2024 Toyota Tacoma Debuts; Fresh, Modern, Something for EveryoneMay 19, 2023
The Toyota Tacoma has been a popular choice for buyers in the midsize pickup segment for quite some time. But staying ahead of the competition often means a little innovation, usually in the form of a next-gen model. Yet, straying too far into the new and unknown presents the risk of losing faithful buyers accustomed to your vehicle’s identity.
Redesigned and rebuilt from the wheels to the roof– this is the 2024 Toyota Tacoma, finally touching down after carefully plotting its trajectory as to not jump too far into the future, nor stay too far back in the past. And, judging by our first look, Toyota has landed in the sweet spot.
The ‘24 Tacoma signifies the nameplate’s fourth generation, said to be “designed and engineered for the US market.” Starting with the body-on-frame bones, the new Tacoma is built on Toyota’s TNGA-F global truck platform shared with the Tundra and Sequoia, a new high-strength boxed, steel-ladder frame. Available with certain trims is a new multi-link rear suspension, outfitting the model with coils instead of leaf springs; however, leaf springs are still the standard on lower grades. The fourth-gen Tacoma sees the implementation of disc brakes in all four corners, changing in size dependent on trim and powertrain.
During a time when midsize truck configurations are dwindling in favor of a uniform four-door short-box model, the Taco will be available in two cab styles: a four-door “Double Cab” model and a two-door “XtraCab,” the latter of which is available on the SR, SR5 and TRD PreRunner. It has seating for two and a storage area in the rear of the cabin, all flanked by a six-foot bed. The four-door Double Cab can be built with either the six-foot bed or a shorter five-foot bed. For the tailgate, an available power open and close feature will hopefully make loading a bit easier.
At the Tacoma’s heart is one of two powertrains. Standard is a turbocharged 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, generating 228 horsepower and 243 lb-ft of torque on the entry-level SR grade. All other grades see a max output of 278 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque when paired to the eight-speed automatic. When equipped with the manual six-speed– yes, a manual transmission— the engine outputs 270 ponies and 310 lb-ft. Expect rear-wheel drive to still be the standard drive layout on lower trims, with four-wheel drive capabilities made available or standard on the higher grades.
If you’ve been keeping up with Toyota, you’re also aware of the i-FORCE MAX hybrid powertrain being made available on certain models, like the Tundra and Sequoia. Well, the Tacoma is now getting its own i-FORCE MAX, available on the TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, and Limited, and coming standard on the TRD Pro and Trailhunter. This is also a turbo 2.4-liter engine, now electrified by a 48 horsepower electric motor integrated into the 8-speed automatic, juiced up by a 1.87 kWh battery. Total output is 326 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque– the most powerful powertrain ever outfitted in a factory Tacoma, and near double the torque of the outgoing V6. We don’t have a full breakdown on trims and their respective hauling potentials; but, it has been claimed that the new Tacoma’s max towing capacity is rated at 6,500 lbs with the SR5 i-FORCE and TRD PreRunner XtraCab grades. Max payload goes up to 1,709 lbs on the TRD Off-Road.
Moving inside, modernity’s biggest touch comes by way of touchscreens, like the new 8-inch touchscreen mounted as standard and especially the available 14-inch unit– the same one which debuted in the 2022 Tundra. Lower grades feature a 7-inch gauge cluster, whereas higher trims receive a 12.3-inch digital unit. Standard on all grades is a Smart Key System with push button starter, plus Toyota Safety Sense 3.0.
Now, an audio upgrade package usually just means more speakers and subwoofers, but in the new Tacoma it means a premium 10-speaker JBL sound system with a detachable JBL FLEX portable speaker. It can dock on the dashboard to recharge and will serve as the center speaker while doing so. This feature is certainly geared towards those who like to rock out at their campsites– a lot of fun can be had air guitaring in the wilderness, but just be mindful of the decibels you’re cranking out. Here at MotorWeek, we urge you to be courteous to your fellow campers.
We keep mentioning trims, so we might as well spill the beans on that, too. The 2024 Tacoma can be had in eight total trims: SR, SR5, TRD PreRunner, TRD Sport, TRD Off Road, Limited, TRD Pro, and the all-new Trailhunter. In the official press materials, the TRD Pro’s tagline is “Go Fast,” whereas the Trailhunter’s is “Go Far.”
The TRD Pro nameplate returns with some special amenities, like FOX internal bypass QS3 shocks and Internal Floating Piston bump stops, 33-inch Goodyear Territory R/T tires, and an e-locking rear differential. Inside, the Pro has a lot of top amenities, but the one to focus on is the new IsoDynamic Performance Seat. It uses an air-over-oil shock absorber, dampening body movement and stabilizing the head and neck. It can be tuned per individual or bypassed entirely via levers on the seatbacks.
The Trailhunter is new, first making its way onto the Tacoma before finding itself on Toyota’s other trucks. Some key elements here include its own 2.5-inch forged monotube “Old Man Emu” shocks co-developed with Australian-based ARB, a steel rear bumper, recovery points, and a bed utility bar with MOLLE panels. It rides on 33-inch Goodyear Territory R/T tires, giving an additional 2-inches of front lift and 1.5-inches in rear. Buyers will be able to customize their Tacoma’s even more thanks to the new Associate Accessory Products program, offering off-road gear and accessories.
No word on pricing yet, but we expected as much. We do know that the 2024 Tacoma will hit dealer lots later this year, with i-FORCE MAX models arriving early 2024.
This is truly just scratching the surface of the 2024 Toyota Tacoma, and you can bet we’ll have even more to talk about when we get one in. All we can say now is that Toyota has succeeded in enhancing their midsize pickup with modern flair while still retaining much of what (we think) Tacoma-faithful love about this ride. And much like a proper “make your own taco” night, there’s plenty of shells, toppings and options for everyone to flavor theirs just the way they like it.