First Look: 2012 Toyota Tacoma

By Mark Williams for

Astute readers know that the 2012 Toyota Tacoma unofficially made its debut just a few weeks ago, when images of the new face and front end were leaked on the Internet. And if your response to the new styling is any indication, this new look is likely to create quite a stir for Toyota fans.

The redesigned hood, grille and bumpers give the new Tacoma a more stylized, "swooping" face. And when combined with the new headlights and housings, it’s clear that Toyota engineers are looking for a new look. (In fact, it wouldn’t surprise us a bit if this 2012 Tacoma was the test bed for a more expressive Tundra design language.)

Wheel openings and side body panels are largely unchanged and the rear tailgate and quarter-panels are also likely to look very similar to the 2011 models. No doubt Toyota will describe this model year change as “minor,” possibly identifying it as a simple facelift.

Two new colors will be added to the 2012 lineup, and will now include a dark green, (called Spruce Mica) and a dark blue (called Nautical Blue Metallic). Gone are the colors Timberland Green and Speedway Blue. Overall mechanical changes do not exist, although all TRD packages will include turn signals in the side-mirrors; the TRD Sport package will offer 18-inch aluminum five-spoke split wheels.


Interior changes are more pronounced. The 2012 Tacoma will have a new center stack design and entirely new gauge cluster, as well as several new steering wheel choices on select models. The redesigned center stack will have revised HVAC and audio controls and will include several newly located power point plugs and storage cubbies. A new black console and switch plate cover look will flow throughout the dash and around to the upper door trim. New audio options will be offered for both Double Cab and Access Cab models and will include as standard equipment a new six-speaker design, single CD player, SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth and USB ports. Top-of-the-line Double Cab V-6 models will also offer a new visual audio and navigation setup with Toyota's answer to Ford Sync, called Entune. Entune includes SiriusXM, HD radio, GreenEdge speakers, plus certain Internet-enabled wireless apps are included such as Bing, Pandora, MovieTickets, OpenTable, iheartradio, real-time traffic, sports, stocks, fuel prices and more.

Other interior details include a larger backup camera display (now 3.3 inches from 2.4), new temp gauge, compass, new Homelink system, rear console box (on all Access Cabs), new overhead storage, and an available water protection package for TRD Sport and Off Road models.

Pricing has not been announced yet but don’t expect much change. Look for more information, details, and driving impressions as we get closer to the new Tacoma’s production date.


[Images: Toyota via Motor Trend, Full Specs]


Where can we find spec sheets for the 2012 Tacoma?

Great report

Full specs from Toyota are here:

The Tacoma is going to replace the Ford the longest unchanged pickup.

So..... Toyota is going for the 2008 Dodge Ram interior?

They could've at least put the newer 4.0 V6 in there.

I own an '07 Taco and I'm not sure if I like the front of the '12. All you have to do is put some teeth on it to look like a piranha.

Will the TX-Pro still be available ? Toyota should of done a much better job like rear disc, heated mirrors, updated 4.0.

When can we expect to see the 2012 Tacoma on dealer lots?

Can't believe they didn't update the mechanical side of this truck. Dodge is using 8 speed autos in some vehicles and yet this truck still has a 5 speed auto and a super outdated 4 speed auto.

Wow such a departure from the last one.( Sarcasm )

Cant wait for the New Colorado!


You can get the 6-speed auto/manual...


You can get the 6 speed only with a manual tranny/V6. The rest have the 4 and 5 speed. The tranny and engines are outdated...

All I can say that I am really disappointed. Boring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Might as well buy a used older Taco and safe some money. Why did they even bother to update the face and a little of the interior. They have no competition anymore anyway in this class, so people would have bought the truck regardless. Seems a waist of engineering and effort.

from this angle, i think its got a more aggressive look now, i like it. its got like a cheetah look to it.

haha I'd get a custom grill and steering wheel made up with a bowtie on it, then drive it around and watch people become confused

It looks sad!! Poor thing, it can't help the why it looks. This prime example of what happens when Wall Street runs a company like toyota. They go the cheapest why they can to feed the greed and the consumer has to suffer.

The street wants toyota to team up with Ford on hybrid trucks because Ford is hot right now and this kind of news is good to tell investors so they can dump more money in to the street.

