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Spied! Does This Toyota Hilux Pickup Mule Preview Next Tacoma?

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 9/11/2014 Eric Weiner

In about a year or two we expect to see a revised Toyota Tacoma, and we could have our first look at the new pickup's styling direction. New spy shots of the international market's Toyota Hilux show that model headed away from softer and less bullish look, toward a more American-friendly aesthetic.The new bulked-up styling shows proportions we recognize from the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

Up front, the next Hilux bears significantly taller and more squared-off styling than today's truck. The pickup features a meaner-looking tri-slat grille, sharp LED-lined headlights, and a neatly creased hood. From the side, the Hilux’s large doors and small greenhouse remind us of GM’s new Canyon and Colorado twins. Compared to the current Tacoma, this Hilux prototype bears a sleeker front-end design, although the overall resemblance is still clear.Off-road and heavy-duty customers have long adored the Toyota Hilux, which has a reputation as the tougher and sturdier alternative to the North American-spec Tacoma (which is tailored for better ride comfort and handling). The two pickups used to be very closely related, but diverged when the Tacoma replaced the Hilux for the U.S. market in 1995. The most recent examples ride on different chassis, with the Tacoma sharing its platform with the 4Runner SUV and the Hilux sticking to a distinct ladder frame evolved from that of older Hilux trucks. It remains unclear whether the Hilux and Tacoma will converge again in their next generation, but it's not impossible. Toyota Hilux Prototype Spied Right Rear View© Provided by MotorTrend Toyota Hilux Prototype Spied Right Rear View

Previous spy shots of a pre-production Toyota Tacoma mule suggested the truck will receive only minor updates to its existing platform. The mule, spotted during hot-weather testing in the American Southwest, was disguised in current-gen Tacoma styling. We did discover a rerouted exhaust and some modified parts, but the major changes will be the Tacoma’s exterior appearance and interior design. The rumor mill suggests that Toyota will scrap the Regular Cab Toyota Tacoma, as well as the currently offered four- and five-speed automatic transmissions in favor of six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes. Toyota Hilux Prototype Spied Front Side© Provided by MotorTrend Toyota Hilux Prototype Spied Front Side

Today’s 2014 Toyota Tacoma starts at $19,010 including destination fees, when purchased with a 159-hp inline-four and Regular Cab body. Expect more details on the new Toyota Hilux and Tacoma over the coming years.

Photo Source: KGP Photography

Toyota Hilux Prototype Spied Right Side© Provided by MotorTrend Toyota Hilux Prototype Spied Right Side
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