Most of the big automakers have pulled out of the SEMA Show in Las Vegas in the past couple of years but Toyota is still suiting up and showing up with the goods. This year, they wowed the crowd with the sunning and arguably bad-ass Tacoma X-Runner Concept truck.

They tell us they honestly built the street performance concept truck based on the new Toyota Tacoma XTra Cab to gauge customer reaction to see if such a vehicle would resonate again in a world where lifted butch off-road machines have come to rule the showrooms. They want to know if the once popular mini street truck could make a comeback.

Well, the new 2024 Toyota Tacoma is anything but a mini truck, but street performance it is. Because the new Tacoma shares a lot of its bones with the Tundra, squeezing its larger 3.4-liter twin turbo V6 and 10-speed automatic transmission under the hood was no problem.

This gives this handsome beast 421 horsepower and 479 pound feet or torque to sent to its rear wheels through an electronic locking rear axle with a performance leaning 4.30:1 axle ratio. Yeah you heard that right, rear-wheel drive only baby.

Styling is the other major component here. Though this thing is a Tacoma, it looks muscular and beefy in a way that a Tundra could only wish to be. It’s got a completely redesigned and aggressive front fascia with a large lower splitter that’s actually quite complex and ornate but seems to work.

A center LED light bar, a large air-scoop hood and fat fender flares really give it a mean look. Down the sides, custom rockers connect those flares and a custom side exhaust really makes it all work visually. At the rear are smoked black tail lights, a smoothed out and filled in rear bumper panel for a clean look and a hard tonneau cover painted to match.

Wheels are 21-inch custom carbon fiber units from Lacks Enterprises wrapped with huge Michelin 285/45R21 tires. Through them up front you can see equally huge brakes brought over from the Tundra.

The suspension and frame have been reworked, strengthened, lowered and retuned for performance street truck duty. A custom air suspension from Tundra, custom-valved Bilstein 2.5-inch remote reservoir dampers and stiffer springs do the trick. Most of what made this happen are a lot of bits and pieces brought over from the Tundra which widened the track considerably. Again a benefit of the two trucks sharing a common platform.

The cabin mostly remains stock Toyota Tacoma except for a steering wheel featuring paddle shifters and a few top-grade accents to put icing on the cake.

While a production version of the Toyota Tacoma X-Runner Concept in literal form is highly unlikely, we could see this theme show up at some point in a much more watered down execution for consumer consumption. They always have to water it down for us, sad but true.

Why? Well this truck as you see it would likely cost $100,000 plus and nobody would swallow that. In the meantime, at least they’ve shown their hand as to what’s going on in their heads. Good things I’d say.