Trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs)) are a big deal at the Chicago Auto Show - everybody either has a new one, or is promising one.

Toyota Motor Corp. showcases its totally redesigned compact pickup truck, now dubbed Tacoma. The pickup is available in standard- and extended-cab and 2- and 4-wheeldrive (2wd/4wd) versions. Standard in 2wd models is a 2.4L 4-cyl. and 4wd versions get a 2.7L 4-cy). as base. Optional on all models is the 3.4L 190-hp V-6 available in the bigger T100 truck. Available as an option in extended-cab Tacomas equipped with the V-6 is a one-touch 4wd engagement system.

A driver's air bag is standard, and four-wheel antilock brakes are optional across the board. The Tacoma, which was designed by Toyota's Calty Design Research Inc. in Newport Beach, CA, will be built solely at New United Motor Mfg. Inc. in Fremont, CA, though Japanese production could be added in the future. Production volumes are expected at about 150,000 annually even though Toyota sold about 200,000 compact pickups last year. Pricing, expected to be up only marginally, will be announced at month's end.

Toyota executives also say they'll unveil a restyled Land continued from p.34 Cruiser "shortly."

Ford Motor Co. still is considering offering a luxury sport/ utility vehicle (SUV) through its Lincoln-Mercury Div., says Ford Vice President Keith C. Magee. While the small-tomidsize portion of the SUV segment is filling up, there is still a lot of room for larger vehicles, he says.

American Isuzu Motors Inc. will call its new pickup truck - based on General Motors Corp.'s compact S series - the Hombre. The sheet metal will be manufactured by GM in Brazil with final assembly at GM's Shreveport, LA, plant. starting Dec. 4. Annual production volumes at Shreveport will be about 50,000 Hombres, with half going to the U.S. market and half to Brazil. Meanwhile, Isuzu officials forecast a 4.1% U.S. sales increase this year for the Trooper and a 14.7% jump for the Rodeo.

GMC Truck Div. introduces a luxury sport/utility concept called the Jimmy Ultimate, featuring such amenities as a built-in seat massage. Final approval still is pending, but if it's OK'd the vehicle - with a target price of $28,000 to $35,000 - will be on the market within six months, GMC Truck officials say. GMC Truck's partner in the program is conversion specialist Starcraft Automotive Corp. of Goshen, IN.

Meanwhile, GMC Truck's side access panel, a backdoor of sorts for extended-cab pickups, will be a $400 to $500 option this fall on '96 Sierra and Sonoma.

Chevrolet unveiled its 4-door Tracker for 96. It'll cost substantially under $20,000 and is 16.2 ins. longer than the 2-door.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will drop its Japanese-built Mighty Max pickup truck in 1997 and import a yet-unnamed sport/ utility vehicle for the U.S. market. The small and more-affordable vehicle will be positioned below the Montero. Importing the pickup, subject to a 25% tariff, has become unprofitable, and Mitsubishi has not been able to come up with an alternative production site. Only about 13,414 pickups were sold last year. Mitsubishi officials also confirm the next-generation Diamante sedan due as a '97 model will be imported from Australia.