With new midsize trucks from Chevrolet and GMC available this year, Toyotacouldn’t ignore the aging design of its Tacoma. Thus the 2016 Toyota Tacomasignificantly improves on the current model, while stopping short of the Chevrolet/GMC ground-up overhauls. The new Tacoma will maintain the same overall size of the current model, but show more pronounced and angular styling along with plenty of new technology inside and under the hood.

How Is It Different?
The 2016 Tacoma uses the same frame underneath the sheet metal, but it’s now fortified with additional high-strength steel for better rigidity. An even higher-grade steel (ultra high-strength) is worked into the body using a stamping process that Toyota says reduces weight. A retuned suspension aims to improve both on-road civility and off-road ability.

Inside, the cabin receives a thorough — and overdue — update anchored by a new center stack and touchscreen display that controls entertainment, navigation and smartphone integration functions. A GoPro camera mount on the windshield comes standard for documenting on- and off-road adventures, while a wireless phone charging pad will also be available.

What Will Make It Go?
The 2016 Tacoma will offer both a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and a new 3.5-liter V6. The V6 features optimized fuel injection and an Atkinson power cycle (similar to a hybrid) for improved efficiency. This new engine should be among the class leaders — if not theleader — in V6 fuel economy. A six-speed automatic transmission is available with both engines, while a six-speed manual will be available for the V6 only. Toyota has not announced any power specifications or fuel economy estimates yet.

Tacoma TRD models will also offer a multi-terrain system that allows the driver to adjust a rotary dial that optimizes various systems for surfaces including mud, sand and rocks. A driver-selectable “crawl mode” also takes care of the throttle and brakes during low-speed maneuvers. A limited-slip differential and locking rear differential will also be available for increased capability on the trail.

What Kind of Trim Levels and Features Are There?
The redesigned Tacoma will offer both access (“extended”) and crew cab body styles. There will be five trim levels: SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road and Limited. The SR is a basic work truck, while SR5 adds minor interior and exterior enhancements for a more polished look. TRD models add suspension upgrades and more all-terrain ability, while the Limited is the fully loaded model.

Handy features will include a damped tailgate opening and a household-style power outlet in the bed. Options will include a three-piece hard tonneau cover for the bed, LED running lights, push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a sunroof, blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert.

When Is It Available, and What Will It Compete Against?
No pricing has been announced, but expect the 2016 Toyota Tacoma to cost roughly the same as the current model when it goes on sale this fall.