Toyota engineers are hard at work completing the development of the next-gen Tacoma, with the fourth iteration of the mid-size pickup having been spotted testing with coil spring suspension. Meanwhile, as the 2023 model year is expected to be the end of the line for the current Gen III truck, this digital proposal imagines a return of the X-Runner sport truck the carmaker once built.
Road-hugging trucks are, sadly, a thing of the past. Nowadays, carmakers, regardless of which part of the world they come from, focus on off-roading when building range-topping pickups. For one, if you’re seeking the meanest 2023 Tacoma out there, you can go for the TRD Pro trim. As the company announced last year, the 2023MY keeps the range structure and hardware of the current 2022 model.
Back in the 90s and the 00s, street-biased performance trucks were all the rage, though. Toyota was in on the fun, using the Gen II model to give us the Tacoma X-Runner between 2005 and 2013. A V8 brute like the F-150 Lightning this was not, but you could get a TRD supercharged for the V6 engine, which boosted output to 304 hp and 332 lb-ft for a 7s 0-60 mph sprint. Besides, as with the TRD Camry, the handling the is the high point of the vehicle.
This would be a factory-supercharged Gen III Tacoma
Returning to the present times, the 2022 and 2023 Tacoma may be available with a V6 mated to a six-speed manual or an auto with just as many ratios, but the Gen III never got a TRD blower. Well, we’d expect just such a thing for the 2023 Tacoma X-Runner portrayed in this rendering.
Graphic designer Jim (aka jlord8), who is responsible for the work, has a soft spot for sport trucks, which is why he decided to take things one step further and pixel-cut the cab.
You see, the current Tacoma only comes in Access Cab (with tiny suicide doors at the back) or Crew Cab (four regular doors). However, this digital truck presents itself in Regular Cab form (two doors and a single row of seats). And, given the said V6 power fantasy, keeping the scale footprint in check sounds like a good plan.
Not even the wildest Gen III Tacoma we’ve seen (YouTuber Brad DeBerti‘s 2019 SEMA drift truck) packs a “shaved” cab, so this one will probably remain in what Jim calls imagination land.
Meanwhile, in the real world, the next-gen Tacoma, which is expected to land for the 2024 model year, should share the coil spring solution with the all-new 2022 Tundra full-size means superior road manners. So future builders have at least a bit of work cut out for them.