Sheldon Brown, Chief Engineer of the all-new 2024 Toyota Tacoma, comes back to discuss the myriad features of Toyota’s latest truck. Tune in for the latest truck news and the revelation of the truth about Producer Miles. Proudly sponsored by Nissan in association with Banks Power, this is The Truck Show Podcast.



The following transcription of The Truck Show Podcast was generated using a speech recognition software, and will contain errors. Please review the timestamp and listen to the corresponding audio for accuracy. 

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Jay “Lightning” Tilles (0s):

On this episode of The Truck, Show, Podcast Lightning and Holman will be speaking with Sheldon Brown, chief engineer of the, did you order us to Tacoma

Sean P. Holman (7s):

Talk about us in the third person? That was weird. Why? What’s wrong with you? No, we’re talking to them.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13s):

I think because I was playing the part of the announcer Lightning and Holman will be checking in with then

Sean P. Holman (16s):

That should be Miles. Our producer, not you. Oh, okay. That’s really odd. Hmm. Holman says, listen to the show I don dunno what to tell you. No. Well,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (25s):

Let’s just move on. Oh, wait, wait. I can, I can make you happy. I can, I can repair this.

Sean P. Holman (31s):

I doubt that, but okay, I’ll bet you. Alright,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (33s):

Go for it. Shake my hand. A dollar says I can

Sean P. Holman (34s):

Repair this I. don. Dunno where that hand’s been. It’s well, fish bump. That’s not true. It’s been all over. Chili dog fist

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (38s):

Bump me. All, right? Yeah. I did have a chili dog before this So. I’m gonna give you a gift. So for So, I was doing some shopping online and I came across this and I thought, this is my man. Holman right here. All,

Sean P. Holman (49s):

Right? He’s opening a cardboard box. Yes. A cardboard. He’s pulling Hold on. Lemme pull

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (53s):

Something foam out

Sean P. Holman (54s):

Of this tight.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (56s):

I ain’t tight. Just move.

Sean P. Holman (56s):

No idea what? I have to move the phone. It’s fighting with a box. Here

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (59s):

We go. Now I got it. Okay, here we go. This is yours. Big box. It’s about the size of a shoe box.

Sean P. Holman (1m 4s):

All, right? It says Ben shot on it. I, I’d rather not.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 8s):

Yep. No, just take it, check

Sean P. Holman (1m 10s):

It out. Handmade in the USA. Yep. Oh, look at that. It’s got coasters on it. All, right?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 19s):

He’s digging in the foam.

Sean P. Holman (1m 20s):

Oh, I’ve seen these. These are cool. So they’re whiskey or bourbon glasses that have, this looks like an embedded 45 in It. is that correct? So

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 30s):

One is a 3 0 8 and one is the 45 count.

Sean P. Holman (1m 32s):

I see the 3 0 8 over here. So

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 33s):

What this is, is these are glasses that is super cool. Handmade by a father and son team. I believe they’re in Wisconsin now.

Sean P. Holman (1m 40s):

When you say handmade, they’re essentially just shooting things.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 43s):

No, it would just, it would, it would break. These are hand

Sean P. Holman (1m 46s):

Blown. They’re heated. They’re heated,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 47s):

Yeah. Blown glasses. That’s awesome. And they take a bullet, or in the ca, maybe a 10 millimeter socket and they push them in when these are

Sean P. Holman (1m 55s):

Mold hot. Yep.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 56s):

Yep. And so you have a bullet in each one of those. That’s awesome. And you are a, a firearms enthusiast. That’s true. And, it looked like this would be a, I I’m hoping you don’t have a set of these, right?

Sean P. Holman (2m 6s):

I do not have a set of these. I love

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 8s):

The fact that these guys are making this stuff in the USA. It’s just really neat quality stuff.

Sean P. Holman (2m 14s):

It’s, it’s awesome.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 15s):

So again, these are two tumblers. One with a, like a bullet is piercing almost halfway through the glass.

Sean P. Holman (2m 22s):

The best part about It is I can tell people that I did that.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 25s):

It’s, it would shatter if you tried to do it. Well,

Sean P. Holman (2m 28s):

Thank you.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 28s):

I know it’s not Christmas or your birthday or whatever. I just saw this and I thought, you know, it’s like I’m a sucker for some Instagram ads and I gotta admit,

Sean P. Holman (2m 35s):

And I saw these You know what I do on Instagram with Instagram ads because I’m the same way. It figures out what you, what they think you want. After a while, it starts serving you 45 different things of the same thing. Yep. Or things in the same realm. So what I do is you can open it outside of, you know, Instagram, So I. Do that

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 51s):

Every time.

Sean P. Holman (2m 52s):

So I do Yeah. Open an external browser and I save it for later so that when I’m bored, I go back through those

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 57s):

Hold on That is how I bought these for you, is they were in, in my external browser through Safari later. And I thought I, I gotta get these from my man Holman.

Sean P. Holman (3m 4s):

Oh, I appreciate that tho. Those are awesome. In fact, do you mind if I partake with the glass here?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 10s):

Please do so. Please do So I have not touched them. So they’re clean. This

Sean P. Holman (3m 13s):

Is my latest scale. That’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 14s):

The, that’s the 3 0 8 I believe, right? Or is this the 45? That’s the 45. 45, yep. That shows how much I know about bullets.

Sean P. Holman (3m 18s):

So let’s see, what do we got here? Oh, ooh, some angel’s envy. Finished rye. Okay, so this is the Caribbean Rum cast. Finished a Angel’s Envy All. right. I’m a I’m a big rye guy. I like my rye. There you go. I love the way that sounds when you, when you pop the, and we will give myself a little pour here and I will partake and enjoy this while we’re we’re doing the show. So thank you. All.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 49s):

Right? Lightning? Is that how you drink?

Sean P. Holman (3m 53s):

No, but I just wanted

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 54s):


2 (3m 54s):

They can hear it.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 55s):

Yeah. Yeah.

Sean P. Holman (3m 55s):

You wouldn’t be able to hear it if I drank normal

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 57s):

All. right. We wanna thank Nissan. If you guys are looking for an amazing truck, look no further than the Nissan titan or the Frontier. I had some seat time in the, the frontier that Holman’s had for the last couple months. And I gotta say it’s awesome. If you heard the last, I think it was on the last episode or two ago, we went into great detail about how much a really was impressed with the zero gravity seats, the utility track and the bed, the ride, the handling. It’s off-Road prowess. I think The Frontier is one of the most underrated, amazing trucks on the market. So do yourself a favor. If you’re looking for a mid-size, full-size truck, go down to your Nissan dealer or hit up Nissan to build and price yours.

Sean P. Holman (4m 32s):

So speaking of the frontier, the reason you were borrowing It is ’cause you took it to the bank’s r and d center where you were making sure you had the right PIs.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 41s):

We were fingerprinting It is as GA says, for

Sean P. Holman (4m 44s):

Reverse safety.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 45s):


Sean P. Holman (4m 45s):

And so that brings me to the Pedal Monster, which is a patented pedal device that plugs into your OBD two port. It offers active safety. It knows when you’re in reverse So, it doesn’t apply any of the trim modifications to your pedal so that you have smooth backing up just like you do Stock And. it fits what you have hundreds of applications, cars, trucks, supercars, everything.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 5s):

Right? Most of the majors. And we’re adding more all the time. So the most recently added was the Tundra and Tacoma, which have already become wildly popular.

Sean P. Holman (5m 12s):

And how would I find out if the Pedal Monster has an application for the vehicle that I drive right now? Super

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 17s):

Easy. You go to Banks Power dot com. You type in your year, make and model. And I

Sean P. Holman (5m 21s):

Also love that it’s compatible with the ID dash. Or you can make the changes right there on your ID dash screen or through the Banks app, which you can do it on your phone, which is super rad. All you gotta do is head over to Banks Power dot com,

2 (5m 32s):

The truck show. We’re gonna show you what we know. We’re gonna answer what The truck, truck s The Truck show. we have the lifted, we have the lowered and everything in between. We’ll talk about trucks that run on Diesel and the ones that run on gasoline. The truck show. The truck show. The truck show. Oh, whoa.

3 (6m 3s):

It’s the truck show with your hosts Lightning and Holman.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 8s):

That rye is making your voice a little scratchy.

Sean P. Holman (6m 10s):

Oh. no, it’s clearing everything out. It. is that what It is doing? Yeah, it’s funny. I I

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 14s):

It’s clearing the nasal passages.

Sean P. Holman (6m 16s):

Oh. You know, I still haven’t gotten the vid officially anyway. I’m sure I’ve had it, but my daughter’s like, dad, you just, you don’t get sick. And I hate to tell her it’s whiskey and cigars really hate to,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 27s):

It just kills everything.

