Detroit Auto Show: Toyota to debut all-new Tacoma midsize truck

Detroit Auto Show: Toyota to debut all-new Tacoma midsize truck
Toyota will pay up to $3.4 billion to settle a class action lawsuit brought by U.S. pickup truck and SUV owners who say their vehicles lacked adequate rust protection. (Toyota)

After years of dominating the midsize truck market, Toyota faces suddenly fierce competition from a pair of new redesigned GM pickups.

The Japanese automaker will strike back at the Detroit Auto Show in January with an all-new Tacoma.

"Let's take it to the next level," Toyota said in a statement Wednesday. "The all-new 2016 Tacoma will be ready to once again set the benchmark for midsize pickup performance."

The new Tacoma will have to fend off the recent Chevrolet Colorado and its cousin, the GMC Canyon.

The GM trucks, unveiled at the L.A. Auto Show in 2013, breathed new life into the dormant midsize world, which hadn’t seen an all-new model in almost a decade. Only Toyota’s Tacoma and Nissan's Frontier remained in the segment. Ford and Ram left several years ago, citing weak demand and the increasing fuel efficiency of its full-size trucks.

But not all buyers have fled to SUVs or larger trucks; nearly 230,000 buyers took home new midsize models in 2013. About 160,000 of those bought a Toyota Tacoma.

The Colorado and Canyon, with a smart design, refined interior and efficient capability, now pose the most serious threat to the Tacoma.

Toyota has not released details on the 2016 Tacoma, though increased efficiency and interior amenities will be required to match the Chevy and GMC models. Expect the current Tacoma's five-speed automatic transmission to gain at least one additional gear, and the V-6 engine probably will add direct injection.

A four-cylinder engine is expected to remain the base offering. Inside, expect options such as heated leather seats, a touch-screen navigation system and nods to practicality such as USB ports, storage cubbies and adjustable seating configurations.

The 2016 Toyota Tacoma will begin selling next year.

The Tacoma won't be the only truck breaking cover in Detroit. Nissan is using the international auto show to debut its all-new full-size Titan, and Ford is rumored to be bringing a variant of its new F-150.

The automakers' press conferences and debuts run Jan. 12 and 13.