Sibling Rivalry: 2012 Toyota Tacoma vs. Toyota Hilux


    Toyota has had a busy year. Not only has it released a new global-market midsize pickup truck — actually identified as a full-size truck outside the U.S. — but it also has made a few styling upgrades to the 2012 Tacoma sold here in the U.S. and Canada.

    When looking at the two new 2012 Toyota pickups, it’s hard not to think North America got the shorter end of the stick. The new Hilux not only gets a better selection of engines — especially if you like turbo-diesels —  but it arguably gets the better interior and exterior styling.

    After recently seeing the new Thailand-built Chevy Colorado and the new Ford Ranger (recently announced to also be built in South Africa), what is it about global styling that seems to have advanced past U.S. market design? Don't Americans want stylish pickup trucks too?  The obvious answer is they do, as long as they don't have to suffer downsized capability. 


Tamoma Front II

    The Hilux (top) is more aerodynamic, almost like the styling you'd imagine on a new SUV or crossover. The windshield is larger and has a flatter angle compared to the Tacoma (above) as well. The 2012 Tacoma's face is meant to be wider and less compressed. In fact, the grille is larger and more upright, making for a flatter face in the wind.  


Tacoma Baja Int

    The differences on the inside are subtle but clear. The Hilux (top) has a more organic, flowing look and feel. The Tacoma (above) is still more angular and sharp. There seems to be a conscious decision by Toyota designers to try to make the U.S. version more rugged and manly, while the global interior could almost go into any car, van or small pickup. 

HILUX Gauges

Tacoma Gauges

    The gauge cluster follow similar simalar theme. The Hilux's design (top) is more open and common to car styles. Tacoma's instrument gauges (above) still echo the old-school barrel styling that many old pickup trucks used to have. 

Hilux Rear

Tacoma Rear

    Although the rear of the midsize pickups are, of course, more designed for function than style, look at the wheel arches. The Hilux (top) has a flowing, rounded arch while the Tacoma (above) stayed with the trapaziodal shape. We're guessing someone thought the more angular shaping was more masculine. In the Tacomas favor, the rear window sizing on the Hilux does seem a little odd. 



I hear you regarding the toys. I am putting up a 30x40 shed next summer to house all of my assorted projects, motorcycles, boats, and the bobcat.

"Don't Americans want stylish pickup trucks too?"

Yes, we do.

However, US product planners don't listen to their customers. The customer clinics are just a publicity stunt. Toyota is really not much better than either Ford or VW.

At least GM is bringing over the Colorado.

@oxi, I once set up a winch system exactly as you describe, and even used forklift battery quick connects like you said. It worked great, and I had to use both ends often. Crew cab Duramax, got stuck all the time and there's just not always a tree handy in front of you in this highly agricultural part of the world.

What we did was cut up an old winch bumper and mounted the winch to it, then welded the piece of bumper with winch attached to a 2 inch receiver tube. That way I could simply slide the whole rig into wherever I needed it, be it back end receiver, or the front end receiver I added to the truck. You would be amazed how handy a front bumper receiver can be. I have also seen receivers on headache racks, where you could have a third winch plug for pulling boats onto trailers, pulling elk into the bed, etc. The last added bonus was that I could keep the winch inside the truck when it wasn't in use so it wouldn't get stolen. The only drawback is that the whole contraption was HEAVY.

They should make it look like the new 4runner

Sorry Toyota, but after seeing the picture of the Tacoma 2012 in USA, I feel bad for waiting for it before going with a Ford 150 4X4 instead. If was the Hylux, I would have gotten one. That's one ugly Truck!!

New Tacoma looks like the old Tacoma, to me - like someone trying to look 'manly' and coming off looking kind of weird. Overkill. Go b ack to the clean elegant lines of yesteryear please.

Yes, the Hilux is the better looking of the two—much better looking!

From a practical viewpoint, the Hilux turbo diesel wins over the Tacoma gasoline because diesels get better MPG and create more torque.

