Having already been seen on a number of occasions last year undergoing testing, patent documents have emerged showing the clearest images yet of what next generation Toyota Tacoma will look like.
While an important model for Toyota in the United States, where it currently ranks as the best-selling compact bakkie, its significance equally involves South Africa as it will be aligned closer to the next generation Hilux for the first time since 1995.
According to motor1.com, the images were submitted to Brazil’s ministerial property and intellectual trademark office, the INPI, on Tuesday (24 January) and while scant on details, listed the authors responsible for the uploads as senior employees at Toyota’s Calty Design and Research design studio in California.
As the depictions illustrate, the Tacoma appears more similar to the bigger Tundra than ever before in not only the front facia and side profile, but also the rear in the design of the light clusters, bulging wheel arches and sloping down rear wings in front of the bumper.
While the lower section of the front bumper appears similar to the current Tacoma, the rest of the newcomer resembles that of the Tundra, though with a model specific alloy wheels.
Despite the interior being shrouded in mystery, expectation is it will be largely identical to that of the Tundra with only subtle differences in some areas.
Platform of many
What is, however, known is that the Tacoma, like the Tundra and Sequoia, will move to the body-on-frame TNGA-F platform that debuted with the Land Cruiser 300, and which currently provides the base for the Lexus LX and soon, the new Fortuner, plus the incoming all-new Land Cruiser Prado and the Hilux.
Hybrid diesel likely
In a departure from the current model, the Tacoma will take leave of the stalwart 4.0-litre V6 engine and reportedly offer two versions of the new 2.4-litre four-cylinder unit; the conventional turbo variant outputting 205kW/430Nm and the all-new turbo hybrid that pumps out 273 kW in the Lexus RX 500h.
Conversely, the Hilux, which is anticipated to debut not long after the Tacoma premiers, reportedly later this year, is not expected to head the petrol route, but the diesel-hybrid way as it is set to follow the Fortuner in receiving a 48-volt mild-hybrid version of the current 2.8 GD-6 turbodiesel engine.
Less certain though is the future of the GR Hilux Toyota has kept tight-lipped about despite mounting speculation and even supposed spy images in December, which turned-out to be those of the now revealed Australian-market GR Sport.
With the uncovering of the patent images, don’t be surprised if more are uncovered soon, not only of the Tacoma, but perhaps also of the Hilux.
Information and images from motor1.com.