Once upon a time, a pickup could coast through the market with four-wheel drive, half-decent towing capacity, and little else, but those days have long since passed. The segment has evolved dramatically over the last few decades, driven largely by a changing customer base who are demanding not only bigger and better but smarter, safer, and packed with the type of creature features that were once confined to the luxury segment. While some automakers have chosen to stick to their old ways, others are at the forefront of pickup progress, creating a new generation of trucks that combine the segment’s workhorse roots with a spirit of innovation and excitement.
Take the all-new 2024 Toyota Tacoma, for example. This pickup has long been a best-seller in the midsize segment, but Toyota has truly upped the ante going into the Tacoma’s fourth generation. From new off-road models and performance seats to cutting-edge tech, a premium sound system, and an entirely new platform that makes this year’s model one of the most rugged and capable vehicles in its class, the 2024 Tacoma is at the forefront of innovation when it comes to the pickup segment. If you’ve been in the market for a Toyota Tacoma for sale, the 2024 model makes a compelling case for a trip to your local dealership—so read on to see what all the hype is about.
The New TNGA-F Platform
The all-new Tacoma’s most intriguing feature might be difficult to spot from a distance, but it represents one of the most dramatic changes in the pickup’s nearly 30-year history. Starting with the debut of the fourth generation in 2024, the Tacoma will be built using Toyota’s new Toyota New Global Architecture-F (TNGA-F) platform. This new design approach—which first debuted on the 2021 Toyota Tundra, Land Cruiser, and Lexus LX and has since expanded to the Sequoia, Tacoma, and Lexus GX—sees the automaker employ a high-strength boxed, steel-ladder frame that instantly makes the trucks and SUVs some of the most rugged, heavy-duty models in their class.
Why is this new platform architecture so important? It all comes down to the improved rigidity that’s made possible by the platform’s high-strength boxed, steel-ladder frame construction. The upgrade goes a long way in improving the Tacoma’s structural rigidity, which subsequently improves the vehicle’s handling and agility for a more responsive, dynamic ride. The TNGA-F platform also improves visibility and lowers the Tacoma’s center of gravity while giving it a more compliant suspension that’s able to navigate challenging terrain without erupting in a chorus of rattles and squeaks.
TNGA-F is part of the brand’s wider Toyota New Global Architecture program, which also includes a TNGA-B platform focused on A- and B-segment compact and subcompact models like the Yaris, TNGA-C for C-segment compacts like the Prius and Corolla, TNGA-K for midsize cars, sedans and midsize crossovers including the RAV4 and Sienna and TNGA-L for the luxury and grand touring segments. Toyota has also rolled out an e-TNGA platform focused on battery electric vehicles, which can be found on the Toyota bZ4x and Subaru Solterra.
But labeling TNGA-F as nothing more than a platform is a little reductive. In reality, the TNGA program represents an entirely new approach to vehicle design and assembly. Before TNGA was introduced, Toyota’s lineup relied on more than 50 distinct platforms. By creating a common platform that can be shared across a vehicle segment, Toyota has dramatically streamlined the entire development process, reducing those 50 platforms down to six and enabling improvements in terms of standardization and optimization. The approach also allows for more flexibility in the manufacturing process and improved efficiency that’s passed on to drivers in the form of lower prices.
“TNGA is more than just the platform of the vehicle,” says Cooper Ericksen, group vice president of product planning and strategy for Toyota Motor North America. “[It] is an engineering philosophy where you take the time to engineer certain components to be optimal and class-leading. And the next vehicle that needs to be developed, you don’t need to re-develop that same thing. It carries over, so it’s commonality. That takes man-hours out of development products. We have the same number of people, but we can now develop more products. [The platforms] can be lengthened, they can be widened, the rigidity can be stiffer. It has given us more flexibility, so the lineup is stronger than ever.”
Off-Road Trims and IsoDynamic Performance Seats
The Tacoma has not one, but three off-road trims on offer for 2024—or four if you count the two-wheel drive Tacoma PreRunner. Modeled after the reconnaissance vehicles used to gauge the safety of challenging off-road courses before races, the PreRunner holds its own thanks to a suspension lift, locking rear differential, and 17-inch wheels equipped with all-terrain tires.
That said, most off-road enthusiasts are going to gravitate towards the TRD Off-Road, which ups the ante with four-wheel drive and a full slate of rugged equipment ranging from an electronic locking rear differential and front stabilizer bar disconnect system to monotube Bilstein remote reservoir shocks and available six-speed manual transmission that allows for ultimate control when you’re tearing down the road less traveled.
New for 2024, the Tacoma’s Trailhunter trim is focused on the unique off-roading niche known as overlanding. Focused on long, multi-day or -week journeys through remote areas, overlanding typically isn’t about conquering massive obstacles or sprinting through the landscape at high speeds. This hobby might sound easier than your average off-road excursion, but the long-haul nature of overlanding presents some unique challenges, especially when it comes to cargo capacity. When you’re on the trail for days at a time, it’s important to be able to bring along everything you need for the trip, which is where the Trailhunter shines with its 1,700-lb max payload.
