Old Dogs, New Tricks: Appearance Packages Keep the Truck Fires Burning at Toyota

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
old dogs new tricks appearance packages keep the truck fires burning at toyota

The current crop of Toyota pickups are good, solid machines. This is proven by their continued sales performance, particularly the Tacoma and 4Runner. Their half-ton is behind the eight ball in terms of powertrain and interior gadgetry but continues to appeal to certain customers and enjoys healthy loyalty numbers.

Hard points are expensive propositions with which to tinker, which is why it makes sense that the Texas-based arm of Toyota is applying some paint & wallpaper to three of its offerings for 2019, including one model that can apparently do no wrong.

The 4Runner, despite being older than that half bottle of ketchup in the back of your fridge, remain popular with customers shopping that segment for a new rig. Its lantern-jawed appearance has a lot to do with this, in your author’s humble opinion. The prospect of sky-high resale values surely doesn’t hurt either, given that used examples are trading for big money, not unlike its FJ Cruiser brother.

Stoking the fires, Toyota is offering a Nightshade Edition on the 4Runner for 2019, adding blacked-out trim and a set of 20-inch wheels. Black chrome on the grille announces your buying decision to other commuters. Available only on high-zoot Limited trim, the Nightshade is available in 4×2 or 4×4 models and carries a price of $1,740.

Given its popularity, the 4Runner didn’t really need this extra option package, but it will definitely do something to warm the hearts of all hands in the Toyota accounting department: Bring the truck’s average transaction price up a bit.

Speaking of trucks, pickups are a segment forecasted to grow in volume over the next few years in spite of a potential decline in overall auto sales. Toyota’s mid-size offering, the Tacoma, continues to sell well. This explains why the company is resisting shovelling too much money into a revamp; after all, why spend the R&D dollars for an incremental jump in volume? Nissan undoubtedly feels the same about its Frontier.

Still, new trims are always welcome, which is why Toyota introduced the Tacoma SX yesterday at the State Fair of Texas. Here, the new suffix denotes a blacked-out theme, one which tints the badges, mirror caps, grille, and a few other items for a reasonable $560. Those are 16-inch alloys you see in the pictures. Smartly, Toyota is making this available on a variety of colors, not just black and white. The SX Package is based on the Tacoma SR grade and is available on 4×2 and 4×4 Access Cab models.

That leaves the Tundra. Here’s a fun fact for your Friday afternoon: the Tundra came within 12,000 units of the Sierra in 2007. The gap is, um, more than that today. For the upcoming model year, the half-ton also gets SXified, except here it is a color-keyed package rather than a blackout trim. Badges are shaved, grille surrounds and bumper trims are body color, and black 18-inch wheels are added. Available on the SR5 grade Double Cab in 4×2 or 4×4, this trim adds $1,630 to a Tundra’s note. Look for it in white, black, and Barcelona Red.

Those in the know opine that the Tundra won’t see any major revisions until 2022, at which time we’ll be looking at refreshes of the Ram and GM that appeared this year.

[Images: Toyota]

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  • Mermilio Mermilio on Oct 01, 2018

    The SR trim of the Tacoma doesn't even get Intermittent windshield wipers. While Keyless entry and Cruise are options. (and the only two options you can purchase). This this appearance package bring anything else to the table besides back trim and wheels?

  • Vulpine Vulpine on Oct 01, 2018

    @gtem: That's what you say/they claim. However, now having owned two DIFFERENT multi-air vehicles with no engine (or other drivetrain) issues in either one, I find the claims questionable at best. Not outright claiming they're false, just finding them hard to believe.

  • Tassos The EQS is the best looking BEV, better than even the only Tesla I would ever consider (the S) and more luxurious inside etc etcThe self driving features will come in handy when I'm 110 and my eyesight and reaction times start to suffer.But that's four decades away, and only Tim recommends 40 year old "used cars"
  • Tassos "Baby, Baby light my fire!""Oh God please give me a Kia Forte" --Janis Joplin
  • Tassos The fugly looks of any Subaru, and especially the non-sporty non-elegant, fugly, low-rent looks and interior of the WRX are alone a sufficient turnoff to never want to own one.One can be a 100% car enthusiast but ALSO demand a beautiful AND luxurious vehicle one can be truly proud of and which makes one very happy every time one drives it.The above is obviously totally foreign to Subaru Designers and managers.
  • Thehyundaigarage Am I the only one that sees a Peugeot 508?
  • Lou_BC I realized it wasn't EV's burning by the absence of the usual suspects.