Here’s Why Toyota’s Tacoma X-Runner Concept Is So Exciting

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Toyota has been debuting some exciting concept vehicles as of late.

Between teasing innovative developments with their steer-by-wire system, a sleekly designed electric Land Rover, and other exciting next-generation electric vehicles (EVs), it’s turning out to be an invigorating time for the Japanese automotive icon.

And for sport truck enthusiasts, Toyota may have just debuted their most exciting concept yet – a new Tacoma X-runner.

What Is the Tacoma X-Runner?

They are colloquially known as a sport truck, a more performance, street-oriented pickup with lower suspension that’s just a blast to drive around town. What these trucks might lack in traditional cargo space, they make up for in their stylish low-rider designs and dynamic driving experience.

Think of them as muscle cars in the form of a low-riding pickup truck.

Toyota first introduced the Tacoma X-Runner at the Chicago Auto Show in 2004. Unfortunately, it was discontinued a decade later after it didn’t catch on in the marketplace like Toyota hoped it would.

But with features such as a manual gearbox and a naturally aspirated engine – certain driving enthusiasts have come to appreciate it as those features get phased out in the automotive industry’s electric vehicle (EV) revolution.

The news that a new iteration of the X-Runner might be coming is exciting.

Old Versus New: What Would Make This X-Runner Different?

Slow and steady may win in the contest between rabbits and turtles, but no one who’s ever driven a car for fun has said, “Gee, I sure wish my engine was less powerful.”

The new X-Runner concept features a more muscular engine than the original one that debuted in Chicago nearly two decades ago.

Chalk it up to the benefit of time’s passage—things like engine technology change.

In the X-Runner’s case, it’s a change for the better.

Sporting a 3.4-liter twin-turbo i-Force V6 boosted by a TRD performance package, the new X-Runner boasts almost 200 lbs-ft of torque and 176 horsepower more than its predecessor.

These are not slight upgrades.

This ramped-up V6 engine, which offers over 420 horsepower and almost 480 LB-ft of torque, while available in Toyota’s three-row Sequoia SUV and larger Tundra pickup, is not currently available in their newest Tacoma.

However, this X-Runner concept going into production could change that.

Something that ICE purists will likely be disappointed by is that the previous X-Runner’s six-speed manual is reportedly getting eighty-sixed in favor of a 10-speed automatic transmission. However, it will come with a set of paddle shifters, so Toyota is trying to hold onto some of the “it’s fun to drive” mentality for this concept.

Speaking of “fun to drive,” what says “good times” on wheels quite like doing burnouts in a low-riding, twin-turbo-engined pickup truck?

Fitted with an electronic locking differential and a 4:30:1 final drive, Toyota has potentially created a smoke machine if this X-Runner ends up coming to market.

When it comes to suspension, Toyota made another notable improvement.

The initial X-Runner came with rear leaf spring suspension, which doesn’t lend itself to maximizing a vehicle’s performance handling.

Toyota’s proposed concept would feature an air suspension system in the rear, with the front utilizing a set of stiff springs.

Topping it all off is a healthy-looking coat of blue paint (the same Speedway Blue that the initial Tacoma X-Runner debuted with nearly 20 years ago) that paints this potential next X-Runner installment with a nostalgic old meets new vibe.

It’s a nice cherry on top of the promise of this sporty truck getting a second shot at life.