Chicago Auto Show 2020

Toyota gets trail-ready with new Tacoma, Tundra, and 4Runner models

Toyota is making a limited number of new Trail edition models.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Building on the success of its off-road ready TRD Pro line of trucks and SUVs, Toyota now will give its trucks and the 4Runner a lighter Trial Special Edition treatment. The automaker introduced the Tacoma Trail, the Tundra Trail and the 4Runner Trail at the Chicago Auto Show Thursday.

All include upgrades that make them more attractive to owners who participate in outdoor activities like camping, fishing, and hiking. Toyota is packing the vehicles with extra storage and dirt warrior styling features.

The three trail editions start with Toyota's SR5 grade models. Buyers have a choice of two- or four-wheel drive. They get black exterior badging and black seating with tan stitching. To help deal with mud and dirt, the Trail models havestandard all-weather floor liners.

Here's how the Trail Editions break down:

2021 Toyota Tacoma Trail

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Built on the SR5 Double Cab, the 2021 Tacoma Trail has dark gray 18-inch TRD Off-Road wheels with Kevlar All-Terrain tires. It has a custom grille with bolder horizontal venting compared to the mesh of a regular Tacoma. Toyota equipped the bed with a 115-volt power outlet for tools and equipment. The lockable bed storage includes insulation on the driver side so that it can double as a cooler for fishing trips, camping or tailgating. The Tacoma is already the top selling mid-size pickup truck in the U.S.

2021 Toyota Tundra Trail

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

The 2021 Tundra Trail is built on the SR5 Crew Max with Toyota's SR5 Upgrade Package. That gives the full-size truck a larger fuel tank, front bucket seats with driver's power lumbar support, front center console, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, three front cupholders, and an anti-theft system with alarm and engine immobilizer.

The Trail package gives it the chrome grille from the top-of-line Tundra 1794 Edition. It also has special-edition wheels. Like the Tacoma Trail, the Tundra version has lockable bed storage that can be uses as a cooler.

2021 Toyota 4Runner Trail

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Toyota is packing the 4Runner Trail with equipment to make it an ideal camping vehicle. It gets dark gray TRD Off-Road wheels to navigate dirt roads. To add extra storage, the 4Runner gets a Yakima LoadWarrior rooftop cargo basket. The SUV also comes with a custom, lockable 40-quart cooler and sliding cargo tray.

The cooler has a Freezer-grade gasket to provide an air-tight seal and keep ice frozen for up to seven days. Toyota added tie-down straps and special brackets to safely secure the cooler while driving over bumpy terrain. It has two heavy-duty latches with integrated bottle openers. There's a built-in drain plug with lanyard. And the cooler has a flat top so it can be hauled out of the SUV and used as a table.

Toyota will sell the models with color choices that include Army Green, Cement, Midnight Black, and Super White. It's keeping the volume low, planning to offer just 7,000 Tacomas, 5,000 Tundras and 4,000 4Runners as Trail Editions. The automaker recently confirmed that Tacoma production is moving from Texas to Mexico.

All of three vehicles go on sale this summer. Toyota hasn't said what the upcharge will be to get a Trail Edition model. It has a similar "Adventure" treatment for the compact RAV4 crossover.

Based on that pricing and where the TRD versions of the vehicles fall, expect the Tacoma Trail Edition to be in the mid-$30,000 range and both the Tundra Tail Edition and the 4Runner Trail Edition to slot in around $40,000.

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Toyota's ready to make a big announcement.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation2

Auto Shanghai has another surprise in store. Toyota will debut an electrified vehicle next week and ahead of that moment, the company has leaked teaser photos and video featuring the model on its social media channels.

One of the posts, available on Twitter and Instagram, showcases the vehicle and a series of conceptual, perhaps inspirational, related items. A light shines as a reflection in an eye. A design on paper leads to a math equation. A laser, perhaps a plasma cutter, is focused on an object. Watch the see the rest.


It passes by quickly, but in there is the shape of a crossover. We've captured the moment in a still photo below so you can take a longer look. From the body design quickly shown here, the SUV is shaped more like the Toyota Venza than the Toyota RAV4. The key here is the rear side window, which is more triangular, like the Venza, than the squared-off RAV4''s.

202 The shape of the vehicle is similar to the Toyota Venza.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation

2022 Toyota Venza EV

The face of the vehicle, shown in another social media post (this time on Instagram) and at the top of this article, shows a pared back vehicle face. The height of the vehicle confirms that it's in fact a crossover body style.

We do know that Subaru and Toyota have been working on an electric SUV for a while. While Subaru is likely calling the vehicle "Evoltis" there's some indication that Toyota may be reviving the "Celica" name for the EV. Batteries, after all, are made up of cells.

As of right now, we have to take the wait-and-see approach. One thing's for sure. We'll know more next week.

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Domino's and Nuro announced their partnership in 2019 — and now the robots are hitting the roads.

Photo courtesy of Nuro

After announcing their partnership to work on pizza deliveries via self-driving robots in 2019, Dominos and Nuro have officially rolled out their technology to one part of town.

Beginning this week, if you place a prepaid order from Domino's in Woodland Heights (3209 Houston Ave.), you might have the option to have one of Nuro's R2 robot come to your door. This vehicle is the first do deliver completely autonomously without occupants with a regulatory approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to a news release.

"We're excited to continue innovating the delivery experience for Domino's customers by testing autonomous delivery with Nuro in Houston," says Dennis Maloney, Domino's senior vice president and chief innovation officer, in the release. "There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space. This program will allow us to better understand how customers respond to the deliveries, how they interact with the robot and how it affects store operations."

Orders placed at select dates and times will have the option to be delivered autonomously. Photo courtesy of Nuro

Nuro Domino's delivery vehicle

The Nuro deliveries will be available on select days and times, and users will be able to opt for the autonomous deliveries when they make their prepaid orders online. They will then receive a code via text message to use on the robot to open the hatch to retrieve their order.

"Nuro's mission is to better everyday life through robotics. Now, for the first time, we're launching real world, autonomous deliveries with R2 and Domino's," says Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president, in the release. "We're excited to introduce our autonomous delivery bots to a select set of Domino's customers in Houston. We can't wait to see what they think."

California-based Nuro has launched a few delivery pilots in Houston over the past few years, including the first Nuro pilot program with Kroger in March 2019, grocery delivery from Walmart that was revealed in December 2019, and pharmacy delivery that launched last summer.

From being located in a state open to rolling out new AV regulations to Houston's diversity — both in its inhabitants to its roadways, the Bayou City stood out to Nuro, says Sola Lawal, product operations manager at Nuro.

"As a company, we tried to find a city that would allow us to test a number of different things to figure out what really works and who it works for," Lawal says on an episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "It's hard to find cities that are better than Houston at enabling that level of testing."

You can find out which self-driving vehicles are being tested in your neck of the woods by clicking here.


This article first appeared on AutomotiveMap's sister site InnovationMap.

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