Spied: 2016 Toyota Hilux or Next Tacoma?

Tacoma 2 i-D3LP2Jh-X2 II

The race is on between spy photographers sitting in wait and a team of Toyota Hilux and Tacoma engineers doing high-altitude and hot-weather testing right out in the open. Many are speculating that popular midsize pickup platforms for the Hilux and Tacoma will not be separate for long; in fact, it's likely that all the recent spied vehicles caught on camera are hybrid test units in one form or another.

We're hearing that the 2016 models are likely to be an evolutionary improvement, rather than something dramatically different than the current trucks. No doubt Toyota will have a more aggressive Plan B ready for implementation just in case the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon become the runaway hit parent company GM is hoping for. Here's the note our shooters just sent us.

"We have a new look at a prototype for the the 2016 Toyota Hilux pickup, caught testing in a revealing state of graphic camouflage. Given that a new Toyota Tacoma is due for the U.S. market on a similar timeline, we are left to wonder if these Hilux spy shots give us any sort of preview of the design direction we'll see on Toyota's redesigned midsize pickup.

"The current-generation Hilux saw a distinct design departure from the U.S. market Tacoma, with Hilux getting a more aerodynamic front fascia and cab design than the existing U.S. model. These new shots of an eighth-generation Hilux prototype reveal a truck that looks even less aerodynamic than the current model, looking more like a traditional American truck. The new lines look more consistent with something we could see in U.S. showrooms, which has us wondering just how much of the next Tacoma we could be seeing in this unauthorized look at the foreign-market Hilux prototype.

"We know that a new Tacoma is in the works for the U.S., with our earlier shots of a Tacoma mule caught testing in the southwestern U.S. That mule didn't give up any design details, but we could see that an all-new interior is in the works, along with what appeared to be a massaged version of the current platform with similar size and packaging.

"We are still on the lookout for full-on, U.S.-spec Tacoma prototypes to hit the testing scene on U.S. soil. For now, we're left to wonder if this Hilux prototype provides any foreshadowing for the new Tacoma that's coming to battle in a rejuvenated midsize pickup market in America."

KGP Photography images

Tacoma 1 i-5wbtGVV-X2 II

Tacoma 5 i-hpdvWg7-X2 II

Tacoma 3 i-xVFhdzx-X2 II




"That mule didn't give up any design details, but we could see that an all-new interior is in the works"

Talk about the next gen trucks and interiors all you want but oxi still has better bumpers for approach/departure angles, better skid plates underneath, snorkle, bridging ladders, sand tracks, and a better 1 ton capable suspension to handle it all as well as the weight!

If Toyota wants to sell many more trucks, they need to listen to listen to their customers like oxi...

oxi's Tacoma is a basic truck with no bling. He built it up himself with the knowledge he gained from racing down in the baja. The engineers who have never been down in the Baja don't know how to build it up the way oxi does...

The 3 most important things are:
1) engine
2) tranny
3) rear-end.

The 2.7 liter engine, the 5-speed manual rear axle are bullet proof!

Unless and until Toyota focuses on those big 3 things and not the bling and interiors like other manufacturers worry about, oxi and others will come back to buy a 2016...

I agree with george! oxi should design the next Tacoma!

looks like a higher belt line and a move away from the bulldog snout.

Those headlights and grill look like they were pulled directly off of a Highlander.


"We're hearing that the 2016 models are likely to be an evolutionary improvement, rather than something dramatically different than the current trucks."

Yawn. No new Taco for 2016.

Next gen Taco will not come to 2018 just like ML stated several years ago. People that are waiting for a new Taco are going to have a long wait, but some can't wait forever.

I think the current Tacoma looks better then this one.

I like this truck and I think Toyota should just go with the global Hilux and offer it in the US. If this were available in the US I might just pull the trigger and buy it. It would be a choice between the new Colorado/Canyon and this.

3 years ago....

As for a redesign, my understanding was 2015 but it's been pushed back to 2017 or 2018 because of the economy.