Sean P. Holman (6m 28s):

Yeah. It just kills everything. It’s like Lysol I mean you’ve had it sitting across the table from me. Yeah, it’s true. And in a, in a 10 by 12 shed. And I’m still, I’m still vertical. You

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 37s):

Are imp impervious

Sean P. Holman (6m 38s):

Still living to see another day. You

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 41s):

Eat the worst, you drink the worst, but you’re just, you’re not getting the vid. It’s gotta be, it’s gotta be that potion. You’re

Sean P. Holman (6m 46s):

Drinking You. know what I love this stuff. Liquid gold right there. That’s right. It’s liquid nutrition. It’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 52s):

Speaking of nutrition. Why don’t we fortify our brains talking about Tacoma

Sean P. Holman (6m 57s):

All, right. Well, why don’t you give our our man Sheldon Brown a call. Chief Engineer for the Toyota Tacoma. Who is making a second appearance on The Truck? Show Podcast.

Sheldon Brown (7m 9s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (7m 11s):

Sheldon Brown Lightning Holman truck. Show Podcast. How you doing?

Sheldon Brown (7m 14s):

Doing very well, thank you. How are you?

Sean P. Holman (7m 16s):

We realized that the last time you were on The Truck Show Podcast was, I think episode 19. And we are on like episode 327 or eight or something like that.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (7m 27s):

He was a newbie. Yeah,

Sean P. Holman (7m 28s):

We were newbies. Oh yeah, that, that, that, yeah, that too. So it’s, it’s been a while.

Sheldon Brown (7m 33s):

It must’ve been like 2019, right? Yeah, yeah. It’s been 2019 I mean we’ve gone through a whole global pandemic

Sean P. Holman (7m 39s):

Since that time. Well, you know what, it was So Long Toyota came out with a new truck, which is what we’re gonna talk about. Thank you. Goodnight tip

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (7m 45s):

Your waitress All. right. We got a quick intro to play. Don’t move Sheldon.

2 (7m 52s):

Yes. Inside. It’s for used to show 1, 2 2. Oh,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 4s):

It’s the inside job. So Sheldon, have you been part of a product launch that has been this anticipated, the 2024 Tacoma in all the variants is it’s out of control. Like in in the truck world, it’s the biggest thing going.

Sheldon Brown (8m 22s):

Well, I, I certainly appreciate that, but then I have to tell you, it’s incredible honor and a privilege to work on this project. You know, it’s not often that you get a chance to redesign something as iconic as the Toyota Tacoma and you get to do it from on the ground up. So when we took on this project, we knew there was a lot of pressure on, on the team to make sure that we, we got it right. So we took it very seriously. But we are super excited to introduce it to the world. And you know, just recently having it go on sale in our, in our, our gasoline, our, our I force models, we’re just, we’re just, we just can’t wait to get it to customers and get it in their

Sean P. Holman (8m 58s):

Hands. I wanna know how wide the net was or how long the leash was because Tacoma, the last real body and white in redesign was back in 2005. And despite being an older platform, and of course it’s had many upgrades, the interior, the engine transmissions styling, but it continued to dominate the mid-size truck segment. And you could probably have this truck another five years And, it would probably still dominate off of the good news and, and reputation. And everybody has to have a Tacoma. But you have a thoroughly modern truck that is incredibly well optioned. You have extra trim levels, you’ve gone after the enthusiast, you’ve got a, a fully boxed frame and rear disc brakes and a lot of things that that the market was clamoring for.

Sean P. Holman (9m 45s):

Obviously your competition has almost completely rolled over as well. It’s going to be a dog fight. How much leash did you have from corporate to make the truck that you are now delivering to dealers today?

Sheldon Brown (9m 59s):

Great question. And you know, honestly, when we took a look at it, we knew that it was time for the, the, the TNGF platform to, to make an appearance and specifically, you know, we talked about TNGF, that’s the, the, the next generation architecture and f platform was the last of our platforms to do it. So it It is been a long time coming. But you know what, we, we started with a plan And. it was gonna be across our, our brothers So. it started with Tundra, Sequoia and then obviously to Tacoma. But the thing we knew about Tacoma more so than anything else was we do, well 19 years in a row as, as the segment, the volume segment leader. And you know, as you said, we recognized that there’s gonna be a lot of competition and, and we saw a lot of new entries coming back into the, into the segment.

Sheldon Brown (10m 42s):

And we knew everybody. We had the bullseye on our back. And so when we thought about it, you know, we knew that we had to take Tacoma to a special place.

Sean P. Holman (10m 49s):

So, I want to just point out full year 2023, mid-size truck sales. At the top of that list is Toyota Tacoma with 234,768 vehicles sold. Isn’t it more than like it’s three times the next closest. It it’s 44.6% of market share. So the rest of that market share is spread a amongst the gm, Nissan, frontier, gladiator, Ridgeline Ranger. And the majority of the products, actually all of the products had, with the exception of Honda Ridgeline had a loss of 20% or more in year over year sales. Tacoma was only 1.1%.

Sean P. Holman (11m 30s):

It ends up being like 3000 units or something like that to have that kind of domination as other manufacturers are rolling out their redesign models and that segment is getting super hot and heavy now, I think the demand for capability is greater than ever. And what people are looking for both on the luxury side. I know GMC has the Canyon Denali that they’ve had on the luxurious side. You’ve got a Ranger raptor coming out, you’ve got the bison from GMC, you’ve all sorts of, you obviously Jeep gladiators in there. One of the things I noticed is you actually added additional trim to the trim walk for the new model to represent a wider swath.

Sean P. Holman (12m 11s):

You guys have a a luxury trim. You guys have a over landing trim, you guys have a performance trim, you’ve got the work truck, truck trim and the, and the regular middle of the road trim. But you have it all. And I, I would assume that’s because the market is demanding so much more now from that segment. So let’s,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (12m 26s):

Before he answers real quick here. So you’ve got the SR the SR five, the TRT pre-runner, TRD sport, TRD off road, the limited TRD pro and the trail runner. Trail hunter. Trail Hunter, thank you.

Sean P. Holman (12m 36s):

How do you, I i I get it from your, from the company standpoint for having all these trims, but how do you make it less confusing for the consumer to understand which trim is in line with what their needs are?

Sheldon Brown (12m 45s):

Yeah, no thanks. And and that’s a great question and I’m by the way, expertly done in terms of running through all of the, the different grades. ’cause as we mentioned, there are quite a few of them. so we break it down pretty, pretty simply. And we had a, when we looked at this product, you have to think about the compact segment. We actually have a pretty wide range of customer demand that we need to cover. What we think about it in the, in the entry level, those are customers who are extremely value driven. They’re looking for basic transportation. You know, many of those folks have said to us, Hey look, you know, I’m just looking for a truck I don don’t need it to be anything special. It’s, it’s, it’s something, you know, I I’m, I’m happy with what we have right now and I’m looking for obviously the next generation, but you know, I don’t need all the bells and whistles.

Sheldon Brown (13m 25s):

I need basic truck transportation. And so that was really the focus of our SR five and particularly the extra cab really focusing on, on optimizing commonality with, with the, the double cab so that we could reduce the cost, reduce the development cost, reduce the tooling investment so that we could pass that savings on. So our goal on the entry was to aggressively compete. so we knew that we had to bring in something that was still provided really good performance, still provided really good product appeal, but also, you know, was, was a value proposition. And then the second area we kind of think of as the core, and that’s the SR five. And, and I’ll say the PRD so call it a sport or an RRP, really just the kind of flavor you want. And you know, that is where we over-indexed to be perfectly honest in the market.

Sheldon Brown (14m 6s):

And our goal there was, was pretty straightforward. It was aggressively defend and advance the core. And that’s where we were really going to bring some true value to our, to our customers. And then just simply for limited, it was, okay, let’s reimagine what luxury would be in, in the compact segment. This was for a customer who really said, Hey look, I want all the amenities of a full size truck, but I needed to fit in my garage So. it wasn’t about being, you know, it was about being the right size truck or the, the right truck with the right features. And so where in the past limited wasn’t really big for us. We really wanted to focus on taking that to the next level. But of course you did mention our halo and you know, of course the, the original gangster for us was the, the TRD Pro And.

Sheldon Brown (14m 48s):

it still is. Yeah.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (14m 49s):

By the way, Hold on, Hold on, we gotta stop right there. Sheldon. Yeah. What engineer says the original gay said, like, that is so Sheldon Brown that is so badass. Sheldon

Sean P. Holman (14m 56s):

Brown for Toyota,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (14m 56s):

By the way. I gotta say Sheldon, I gotta stop here. So I watched like five or six videos of you and talk walking around with various YouTubers and stuff. You are freaking money. We need to hang out and have beers. Like he’s just the man, he’s not your average engineer. He’s, he’s walking around like the, one of the YouTubers is like, he skipped over one of the interior parts and, and, and Sheldon busted. He’s like, he’s like, yo, yo, yo, don’t sleep on that part. Come here, come here. I’m like, dude, that guy is gangster right there. Sheldon.

Sheldon Brown (15m 24s):

Oh, well thank you so much. Well, I, I’m not gonna lie to you. I’m, I’m in my element now. I have a, I’ve got a face for radio, so I’m, I’m in my perfect element here. So,

Sean P. Holman (15m 30s):

Well, you may have a face for radio. We, we have faces for podcasting, so it’s even worse.

