By on May 4, 2018

Tacoma TRD Teaser CAS 2018

One country waves the stars and stripes; the other, a big, red maple leaf. One calls those rain catchment thingies gutters, the other (or at least parts of it) insists on calling them eavestroughs. The differences are vast.

Despite their cultural and regulatory peculiarities, both Americans and Canadians seem to agree that the Toyota Tacoma‘s sales should only ever go in an upward direction. So far this year, buyers on both sides of the border provided nearly identical sales growth for the midsize pickup.

It’s a good thing Toyota worked out its production constraints.

Despite two fewer selling days in April, Tacoma volume rose 10.6 percent, year over year, in the U.S. last month. That’s the sixth consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth. Over the first four months of 2018, Tacoma sales are up 20 percent compared to the same period last year.

Sadly, we don’t have the data to contrast its performance with the Chevrolet Colorado, the segment’s second best-selling midsizer. (Before it moved to quarterly sales reporting, GM reported that Colorado sales rose 29.1 percent, year to date, in the first three months of 2018.)

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro - Image: Toyota

The story north of the border is much the same. Nearly identical, actually. In Canada, Tacoma sales rose 11.6 percent, year over year, in April. Year to date, Tacoma volume rose 20.5 percent over the same period in 2017. It seems the two countries formed a pact.

Helping Toyota in its quest to peddle as many Tacomas as possible are steps taken in the past couple of years to boost production at two sites. The automaker added a Saturday shift at its San Antonio, Texas assembly plant in 2016, bolstering existing efforts to lower assembly cycle times. There’s three shifts on the go at its Tijuana facility.

Last year, Toyota announced its proposed Guanajuato, Mexico facility would not produce the Corolla, as planned, but will instead assemble the Tacoma. The compact sedan, already in production in both Ontario and Mississippi, will set up shop at a joint Toyota-Mazda plant in Huntsville, Alabama. Tacoma production at the new Mexican plant should kick off in 2020.

As for the vehicle itself, it seems Toyota doesn’t want to mess with a good thing. The 2019 model year shouldn’t bring any major changes for the Tacoma, though TRD Pro buyers gain the option of adding a snorkel to their off-road spec pickup.

[Images: Toyota]


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19 Comments on “Cross-border Agreement: Midsize Truck Buyers on Both Sides of the 49th Parallel Seem Equally Enamored With One Model...”

  • avatar

    Toyota is very adept at evolving their staples while still preserving the essence of the model.

    Whereas Jeep with the wrangler is on the far end of the preservation spectrum, with Buick on the endlessly evolving/renaming/scrapping end and Toyota fits right in the middle…balanced.

    That truck is undoubtedly a Toyota Tacoma…

  • avatar

    Good for Toyota, bad for the consumer. Toyota has zero incentive to update the Taco in any meaningful way. Like giving it an actual truck engine for example to address the lack of torque many owners are complaining about (4.0L from the 4Runner, anyone?). Perhaps the new Ranger will force them to step up their game.

    On the other hand I’m very thankful that Toyota still offers the 4×4 Taco with a 6 speed manual transmission.

    • 0 avatar

      The new Camry derived 3.5 V6 is not a good fit for the Tacoma, especially when married to the 6 speed automatic. As you stated, it lacks low end torque, and the 6 speed auto wants to shift all the time, for fuel economy no doubt.

      Toyota did all of this for the sake of fuel economy out of the outgoing 4.0, but they only gained about 1 – 2 MPG overall. Skip the 3.5 V6 Taco and get the 4Runner with the 4.0 instead. The venerable 4.0 and 5 speed auto is better than the 3.5 and 6 speed combo.

      People on the Tacoma sub Reddit state that the 3.5 V6 and 6 speed manual combo is better sorted out, but I have yet to find a Toyota dealer that stocks the manual equipped Taco.

      To be fair, the same V6 in the Camry is a hoot!

  • avatar
    Mitchell Leitman

    Of course, in Quebec, eavestroughs are gouttieres. Funny that in Canadian English we don’t use the word derived from the French

  • avatar

    Used Tacos and 4Runners are unbelievably expensive, I was considering a Taco or 4Runner, but am finding used Lexus GX to be a far better deal.