I like both pick-ups. The ranger comes no where near to both trucks. talking about f150,it shld be compered with the tundras and rams. Never driven any though,but my company in africa owned rangers and they never lasted for the terrain,but the hilux did. This shows how toyota engineers are reliable to their customer. American cars suets America whiles toyota cars suets all terrains.

Ugly trucks IMO
I own a 1990, 287k and with the exception of dirt here and there it's still like new!
I'll never know why Toyota decided to stop making such a damn good truck

I think Tacoma is a better looking truck; meaner, more square design, looks more powerful etc.
According to Car & Truck review in the US, there won't be any Ford Ranger and Dogde Ram production in 2012.
Besides, I work for the american mining company di Borneo Indonesia, it's a real crazy junggle out here, I see lots of Ford Ranger and other trucks breaks down on that heavy mud, rock junggle terrain. And the only think that still drives is Toyota HiLux. It's proven fact, only Toyota that runs here and now people here only drive Toyota Hilux.

im not a fan of the hilux at all. Tacoma all the way baby!

I would buy the beat up HiLux 4x4 from the Top Gear (UK) set before I'd buy a new US market Tacoma.

I was prepared to suffer the unspeakable ills of that Global Vehicle's Mahindra 4x4 for the engine. New but bad would still be better than trying to find a mid '80s Isuzu SWB diesel P'Up survivor and keeping it rolling.

Whoever ventures into the US compact 4x4 truck market with a diesel is going to own the segment. If is is good, it will be years. If it's great, it'll become a dynasty. Points for utility are going to exceed those for excesses of wannabe style and "features".

Why do people keep bringing up the Ranger? That thing is garbage, the interior is ridiculously outdated and still feels like a 90's truck, powertrain was very outdated and the only reason it sold was because they were really cheap for purchase as fleet vehicles, every auto parts store has them delivering light loads. The S-10 is another pile... terrible 4cyl Isuzu engine, Okay at the most, Chevy v6. Colorado is unsafe and the 4 and 5cyl engines were not the best powertrains either. The only thing that was cool on the Colorado/Canyon was the option of the great 5.3l v8. The Dakota is a dodge, nuff said there.

The tacoma holds up its value extremely well, is a nice looking truck with a nice interior, has everything you would need to be a capable offroader including real diff locks on 2wd and 4wd as options. The drivetain is proven and reliable, and will hold up to abuse with decent towing capabilities. The average Joe wont tow more than 6000 or what ever it's rater for anyway. It'll do its job and more. I'd personally rather they were diesel! It pisses me off that Toyota doesn't want to deal with CARB and the EPA and make the diesels able to pass emissions! Everyone and their moms would buy it if it had the options the Hilux has! 4x4 6cyl Diesel Taco/Hilux? I'd buy it in a heartbeat!

wow its a nice car. Its a good looking and gorgeous.

Nothing wrong with the smaller double cab ldv.They are smaller because the rest of the world do not have wide roads like in the US.These smaller versions can tow up to 3500kg.Yes that is correct,the new Isuzu 3.0l turbo diesel and Ford Ranger 3250kg towing capacity-so do not under estimate their tow /haul capacity. Payloads up to 1300 kg.And here in South Africa,believe me we work hard with these smaller Hilux,Ranger,Isuzu,Navara,Mazdas

I will be leaving the USA and taking my Tacoma, because of economics is a lot cheaper to have a diesel vehicle there, my question is, is it posible to adapt a Hilux diesel engine and transmission into my Tacoma, does it make sence for you guys?

Thank you.

can you please bring the hilux to canada atleast because mexico gets every car in the world and canadians are treated like americans when it comes to automobiles even though we like global cars

I own a 2004 Tacoma TRD 4X4 fully loaded here in Honolulu. I hope the Toyota Hilux in the Philippines can offer me the same package deal as the Tacoma. In the Philippines the Tacoma is not offered there. Since the Tacoma TRD is a different version from the Hilux, I like the looks of the Hilux more. I am not to much into the looks of either but, I prefer dependability over all. The Tacoma dependability is outstanding. I never had any major problems so it gets a 100% from me.

Nice post.
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