Sheldon Brown (15m 36s):

There you go. But no, the, the, the pro, we wanted to really do the pro the right way. And that was, you know, to make it focused on, you know, the, the, the high speed desert racing, that’s where it was born out, Baja. That was the inspiration for it. And we sort of found this concept, right? Like when you’re trying to make a truck that’s about light, nimble, go fast, a lot of people in the market were looking at as sort of, you know, as their go-to product for all sorts of performance. And we had really seen, and I, and I think a lot of folks have been noticing, you know, from like 2017 on just this explosion in the overland world. And so a lot of people were taking our pros and they were, you know, tricking ’em out for, for overlanding and, you know, putting on the deck racks and the tents and you know, loading them up with gear.

Sheldon Brown (16m 17s):

And when you really wanna make a product that works great at doing one thing or doing multiple things and you start to give up on, I’ll say the edges. So, and that, that was really the, the genesis for Trail Hunter. so we to just to make it simple and easy Pro is go fast Trail hunters go far, you know, trail Hunter is all about that inspiration. It’s, it’s set up for modification, for customization. We do the heavy lifting for you. We set up the suspension, we bring in all the, I’ll say the accommodations, you can use our accessories more. If you don’t like that, no problem, you could use your own. But the idea was it was more of a, a tactical, heavy ridden sort of sort of truck setup. so we really wanted to make sure that those had a unique character and, and that that was kind of the, the genesis. So going back to the, why did we have so many?

Sheldon Brown (16m 58s):

Well, because we felt that there was a lot of different segments in the market that we could address. And so that was kind of how we came up with this lineup. So,

Sean P. Holman (17m 6s):

So I’ve gotta admit to being what I like to call a gor lander. So I’ve got a Wrangler 3 92 and I go on 400 mile plus trips, that’ll be four or five, six days. But I like to co cover a hundred miles in a day. So for me, I’m like build a Tacoma TRD pro all day long. ’cause I, I’ve got that suspension and then it’s like trail hunter comes out and you’re going, well look at that. And, and you’ve got Fox shocks on one, you’ve got the old man EMU Bilstein shocks on the other one, both set up a little bit different, but on the trail hunter, you can get the longer bed on it, whereas the TRD pro only comes with the short bed. Oh, I didn’t know that. And so if you need extra gear and space, then that’s the way to go. But I’m still torn and I haven’t, those models haven’t been released yet and they’re, they’re late availability.

Sean P. Holman (17m 48s):

So they’re not at your dealership yet as some of the 20 fours are now trickling in. But a as somebody who loves the space I’ve sat where I’m looking at a trail hunter on the left and a TRD pro on the right, I’m going, I still don’t know because there’s aspects and and features of both that appeal to me. I I, I really love both trucks and I’m like, hmm. So that’s gonna have to be a game time decision down the line of, of where I plant my flag. Well, let’s,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (18m 13s):

Let’s go through Sheldon, if you have a second here. Let’s go through starting with engine suspension. Sure. The seeds, the roof, you know, tailgate, power, export, all that stuff really quick. And, and, and just talk through some of these things since you’ve got inside, you know, knowledge. Yes. Holman, I

Sean P. Holman (18m 27s):

Was gonna say let’s just, he, he brought up the extra cab. Yep. And this is something that’s really novel on the Tacoma that most of the manufacturers in the midsize space are going to Crew cab only Tacoma says, or Toyota says, with Tacoma, we’re gonna give you the extra cab, but it’s not the extra cab that you might be used to with the jump seats in the back, there’s actually no seats in the back. It’s, it’s the, the front row and the back is like for extra storage perfect for a, a kid going to college who’s gonna have a backpack in the back or something like that. Or, or carrying, you know, your gear that you don’t want in the dirty space of the truck and you don’t have seats back there. And at first I was like, well that’s kinda a curious decision. ’cause I remember in high school crawling into my friend’s extra cabs over the seatbelt and the seat move forward and getting stuck on the B pillar and finally, you know, sandwiching myself back there with two other dudes.

Sean P. Holman (19m 13s):

And, and yeah, we had three in the back. It’s, it was a clown car, but I think today’s kids will never get that experience. How dare you. Sheldon Brown.

Sheldon Brown (19m 23s):

Yeah. Right. And, and so that, that was kind of an interesting concept. so we had looked at the market, and I’m going back a few years and, and the numbers are just kind of back in the nasty here, but we started, started to watch the growth of the segment. And as the new competitors entered the segment, what we saw was we weren’t fighting for the same market share per se actually the market was expanding. So new entries would come in and in the market was just growing, or the segment, I should say segment market was just growing. And the interesting part was all the growth is in the double cab basically for like three years. We access cab basically stayed stagnant. It stayed the same amount. We had about 30% of that market of just the, of the C cab market or the, sorry, the access cab market.

Sheldon Brown (20m 5s):

And what we noticed of that, you know, say roughly just say 30,000 units that that we were selling there almost 50% of those, they’re choosing a rear seat delete So. it really tipped the key to us that said, Hey, people aren’t really putting people back there. They’re putting things back there. They’re putting, you know, storage goods, they want, you know, a little bit of dry storage plus they get the, the benefit of the short Wheel base with the long deck, right? The six foot deck. So that’s where we really focused in and said, okay, we need to do something to really drive value. We need to get as much of the cost out. And to be perfectly candid, you know, developing an entirely new cab with the suicide doors and, and, and the structure that needs to go into the roof, And it into the B pillar or well without the B pillar, the, the door area, including the rocker to transfer some of the new, you know, crash loads is going to be a lot of investment and a lot of development.

Sheldon Brown (20m 53s):

So we thought, is there a way that we could do this a little bit better? so we kind of took a a page out of the old school and we looked at like the original B cab and that was, you know, if you think about it, it was just the, the two door, but two seats, nothing in the back. And so our idea behind that, we called it D Max, that was an internal development code And, it was a dab with maximized storage. And so we, we looked to some, you know, some old technology that, you know, from, for example, the coops where, you know, the driver’s seat, you can quick flip And, it slides forward and tilts and the, the seat indexes forward and then you can push it right back. And, it has the, the seat memory, but that allows you to get a little bit more access to that back area behind the driver. And then on the passenger side, we went back to like an old school fold flat seat where, you know, when a lot of folks were using these, you know, for work environments.

Sheldon Brown (21m 35s):

So you know, maybe you’ve got your, your laptop or you’ve got your, your contractor pad or something like that, that you wanna put up there, fold it over and you got some flat desk days. You can put different things in that see if they can, it’s ultimately configurable. And then in the back, you know, we were sort of inspired by the, the sort of garage pegboard, you know, people that wanted to put gear that they’re not gonna use every single day. But you know, they wanted to have it with them, they wanted to be able to close it up, make sure that it was out of sight, you know, and, and then especially in the, in the lower stores, we wanted to make sure it was lockable. Don don’t know about you guys, but a bunch of times, you know, you get outta work maybe head right to, to meet some folks for, for a drink after work or something like that. And you got your laptop, your backpack or something like that, you’re gonna park on the street.

Sheldon Brown (22m 16s):

You know, you just want a place where you can tuck it, throw it in, lock it up, keep it out of, you know, out, out of sight so that you don’t tempt anybody. And so those are sort of the, the use cases that we looked at for this. And that was really how we, we wanted to reimagine it and we thought that there was still a really strong segment of the market that was really looking for that smaller cabin, but that longer deck and, and the exterior, the six foot deck was the priority with the short Wheel base.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (22m 40s):

I’m just looking at it to put my sub box back there. I gotta be honest with you, you

Sean P. Holman (22m 43s):

Got a lot of room for

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (22m 43s):

One. I gotta, I’m gonna put two fifteens back there. I’m just gonna, I

Sean P. Holman (22m 46s):

Think you did two eighteens you could Weak

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (22m 48s):

Sauce eighteens. Yeah. Weak sauce. Yeah, that’s true. I don’t is anyone doing eighteens? Mostly it’s like two tans back there, you know, come on two.

Sean P. Holman (22m 54s):

Well when have you ever been? Everybody All, right? Let’s, let’s go through, Lightning has a list of sort of the componentry. So let’s jump through Yeah. Sort of feature sets and then you can walk us through kinda maybe the decisions and, and why you did something here or didn’t do something there. Or maybe describe in greater detail. So So

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (23m 14s):

I, I wanna start with the engine configuration in the TRD pro you’ve got one option, which is the Mac daddy, the I force max, which with a whopping 4 65 pound feet of torque and all kinds of amazing features with it. But then let’s go backwards from all the way from the sr. What are our options up through the TRD pro?

Sheldon Brown (23m 33s):

Yeah, sure. So starting at the sr that is where we will introduce what we are calling our, our I force, but it’s our dere version of the I force. So it’s still the L four to both the eight, eight speed automatic transmission. It’s 228 horsepower, 6,000 rpm, about 400, oh sorry, 240 pound feet of torque at 1600 rpm. And again, lining that up with the value proposition, minimizing the amount of development, maintaining and carrying over a lot of the engine componentry, right? That we do the investment in to get a very technical, a lot of the, the worldly bits, they become expensive. But what we wanted to do is, if you can overall reduce the total peak torque and, and the peak power output, oftentimes as a system, not just the engine itself, but as the total vehicle system, you’re able to reduce the amount of remediation that you need for things like noise, vibration, harshness for, for heat rejection.

