A new Toyota Tacoma doesn't come around often. It's part of the midsize pickup's charm; the durability, dependability, and resale that it earns by only undergoing slight changes year over year over year. That's why the 2024 Toyota Tacoma is such a big deal. It's new from the ground up, full of upgrades and surprises including the model's first-ever hybrid and the return of the manual transmission.
It still looks like a Tacoma, even though there's a lot of Tundra in the equation, especially on the chrome-heavy Limited spec truck. Toyota's designers in California took inspiration from both trucks as well as the company's Baja racers to capture "the extreme spirit of offroad adventure."
Under the new Taco is a new frame, based on the laser-welded high-strength frame used in the Tundra. Toyota reinforced the crossmembers for higher payload capability (up almost half a ton to 1,709 lbs in hybrid models). That extra payload is designed for overlanders, Toyota understands that its intermediate truck buyer is doing more with their pickups than ever before.
The frame gets disc brakes at all four corners for the first time. This is sure to be contentious with some die-hards, but dropping the rear drums should seriously improve the truck's braking feel. Though peak towing isn't exactly up as a result, the max is 6,500 pounds, slightly under some grades of the 2023 model.
If that's not enough, the Tacoma will also get coil springs at the rear along with a new multi-link suspension. The SR5 grade will still get leaf springs, but the rest get the coils.
Coils or not, Toyota is changing up its suspensions to make each grade feel better suited to its purpose. That means different shock tuning for each one. It also means new Fox QS3 three-position adjustable shocks with remote reservoirs (though the adjustment is not remote). It also means ARB Old Man Emu shocks for the newly added Trailhunter model and fully adaptive dampers for the luxury Limited trim.
Toyota's base engine is a 2.4L turbo-four making 278 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. The truck will be 4x4 only in Canada (which means no PreRunner trim) and an eight-speed automatic is standard. Limited gets a new full-time 4x4 system, another Taco first.
You'll be able to order the 2024 Tacoma with a six-speed stick. The three-pedal choice will be an option on TRD Off Road and TRD Sport, but it will make eight fewer ponies and seven fewer torques than with the auto.
For the first time in a Tacoma you'll be able to get a hybrid. Badged i-Force Max like in the Tundra, this pairs the 2.4L four with an electric motor. Total output is 326 hp and a whopping 465 lb-ft of torque, sent through the eight-speed auto. The hybrid system is optional on TRD Off Road and standard on Limited, TRD Pro, and Trailhunter.
All 2024 Tacomas will be four-door Double Cab models in Canada, though five and six-foot box lengths will be offered.
The basic SR5 trim gets much less basic than before. Smart key is standard, as is a 7.0-inch gauge display and 8.0-inch centre screen with Toyota's latest multimedia. Heated seats are even standard now, as is Toyota Safety Sense 3.0. That upgraded safety system includes radar cruise, pre-collision system, and all of the usual driver aids.
TRD Sport gets colour matched door handles and fender flares, plus a suspension tuned more for on-pavement driving. TRD Off Road gets more serious with Bilstein monotube shocks, multi-terrain select, an electronic rear locker, and composite skid plates. 33-inch tires are optional, along with the TRD Pro's new sway bar disconnect. This one has a larger 12.3-inch digital cluster.
Limited gets adaptive shocks and full-time 4x4, along with power running boards, a head-up display, and chrome trim. It comes with a 14-inch centre screen, and, gasp, heated and ventilated front seats plus a heated wheel. It also is the first to get Toyota's new JBL Flex portable speaker that mounts in the dash.
TRD Pro gets all of the really good off-road stuff including the Fox shocks already mentioned and TRD control arms. It has an aluminum front skid plate, 33-inch Goodyear rubber, and an electronic rear locker.
New this year, the TRD Pro adds rocker protection, an ARB rear bumper with red recovery hooks, and a front sway bar disconnect that increases suspension articulation. With the standard hybrid drive it gets a 2400-watt AC inverter with a pair of plugs and some pre-wired DC accessory switches. Like in the past, it has a Toyota heritage grill and LED fog lights.
The TRD Pro's real trick, though, is a new driver's seat. The IsoDynamic Performance Seat has an air and oil shock absorber to help keep the driver behind the wheel when the terrain gets rough. The seat can move vertically and laterally, and the driver can tune it or turn the system off with a lever.
Then there's the Trailhunter. The first in a new line of overlanders Toyota previewed last year, this one is built to "go far." Old Man Emu position-sensitive shocks are just the start. This truck has 33-inch tires that raise the ride height by about two inches, while a high-clearance exhaust tip, stamped steel skid plates, and rock rails help keep the truck intact over obstacles.
The truck has a high-mount air intake, bed utility bar with Molle panels, and loads more ARB parts. The team at Australian off-roaders ARB even came to Toyota facilities to finish the package. Built-in roof rack attachments that are standard on all grades let you mount cargo to the top of the truck, and multiple available bed racks make adding rooftop tents a breeze. Trailhunter gets some of the TRD Pro's best bits like the rear locker, ARB bumper, and front sway bar disconnect.
The Trailhunter gets loads of bronze accents including its heritage grille. There is a 20-inch LED light bar standard, Rigid fogs that show white or yellow on command, and campsite lighting for around the truck. It gets bronze wheels and will offer that bronze oxide paint in the photos. If that has you wondering about the next TRD Pro special paint job, expect that announcement in a few months.
Toyota is planning for the four-cylinder models of the Tacoma to hit showrooms late this year, with pricing for the new pickup to follow. If you want a hybrid, which is the only way to get some of the best trims, you'll need to wait for next spring.