Toyota Revives The Street Truck With The Tacoma X-Runner Concept
Younger Motor1.com readers might not remember the popularity of street trucks in the 1990s and early 2000s. These modified pickups generally had a ground-scraping suspension, big wheels, and eye-catching custom paint schemes. Toyota is reviving this idea with the 2024 Tacoma X-Runner Concept for the 2023 SEMA Show.
Toyota already offers rugged versions of the 2024 Tacoma, like the Trailhunter and TRD Pro trims, so the R&D and design teams went the opposite direction for this year’s SEMA build. Plus, it lets the company see if there’s any consumer interest in reviving a sporty pickup.
“There were lots of street trucks in the early 2000s and they all faded, so on the one hand, this was a curiosity check to see if there is any market for street trucks at all, or if the market has entirely shifted to what we see today—tough, rugged, lifted vehicles,” Adam Rabinowitz, chief designer at Toyota’s Calty Design Research, said in the X-Runner Concept’s announcement.
Toyota gave the X-Runner Concept a suitably aggressive stance by widening the track by 3.0 inches. The team adapted the air suspension system from a Tundra to let this truck hunker down over the 21-inch carbon-fiber wheels. There’s also a set of 2.5-inch Bilstein shocks with remote reservoirs.
The X-Runner Concept receives a significant power upgrade over the stock truck by getting a twin-turbo 3.4-liter V6 making 421 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. For comparison, the most powerful engine available from the Tacoma in showrooms is the hybrid-assisted turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 326 hp and 465 lb-ft. To handle the extra muscle, Toyota fitted the rear axle from a Tundra, including an electronic-locking differential.
Most of the truck’s body is Speedway Blue. The concept features a trapezoidal front fascia with large openings and a light bar in the center. The satin black hood has a functional scoop with red accents. A rectangular side-exit exhaust comes out of the bodywork ahead of the driver’s side rear wheel. A hard tonneau cover conceals the bed. The tail gets smoked taillight lenses and a bumper with a simulated diffuser at the bottom.
The cabin receives a pair of vibrant red seats with the X-Runner emblem on the headrests. Paddle shifters are behind the steering wheel.
The original Tacoma X-Runner was available from 2005 to 2014 and offered buyers a street truck straight from the factory. It featured a lowered suspension, sporty body kit, and a hood scoop. The 4.0-liter V6 made 236 hp and hooked up to a six-speed manual driving the rear wheels, with a standard limited-slip differential. TRD even offered a supercharger available as a dealer add-on for buyers wanting to boost the engine output to 300 hp.