Sheldon Brown (24m 26s):

So that means we can, we can downsize those systems a little bit and we can actually take some hardware out and really pass that savings along to the customer. So that was the, that was the core. That’s why we wanted to have an an entry level powertrain. From there you go to like the SR five grade and then, and then our, I’ll say our core tds, you get the I force engine and you talked about that. That’s the 278 horsepower, 6,000 RPM, maybe most importantly 317 pound feet of torque. It’s 1700 RPM. You pair that with our, our eight speed automatic transmission. And really this just is, it’s got all kinds to go. It’s a great motor transmission pairing. We were really able to focus in on something that we call drivability.

Sheldon Brown (25m 9s):

When we looked at our outgoing truck, you know, one of the foibles or some of the concerns that we had, some folks that ha you know, repaired with the, when, when we paired with our six speed, they love the, they love the motor, but you know, it wasn’t producing horsepower. You didn’t get that torque until getting into some of the higher RPM and they felt like it gear hunted a bit. And so we really wanted to make sure that we had drive force across the entire drive range. And really the eight speed really allows us to really, I’ll say make small short steps between the gears so that we can make sure that we’re producing lots of torque at that 1700 rpn and then we can match it very, very closely with the gear. So great overall, what we call great ability, that’s the ability for it to go up a hill without shifting and around 6%, which means, you know, just about any US highway you Can, you pull that grade without ever having to shift.

Sheldon Brown (25m 56s):

So really that was core to the new development here. Sean,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (26m 0s):

Let’s pause for one second here. Yeah. How did you get the torque that low down to 1700 rpm? That, that’s Diesel territory.

Sheldon Brown (26m 8s):

It is, and, and honestly that’s the, of course the turbo. And when we looked at sizing our turbo, you look at two different things. You know, a lot of times big numbers, catalog numbers are what sell our, our trucks. So a lot of folks, you know, may focus on the larger turbo. We didn’t want to necessarily make the biggest turbo. We wanted to make what, I’ll tell you, I think It is the right size turbo. so we really focused on, on performance and, and really response is what we were looking at. so we wanted to make sure that we had our, our twin school turbo. That schooled up really quick and really got us up and, and and running very, very quickly in terms of, of the torque response. So that was the number one way to do that. And so rather than going for a slightly larger turbo with slightly larger horsepower numbers, we really focused on on response

Sean P. Holman (26m 53s):

And the manual is available with which configuration

Sheldon Brown (26m 57s):

It’s actually available in, in, in our SR grade. And it’s also available in our TRD sport and ORP. So it’s with our, with our I force engine.

Sean P. Holman (27m 9s):

I’ve driven the automatic version. I haven’t driven the manual yet, but man, A TRD off road with a stick. Oh, that’d be fun. Yeah. Yeah, that’d be a lot of fun. That would be, that would be amazing. Before we move on to the, the I force max, max engines, I wanted, what was the decision for the manual? Did you feel like the, the take rate was high enough to justify the inclusion of that? Everybody else is going away from that. Obviously Toyota owners, especially the ones that go all the way back to the early eighties, the Toyota manual is legendary in that truck and it’s always been a part of the truck. Are there just those customers who don’t want you to take that shift knob out of their hands unless they’re dead and cold or what?

Sheldon Brown (27m 53s):

Yeah, it’s It is, you’re, you’re kind of hinting at it. It was really for their performance enthusiast a lot of times, you know, when we started thinking about the manual transmission, it just, I, I’ve had two of them, you know, I always tell everybody, why wouldn’t you buy it? You get 50% more, 50% more pedals, I mean what a great deal that is. So, you know who doesn’t buy out for that, right? No, but it’s just, it’s, it’s something that brings that third dimension to offroad and, and if you do enjoy driving, especially in our sport, we obviously felt like that customer is lined up and that customer is ready for something like that and that’s something that they really want. And to be, if I’m being per perfectly honest with you, it was, it was a little bit of a battle, but we really felt that it was something that was important because as you’ve mentioned, we’ve had it in the lineup forever.

Sheldon Brown (28m 37s):

Once you know, that thing goes away, it’s probably never coming back. Unfortunately the demand rate is not super high. We saw about 6% last year. We’re hoping to, to bump that up a little bit because you know, we’re, we’re kind of one of the last last there to have it. But again, we wanted to not just bring that new tur I mean do that, that new, that manual and just sort of, you know, dump it in the truck. We wanted to bring some new technology to it as well. So, you know, we did a couple of things I think to really refine it and make the, the drive experience a little bit more exciting. So on the clutch side, you know, if you, if you drove the old one, everything was pretty heavy and we had the hydraulic clutch accumulator that was there to sort of isolate vibration, et cetera. But the one thing that sort of, it sort of numbed the experience and the throw wasn’t always consistent.

Sheldon Brown (29m 20s):

So we got rid of that. I wanted to make sure that every time, you know, you release that clutch, you knew right where it was gonna gauge. Especially when you’re off road, you’re in a tight situation, right? You don’t wanna be like waiting to try to feel where that clutch is. You wanna know every time that it’s gonna come out. So some people are like, oh, it’s a little bit high in the clutch. So yeah, once you get used to it, it’s in the same location every single time. So that was important. And then we also offered the IT two technology, which is the intelligent manual transmission, which has the anti stall feature as well as the auto rev matching. And it’s great for that day, you know, when you’re don’t feel like rowing the gears, you’re coming back from work or something like that. You’ve been a long day and you just kinda wanna kind of mail it in. It’s really nice. It just kinda helps you And, it makes life a little bit easier.

Sheldon Brown (30m 1s):

and then, you know, it’s great for anybody who’s just learning how to drive a a manual transmission ’cause that anti stall is really helpful and it just makes it a, a more enjoyable experience. If you don’t like it, no problem. You don’t have to turn it on, but it’s there for you if you need

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (30m 12s):

It. How does the, the rev matching work?

Sheldon Brown (30m 15s):

So actually it’s a similar technology that we have. For example, if, if you’ve driven a a, a Corolla manual, but basically as you start to release the clutch, then it looks at the, the gear of the, the gear throw position and then it basically will decide and, and basically blip the RRP m for you.

Sean P. Holman (30m 31s):

There’s actually a little man inside your transmission and he has a direct line to the throttle And, it pulls the cable. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (30m 39s):

I’m feeling that that may not be true. No, no, no. So then let’s, let’s, let’s get into the I force max and hybrid technology. Sure. so we saw it first with the tundra and we said, okay, well this is clearly gonna go into the Tacoma then you announced that it would be, I’m wondering you can’t say probably necessarily what the take rate will be, but ultimately I’m curious how, how it will be adopted. It’s got much better performance, which you’ll explain in a moment. I think it’s a big deal for a truck to be offered

Sean P. Holman (31m 10s):

In hybrid. Well So, it’s basically being overlaid on the, the high trim levels and it’s the only option. So I don’t, you know, I think take rate is going to be whatever those trims are. Right? Right. Whereas, you know, sometimes you’ll be able to choose your engine. This is a non plugin hybrid. So this is very similar to the setup in the tundras at the tundras of E six versus this being a four cylinder. And this engine is actually going to proliferate in a lot of places as it’s already been announced going into the upcoming Land cruiser as well.

Sheldon Brown (31m 44s):

Yeah, that’s right. So this is, this is strategic across the entire, I’ll say truck lineup, the global truck lineup. And we’re using the identical motor identical battery that Sequoia and Tundra use, right? And so we’re basically now sandwiching this, this motor generator in between the L four turbo and between the eight speed transmission. So obviously we had to make some adjustments to the bell housing, et cetera to make sure that those work versus from the 10 19 to the A OT. But ultimately, yeah, we’re using that to, it’s really a performance based hybrid. And what we really love about it, we talked about a 326 horsepower. Probably the most amazing thing is the 465 pounds either torque at 1700 or 1700 RRP m So this thing has just got gobs in gobs and GOs of torque And.

Sheldon Brown (32m 29s):

it just, it it’s, it’s right there. It, it comes in immediately. That’s the great part about the, the electric motor I mean, before that Turbo even has a chance to think about spooling up, you’re, you know, you’re getting all this torque coming in, being supplied directly from the motor.

Sean P. Holman (32m 43s):

Are you basically using the motor to fill in the gap ahead of the engine basically coming up online and that way it smooths out the driving experience? It?

Sheldon Brown (32m 51s):

Well, it surely does. Absolutely. It, it, it basically helps fill in the gap in front of the build of the torque curve obviously it then extends the peak and then on the back end when we start to ramp off, it still fills in on, on the backside of that as well on the back end of the torque curve. So that’s how we’re using it to assist and to effectively drive performance. Now the great part that we always talk to people about this is some people will say, oh well, you know, I, it doesn’t get our traditional hybrid fuel economy. And, and that’s true because It is that just this one motor motor generator that’s used for this performance side. But the great part is very few times you can move to get like a V eight power with L four fuel economy, with, you know, incredible s su 1130 emissions, right?

