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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New hot hatch

Toyota teases GR Corolla hatchback

The Instagram teaser contains many hints at the new GR Corolla.

Toyota

Toyota isn't always top of mind when it comes to performance cars, but the Japanese giant has a few tricks up its sleeve. There's the Supra, which the automaker partnered with BMW to produce and there's also the not-for-the-U.S. GR Yaris. The hotted-up hatchback features tremendous power and a four-wheel drive system, but buyers here can only watch jealously as our friends in Europe and elsewhere get all the fun. That's about to change for U.S. buyers, however, as Toyota has begun teasing the GR Corolla hatchback, which we will get.

The automaker posted a cryptic image to Instagram a month ago, but it's still making the rounds on the internet today, with users of the GR Corolla Forum still discussing the post today. The teaser, which is of the Corolla's interior, features hints as to what we might see when the car debuts. The navigation screen shows GR Four road, which points to the car's four-wheel drive system, while a G:16 on the clock in the gauge cluster represents the G16E-GTS engine that the car is expected to get. The GR Yaris also sports that engine, where it produces 268 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque.

Toyota GR Corolla GR, or Gazoo Racing, is Toyota's motorsport armToyota Europe

The GR Corolla should break cover next year, but we don't yet know if it will be a 2022 or 2023 model. As far as pricing goes, Toyota may pull out some surprises, but the car will likely be far more expensive than an everyday Corolla. The smaller GR Yaris is priced starting at nearly $40,000 in Europe, so the Corolla's price tag should be around or slightly above that number.

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The CX-50 features body cladding and rugged styling.

Mazda

Mazda's got a busy 2021 and 2022 as it gears up to release several new vehicles. The first is almost here, and today the automaker shared preliminary details. The CX-50 is an all-new SUV that shares a platform with the Mazda 3 and CX-30.

2023 Mazda CX-50 Production begins in January 2022. Mazda

At first, the CX-50 will be offered with Mazda's 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines, one of which is turbocharged, but electrified powertrain options will join the lineup down the road, including a traditional hybrid. Both gas engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive. A new drive mode select system is also standard that allows the driver to change the CX-50's behavior to match road and driving conditions such as towing and off-roading.

2023 Mazda CX-50 A new drive mode selection feature allows the driver to change vehicle behavior. Mazda

The new SUV's styling is a departure from the norm for Mazda, whose typical designs are sleek and elegant but far from rugged. That changes with the CX-50. Mazda installed beefy fender flares, body cladding, and a chunky front bumper that make the SUV look ready for the trail. New colors debut with the CX-50 as well, including Zircon Sand for the exterior and a terracotta upholstery option for the interior. The SUV will be the first Mazda to be offered with a panoramic sunroof.

2023 Mazda CX-50 New color schemes are available for both the interior and exterior. Mazda

We don't have full pricing or options details yet, but Mazda says that the CX-50 will be built at the facility in Huntsville, Alabama that it shares with Toyota. Production is scheduled for January 2022.

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