In the truck world, rugged, off-road trucks have undoubtedly taken center stage. Thankfully, for those who like variety, Toyota is pivoting towards a different direction. The automaker has just unveiled its Tacoma X-Runner Concept, a modernized sport truck that aims to revive the once-popular 2WD street trucks. The concept was showcased at the 2023 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, signaling Toyota’s intent to re-explore the currently untapped potential of sport trucks.
The Genesis of the X-Runner Concept
The X-Runner Concept is the brainchild of a collaborative effort between Toyota’s Engineering teams at Toyota R&D and the design team at Calty Design Studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The concept diverges from the off-road focus that has dominated the truck market, opting instead for a street truck build based on the all-new 2024 Toyota Tacoma.
Adam Rabinowitz, chief designer at Toyota’s Calty Design Research, mentioned that the concept aims to gauge consumer interest in street trucks, which were popular in the early 2000s but have since faded. Toyota offered an X-Runner trim on the second-generation Taco from 2005 to 2015. The model is quite rare, but is immediately distinguishable thanks to its unique body kit.
Under the Hood
Contrary to the first X-Runner which sported the standard V6 engine, the X-Runner Concept is no slouch when it comes to performance. It features a modified i-FORCE 3.4L twin-turbocharged V6 engine that churns out an impressive 421 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. The power is channeled to the rear wheels through a Tundra solid axle with a 4.30:1 final drive and an electronic locking differential. Interestingly, this engine modification will also be available in new Tundra models next year as part of a TRD Performance Package.
Design and Aesthetics
The design team made sure to maintain the Tacoma’s core design language while adding unique elements. The truck features Tacoma XB LED Projector headlights with special “X-Runner” laser ablation lenses. The front and side bodywork includes custom aero-fairings with functional venting. The truck’s overall track width has been increased by just over 3 inches, and the frame has been strengthened to support the chassis modifications and engine.
Suspension and Handling
The X-Runner Concept employs a Tundra air-suspension system to achieve the lowest possible ride height while still being capable of carrying a load. The suspension geometry has been customized to match the Tundra’s, and the springs have been stiffened to optimize performance. The wheel wells are filled with one-off, 21×9.5-inch carbon fiber wheels with forged aluminum centers on Michelin 285/45R21 Sport Tires.
The Tacoma X-Runner Concept could certainly spark interest in a sport truck resurgence. The main element in our opinion is the powertrain which needs to match the truck’s visual enhancements.