Sheldon Brown (33m 36s):

So you get more power, better fuel economy and you know, you’re gonna get incredible emissions performing. So put it together, it, it’s actually a pretty good deal and you gotta remember we’re putting these in all of our premium or what I’ll say is our heavier trucks, right? So our pros and trail hunters, these are lifted, they got big tires on them, you know, the ORP runs a 33 inch tire on that vehicle. So again, all of these, these things are actually would’ve, you know, dramatically diminished your general fuel economy, but we’re actually getting better fuel economy. Everybody out there who wanted to put a V eight in it, how would an L four with V eight power,

Sean P. Holman (34m 8s):

I would also argue that for people who are gonna modify, having the motor in there is probably going to be helpful for, for lessening the fuel economy drop off that you would get by, you know, putting bigger wheels and tires and all that And it should be, I would imagine to a point fairly aftermarket friendly from the standpoint of having the, the electric motor sandwiched between the trans and the engine allows everything downstream of the output shaft to be just like every other Tacoma. So when suspension’s being developed or anything driveline related downstream, there’s not gonna be anything weird. There’s not gonna be a a, you know, a on Wheel motor, on axle motor or something that you have to solve for.

Sean P. Holman (34m 48s):

It’s gonna be able to be modified and upgraded just like a a a regular non hybrid Tacoma, which I think is going help with adoption because the aftermarket is gonna be able to make products that everybody can use regardless of what powertrain you have. Portals, portal

Sheldon Brown (35m 3s):


Sean P. Holman (35m 3s):

Exactly. Or you could use portal axles. Yes, exactly.

Sheldon Brown (35m 8s):

Completely agnostic to to to that drive line. You’re exactly right. So that’s whatever you’re doing to, to most of the areas. The big issue is just you gotta manage the torque because it puts out a lot of torque. Right. so we, we just to, just to manage this, we bump you up to the, what we call the BD 24. Actually that’s the, that’s the common axle housing that we use with, or I should say differential that we use with, with the tundra. The axle housing itself is, is obviously coma based on the, the width of the, the Wheel base, et cetera. But, or sorry, the, the tread width, but the, the rear differential is slightly different gear pack but basic same design. So yeah, we’re running like, you know, an nine and a half inch rear there and it’s,

Sean P. Holman (35m 46s):

Which is a sizable on a midsize product

Sheldon Brown (35m 48s):

That power. So yes, It is, it’s, it’s it’s large to quite large

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (35m 53s):

So I. Guess I was gonna say to the end, but it makes sense since we’re talking about the engine and, and the, the electrification there is the offloading of power by stepping up into the I force max, you’re now at several thousand watts, I think, isn’t it like 2,400 watts of output, which is basically like a 20 amp circuit both available in cab and in the bed. Is that correct?

Sheldon Brown (36m 18s):

You got it. Spot on. Yes sir. And I think one of the things you’ll like about this as well is that you can use that while you’re driving, while it’s in park, et cetera. So on the outgoing model, if you remember like the 400 watt in Inver that we had in the deck while you were parked or the, or the vehicle’s in neutral, it was at 400 and during running it would typically drop to a hundred watts. But we keep 2,400 consistent. So it’s, if you’re running in a fridge for example, as you’re, as you’re rolling into the, your next spot or something like that, you wanna, you know, keep things cool, no problem. If you wanna charge something up while you’re, while you’re rolling, no problem at all. So 2,400 watts all the time obviously engine’s gotta be on. But yeah, it’s great, great for, I think it’s, you know, we wanted to do something that was significant.

Sheldon Brown (36m 58s):

You know, you can run just about anything you’re gonna need, you know, it’s not, you’re not gonna run an entire power station out of that, but that’s not really how a lot of most folks use this particular product. So this is really, again, focused on that overlanding that sort of, you know, tailgate, you’re looking for some power. But like you said, it’s a 20 amp use or a 20 amp, one 20 volt system back there. So yeah, it works pretty good.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (37m 19s):

So we can use my blender for margaritas. That’s all I care about.

Sean P. Holman (37m 22s):

And a TV.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (37m 23s):

And the tv you

Sheldon Brown (37m 24s):

Got that

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (37m 25s):

A big screen TV edit by the way. That’s right. So then let’s move on to suspension. And it’s unmistakable when you’re looking at the TRD pro and the trail hunter, the forged machine, aluminum upper control arms, And it, there’s a lot more beyond that, but that’s a nice piece of jewelry and you could And

Sean P. Holman (37m 44s):

It really is jewelry I mean you look at, it looks very much like something you would buy from some of the aftermarket performance race shops except it’s A TRD with tooling marks on it. And by the way, I mean really

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (37m 55s):

Cool, a couple of Easter eggs apparently on upper

Sean P. Holman (37m 57s):

Control arms. That’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (37m 58s):

Right, that’s right. I thought it was kind of cool. We won’t tell you what those are. You’re gonna have to go and look for them. Talk us through the suspension from,

Sean P. Holman (38m 5s):

From the upper control arms all the way to the outboard shocks to the fact that you have two different rear suspension designs. So much going on with this platform. It’s not like one design or one configuration that you are using for everything. You actually have different things on different products, which I thought was pretty, pretty novel and amazing in this price point, in this size of class of truck that there are that many options.

Sheldon Brown (38m 28s):

Yeah, thanks for and, and you guys are really picking up on all, all the, all the important features here. So the TNGF platform I talked about when we, when we developed that, that was meant to, to work across, you know, everywhere from the, the land cruise 300 that was on sale globally. And we were going to use that same basic frame, I’ll say width if you will. So the ladder frame construction is basically the same. The side silhouette of, of the main frame rails is going to be the same. And then we are effectively going to adjust it in the center. We would be able to change the, the length to adjust for the different Wheel bases. And that was kind of how we, we developed that we could optimize and maximize again all of our components. It allows for great cross sharing of, of product across our, our our truck lines.

Sheldon Brown (39m 9s):

I Think we tried to demonstrate that when we went to, to SEMA and we, we, we showed our proof of concept X runner where we were taking a Tacoma And, it kind of slammed it to the ground and it used a lot of tundra components, but the, the purpose on, on Tacoma then was to make sure that we could gauge the frame to the right size. so we, we recognize that we don’t have to have the same thickness across the board. So that’s where we utilize our tailored welded blanks to adjust for that. Then of course, you know, when we look at the, the midsize, you, you talked about how do you take Tacoma to the next generation, right? How do you pro you know, progress it? And so that was really when we went to that multilink rear suspension where we thought that we could really differentiate ourselves from all of our competitors and really bring all of that lateral stability that is sort of inherent to that, that design and bring it to the, to the compact segment.

Sheldon Brown (39m 51s):

And so we really bring that from basically SR five grade all the way up. We, we, we focus on that but I, I mentioned again how we wanted to aggressively compete. So one of the things that we took back in North America is we said, how can we, how can we bring some more cost outta this lease springs are great, I’m not gonna, there, there are a great suspension. Obviously you don’t get the same sort of lateral performance, you’re asking the leaf to do a bunch of different things. Whereas, you know, each of those links has a very specific duty in mind, right? In terms of whether it’s, you know, stabilizing the axle in a specific direction or, or or area of motion where the leaf is having to accommodate all that. So you just, you can’t get the same overall performance out of a leaf. It’s being asked to do many things. But again, for those folks who are looking for just a very basic truck, they said it looks like a truck, sounds like a truck drives like a truck.

Sheldon Brown (40m 34s):

I’m good. You know, we wanted to pass that along. So really a great credit goes to our chassis team who really looked at it really, really hard and said, Hey, what if we did this? Obviously we had to remove the coil seats and things of that nature, but effectively we, we welded on a hangar spring. Now critical to us was, or I should say a hangar bracket critical for this was for us to make sure that we maintain the same right height and the same posture so that we could, you know, get the rest of the vehicle development the same. And so what they did was they basically flung that spring under the axle and then simply using a secondary punch, we have another hole in the frame where we can have the other axle bushing or sorry, spring bushing.

Sheldon Brown (41m 15s):

And so that was how we, we put it together and we thought that for very little investment we could bring some of the cost out and provide what I would say is a more traditional truck suspension lineup for that, that entry grade truck. But what I was saying that the gray part is with the new, with the overall new frame, with the, with the amount of rigidity that we brought to this frame. Even this, this leaf really is a step up from, from the outgoing model. So if you haven’t had a chance to drive it, I’d certainly encourage you to, that’s a whole lot of fun, especially in our pre-runner variation. Which, which which runs that that, or sorry, that suspension configuration on the corners. You guys brought it up. Obviously we’re using the fox.

Sheldon Brown (41m 55s):

That’s, that’s sort of been signature, our partnership with Fox in, in, in the pros. That’s where we’re using the QS three, the quick switch three, which has basically piggyback reservoirs in both the front and rear. And we’re using those together with our hydro jounce stopper in the back to really deliver great off-road performance. So switch position one is, is a little bit more relaxed. It’s meant for on road helps you take up some of the, the bumps and gives you a little bit more compliance, still gives you some non-linear, I’ll say compression characteristic, but you really wanna dial it up when you’re going off road. You, you click it over to three and, and you really have a lot more compression in in that system. So it’s a, it’s a really cool system.

