Are U.S. Drivers Missing out With the Toyota Hilux Compared to the Tacoma?

The new Toyota Hilux, the automaker’s international pickup truck, is surprisingly similar to the Toyota Tacoma. So much so, in fact, that pickup drivers may be curious as to how exactly the two vehicles compare. Here’s what you can expect from each vehicle, according to MotorTrend.

The differences between the Toyota Tacoma and the Hilux

There are a few subtle differences in the exterior styling of the Toyota Hilux and the Toyota Tacoma. The Hilux has a distinctly international appearance, with a slimmer, more streamlined design and large headlights. The Tacoma, on the other hand, has much thinner headlights. Its design is larger and more blocky with a fairly square shape.

You’ll find some differences in the cabins of the trucks as well. The Tacoma has a square, blocky interior that matches its outer appearance. In contrast, the Hilux has a more plush, practical cabin. It features an 8-inch touchscreen that is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Finally, these two pickup trucks have slightly different powertrain options. The Hilux offers a 2.8-liter option that gets 369 lb-feet of torque and 201 hp. The Tacoma does not have this option. Instead, Tacoma drivers can choose between a 3.6-liter V6 that gets 278 hp or a 2.7-liter four-cylinder that gets 159 hp. And while certain trims of the Tacoma offer a manual option, this option is available across the board on the Hilux.

What do they have in common?

Toyota trucks are well known for their near indestructibility, and these two are no exception. Although there are some differences in their exterior appearance, both the Toyota Hilux and the Toyota Tacoma feature a similar grille design.

These pickup trucks also have similar infotainment and safety features. Although there is a slight difference in the size of their touchscreens — the Hilux has an 8-inch screen, while the Tacoma features a 7-inch touchscreen — they are both compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

Toyota has also made its safety suite, Toyota Safety Sense, standard on all vehicles. This selection of safety features includes automated emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.

The future of the Toyota Hilux


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Although a new Toyota Hilux is rolling out across Europe this summer, it will not be released in the United States. Currently, the only option for U.S. drivers looking for a midsize Toyota pickup is the Tacoma.

If you really had your heart set on the Hilux, though, all isn’t lost. While Toyota is currently keeping its two major midsize pickups separated by location, this may not always be the case. According to MotorTrend, it’s possible that the next generation of Toyota pickups will involve a common platform that will include all the automaker’s trucks, regardless of location.

If this is the case, the Hilux may eventually be available in the U.S. This would save Toyota a lot of time and hassle and would give buyers even more options to chose from.

Which one is better?

While both the Toyota Hilux and the Tacoma have many similarities, the Hilux may have just a bit of an edge when it comes to the overall driving experience. Toyota recently released improvements to the suspension and steering in the Hilux, which makes for a smoother ride. And for anyone who prefers driving manual, the Hilux has an obvious advantage.

While the Tacoma is a perfectly adequate midsize pickup truck, it ranks in the middle of its class and doesn’t have anything too special to offer. Plenty of people may enjoy driving it, but options are always nice. U.S. drivers would likely enjoy the opportunity to test out the Hilux too. 

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