Spy Photos: 2016 Toyota Tacoma Mule
We recently got our hands on some spy photos of Toyota testing a mule for the next generation Toyota Tacoma, which is due to hit the market in the 2016 model year.
Photographers found the parked Tacoma in an area know as a favorite hot-weather-testing location for automakers. The Tacoma was attached to a trailer and clearly is a testing “mule,” as it features a mocked-up interior and shows signs of a modified undercarriage. To further emphasize the testing status of the next-gen Tacoma, the truck was littered with wires, sensors, makeshift window and door switches, and the back seat was packed with computers.
Sources are telling us that Toyota may drop the Regular Cab Tacoma option entirely and focus solely on the Double Cab model, which makes sense since the test mule is in fact a Double Cab model. The test truck is equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, and we think a six-speed manual and automatic option will replace the four- and five-speed transmissions on the 2016 Tacoma.
Our sources at AutoPacific have told us that the revised 2016 Tacoma will use an adaptation of the current truck's frame, and that information is confirmed by our detailed inspection of this Tacoma test mule. The Tacoma mule shown in the photos doesn't have any noticeable riveted sections that suggest altered dimensions, so the current truck's footprint will likely remain largely the same. We expect to see newly restyled sheet metal and a new, upgraded interior to be the key changes.
The Tacoma mule's undercarriage does show a rerouted exhaust snaking around some modified parts, but it’s clear that Toyota is relying on a lot of the current Tacoma's successful bones to keep it competitive in an evolving market. Toyota’s updated Tacoma will see plenty of competition in the sector with General Motors launching its new midsize truck with the all-new 2015 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon this fall. It will be interesting to see how the current updated Tacoma will stack up to the competition when it reaches the market a year from now.