Toyota stole hyrid technology and dragged Ford into their crap and to team up on hybrid trucks sounds like they need to work on the design too. Ford better watch out hanging around a bunch of thieves because that is accessory after the fact!!

@Robert Ryan

That Land Loser looks a little too fast, a little too furious and why did they even bother covering the Chevy emblem on the front of the Colorado? You can tell that's a Chevy grill from the Hubble Space Station.

Quad cabs are ugly all around.... Mays as well get a minivan....

As for an 8 speed who cares it's got a Manuel transmission drive like a real man..

@DenverMike. It will be rebadged/ regrilled as a Holden here and in South Africa and some other markets as Chevrolet. The photo was taken in Thailand where the bulk of the Colorado's will be built.
Strangely Thailand , Indonesia and Japan are RHD, like Australia, New Zealand, UK and 50 other countries. I always assumed Thailand and especially Indonesia would be LHD (ex-Dutch colony), but that is not the case. The Colorado will be built in LHD for a lot of the Asian markets as well. If it is going to be built in the US, I suspect parts from Thailand will be shipped to a NAFTA country, Mexico or Canada or to the US, for assembly.

The front end looks better in a dark colour. Hids the "Pug dog" look.

All I can say is YAAAWN..... I was expecting a newly redesigned Tacoma, or at the very minimum the new 4.0 motor. All I see here is a refreshed front end and some minor interior upgrades and new colors. It still has the same old 236hp engine, same old 5speed auto, same old rear drum brakes. Basically nothing that compelling or anything to get excited about. Apparently Toyota didn't spend a whole lot of money or effort. I doubt this will "create quite a stir for Toyota fans".

2011 vs 2012 Tacoma visual comparison:

There's no 8-speeds in Dodge trucks yet. The Ram 1500's are only now coming out with a 6-speed for the 2012 models and the 6-speed they are getting is the same 5-speed with reprogramming that retains the same akward gearing unlike the 2012 HD Hemi/6-speed.

As far as the Tacoma, doesn't really do it for me one way or the other. It would've been better to lauch the 4.0 with the re-design but I'm not in the market for one so it doesn't matter, I guess. Overall, I don't mind the truck but it would come down to cost vs. a fullsize which would likely elminate the Tacoma for my money.

Just sell the far superior and better looking IMO Hilux here , that Tacoma is fugly .

Wow, Toyopta has lost is mojo big time. The interior looks so outdated.

I like the new front end, specially the headlights. The interior is almost the same, the gauge cluster it has the same layout, the only difference is that the backlight is blue. Tacoma should offer an ALL BLACK leather interior and less hard plastic, an MPG gauge cluster, push start button, rear disc brakes, dual exhaust, hood scoop for the off road one, and LCD information screen, digital speedometor option or something like MyFord's, the future is now! the interior is the second most important thing from a car(first is the powertrain) and its the hardest to replace, since that were a person is going to spend more of his time. Why not make it look like the 4 runner? Also the engine is outdate.Fords F-150 3.7 v6 4x4 = 300hp, 16/21 (city/high), Jeep Wrangler 3.6 v6 4x4 = 285hp, 17/21 (city/high)-----TACOMA 4.0 v6 4x4 = 236hp, 16/20? How can smaller engines make more Horse power and get better fuel economy?

Oh My God! It's so mediocre! So this is what little/no future competition does to the mid sized truck market. Come on Ford and GM, bring the next gen Ranger and Colorado/Canyonero here! (ideally with the newer 3.6/3.7 v6's)


"would come down to cost vs. a fullsize which would likely elminate the Tacoma for my money."

Tacoma would have MUCH lower operating costs over the years and better reliability!

Unless you use the payload everyday or pull trailers everyday or have a specific mission profile for your fullsize everyday, your wasting money owning one!

I see too many fullsize just driving around town EMPTY with NO trailers!!! Buy a car if your not going to use it everday!

@Oxi it is not a phenomen unique to the US. Most buyers of US HD Pickups in Australia, use them as shiny "cars", when they are not using them as TV's for 5th Wheelers/Large Caravans.

@ Oxi

A lot of trucks run around empty. If the requirement to own a large truck were that you could only buy one if you were towing %100 of the time nobody would buy them or trailers.

I still have a Cummins Ram and I seldom towed with it but I did need it for carrying weight in the box frequently. Towing isn't the only criteria for a HD truck owner.

