Is This the 2021 Toyota Hilux? Because It Looks Like a Tacoma

Although it’s not sold here in the U.S., the Toyota Hilux is known around the world as a tough and reliable truck. That dependable aura rubs off on the similarly sized Tacoma pickup we do get here, even though the trucks are quite different and styled uniquely. It appears as though the two Toyotas may get closer visually in the future, as our first images of what appear to be the 2021 Hilux depict a truck with more than a little Tacoma in it.

Car export company Milele Motors released the photos, claiming they are of the overhauled Hilux. If this is indeed the new Hilux, its bold grille is shaped much like the one on the Tacoma. The website says Toyota is offering two headlamps, a full LED option for higher trims and a halogen/LED combination for lower trims (just like our Taco does), that the tail lamps also are fresh designs. The Hilux will be available in many different colors, including shades of orange, blue, bronze, and red.

These computer-generated photos may simply be renderings of a new Hilux, and if that’s the case, the final product could look different. The current Hilux pickup debuted in 2015 and was given a face-lift in 2017.  A special edition “Invincible” model marked the 50th anniversary of the Hilux nameplate in 2018. It is due for another mid-cycle face-lift soon, if not a full redesign.

What is less clear is how this would-be new Hilux factors into rumors that the next-gen Tacoma and Tundra will sit on a common platform that will spread to all of Toyota’s pickups around the globe. This would help Toyota reduce complexity and save money as it has done since introducing the Toyota New Global Architecture. It also would bring the U.S.-market mid-size Tacoma pickup back into line with the Hilux. You see, Toyota used to sell the Hilux in North America, but replaced it with the Tacoma in 1995. Today, the two trucks are very different vehicles, suiting different markets. A Taco/Hilux realignment may be quite a ways off, however. The U.S.-market Tacoma just received updated styling, LED headlights, and an upgraded infotainment system for 2020. While the truck isn’t class-leading by any means, it does lead the pack in mid-size pickup sales.

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