Posted by: Mike Levine | Jul 29, 2011 7:55:30 PM


That is why they are in different classes m@#$%!

The F-150 is a full-size thus heavy and big with a bigger motor...

Tacoma is a mid-sized, not as heavy and big and has smaller engines...

The Tacoma retains its value BETTER than any pickup on the market! That speaks volumes about its reliability, the way it holds up after 5 years and what the market percieves the Tacoma!

It's just me and my wife, why the heck would I even consider an F-150? An F-150 is a great FAMILY pickup but if you want something more rugged to head to the trails and campsite, even take an atv or dirt bike with, the Tacoma would be perfect!

And yeah, I hate to get behind all of these full-size pullling trailers, they are so slow and get in the way all the time...hehehe

Trailers slow you down, increase chances of an accident, horrible turning radius and kill your drivetrain, suspension, motor, frame over the long-run, wait short run...

I am one of the few that do not ever want to pull a trailer! I just absoultly laugh when I see a fill-size pulling a dinky trailer hauling some wood or something while the bed is empty!

What the hell did they buy the pickup with a 6-8 foot bed for, show? Use it dam it!

I moved my entire 1,500 sq. foot house with my Tacoma, no trailers! Had to break in the clutch! Yes, everything was moved with my Tacoma and I did fine...

Posted by: oxi | Jul 30, 2011 3:12:16 AM


Thanks Ford Ranger, Dodge Dakota and GM Colorado for being lousy competitors! Toyota is slowing its developments in the Tacoma because you guys suck!

As far as a total redesign, sorry another 3 years thanks to the lack of competition in this segment. Wayy to go Ford, GM and that other brand!

Posted by: oxi | Jul 29, 2011 7:36:10 PM

It's been 3 years, GM has a new mid-size and Ford has a new F-150 that will steal sales and Ram has a 28 mpg Ram, what has Toyota done for the Taco? Nothing and isn't doing anything for a few more years. What was that again about lousy competition?

The Ram 1/2 ton Diesel has no competition. Ford is going with a glued, aluminum tiny 2.7L engine to compete. Wonder if they will match Ram's Class leading M.P.G. Will it match loaded M.P.G will it out haul and out tow the Diesel Ram?

Breaking News: Ram EcoDiesel Sets New Mileage Record
Posted by Mark Williams | February 4, 2014


The tiny EcoDiesel has no competition because tiny/expensive 3.0 diesels are not competitive....

F-150 2.7L EcoBoost is $495. over the base.

Ram 3.0L EcoDiesel is $4,500. over the base.

For $4k more, you can get 1 extra MPG AND pay more for fuel. The whole point of greater mpg was to save money. You don't save any money here. EcoDiesel also lost a tow off because the F-150 had a greater power to weight ratio.

Because the tiny 3.0 EcoDiesel is $4,500.00 over the base, the competition doesn't have to match it. It is worthless except for diesel fanboys.

*and runs on more expensive fuel.

I feel like the Tacoma has mainly been a good seller because there are plenty of loyal Toyota buyers.

The midsized market in the US has not done too well in recent years, and while that may change with the release of the new Colorado/Canyon, I don't see an immediate resurgence of that market.

Toyota would do well to stay away from the cliches of the Tundra, and focus on making the Hilux/Tacoma it's own unique truck.

I would certainly hope that the Toyota marketing and PR people read these blogs and other forums to see what people are saying about the Tacoma and Tundra.

Toyota definitely has potential, but for too long they have relied of people's perception of "quality" and "value".

The game is changing and Toyota's moves will be crucial.

I wonder if it will get mud inside the differential, like I did when I took a 2005 Hilux off-roading.

Ram should bring back the Dakota!
Just think? If Ram would build a compact pickup similar to the Tacoma they would crush Tacoma's sales!
The best compact truck now is the 2015 GM Colorado-Canyon and I strongly believe its going to be a winner.
We all know IF Ram built one it would be the #1 in power and performance just like the 5.7 HEMI leads the full size pickups!