Sheldon Brown (42m 35s):

We talked about that. Kind of a similar, similar situation there. This one’s a little bit more focused on, on-road with the nice linear on-road zone using the end stop control when we’re, when we’re heavily weighted and making sure that we, we we stop you from bottoming out and getting into, into the stops too quickly. Our ORP, honestly I don’t know that anybody else has it, but we have one two Stein and stop control with piggyback reservoirs. It’s just a, it’s a great suspension. It’s a great, it’s a great shock. And overall we’re able to provide incredible on road performance. You, the first time I drove it, to be perfectly honest and I went back to the team and said, I wanna prove this too. And until we have a chance to drive it off road, it just feels too good on road to be, to be in any good off road. And, and they, they were, they proved me wrong.

Sheldon Brown (43m 16s):

They did an an excellent job. That’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (43m 18s):

Funny that you tried to call him out in advance. He’s like, there’s no way this is gonna work in on and off road. They like, oh yeah, we got you.

Sean P. Holman (43m 24s):

Well I’ve had a chance to drive it. I’ll tell you it, it, it drives awesome. The, the off-road package is really nice, I feel.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (43m 31s):

I feel like we glossed over, so he’s talking about the Fox Qs three switchable shocks and one of the videos I was watching, you just get under the front at the bottom of the shock mount, like inboard of the lower control arm. That’s where it switch was So easily accessible. It’s like you didn’t have to pop the hood or anything, you just bend down, click, click, click, done. You’ve made the adjustment. I thought that was pretty slick.

Sean P. Holman (43m 53s):

And it’s nice ’cause you don’t have too many adjustments, right? It’s easy to, in like a bypass shock or something like that where there might be 10 settings, it’s easy to upset the suspension and get lost in where you are. Three makes it easy. You’re either on the left position, the middle position or the right position.

Sheldon Brown (44m 7s):

But to your point, you, we figured some folks are probably gonna be air, you know, depending on how fast they’re going, they may be airing down a little bit if they’re gonna be going on road. So while you’re down there, boom, like you said, click it over and yeah, it’s, it’s pretty much that easy. And that upper control arm, it’s actually made by our, the same groups that our T racing group. So same folks that are Mac shooting the engines for our race, our race cars are also making those parts for us. And you know, It is a little bit overlooked. It’s, it’s lighter, it’s stronger, but you know, it also gives you about an additional half an inch of, of clearance and droop because we’re able to get more strength with, with less section So. it is a functional, not not just tr jewelry, but actually a functional component in the, in the system configuration on Pro and Trail Hunter.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (44m 49s):

The TRD Pro is three inches wider, is that correct?

Sheldon Brown (44m 53s):

Three inches wider than the SR five. Okay. I’m sorry. Actually, excuse me. It’s three inches wider than the 24 mile SR five, about six inches wider. If you’re going back to the previous generation

Sean P. Holman (45m 4s):

SR five, which is wide, that’s a lot. Holy, that’s like a mid travel kit upgrade on a current truck, basically. Yeah.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (45m 10s):

That’s as wide as a Toyota Corolla tire You know what I

Sean P. Holman (45m 14s):

Mean. Yeah,

Sheldon Brown (45m 15s):

Yeah. Right. Exactly. And, and honestly, it’s, it’s great. I’m glad you brought it up, because that was one of the core tenants of the new truck, right? We said people wanted garage ability. They wanted us to keep the bumper to bumper the same we did while we got wider in our tread width, about three inches wider from SR five to SR five, we decided that we wanted to, we wanted to keep the door to door the same. So as you’re getting in and out of the truck, it, you know, you still have the ability to open that door in the garage. So that was a really important tenant. and then you, we were talking suspension. I just wanted to say, you know, that was one of the things I think, you know, was one of the things that we really wanted to do in development for these different grades. You know, historically when we’ve had the different grades, we, we tend to kinda, it, it’s easy to kind of push everything to the middle, right?

Sheldon Brown (45m 58s):

We want everything to be really great on road and to be really quiet and to really, you know, supple, but not, you know, but still perform. Okay. And we, we took a very different approach when we said, if we’re gonna have this many grades of trucks, we need to get each one. Its identity. And we have to remain true to that identity. So sport is very much tuned to be an on-road truck. Yeah, you still get articulation. Sure you can take it off road, but it, it’s, it’s, it’s tuned is really for, for on-Road performance off-Road as you had a chance to drive, still gonna treat you well on road. But again, it, it’s really focused on that high energy stuff that you get off road and that sort of, I’ll say that secondary input isolation. And then the same thing goes for like limited with the, with the adaptive variable suspension that we use there, we really focused on making sure that it was plush and we took the comfort, I’ll say, to the, to the sport.

Sheldon Brown (46m 45s):

And we really just widened tho those bars. We just pushed into the corners. And so we wanted to be really, really soft and really, really firm. And then of course we had that, that bandwidth to, to basically adjust as we’re, as we’re feeling the, the road inputs in between. So that was really important to us that we had this very unique point of view. And I think if you have a chance to drive the different grades, you can sort of experience that as you move from the SR five and the leaf, and then you move into the, or sorry, the SR relief to the SR five and you move into the TRD, it’s no longer, it’s not just a Wheel tire and sticker package. You’re getting performance tuning, you’re getting specification and, and you’re getting hardware. And that’s the value that maybe not all the customers see immediately. But there’s really important things as you walk through these grades that we try to make sure that we’re providing value.

Sheldon Brown (47m 31s):

So just an example of that, we talked about like the, the front half shafts, the CV joints we’re using. You know, when you move into PRD, you get a high angle, a high torque spline design. So that allows us to go from 26 degrees to 31 degrees, but more importantly, when it’s completely bound or it’s at one of these, you know, to the, the complete, you know, high angles at 31 degrees, it’s designed for that, that big torque element. So if you’re off road, you’re rock crawling, et cetera, those are things that maybe underneath the skin you don’t immediately see. But we did a lot to make sure that, that those tier D performance packages are, you know, they’re, they’re, they’re really based on more than just a different sticker package or a different Wheel and tire

Sean P. Holman (48m 9s):

Trail Hunter. I I thought it was interesting that you have the old man emu bilstein collaboration underneath that truck and you didn’t just say, Hey, here’s the overlanding vehicle and we put the same fox shocks that are on the regular one. The other thing is there’s a sway bar disconnect, which I think is becoming sort of in, in these adventure vehicles. like a, a must have in feature content when people are comparing specs across different platforms. And then there’s a few things that you did with that truck that I thought were kind of cool, not regarding the suspension, but the trail hunter has a turn down exhaust tip ahead of the rear axle for clearance, which I thought was one of those cool things. You just don’t see the OE doing much.

Sheldon Brown (48m 50s):

Yeah, exactly. Right. So the, the stabilize of our disconnect, that was really, that was gonna be important. Just we knew we were making the frame a little bit more rigid. We still wanted to give you the ability to have that greater articulation. And, you know, a lot of off roaders, you know, they’re, they’re fortunate that choice I mean they’re gonna remove my, my front, my front sway bar and, you know, it’s gonna be a little bit brutal on the, on the highway and on the, I’ll say the drive to and from the, the, the, the, the trail. Or you are gonna have to, you know, deal with the loss of suspension articulation when you’re on the trail. And so we thought, well, you know, this is one of those things where as an OE this is what I would tell you is the more heavy lifting type of thing, right? We can, we can integrate that into our design electronically disconnects, it’ll disconnect under load.

Sheldon Brown (49m 34s):

So you don’t have to, you know, necessarily be, you know, on flat ground or anything like that while you’re driving two Wheel drive, four Wheel, drive four low. It’s up to about, I think 20 ish miles an hour before it’ll auto reconnect for you. But yeah, it, it’s great And it really improves the, the articulation and you know, you don’t always think about it, but when you allow, when you allow that front to basically loosen up, you really allow that, that back to droop and you get the, the full twist. And so where we have a slightly more rigid frame where we may have had a little bit more compliance on, on the old truck, which, you know, led to more, I’ll say less body control for, for on-road performance, we can really make up for it that, with that front style disconnect.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (50m 12s):

Sheldon, I, I saw what of you in one of the videos, you said that not only do you gain four inches of travel by disconnecting the front sway bar, you can also disconnect it electronically from in the cab while you’re fully bound up on a rock.

Sheldon Brown (50m 25s):

Exactly. Right. So it’ll, it’ll completely unlock. Now in the full, full bound condition, there is an occasion where there’s enough prevailing sort of stress on it. It won’t, it won’t release. But all you have to do is just roll that truck just a little bit and you’ll hear it go ping And, it will pop open and yeah, she’ll flex right out there for you.

