19 May 2023
The mid-size truck segment is abuzz with competition, and the heat is on once again. With the Nissan Frontier carving a niche for itself and Chevrolet, GMC, and Ford launching their revamped models in the form of the Colorado, Canyon, and Ranger, it's an exciting time for truck enthusiasts. And now, Toyota joins the fray by unveiling the highly anticipated 2024 Toyota Tacoma, finally revealing its details after months of teasing.
As we celebrate three decades since the arrival of the first Tacoma in the US, it's worth noting that the current generation, despite being the oldest design in its class, continues to dominate the market as the most popular mid-size truck. Last year alone, Toyota sold over 230,000 units. With the introduction of the 2024 Tacoma, the coming years hold even greater promise, thanks to a range of firsts, including a hybrid powertrain and the introduction of the rugged Trailhunter trim level.
Turbo and Hybrid Power: A Look Under the Hood
One of the most intriguing aspects lies under the hood, where Toyota offers four different powertrain options for the Tacoma. The entry-level SR model features a new turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, generating an impressive 228 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque when paired with the standard eight-speed automatic transmission.
Moving up the range, the SR5 trim offers a more potent version of the same turbocharged engine, delivering 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Notably, this comes with the option of a six-speed manual transmission with automatic rev-matching—a nod to the die-hard stick-shift enthusiasts. Upgrading further, the enhanced engine paired with the eight-speed automatic transmission pushes the output to 278 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque.
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At the top of the lineup, the 2024 Tacoma offers an optional hybrid powertrain for the first time. Leveraging the I-Force Max branding from its larger sibling, the Tundra, this hybrid configuration combines a 1.9-kilowatt-hour battery pack and a 48-horsepower electric motor with the turbocharged 2.4-liter engine. The result is an impressive total output of 326 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. This nearly doubles the power of the outgoing V6 model, with only the new 405-horsepower Ranger Raptor boasting higher horsepower (though the Tacoma reigns supreme in terms of torque).
In terms of drivetrain, the rear-wheel drive remains standard for trims like the SR and SR5, now equipped with a limited-slip differential. For the four-wheel-drive models, Toyota introduces an electronically controlled two-speed transfer case with high- and low-range gearing, along with an upgraded Active Traction Control system featuring a limited-slip differential. The top-of-the-line Limited model, featuring the hybrid I-Force Max engine, comes with full-time four-wheel drive and a center-locking differential.
The Outer Appearance
Turning our attention to the exterior, the new Tacoma boasts a more rugged aesthetic compared to some of its rivals. Slim headlights grace the front bumper, complemented by running-mascara faux vents that add an aggressive touch. The TRD Sport trim features a simple black grille with a central Toyota jellybean badge, while the luxurious Limited model elevates the design with a chrome-finished badge, horizontal slats, and matching chrome wheels.
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For off-road enthusiasts, the TRD Pro and Trailhunter models sport the retro "TOYOTA" wordmark across the grille, along with additional rugged visual cues such as a front skid plate, horizontal LED running lights, and specially designed wheel and tire combinations for off-roading. The TRD Pro features black 18-inch wheels wrapped in 33-inch Goodyear off-road tires, while the Trailhunter pairs unique 18-inch bronze wheels with the same rugged rubber.
Design and Chassis Enhancements
Underpinning the 2024 Tacoma is the new TNGA-F platform, incorporating high-strength steel throughout the chassis for improved rigidity. Aluminum is used in the upper portion of the body to reduce weight. The new Tacoma also receives a multi-link rear suspension, replacing the previous leaf springs. This setup is featured on the SR5 double cab, as well as the TRD Sport trim and above, with each model's suspension, tuned to provide a unique driving experience.
Towing and Payload Capacities
While the towing capacity of the Tacoma has slightly decreased compared to the previous model, the payload capacity has improved. The SR5 I-Force and TRD PreRunner trims offer a maximum towing capacity of 6,500 pounds, around 300 pounds less than last year. However, the TRD Off-Road model impresses with an enhanced payload capacity of 1,709 pounds, compared to the previous maximum rating of 1,685 pounds. To aid with towing, Toyota has equipped the new Tacoma with advanced trailering features such as a trailer brake controller, a trailer backup guide, and a digital rearview mirror.
Inside the Cabin: Infotainment and Comfort Features
Inside the cabin, the 2024 Tacoma comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, while the Limited, TRD Pro, and Trailhunter trims feature a larger 14.0-inch display. The larger screen is paired with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, while a standard 7.0-inch cluster is available. Both displays utilize the excellent Toyota infotainment interface introduced in the Tundra, offering wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as Qi wireless phone charging. Additionally, an optional removable JBL Bluetooth speaker is available, accompanied by a 10-speaker JBL audio upgrade.
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Safety First: Toyota Safety Sense 3.0
Safety is a top priority in the new Tacoma, as Toyota equips all 2024 versions with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0. This comprehensive suite of safety features includes pre-collision detection with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane tracing assist, road sign assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and an innovative Proactive Driving feature.
Proactive Driving stands out as a new feature for Toyota, making its debut in the Tacoma. By utilizing the truck's camera and radar systems, Proactive Driving enhances the capabilities of adaptive cruise control, providing braking, throttle, and steering inputs even on mildly curvy roads.
The Multi-Terrain Select drive mode function now extends to both 4WD High and 4WD Low, offering three adjustable modes: Mud, Dirt, and Sand. Toyota also touts a quieter Crawl Control function—essentially off-road cruise control—with five adjustable speeds. To enhance comfort during off-road adventures, Toyota introduces the IsoDynamic Performance Seat. This innovative seat utilizes embedded shock absorbers to dampen body movement and stabilize the driver's head and neck.
The Trailhunter Trim
For avid overlanding enthusiasts, the 2024 Toyota Tacoma introduces the new Trailhunter trim. This model replaces the Fox shocks found on the TRD Pro with 2.5-inch forged monotube Old Man Emu shocks, designed specifically by Australian-based ARB for long-range off-road travel. The Trailhunter trim incorporates new steel bumpers, more robust rear recovery points, enhanced rigidity for rooftop tents, and offers a choice between a five- or six-foot bed, catering to various overlanding needs.
There is much to admire about the new 2024 Toyota Tacoma, and the best part is that we have yet to experience its capabilities on the road. The pricing details are yet to be announced, with Toyota planning to release that information closer to the on-sale date. Truck enthusiasts can anticipate the arrival of the 2024 Tacoma later in 2023, ready to take on the challenges of the road and off-road adventures with its impressive powertrain options, rugged design, advanced technology, and enhanced safety features.