Sibling Rivalry: 2012 Toyota Tacoma vs. Toyota Hilux


    Toyota has had a busy year. Not only has it released a new global-market midsize pickup truck — actually identified as a full-size truck outside the U.S. — but it also has made a few styling upgrades to the 2012 Tacoma sold here in the U.S. and Canada.

    When looking at the two new 2012 Toyota pickups, it’s hard not to think North America got the shorter end of the stick. The new Hilux not only gets a better selection of engines — especially if you like turbo-diesels —  but it arguably gets the better interior and exterior styling.

    After recently seeing the new Thailand-built Chevy Colorado and the new Ford Ranger (recently announced to also be built in South Africa), what is it about global styling that seems to have advanced past U.S. market design? Don't Americans want stylish pickup trucks too?  The obvious answer is they do, as long as they don't have to suffer downsized capability. 

    The Hilux (top) is more aerodynamic, almost like the styling you'd imagine on a new SUV or crossover. The windshield is larger and has a flatter angle compared to the Tacoma (above) as well. The 2012 Tacoma's face is meant to be wider and less compressed. In fact, the grille is larger and more upright, making for a flatter face in the wind.  

    The differences on the inside are subtle but clear. The Hilux (top) has a more organic, flowing look and feel. The Tacoma (above) is still more angular and sharp. There seems to be a conscious decision by Toyota designers to try to make the U.S. version more rugged and manly, while the global interior could almost go into any car, van or small pickup. 

    The gauge cluster follow similar simalar theme. The Hilux's design (top) is more open and common to car styles. Tacoma's instrument gauges (above) still echo the old-school barrel styling that many old pickup trucks used to have. 

    Although the rear of the midsize pickups are, of course, more designed for function than style, look at the wheel arches. The Hilux (top) has a flowing, rounded arch while the Tacoma (above) stayed with the trapaziodal shape. We're guessing someone thought the more angular shaping was more masculine. In the Tacomas favor, the rear window sizing on the Hilux does seem a little odd. 


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