Toyota Reveals Next-Generation Tacoma X-Runner and Solara Convertible at 2004 Chicago Auto Show
CHICAGO, Feb. 4, 2004 -- Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., unveiled the all-new 2005 Tacoma X-Runner pickup truck and 2004 Camry Solara Convertible models at a press conference today at the 2004 Chicago Auto Show.
The high-performance X-Runner sport truck will be one of several models offered when the all-new next-generation Tacoma arrives in showrooms this summer.
"The arrival of the all-new Tacoma series will mark the first step in expanding our presence in the North American light truck arena," said Don Esmond, Toyota Division senior vice president and general manager. "Larger in every metric of comparison, the new Tacoma will offer an extensive variety of body-and-bed configurations with substantially more passenger room, cargo volume and towing capacity than ever before."
The next-generation Tacoma will move well beyond its current compact-truck dimensions. Compared to the previous-generation Tacoma S-Runner, the Tacoma X-Runner will ride on a wheelbase that has been extended by a full five inches and a track that has been widened by four inches. The increased size translates to an extra four-and-one-half inches of interior shoulder and hip room.
With a much bigger canvas on which to work, X-Runner design-engineers began creating a true factory-developed performance truck as a separate-and-dedicated model, requiring no post-production modifications. X-Runner will ride on an exclusive "X-braced" reinforced frame that provides enhanced torsional rigidity.
The X-Runner chassis will sit one-full-inch lower than the standard Tacoma frame, resting on 18-inch 45-series V-rated performance radials wrapped around alloy wheels. Firmer and shorter springs are mounted at all four corners, while specially tuned Bilstein gas shocks are positioned outboard of the frame rails for increased stability. Large-diameter stabilizer bars with firmer bushings are at both front and rear. A limited-slip differential will be standard.
Power will be provided by a four-liter, 240 horsepower V6 engine with 275 pounds of torque and a six-speed close-ratio manual transmission. For buyers looking for an added boost over this already impressive powertrain, a TRD-developed, fully factory warranted supercharger system will be offered, capable of providing output in the neighborhood of 300 horsepower. The Tacoma X-Runner will be capable of zero-to-60 acceleration in seven seconds, with times reduced by more-than an additional second with the optional supercharger system.
Handling is even more impressive. During extensive testing, the X-Runner's road-holding ability was measured by an electronic accelerometer in excess of 0.9 g's of lateral acceleration. That's not only significantly better than any truck on the market, it repeatedly performed better than many sports cars, including the new Nissan 350-Z.
The X-Runner will also include a wide array of safety features such as standard Anti-Lock Brakes, and optional side-curtain airbags and electronic vehicle stability control.
"The Tacoma X-Runner is not a concept vehicle, but a show truck and a go truck that will be the real deal in both style and performance when it rolls into showrooms in August," said Esmond. "And of course, consistent with how Toyota approaches the development of every next-generation vehicle, Tacoma will not only be a better truck, it will be a better value."
The 2004 Solara Convertible will go on sale in March and will join the all-new second generation Solara Coupe, which launched last summer.
Distinguished by a power retractable convertible roof, headliner and rear glass window, the new model shares the same sleek, exterior design, roomy and luxurious interior, and sporty performance as the Solara Coupe.
The Solara Convertible will be manufactured exclusively at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky in Georgetown. Toyota's manufacturing process allows the Convertible to be produced in low volumes and with exceptional quality. Rather than implementing the conventional method of cutting the top off of a coupe and adding the convertible top, the vehicle has been designed as a convertible from its conception, a process that ensures no compromises with design, performance or quality.
"For the first time ever the Solara Convertible has a wholly dedicated convertible body," added Don Esmond. "It is a body, styled as fore-thought, not an after-thought."
The Solara Convertible's specially MIG welded frame and thick body panels accommodate the top stack while providing a much higher degree of stiffness, safety, quality, dependability and reliability. The top stack is installed offline by plant team members who ensure the accuracy of receivers, targets, and window seals and check for wind noise and water leaks using an ultrasound device. Reinforcements have been optimally allocated throughout the vehicle to provide significantly higher torsional rigidity resulting in an improved ride, better handling, diminished road and wind noise and increased durability.
Solara Convertible is available in two distinctive model grades: SE, highlighted by sporty metallic-finish interior trim and SLE, with greater content and a woodgrain-style interior trim.
A standard rear spoiler and standard 17-inch alloy wheels add sporty flair on both the SLE and SE models. Standard fog lamps also highlight the wider, more aggressive appearance. New for the Convertible is a rear high-mount stoplight with nine light-emitting diodes on the back belt moulding.
Noise is held in check by vibration-damping and noise-suppressant material throughout the cabin, as well as in the wheel housings, dash panel and trunk. The Convertible's unique manufacturing process will aid in wind noise reduction. For additional comfort and suppressed wind turbulence, an available windscreen can be installed.
The four-passenger Convertible provides ample headroom and legroom in the front and rear seats. Compared to the Coupe, the Convertible offers two inches more rear headroom with the top up.
For ultimate convenience, the electric convertible roof control system quickly opens or closes in just ten seconds by touching a button on the instrument panel. The soft-top stows behind the rear seat and sits low for a sleek, overall appearance. Solara Convertible is equipped with an all-window control system, allowing drivers to open and close all door- and quarter-windows by pressing one button on the instrument panel.
The Convertible's standard all-aluminum, 3.3-liter VVT-i V6 engine produces 225 horsepower at 5,600 RPM and 240 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,600 RPM. Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) ensures a broad torque band for sporty response across the engine speed range. The V6 is teamed exclusively to a five-speed sequential automatic transmission and offers a wide gear-ratio spread for quick acceleration. Electronic controls ensure ultra-smooth shift quality. The driver controls the five-speed sequential automatic with a gated shifter that allows manual shifting for a sporty driving experience.
All Solara Convertibles receive California Level II Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV-II) and EPA Tier II Bin 5 certification, underscoring Toyota's commitment to environmental compatibility.
The front and rear suspension in the Solara Convertible is mounted to anti-vibration sub-frames, ensuring a smooth, quiet ride that can be compared with many luxury models. Solara Convertible further delivers on its promise of more fun-to-drive performance by using a sport-tuned suspension in both grades.
Newly tuned springs, front and rear stabilizer bars, and an underbody diamond-shaped brace reduce body roll and pitch, resulting in a stable yet enlivened steering feel and response.
Standard four-wheel disc brakes and an anti-lock brake system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) help provide responsive, reliable, safe stopping power on all Solara Convertible models. The Convertible also offers vehicle stability (VSC) and traction control (TRAC) systems as optional equipment.
All Solara Convertible models are equipped with standard front seat- mounted side airbags as well as dual stage SRS airbags for driver and passenger that include an occupant classification sensor. A new magnetic front seat belt guide improves in-and-out access of the rear passengers and the ease of loading and unloading of cargo.
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