Rear-wheel drive sports trucks and inexpensive coupes were once incredibly popular, but they appear to have vanished from the market in recent years. However, this month gave us optimism for a resurgence. Following Honda's unveiling of a brand-new Prelude concept, Toyota has now strongly hinted that the Tacoma X-Runner could soon make a comeback.
Between 2005 and 2014, the original X-Runner was available for purchase. It competed with vehicles such as the Dodge Ram SRT-10 to show that pickups could be reliable performance vehicles that could handle more than simply straight-line testing. And the X-Runner might take shortcuts.
Although it is really a concept car, Toyota is showcasing an X-Runner version of the brand-new 2024 Tacoma at this fall's SEMA performance show. We doubt it will maintain this pretense for very long. Regardless, let's hope not, as a fun, quick, two-wheel drive vehicle with this much style is likely to be a sales smash.
The concept gains several mechanical components from its Tundra big brother, such as air suspension, 13.9-inch (353 mm) front brakes, a rear axle with a 4.30:1 final drive, and an electronically controlled locking mechanism, in comparison to the standard Tacoma. It also gains a strengthened frame. Many suspension components, such as the arms, were altered to integrate with the Tundra elements, and Bilstein shocks with remote reservoirs operate the 21-inch carbon fiber wheels.
Under the hood, things get much better—unless you're a Greenpeace activist, that is. A 3.4-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with a ton more horsepower replaces the regular Tacoma's 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and also four-cylinder hybrid, the most potent of which produces 326 hp (331 PS). It is lifted from the Tundra and has been uprated from 389 horsepower (394 PS) to 421 horsepower (427 PS) with the same torque output of 479 lb-ft (650 Nm). Even if this vehicle is not put into production, the engine will soon be offered as an upgrade for the Tundra's TRD Performance Package.
And then there's that ugly redesign. The 2004 Chicago Auto Show's original X-Runner was painted in Speedway Blue, which pays homage to that hue. However, the new vehicle has an aggressive front bumper, black hood and roof, red accents, and side-exit exhaust that give it a much harder appearance. Is there still a demand for this type of sport vehicle, and should Toyota produce this model?