Toyota's predominant philosophy currently seems to be "don't mess with success," and the 2012 Tacoma is a good embodiment of that approach. Revisions applied to the company's compact pickup line are largely cosmetic, and relatively minor, at that.
The front end of the 2012 Tacoma incorporates subtle changes, including a new grille, foglamps, headlights, and bumpers. Dual tow hooks are now standard on all Tacoma models, and there are two new colors -- Spruce Mica and Nautical Blue Metallic -- to choose from. The TRD Sport package is now offered with side mirrors that have integrated turn signal lamps, and is also available with optional 18-inch chrome five-spoke wheels.
Inside, the makeover appears a little more extensive. 2012 Tacomas sport a redesigned instrument panel with a new gauge cluster; redesigned center stack with updated climate controls, and on some models, a new steering wheel. New options include heavy-duty all-weather flooring on Access Cab and Double Cab models, waterproof fabric on some trucks, new radio designs, and Toyota's Entune infotainment system (which is offered on the Double Cab V-6.)
Mechanically, don't expect any major departure from the outgoing 2011 model. The base 2.7-liter inline-four-cylinder carries over with the same 159 hp and 180 lb-ft as the 2011 model. Likewise, the 4.0-liter V-6 still offers 236 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque, just like last year's truck. Transmission choices and fuel economy ratings are likewise unchanged.
Pricing has yet to be announced for the updated 2012 Tacoma, but expect it to remain close to the 2011 model, which currently starts at $17,175 (including destination).