Midsize trucks have undergone a revolution lately. What was once a segment filled with affordable city trucks designed to handle odd jobs economically is now dominated by models like the Jeep Gladiator Mojave, Chevy Colorado ZR2, GMC Canyon AT4X, and Ford Ranger Raptor. One of the very first trucks to cater to these changing tastes was the legendary Toyota Tacoma, but with the competition heating up, Toyota has had to pull out all the stops to ensure the redesigned 2024 Toyota Tacoma remains the truck of choice for serious adventurers. The result is an off-road machine that is quite literally ready for anything.
Hybrids, Turbochargers, and a Manual Transmission
It’s no secret that the truck industry is looking for ways to improve fuel efficiency, and the 3.5L V6 in the Tacoma was living on borrowed time. While there will be more than a few drivers saddened by its departure, the 2024 Tacoma’s lineup of engine options offers more power as well as better fuel economy. Three distinct options are available, although, like the 2023 Chevy Colorado, they are all based around the same basic engine. In its base configuration, Toyota uses a 2.4L turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 228 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque. That’s nearly the same torque as the old V6, and we’re just getting started.
In the higher trims, Toyota turns up the boost to generate up to 278 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque (fans of the optional six-speed manual transmission will have to sacrifice eight ponies and seven lb-ft while sticking with the eight-speed auto will give you the full output). That’s noticeably less than the 2.7L Turbo Plus in the Colorado but a bit more than the 2.3L EcoBoost in the Ranger. Finally, there is Toyota’s 2.4L i-FORCE MAX Hybrid, which adds an electric motor to produce 326 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. That’s the highest torque rating of any midsize truck on the market, exceeding even Jeep’s EcoDiesel, and the second-highest horsepower rating after the Ranger Raptor. Needless to say, the 2024 Tacoma isn’t lacking power.
Desert Running, Rock Crawling, and Overlanding
The trim lineup for the 2024 Tacoma is extensive, but off-road fans will fixate on the TRD Pro and the all-new Trailhunter. The TRD Pro has been completely overhauled for the new generation and is now a far more serious machine that combines the best features of a rock crawler and a desert runner. Like the F-150 Raptor, the TRD Pro now has a multi-link rear suspension with coil springs for greater control, and it comes with FOX QS3 three-way adjustable internal bypass shocks with remote reservoirs and Internal Floating Piston bump stops. To further cushion your ride as you bound across the dunes, the TRD Pro comes with segment-first hydraulically-isolated front seats with adjustable damping. When things slow down, and the trail gets technical, the TRD Pro again excels with a front swaybar disconnect and 11 inches of ground clearance.
If you’re the type who views off-roading as more of a means to reach incredible destinations rather than as a pastime in its own right, the Trailhunter is the trim for you. This all-new option is designed to be taken overlanding right off the dealership lot. It’s still plenty capable on the trail with its 2.5-inch monotube shock with remote reservoirs, rock rails, and hot-stamped steel skid plates, but the real draw is all the features it comes with. With a 20-inch LED light bar, RIGID LED fog lamps, and bed lighting, you will be ready for adventure at all hours. A 2.4 kW power supply with outlets in the bed and cab can power your campsite, and a built-in air compressor makes topping off your tires easy after airing down. The bed utility bar includes MOLLE panels to secure your gear, and there is a heavy-duty ARB bed rack for a rooftop tent. Just add your favorite gear, and the Trailhunter is ready to go.
Taking Off-Roading to New Heights
The Toyota Tacoma has always been a fan-favorite of adventurers who need a truck they can trust to get them through anything they might encounter. While it may take some time to get used to the new turbocharged and hybrid powertrains, the new 2024 Tacoma seems set to take that reputation to new heights. With more power, more capability, and a ton of incredible new features combined with the legendary reliability of the Toyota name, off-roaders now have yet another incredible option to consider when shopping for their next midsize truck.