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Toyota kills-off the Tacoma X-Runner

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On: Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 12:03PM | By: Teddy Field

Toyota kills-off the Tacoma X-Runner

America consumes more pickup trucks per year than any nation on earth. We're a land of can-doer's, and we like vehicles that can help us get the job done. The big, brawny Ford F-150 has been America's best-selling vehicle for decades, but there are some people that don't need quite as much 'truck' to get the job done. For them, Toyota created the right-size Tacoma, and it's been leading the midsize pickup category for quite some time. From simple fleet trucks to luxuriously appointed off-roaders, buyers can choose from many versions of Toyota's little truck. Unfortunately though, Toyota has just announced that one of its Tacoma flavors won't be returning for 2014. So we must bid farewell to the Toyota Tacoma X-Runner- the hot little sport truck that you've probably never heard of.

Named for a special x-shaped chassis brace, the Tacoma X-Runner brings a lot more to the table than just a body kit and big wheels. To help drivers make the most of its standard 236-hp 4.0L V6, Toyota increased the truck's torsional rigidity by reinforcing the frame with that X brace. Then they added shorter, stiffer springs, a big sway bar on the back axle, and specifically-tuned Bilstein gas-pressure shocks are installed behind the X-Runner's unique 18-inch wheels. All of this adds up to a sport truck that can respond to directional changes like a sports car.

But the improvements don't stop there. Available only as a 4-seat Access Cab, the 2013 Toyota Tacoma X-Runner comes with a close-ratio 6-speed manual, sport bucket seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel / shift knob, and a loud stereo. On the outside, there's a full body kit with integrated fog lights, body colored mirrors and door handles, a hood scoop, and 18-inch wheels wrapped in sticky Bridgestone Potenza rubber. And that gutsy 4.0L V6 can even be upped from 236-hp / 266 lb-ft to 300-hp using a dealer installed TRD supercharger.

As a crossbreed between a sports car and a pickup, the 2013 Toyota Tacoma X-Runner is something of an anomaly in the truck world. Even though it's way more practical than say, a Hyundai Genesis Coupe, buyers didn't embrace Toyota's little sport truck. So they're dropping it from the Tacoma lineup after 8 years on the market. Buyers are however, snapping up more rugged special editions like the Tacoma TRD Baja T/X, which allow drivers to enjoy a gutsy Baja experience, for half the price of a Ford Raptor.

The Toyota Tacoma continues to be America's best-selling small truck, beating its nearest competitor (the Nissan Frontier) almost 3-to-1 in sales. It also outsells its own big brother the Tundra, and Tacoma sales have already jumped over 20% for the year. But alas, the factory sport truck version is dead. There will be a new SR Package for the Tacoma in 2014, but that really will be just an appearance package.

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