Sean P. Holman (50m 41s):

So while we’re talking about the premium things, and I, I know we don’t want to keep you until tomorrow, but we will try, is the iso dynamic spirit can wait, we can’t Can you just spend the night with us. He can I mean don don’t think he wants to. But the seats are another thing where you guys said, let’s find a novel technology that’s gonna improve the vehicle experience. And you took some of this racing technology in your seats and put those in the TRD pro. I think everybody is super curious how they work. What does it do for the driver? I I’m hearing a lot less fatigue even in the little bit of amount that it helps to absorb. So maybe walk us through that a little bit. ’cause that’s one of the biggest questions I’ve been getting from, let’s say people on the street. Hey, have you seen the new Tacoma? Tell me about the seats. For some reason the seat is like this massive talking point and we would be remiss if we didn’t ask you about it.

Sean P. Holman (51m 25s):

There’s no

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (51m 26s):

One seen bionics in seats before.

Sheldon Brown (51m 30s):

It is a little bit novel, right? So I, I’m gonna say about 10 years ago, Lexus came out with something that they, that they, it was a proof of concept that they demonstrated and they called it the kinetic seat And. it was a seat that was sort of a futuristic looking, you know, sort of web-based seat that was, was designed for basically reducing driver fatigue. And the, the, the engineers came over and they showed it to us and said, what do you think? And we thought, man, it’s really great, but we’re like, hmm, I just don’t know where we’re gonna apply it. So when we were kind of thinking through what did we want to do to really take pro to the next level, we looked at it again and said, well, we like where their head was at on this, we wanted to change it up a little bit. And so what this actually does is it, it runs off of, there’s basically a front, in the front of the seat, there’s basically a pivot.

Sheldon Brown (52m 10s):

So think of it like a, like a swivel point. Then we have effectively at the headrest and in the top area, there’s a sort of super structure that we have And. it basically has a, a spring loaded pivot ball joint there as well. And what it, what this thing does is it has two, I’ll say shocks, if you will, that are in the vertical direction and then two, in sort of the horizontal direction, don’t think of it in shocks in the terms of, of displacement, but think of it as really basically trying to counteract the force. They’re basically trying to keep that seat centered. So when you go through and you get these high G, whether it’s the, the input is vertical or lateral or a combination of both. This seat is, all these different shocks are working together to basically try to minimize the amount of sway that you get between, for example, your hips, your spine, and your head.

Sheldon Brown (53m 1s):

Ultimately the goal is to stabilize that big melon on top of we got these big like eight pound or don don’t even know how many pounds,

Sean P. Holman (53m 7s):

You know, lightnings is about 40 pounds.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (53m 9s):

How, dare you.

Sheldon Brown (53m 10s):

Yeah, there you go. But we really want to keep your eyeballs

Sean P. Holman (53m 14s):

Straight. You need the isod plus seats. I do, yeah.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (53m 17s):

It’s all brain though. It’s all brain,

Sheldon Brown (53m 20s):

But but you wanna keep your eyeballs straight, right? And that’s, you see it in performance sports, right? You see people downhill skiers, et cetera. The body’s moving, but the head stays perfectly straight and you’re, you’re focused. And that was the concept. How do we stabilize that upper body so that we, the, the driver can spend more of their time focused on the inputs of, of what they’re doing. And then the secondary, of course is since you’re not always trying to counteract that with your, with your body, that’s where you really see the fatigue reduction. And we can see that the input loads that go into the occupant as well as overall we do a lot of IRA when people are running off road for with and without. so we can lock those out or we can lock out vertical, we can lock out horizontal. When we actually look at that, we can see that the, that the, the amount of eye movement is significantly less.

Sheldon Brown (54m 2s):

And I’ll, I’ll tell you like on a trail, run it two times, you know, fresh, never run the trail before, run it two times back to back, everybody runs it 10, 15 mile an hour faster just because they’re really getting to the point where they’re not, you know, feeling that that that getting thrown all over the truck, they’re able to really focus on what they’re doing and allow the, the mechanics of the truck to, to take care of him. So it’s, I I I really encourage you to get out there and try. It’s, it’s, it’s hard to describe. It’s much better to experience. But yeah, that’s, that was sort of the genesis. And the great part is we’re just using like a, a ton of the traditional, like something you might see like in a mountain bike where we, you can air ’em up. So based on how much movement you’d like based on, you know, different occupant masks, you can adjust that.

Sheldon Brown (54m 43s):

And so it’s got a little

Sean P. Holman (54m 44s):

Small pump that you, that was a polite way of Sheldon and saying, fat guys like us more pressure.

Sheldon Brown (54m 49s):

Yeah. Hey, hey, right there with you brother. But no, and people have a different, you know, people have a different level of, of, of input and the same thing goes for like different, you know, input loads. It’s different between rock crawling and maybe running in running fast in the desert, right? The, the amount of the amount of compression that you want could be different. So very adjustable. You have an app that comes right in your phone, it can, it gives you all the, the pressure recommendations and then, you know, you can play with it and decide what you like. And if you, if you say, Hey, You know what I, I’m not too interested. Like I said, there’s two little valves in the back, you just turn ’em 90 degrees and, and and you shut it off. It’s, it’s air over oil and yeah, it’s, it’s pretty straightforward.

Sean P. Holman (55m 27s):

I, I guess in the, the challenge of, of trying to get as much information now as possible, Lightning has a quick hit list, so he’s gonna run through one at a time, a couple or a few options down the list. Well,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (55m 39s):

While we’re talking about the interior, so go from seeds to stereo. As you know, I’m, I’m a geek and I, I love JBL So, I have JBL monitors at work. Talk me through the system. JBL has been with Toyota for a while, but the new center speaker, right where you’d hear the singer of the band coming out, center stage on the dashboard is removable. That’s a, it’s called a flex speaker if I’m not mistaken. Not only is it removable, you can daisy chain it with all your friends flex speakers around the campsite because

Sean P. Holman (56m 9s):

We know all you to Tacoma guys like to run together. So they do right. There’ll be more than one. So that

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (56m 15s):

Is super cool. And what I found really interesting is I thought that’s novel. It’s great, except it’s gotta have some kind of a lithium ion battery in it because it’s removable, right? Take it to the campsite. Oh, when I go to Lake Havasu and it’s 120 degrees outside and it’s 155 degrees inside my cabin while I’m on the boat on the water and my truck’s over on the dock sitter, you know, on the, in the lawn tramp waiting for me to get back. It’s boiling in there, what happens to that lithium ion battery. And I, I heard you mention that there had been some heat testing to make sure that that was not gonna expand and that I’m gonna end up with a taco battery.

Sheldon Brown (56m 53s):

So you, you hit it on the head. Right. so we, we pair that as part of our, our total 10 speaker system. And the, the great part about it was I really appreciate having a nice stereo, a nice sound system in your truck. And, and so we wanted to make sure when we were gonna bring the JVL system, it was gonna be tuned and have the power outfit that we’re really, really looking for. So you have really good performance. We pair that whole system with a, with a ported subwoofer that’s in the back of the truck ported to the exterior. So you get maximum boom and the center channel is really, we talked about having something, you know, again, Tacoma was a lifestyle truck for us. We, we called it our, you know, our, our ultimate adventure machine. And so we knew that people, we, we wanted the experience on the road out there, you can take it right from the cabin and bring it to the campfire.

Sheldon Brown (57m 38s):

And, and that was the, the genesis of saying, okay, we wanna have this removable speaker. Now we’ve seen other folks come in with a, with a portable speaker, but my point was that don don’t wanna be carrying around this big mass. I want something that’s gonna, you know, work, work with me while I’m in the cabin. So the IP certain instrument panel was certainly not the best location in terms of heat load, but it was the best location in terms of having something that was actually functional and actually contributes to the overall sound. The sound stage and It is really great ’cause you have your, you’ve got your, your tweeters in, in the A pillar, then you’ve got your center channel And, it just gives you the totally full sound stage. You can hear all the different instruments and you get the depth of sound that you’re looking for. So really a really great tune. Now the trick to that was how do you get over the heat, especially sitting there as you suggested baking in the sun.

Sheldon Brown (58m 21s):

And what we’re actually using is a, is a lithium solid state battery that has a significantly better performance in the traditional lithium ions. They’re able to withstand extreme heat conditions. And so we, we use that technology to, to basically get around the heat concerns. You lose a little bit of a battery capacity, total capacity, energy capacity, but much, much better overall heat performance. And so yeah, we wanted to make sure that it was rugged, but it worked. As you said, you can plug it out if for whatever reason, you know, you forget to, to bring it with you or at the campsite and you, you left it in your backpack and you’re driving, it’s no problem. The, the equalizer recognizes that it’s in or it’s out and then it, it adjusts and rebalances the sound distribution, whether or not it, it recognizes that in, in the center channel area, it charges while you’re going and you know it’s IP effects compatible, which means it’s waterproof down to one meter for 30 minutes if you happen to let it, you know, slip off your kayak and you’re able to quickly get it before it gets too deep.

