Ask Nathan: Next Generation Toyota Tacoma, Future Mini Mini Van and You Do You?

This is not the next generation Toyota Tacoma – it’s a modified Toyota Hilux, but it looks badass. (Image: Toyota)

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Next generation Toyota Tacoma?
  • The futuristic Mini Minivan?
  • You keep doing you…
Image: Toyota

The first question comes from a Nissan fan who is curious about the next generation Toyota Tacoma.

Q:  (Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen) What do you think the future Toyota Tacoma will be like?

They have to update it significantly. The 2021 Nissan Frontier will undoubtedly be superior in every way.

I wonder how Toyota will respond.

— Titan Log

Image: Toyota

A: Thanks for reaching out!

We are all holding our breath to see what Toyota will do, but it may be a longer wait than we anticipated. Based on this report, we know that the next generation Toyota Tacoma will have an all-new platform. This platform is known as the “F1” and it is supposed to not only underpin the Tundra. It is a modular platform that will cover most, if not all Toyota’s frame-based vehicles. That covers Sequoia, 4Runner, Land Cruiser, Tundra and Tacoma. That’s about all we have that’s somewhat concrete.

Sure, there are a ton of rumors, some are downright hard to believe. Based on facts and lots of (moderately educated) conjecture, here’s some potential directions Toyota could go:


If the next generation Toyota Tacoma intends to take on the next generation Nissan Frontier, it has to have a significant drivetrain upgrade. The brand-new Nissan 3.8-liter V6 makes 310 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired solely with a nine-speed automatic transmission. From our initial tests with the new engine in the old platform, the Nissan Frontier’s powertrain is beefy, and it’s pretty efficient too.

Toyota is always practical and pragmatic, they may try to do updates with off-the-shelf parts. Will Toyota beef up their V6? Is there a chance they may go the hybrid route and use a variant of the Lexus 3.5-liter V6 hybrid powertrain? That powertrain makes 354-hp combined and is very efficient. They also build a 241-hp turbo four-cylinder engine. Both of these engines work with a rear-drive setup.

One email I received was from a huge Toyota fan who insisted the automaker is so committed to PHEVs that they will build a plug-in hybrid version of the Tacoma. Perhaps he’s thinking of something that could compete with the Jeep Wrangler 4xe?

Some rumors out there state that the current V6 will be significantly upgraded and gain higher output. Right now, the 3.5-liter V6 produces 278-hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. Many feel that the base model 159-hp, 2.7-liter inline-4 will not make it into the next generation Tacoma.


Sadly, the trend for automakers (including Nissan) are pulling manual transmissions from pickup trucks. Toyota and Jeep are the only automakers in the U.S. to sell midsize pickup trucks with a manual option. That may change in the future as only a small percentage of pickups are sold as a stick-shift.

Like Nissan, Toyota may move to a more complex transmission throughout their truck lineup. They have an eight-speed transmission that Lexus uses. It is rumored to have spawned a spin-off that may see use in trucks, including the Tacoma.

Body and interior

It’s a good bet that Toyota is looking at improving one of their most complained about issues – interior space. Right now, the Tacoma is considered less comfortable and accommodating than their competitors. Many larger owners want a more compliant seating position, more headroom and more passenger space.

Interior quality also trails competitors. I featured the new Toyota Hilux, which is for overseas consumers only, as a potential direction for the next generation Toyota Tacoma. It has a better interior and has recently been updated. Perhaps the next Tacoma will share some of the Hilux’s design?

Toyota has made minor improvements over the years, but many fans are getting restless for a real change. Simply upgrading headlights or coming out with a new trim beauty package will not satisfy all consumers. In fact, some are feeling that Toyota is being coy about their changes.

Considering the serious challenge Ford is mounting with their Ranger, Nissan’s upcoming Frontier and new-comers that are slated to hit the market, Toyota needs to make a move.

We’ll see what happens.

— N

The next question comes from a fan who loves the Mini Mini Van concept.

Q: (Paraphrased from a conversation with my kid’s friend’s mother). “Did you see that Mini minivan? It’s SO cute!

I was looking through Google the other day and hoping to find a fun minivan in the future. This Mini (Mini Vision Urbanaut Concept). I also saw a cool looking VW minivan that’s coming (VW ID Buzz). What’s up with that Mini minivan?

— M. K.

A: Thanks for asking.

This Mini Urbanaut Concept is simply a design exercise, one that explores the possibilities of autonomous electric vehicles (EVs), with a hint of personality. In this case, this tiny van is meant to add personality to your commute. It has multi-configurable seating surfaces, so you can convert seats to a day-bed. The front windshield pops open (when parked) for an open air experience, when activated. Wheels and headlights change color to tell those on the outside how chill, or irate you are.

I guess there will be a lot of red in Los Angeles.

The point of this concept is to showcase what’s on Mini’s mind, not necessarily a production vehicle. Still, some of this tech and design elements could influence future vehicles.


The last question comes from a viewer who hopes TFL maintains their own identity.

Q: Hi Nathan. I wish this was a good email, but it’s one filled with concern about your team.

I noticed a while back that your whole organization did a one eighty and began saturating YouTube with tons of channels. That was okay, I mean I get the reason to expand your brand. You now have more channels than any other video reviewer. It can be confusing, but I see why you separated things like off road toys and motorcycles into their own channels.

I AM CONCERNED THAT YOU GUYS ARE STARTING TO ACT LIKE OTHER OBNOXIOUS REVIEWERS!! I am totally seeing stuff like Doug DeMuro, Scotty Kilmer and even Supercar Blondie. DON’T BE LIKE THEM PLEASE! You guys have your own way that we like. There are SO MANY fakes on YouTube who copy and follow you guys too. Don’t be like them either! If you change things we like to be more like someone else you will hurt your viewership.


  • Mark

A: Thanks for the email.

First of all, thank you for keeping an eye on us and our ever-changing content. We truly appreciate our viewers and we take your opinions seriously. Especially because you’re stationed on one of the most powerful aircraft carriers on the planet…


There are times where we try to shuffle the deck a little bit. We definitely try to maintain our independence, but there are times when we cover the same territory as some of our competitors. Please understand that we have seven channels on YouTube that need daily and weekly content. Sometimes, we try a fresh approach to a video, just to see what will happen. It doesn’t always work.

Fortunately, we do read our comments and emails. When the consensus of viewers agree that something was good – or bad, we listen and we make changes. Sometimes, our competitors see these changes and they make changes too.

It’s difficult to predict what viewers will gravitate towards. You see, we want to inform and entertain. In some cases, we’ll just bring viewers the news, in other cases, we’ll take them on an adventure. It depends on the vehicle, the time of year and audience interest – among other things. Without input from viewers like you, I’m sure we would have become irreverent years ago.

Just like Colorado weather, if you want to see TFL Studios change – just wait a few minutes.

We are always trying to do something fresh, while maintaining the quality and content you guys love. If you feel we’re heading off track, let us know. Just like Mark did.

Thanks Mark, I’ll tell the boys.


— N

Speaking of old one of many of our new channels…