    • 0 avatar

      Used Tacoma’s and Tundras also have a high probability of frame rust issues. Toyota recently agreed to a $4 billion dollar settlement because frame rusting was a severe problem for Tacoma’s and Tundras spanning numerous model years.

  • avatar

    Bigger outside than what I want, smaller inside than what I need (driver’s seat adjustment) and simply not handsome. I don’t like the look.

    I’ll be waiting for the Ford… unless Hyundai gets their act together.
    … or FCA.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      One day you will realise you will never be able to design a dual cab pickup with a 5 foot bed on a vehicle the size of a Fiat 500.

      It just ain’t going to happen.

      You must become realistic.

      • 0 avatar

        But, Al, you CAN use the Fiat 500 as a base from which to build a truck. In the case of a 500 Pop, for instance, just add five feet of bed body and stretch the wheelbase to support it. Now you have a 500 Trop.

        Look, if it can be imagined, it CAN be made. Fiat already has one that they’re calling the Ram 700 down in Mexico. Even granting that it’s based on an older platform, the simple fact that Jeeps designers built a Comanche out of a Renegade means that what I want is eminently possible, just not imminent.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree and so do many reviewers of Toyota pickups. The interior is small compared to other mid size trucks and the seating position is just awful.

  • avatar

    Great photo for showing the benefits of a snorkel.

    As @MR2turbo4evr pointed out, the Atkinson cycle engine in the Tacoma has garnered a lot of complaints. I personally am interested in the Colorado diesel crew 4×4. If Toyota were to offer a better engine, I’d be interested but not as it stands.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      I’m not a Toyota fan due to the prices Toyota charges (and the fugly frontends n all Toyotas). Nowadays I don’t think they are really anymore reliable. It’s reputation that Toyota lives with.

      It’s a pity Canada with its higher fuel prices than the US doesn’t have a decent range of diesel midsizers to choose from.

      The Colorado as nice as it is, sits in the middle of the pack, from a pricing and vehicle performance perspective.

      I do believe the Hilux is a better looking and performing off roader than the Tacoma off the shelf.

      Maybe the US will have a diesel Ranger. If it does I’m wondering if it’ll get the new twin turbo 2 litre diesel, which has a fair bit of power and torque, more than the 3.2 diesel.

      • 0 avatar

        @Big Al from Oz – I’m looking at the diesel Colorado mainly because of driving characteristics. Any test I’ve read between the V6 gas and the diesel favour the diesel. MPG is an added bonus even if one factors in DEF and extra maintenance costs.
        The Ranger will further breath new life into the mid-sized truck market.

        • 0 avatar

          I own a 2017 Chevy Colorado with the 2.8 Duramax diesel engine. I’m averaging 26 mpg highway/city and have been averaging 31.6 mpg on the highway. When you choose the diesel engine the truck comes with an exhaust brake, locking rear differential, and trailer braking, and maximum towing is 7,600 pounds. It’s a great truck.

  • avatar
    Trucky McTruckface

    I really liked this truck when it debuted…in 2005. Then Toyota left it unchanged for a decade, at which point they decided to ruin it by swapping out the 4.0L for that stupid Atkinson cycle 3.5 whose MPG gains are likely offset by having to rev the p*ss out of it to make up for it’s low-end gutlessness.

    It’d be one thing if the truck was a high-incentive, discount special, but no. The transaction prices and resales values are absurd on these.

    There was a lot of press at introduction about the rear drum brakes on this thing, but the real cheap out for me is the lack of a driver’s seat height adjustment. That’s a deal breaker on a vehicle that costs less than $20,000, let alone one that you’ll rarely find on a dealer lot under $30k. You’d think with the money Toyota saved by keeping the same platform, they could have invested it elsewhere in the truck, on things like this, or smart key access that works on both sides of the vehicle, not just the driver’s side.

    Toyota really has no shame in selling chintzy, cheap, outdated garbage like this. Their products are offensive to anyone who cross shops or wants something more than an ugly penalty box. They’re capable of much better, so it continues to annoy me that they’re able to still get away with coasting on their reputation while being even worse than Ford at reinvesting in their product lines.

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