Sheldon Brown (59m 20s):

So it’s, it’s really meant to be be, you know, a a portable, usable audio system.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (59m 25s):

He just glosses over the fact that when you remove it and you leave it at the campsite in your backpack, the system knows it’s not there. It reminds you, you know, it And, it And, it puts the singer or whatever’s in the center channel, it spreads it back out to left and right. So then you have a perfect sound stage even though that, that speaker’s missing, that’s a pretty trick. There’s a lot of programming going on there, but does it tell you that you left it? Like does it say, Hey, I’m missing a center speaker guy? I, I assume that you’d lose some of the, some of the staging, but you’d know you’d look, there’s a hole in your dash. Yeah,

Sheldon Brown (59m 56s):

We’re, we’re hoping that’s self obvious. But

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (59m 59s):

Yeah, take us through the, the drive mode. So you’ve got sport, normal eco, I was curious and, and a lot of, you know, cars and trucks have those today. I was wondering what do those things change? Because depending on the vehicle they can do a lot or very little it, some cases they just remapped the pedal, it sounded like it. They, these modes might do more. In the 24 Tacoma,

Sheldon Brown (1h 0m 20s):

We have a five mode and a three mode. So most of the trucks are gonna get the three mode, which is the eco in the sport. In both of those cases it will be the pedal map, it will also be the power steering feeling as well as the,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1h 0m 34s):

Do you do any transmission,

Sheldon Brown (1h 0m 36s):

The pedal

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1h 0m 36s):

Map? So you do transmission shift points at all or no, you do,

Sheldon Brown (1h 0m 39s):

Right? Yes, yes I do. Yep. Shift points. Yep. Faster shift points. That’s exactly right for sport mode. Sorry about that actually for sport and for eco mode. Then when you go to the five mode, which is typically with our, that’s almost exclusively in our limited with the adaptive variable suspension, then of course you, you add in the, the suspension component as

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1h 0m 59s):

Well. So then still sticking with the interior trailer backup mode. So you’ve got a trailer backup mode, but it’s not like what your competition is doing. This is for potentially shorter Wheel based trailers So it. And I’m wondering how that works. Does it kind of slow down the steering input so you’re not making, because look, how many guys have you seen at the, at the launch ramp that can’t get a single jet ski down because it’s constant jackknife, jackknife, jackknife. But I, I’m, I couldn’t picture how it would work.

Sheldon Brown (1h 1m 31s):

Yeah, no. So this is, it’s actually very similar technology to what we actually have in Tundra. There’s been a few, I’ll say, you know, slight improvements to the overall system. But yeah, what it basically does is it, it’s a feature that once you line up the trailer to generally the, the position that you want it, basically you could set that and then the cameras will look at the angle of the trailer and they’ll actually go ahead and auto adjust the amount of input to your, your steering and you can, it’ll basically make sure that you back it completely straight. So it’s looking at the, the trailer angle and it’s basically putting in the input into the steering as necessary to make sure that you’re not jacking that, that that trailer. So once you get it to kind of the point in the direction you want, you set it and then basically the, the truck takes over and, and, and makes sure that you keep going straight.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1h 2m 18s):

So wait a minute, this is a big disappointment. Now we’re not gonna see any new tacos on qualified Captain Instagrammed. Take us through the, the camera system because you’ve also got some pretty trick cameras.

Sheldon Brown (1h 2m 30s):

We do, we have a number of cameras and of course that depends on, on the different, the different options that you take the vehicle. Of course we always gonna have the, the backup cam, but then we have what we call PBM, which is on most of our TRD grades. It is an option, but that’s the panoramic view. So this is a 360 panoramic view camera system. So we’ve got the, the front camera up in the grill, got cameras in each of the side mirrors. We have a camera in the tailgate, and then we have one up in the chisel. So the panoramic view gives you the 360 view. It gives you the ability to see in front of the truck along the sides of the truck. There’s about six or seven different camera angles that you can put up on your screen depending on what you’re trying to do.

Sheldon Brown (1h 3m 11s):

It’s got the backup the forward shows you where you’re going to trace your pattern. It shows you along the sides, you know, basically where your wheels are. And then of course it’ll give you a 360 like bird’s eye view of the truck as well. If you happen to be rolling down the, if you have the digital mirror as well and you’re rolling down the, the road and you wanna check your load, you can hit the display and basically the camera will turn on in the upper chisel and it’ll look down into your bed so you can see what’s, what’s going on with your load in, in the back of the truck. And then if you get the ORP we give you, we upgrade you to the multi train view. And of course that’s great, right? Because as you’re, you know, you’re cresting a hill, it’s basically got the technology that looks used, the front camera and the side cameras to project what the obstacle in front of you.

Sheldon Brown (1h 3m 54s):

And as you’re sort of passing it over, it gives you that sort of clear front end of the truck so you can kind of see as you’ve moved over that obstacle. It’s great when you’re, yeah, Moab or you know, coming up a big sp slide and you don’t know if there’s, you’re about to drive off to nowhere or you know, if you have to bale to the right or bale to the left. Great views. We’re using high definition cameras. So the resolution’s fantastic. Pair that with our 14 inch, you know, basically audio screen, our display screen and I mean you get the, a really great view of what’s going in and around your truck. We love it. It’s almost, it’s almost cheating, but it really kinda shows you your tire path and you can look down and see where, you know your tire is. So if you’re really trying to avoid, for example, like a sharp rock, you don’t wanna cut the sidewall. Great way to make sure that you got your Wheel position in the right location so that you don’t, you don’t cut a tire.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1h 4m 39s):

You’ve got three shark fins on the roof. One is probably GPS radio, whatever the, the the two outer, the two outer ones though, those are for Yeah, wireless cameras.

Sheldon Brown (1h 4m 52s):

They are. So that is an option that is not standard. Standard is the center one. And that’s, as you suggested, that’s for all of the traditional radio antenna and GPS et cetera. The two outer ones are an optional and what they do is they are paired with our digital rear view mirror. And you can buy as an accessory, a remote trailer camera that can be attached to just about the back of any trailer. What that does is wirelessly transmit the view from behind the trailer to the vehicle and is displayed on your rearview display mirror. And so you can see, you know, instead of when you look in the mirror instead of seeing the trailer, you see what’s behind the trailer.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1h 5m 30s):

That’s, that’s freaking awesome. Yeah, that’s, that’s freaking cool. Couple quick things and then, and then we know thank You very much by the way for, for carving out so much time for us. Super, super gracious to give us much time. Super awesome. So you’re talking about, like, you’re talking about like thrifting some of the pieces out to save money and save the customer, you know, get ’em into a higher trim grade by, by pulling certain pieces out. But then you go and do things like changing the tailgate skin on all the bottles and then you have the roof of the truck. There’s no way that was easy to create a d for when you’re stamping the ru the roof of the Tacoma is incredible. The way it swoops back like a fin, it looks like it was designed, i I don’t know you, it’s modern, it’s industrial, it looks like you’ve future proofed it, but that there’s no way that was easy to stamp

Sheldon Brown (1h 6m 18s):

It. Actually huge shout out to our body and production engineering teams because what we really wanted to do, one of the design elements of Tacoma is we wanted to look fast in the standing still. And so you’ll notice, you know, compared even to like tundra where it’s sort of, you know, big and muscular and strong, we want to look athletic and agile. And one of that was to have this like fast swooping back, basically call it a rear spoiler on, on the top of the roof. But we didn’t want to have that, that gap or, and we would call the material line in Japanese, but it’s that, that that seam right where the, where the, the spoiler meets the meet the side member. So that actually is integrated directly into that side member stamping. And then we basically fill in between that with a, with a rear spoiler. That spoiler there, honestly for, for aerodynamics first and foremost.

Sheldon Brown (1h 7m 2s):

But it, it, we wanted to make sure it’s part of the design element. You know, as you get these trucks, we get a little bit taller. They, they have a bigger, you know, area coefficient. We wanna make sure that that air is coming off and we want it to kind of come in and, and basically, you know, not become turbulent in the bed. so we want it to kind of roll off and then separate. That’s why you see the spoiler on the back of the tailgate. You see it on the, on the top of the, on the roof. We wanna try to keep that laminar airflow as long as we can So it looks good and it’s functional.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1h 7m 31s):

So Sheldon, I wanted to thank you on behalf of fans of the platform and the company you brought out a couple months back, you brought a couple of Tacoma up to the SEMA garage, Holman, you were there, weren’t you? I was, that’s something that seems to be happening a little less these days. Some of the oes are reluctant to share the product and, and, and have it get out there to the aftermarket companies where they’re like, you know what? We are gonna offer those products, you’ll go through us to get them Toyota though on the other hand, you brought the trucks out there and you say, bring out your 3D scanners, lay down on the ground and have at it like, check out this truck and if you can come up with something cool, you, you are embracing the aftermarket as a company.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1h 8m 16s):

And I think that’s super, super cool. Holman talks about it all the time. The companies that do the best embrace the aftermarket. Where do you stand personally on, on that aspect?

The Truck. Show Podcast is a production of truck famous LLC. This podcast was created by Sean Holman and Jay Tillis with production elements by DJ Omar Khan. If you like what you’ve heard, please open your Apple podcast or Spotify app and give us a five star rating. And if you’re a fan, there’s no better way to show your support than by patronizing our sponsors. Some vehicles may have been harmed during the making of this podcast.