Vellum Venom Vignette: Surfacing, size, and sweetness
Bigger isn’t necessarily better, just ask the foodies that realized the sweet side effects of droughts in California—the less water available for plants in a farmer’s field, the smaller the size of fruits harvested. And there’s a correlation to your tastebuds, as they experience an undiluted flavor experience with every (smaller) bite. Turns out that there’s a lot of water in fruits: which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but we might be sacrificing an experience because of it.
Of course, I’m not here to talk about fruit. Instead, make note that the 2024 Toyota Tacoma was leaked on their website, and it looks like a smaller, sweeter version of DNA present in the full size Tundra. The image was snagged by jaxon12turner on the Tacoma 4G forum, and this appears to be a TRD Pro version, complete with a skid plate, a wider track, fender flares, and the Pro’s signature light bar mounted in the grille. It’s big and bold, but with none of the water weight collecting in the Tundra’s swollen tissue.
While 2D photography is never a substitute for an in-person analysis, the Tacoma makes the Tundra struggle with its bulk. The Tacoma’s vertical grilles below the headlights are (probably) far shorter, and its smaller front fascia allows the TRD Pro bumper and grille to look meaner, more performance-oriented. More to the point, the Tacoma sure looks like its body is wrapped tightly (less loosely?) around its haunches.
Too bad both Toyotas have a hood that rests above the belt line, which is generally terrible for forward visibility. (And child safety.) But one of these TRD Pro’s looks ready to tear up a rallycross, while the other looks content with cheering in the bleachers.
The Tundra’s macho grille is definitely unique, but it gives off steroidal vibes. And steroid water retention isn’t just a problem for human beings. Surfacing is one of the toughest things to get right once a vehicle’s hard points are set in stone, and the Tundra’s sheer size makes it tough to look assertive atop all that bloat. In contrast, this leaked Tacoma photo looks effortless, and very comfortable in its smaller skin.
Yes, full size trucks can do more because of their size. Plus they aren’t painful to purchase, as they have economies of scale working in their favor over smaller trucks. And if you tow with your truck, the Tundra’s superior chassis, brakes, powertrain, cooling, etc. makes all that overdone styling seem relevant. While older trucks are more like the new Tacoma, never in their wildest dreams could they tow like a modern full sizer. Ever.
So if you tow a massive trailer, the Tundra’s look might go very, very well with your needs. But the smaller, sweeter, and more elegantly surfaced Tacoma speaks in a design language familiar to truck owners of decades past. And I suspect the Tacoma will be quite the looker in real life, even with fleet spec SR trimmings.
Will the perks of a smaller truck convince people to ditch their full sizers for the classic proportions of yesteryear’s pickups? Probably not, but there’s a glimmer of hope in this singular photo of one seriously aggressive midsizer.