Also, not sure why the 2.0T from the Lexus NX300 can't migrate down. The current RAV4 offers little in the way of performance. It is perfect to fight back against the Forester and Rogue, but is otherwise forgettable, and overpriced for that engine choice in the higher trims.

Even the new Corolla's upgraded engine interests me more.