For a tall guy, the seat in Tacoma is too low to the floor and even though it has plenty of legroom and headroom it comes at the expense of my legs being not relaxing on the seat comfortably. I can stretch them out but there's no support.

It's not for everybody.


If you seek comfort, buy a sedan!

Sadly that is why most buy full-size pickups, to have that extra room to stretch their legs out so they can chat on their cell phones while driving...

I still see too many full-size that do nothing. They are creature comforts for their owners, to each their own...

@ Oxi

Perfect generalization, great conversation.

Well, its obvious that the bitter Big 3 Trolls are out in full force. You overcompensating rednecks will never like anything Toyota does. dont you have something better to do with your time? Maybe your insecurities are so fragile that you are always fighting with the hope of someday feeling validated for your allegiance to manufactures of products of poor quality.

I grew up on GM products and sold Toyotas as well as all types of used cars for a bit. Your gungho fanaticism of Chrysler and Ford products is also beyond me. Sure they say quality has gone up recently, but the real test of time will be the quality of the product after ten years of use...if the product is still road worthy.

I love the new Tacoma look. I will pay off my car loan by the end of the year and put in an order for a 2012.

just when you thought nothing could be uglier then the turdra this hidious thing shows up.My God can toyota not build a truck that doesn't look like a bass fish. I guess they tried to make it ugly enough that rust woulden't completly eat up this version like the rust bucks toyota has produced before with the tacoma. Lol on toyota quality.Toyota hasn't had anything quality related in 10 yrs. People with half a brain quit following the sheep and myth's yrs ago. Ford hasn't been the best seller for 34 yrs for nothing.The ranger is still a better looking and capable truck over the tacoma rustbuckets.Just look at the sales from this yr alone on the ranger up 19%People know quality and relibality so they would rather have a 10 yr old truck then a new or refreshed jr bass mouth.I think the tacoma also won worst gas mileage in a mid size truck.Good job toyota on another boring bass master special.

It would be nice to have access to a cheap regular cab in Canada. I was looking forward to a mid-cycle update that would also include selling the regular cab up north.

The Tacoma is going to get new engines when it gets the full redesign, why waste the money for R&D, when they are just going to replace it in a few years?


I'm sure more Tacos run around empty than 1/2 tons but even so, who cares? Most sedans run around with no passengers and who's counting? I actually don't need to stretch out and relax to talk on the cell while driving but I will undo the top button on my jeans and do the 'Al Bundy' one hand down the pants and thank gawd for Bluetooth as I no longer have to drive with my knees but I understand you're a little guy so you can equally stretch out in a midsize truck so it's all relative, right? You live in a bigger world is all!

I think the older model looks better but they must of thought the needed a refresh

Aside from the LFA, when will Toyota ever build a vehicle that generates passion and excitement? Toyota designs cater to the elderly, retired, or people that just want transportation without performance or style.

Nice interior!

Contrary to my 1st impression, the look is starting to grow on me. Sad that we still have to wait for any powertrain upgrades. A 1GR-FSE/A760/4.10 combination would have more power than the old V8, be an absolute rocket, tow better and still get better milage. But we'll have to wait for that...
The Fool-size vs. mid-size argument is just plain dumb. No one can refute how much vehicle you get for the money in a discounted half-ton truck. At the same time, to have the audacity to think make judgement about someone elses neds or wants, is just dumb.

and so is my typing/ sentence structure this morning...

The new face will be a nice upgrade to my friend's 2005 Tacoma (sarcasm)...YAWN...I can see why full-size pickups are the money makers, even the Tundra! I prefer the new HiLux...that thing is sweet!

yep just a diferent shade of lipstick!

Biggest problem with the Tacoma is its weak A-pillar. It only scored a measley 3.0 in roof-crush strength-to-weight ratio. That is the only reason I don't already own a Tacoma.

Any idea Mike if any changes were made to increase the roof strength to a level that at least meets the IIHS recommended 4.0?

I am sure it's a great truck, but what is with Toyota's styling? It is going from bad to hopeless.

Will the last person at Toyota to leave the building please turn off the lights.

"Will the last person at Toyota to leave the building please turn off the lights." -momic

They just landed back in Japan...oops. He will have to hop back on an airplane and fly back to the U.S. to turn the light off. Now that is what you call a long work commute.

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