Toyota Tacoma's Badass Design Was Inspired By Famous Baja Truck Racer Ivan "Ironman" Stewart

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America's favorite midsize truck comes with design chops to back its capabilities.

After years of waiting and two months of teasing, the Toyota Tacoma finally got a new-generation model. And it's not just a minor redo of the outgoing version; the new Taco was built from the ground up, including its design. If you love the new look of the all-new Tacoma, Calty Design Research, the team behind the design of America's favorite midsize truck, has revealed the philosophy behind its styling.

According to Calty, the concept was simply to create a "badass adventure machine." The aim was to design a truck that goes beyond mere transportation and becomes an integral part of people's lifestyles.

ONE Toyota/YouTube

According to Toyota, the primary inspiration for the new design came from Baja race trucks, particularly those driven by legendary racer Ivan "Ironman" Stewart - the legendary Baja racer who also appeared in a Tundra ad in 2021. The goal was to capture the spirit of those trucks with their big fender blisters, slim body, and large wheel openings.

The designers significantly changed the Tacoma's proportions, giving it a more commanding stance. They raised the truck bed higher, enhancing the overall look and harkening to the automaker's active DNA, targeting a youthful, recreation-oriented audience.

Toyota added that the Tacoma should look like a modified truck straight from the factory, and we agree. The very first Tacoma Trailhunter is particularly distinctive, designed to stand out among the sea of trucks available in the US. The same can be said about the exterior styling of the Tacoma TRD Pro.

Side View Driving Toyota
Front View Toyota
Rear View Driving Toyota

In terms of interior design, Calty focused on expressing the Tacoma's ability to do more and venture off the beaten path, seen in the various features such as grips on the doors and console, a drive mode switch, and multiple accessible power ports. If you're not convinced, you might want to check out the Tacoma TRD Pro, which comes with the coolest seats in the world featuring exposed shock absorbers. The team also said that the large center display was designed to command attention and to be user-friendly.

We'll see the Tacoma in the hands of its owners towards the end of the year, though the more powerful i-Force Max-equipped models will arrive later in the Spring of 2024. Toyota has yet to reveal pricing, but those should be revealed closer to its market launch.


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