The 2024 Toyota Tacoma X-Runner concept from SEMA promises the resurgence of sport trucks
In 2005, Toyota did something no one was prepared for: it built a midsize pickup truck with some real roadholding. They called it the Tacoma
XRunner Legacy Pickup
If there’s one potential flaw in the X-Runner’s original execution, it’s the fact that it has a spring rear suspension. Yes, it was lowered and came with front and rear sway bars, but the performance of the traditional leaf spring rear suspension left a lot to be desired in handling. Even with that caveat, we pitted the original Tacoma X-Runner against a contemporary field of competitive sport trucks that included the Dodge Ram SRT-10 Quad Cab, and Toyota won. It was quickest in the slalom (beating the Ram SRT-10 by 1 mph) despite the power gap and 0.3 seconds slower from 0 to 60 mph. It showed just how big the original X-Runner was and the hill this concept would have to climb if it ever went into production.
New X-Runner concept
Fortunately, Toyota knew it couldn’t rest on the laurels of the original model and the new Tacoma The 2005 X-Runner is equipped with a V-6. That’s thanks to some updated engine technology we got from Toyota with the 3.4-liter twin-turbo i-Force V-6 and the TRD Performance Package boosting 421 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. You’ll notice that the 3.4-liter i-Force Max V-6 is exclusive to the larger Tundra and three-row Sequoia pickup trucks, and is not offered in the new Tacoma, whose most powerful factory engine offers a turbocharged 2.4-liter i-Force engine. Max hybrid. At least, a V-6 isn’t offered in the new Tacoma Until now– Hopefully the production of the X-Runner will change that…
Unfortunately, the new X-Runner model doesn’t get a six-speed manual transmission, instead opting for the 10-speed automatic also found below the Tundra. We’ll just have to see how that affects the fun-to-drive factor, but it does come with a set of paddle shifters to join its uniquely X-Runner interior. This wouldn’t be the first time an OEM has moved to more automatic gears and shifts for faster results.
Tundra, tundra everywhere
The other part technically borrowed from the larger Tundra truck is the rear axle, which is customized to fit the Tacoma and has a four-link rear suspension. It has a 4.30:1 final drive and an electronic locking differential for some guaranteed smoke times and possibly multi-day burnout.
More changes to the suspension
The axle is supported by a set of custom suspension arms that match the Tundra’s suspension geometry and work with its air suspension system. (The regular 2024 Tacoma inherits a version of this coil-sprung design, but without the air suspension bits.) This is then all controlled by a set of custom 2.5-inch-valved Bilstein dampers with remote reservoirs. The front suspension uses a set of stiffer front springs instead of the air suspension at the rear. These suspension changes also increase the Tacoma’s track width by just over three inches.
One of our other complaints about the original Tacoma X-Runner was the huge gap between the top of the frame and the fender flare. It appears the concept will address this by lowering the suspension, but also using a set of 285/45R21 Michelin sport tires. The crazy part is the custom wheels made by Lacks Enterprises. The 21 x 9.5-inch size isn’t the crazy part as these wheels are made of carbon fiber with forged aluminum centers. These ultra-light wheels are mounted atop a set of Tundra 13.9-inch rotors with four-piston calipers up front and 13.6-inch rotors with two-piston calipers in the rear.
It’s a special minivan
Just like the original 2005 X-Runner, the 2023 concept gets a full body kit to enhance its character and give it a street-truck look. This separates it from the regular Tacoma and lets you know you’re probably in for a world of hurt if you want to challenge it.
The kit includes new front and rear fascias, an aerodynamics package, and lower rocker panels. The original X-Runner came with a hood scoop, but the 2023 concept is fully functional and includes a duct for the intake.
Like other special Tacomas, the 2023 X-Runner concept features a pair of XB LED projector headlights with an “X-Runner” logo on the black housing of the running lights.
Familiar blue hue
To celebrate the original X-Runner concept from the 2004 Chicago Auto Show, the 2023 concept is depicted in the original Speedway Blue, but with the addition of part of the hood, roof and mirrors in black.
The hood is tied with a red stripe and the hood scoop has a red insert.
Built by Toyota
The only thing we want now is to see the 2024 Toyota Tacoma X-Runner concept become a reality. So far, Toyota hasn’t said whether it will go beyond the 2023 SEMA Show, but based on the original 2005 production version, this midsize pickup truck will be an absolute riot on roads and trails across the United States. Do this damn thing.
(Tags for translation)Pickup Truck