The full size Ram 1500 5.7 HEMI gets BETTER gas mileage than the 4 cyl Tacoma!
Enough Said!

"The full size Ram 1500 5.7 HEMI gets BETTER gas mileage than the 4 cyl Tacoma!
Enough Said!"

yeeaahhh BUT the fiat is a big steaming pile of crap!

Had a 2012 total pos, never again. Traded it for a 2013 f-150 FX4 done deal.

The return of Oxi!

Dumm Dunnn Dunnnnnnn...

Where is oxi?


It looks like GM has everybody scrambling to change what they are offering in the mid size pickup market.

They need make the bumper less tall, and then they could make the grill bigger, would make it look tougher.

@ lol:

"...a full size truck is more capable on and off-road and is more up-to-date."

Have you ever done much wheeling? I go every weekend give or take. I own a dedicated trail Jeep and a full size chevy...there's no way a full size anything (short of a Raptor) can hang with the Taco off road...and even the Raptor would be left behind on anything resembling a tight trail. Full size trucks are just too wide, too heavy, too little ground clearance, too little suspension articulation, too much plastic hanging down in front, and take too much room to turn...it's not even a contest.

Okay, Toyota. You sell more Tacomas than Tundras, so your Tacoma should be getting a lot of attention from your engineers to compete with the Colorado. I have held out a number of years because I want to buy a new Tacoma but if all you are gonna do is slap a new grill on the next Tacoma I may just have to purchase the Duramax Colorado. I suspect there are many like me in the same boat. Stop being lazy and give us a new Taco. Its been more than a decade.


I think this is really just the non-NA HiLux. While they may share some chassis details the sheet metal is likely to different for the next gen Tacoma.

@ astroturf Tom#3 - thanks for the Ram commercials.

@Jason H. - agreed. I went places this summer in my F150 that weren't tough just incredibly narrow. My truck sprouted quite a few scratches. A Raptor would of had serious body panel damage. A small truck - not a scratch.

I have yet to comment in the Ridgeline article. I will not make an entry in that article. PUTC is looking into it.

If ALL1 and Beebe have debated me previously, they would have looked at some of the comments and realised I don't make those sort of mistakes regarding GVMs of vehicles, especially a unitary body Honda.

It seems very odd that on most every occasion Beebe and ALL1 reply to the comments under my name that are entered by our mysterious numpty.

Go and check it out, I'm not lying.

Odd indeed.

The back window is too high so its a hilux.

"However, in my opinion, given how dated this Tacoma is now, I can't see buying it over a full-size. Unless tight parking or urban driving requires the smaller size, a full size truck is more capable on and off-road and is more up-to-date."

--That depends on the individual's point of view. While I might agree that a full-sized truck may be more capable in some ways, to be quite blunt most full-sized trucks today are gross OVER-performers and far, far more than most buyers really need or want UNLESS they have a real need for that capability.

"The price and fuel mileage in the Taco isn't any better than current full size trucks."

--Half true. The price of a Taco averages about $7K BELOW that of a full-sized truck before rebates; and not all full-sized trucks offer that much rebate--especially those at the same basic trim level of the 'comparable' Tacoma. The highest rebates tend to get applied to the highest trim packages and still puts them several thousand above the Taco's out-the-door price. Meanwhile, I don't see Tacomas hitting the used car lots all that often simply because the Tacoma and the Tundra have developed a strong reputation for reliability that exceeds that of both Ford and GM's latest models.

@Tom#3 - Ram, err Dodge must have been burned badly by the Dakota. They've never really shut the assembly line down, as they still build the BOF Durango. Same thing basically, except for the balcony. But the thought of building a Dakota must make their stomachs retch.

I would buy the new duramax Colorado. I like toyotas but they have gotten really lazy. They may be bullet proof but for the company that popularized hybrids, their trucks sure are uncompetitive in the mpg category. It reminds me of how lazy GM was in getting into the small car market. If the US automakers start making trucks as reliable as toyotas then toyota has nothing because the technology and attention to detail is much better in the US trucks.

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