In addition to its higher-than-average cargo capacity, the Trailhunter also packs a full arsenal of robust off-road components ranging from Old Man Emu position-sensitive 2.5-inch forged monotube shocks with rear external piggyback-style remote reservoirs, extended air intake, three auxiliary toggle switches to power aftermarket accessories, 18-inch bronze wheels paired with 33-inch Goodyear Territory R/T tires, an ARB rear bumper with recovery points and high-lift jack points, and plenty of underbody protection thanks to the hot-stamped high-strength-steel skid plates. This pickup even features a 2,400-watt AC inverter that allows drivers to bring power tools and appliances along for the ride because there’s nothing like enjoying an ice-cold drink after a long day of overlanding.
Then there’s the TRD Pro. The Tacoma’s brawniest off-road trim shares the i-FORCE MAX Hybrid setup with the Trailhunter, which sees a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a 48-volt electric motor to give this pickup 326 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque to play around with, but it’s the TRD Pro’s off-road equipment that really justifies the $50,000 starting price…
A three-inch wide track? Got it. 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass QS3 adjustable dampers with remote reservoirs and Fox IFP (internal floating piston) hydraulic bump stops? Check. Electronically activated rear locking differential? Of course. The TRD Pro also comes with Rigid LED fog lamps, an ARB steel bumper, and red forged aluminum upper control arms, but we want to take a moment to focus on the pickup’s seats. Seating wouldn’t typically make the list of noteworthy off-road features, but that all changed when Toyota graced the Tacoma with its new IsoDynamic performance seats.
New for 2024, these segment-first seats come standard on the TRD Pro and feature something entirely unique in their built-in four-way shock absorption. The patent-pending feature allows the seats to actually move as you make your way over the bumps and ruts common to any off-road trail, stabilizing the driver’s field of vision while improving overall comfort and control. The air-over-oil shock absorbers can be easily spotted from the backseat, with two pistons stretching from the shoulders to the lower back.
The IsoDynamic performance seats are adjustable, too, with two dials on the rear that allow both driver and co-pilot to tweak their seats’ up-and-down and side-to-side motion. These seats might not be appreciated by a younger set of drivers, but they should be a bit of welcomed relief for those who become all-too-aware of their lower back or stiff neck after a long day of off-roading.
JBL Sound System and Portable Speaker
A theater-quality premium sound system has almost become par for the course in the competitive pickup segment, but the 2024 Tacoma is bringing something new to the mix with the help of the team at audio giant JBL.
JBL has been partnering with Toyota since 1998, crafting bespoke audio systems for a wide range of cars, trucks, and SUVs, but this company has also become a force to be reckoned with in the portable Bluetooth speaker market. JBL’s portable speakers have become a common sight at beaches, backyard soirees, and cookouts—and now Tacoma drivers can get in on the party with their very own detachable JBL Flex portable speaker.
The detachable JBL Flex portable speaker is sunk into its own cubby on the Tacoma’s dashboard, located just behind the 14.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display, and works just like a regular part of the vehicle’s audio system. The pickup’s stereo will play through the speaker right up until you park, at which point it can be detached and brought along to keep the party going no matter where your journey might take you.
The JBL speaker delivers a high-quality audio experience—especially for a portable speaker—and is stamped with a bold Tacoma wordmark to honor the unique collaboration. The feature might seem like a gimmick, but it speaks to the pickup segment’s increasing focus on such lifestyle-focused features that have become increasingly important to drivers as of late.
In addition to the new detachable JBL Flex portable speaker, a premium ten-speaker JBL Audio system is available on most trims, allowing drivers to enjoy a high-fidelity listening experience when they’re on the go. The audio company’s Clari-Fi technology delivers a high-definition listening experience designed to digitally restore some of the more delicate musical details that tend to get lost in the mix, resulting in a sound that’s as close to the original recording as possible.
JBL has also won praise for its QuantumLogic Surround (GLS) system that divides audio sources into separate streams, giving different elements like the vocal, lead instruments, and percussion their own distinct channels. These signals are then routed throughout the cabin and played from individual speakers in a bid to create the ideal surround-sound experience.
Making a Treasured Model Feel New
From its all-new platform and off-road offerings to innovative shock-absorbing seats, premium audio system, and detachable Bluetooth speaker, the 2024 Toyota Tacoma is making a strong case as the pickup segment’s breakout star. The Tacoma hits all the right beats, melding performance, luxury, off-road prowess, comfort, and convenience in a way that should be lauded as a roadmap for other pickup producers. Creature features and off-road trims aside, the Tacoma’s best selling point might just be the fact that it’s a Toyota.
This brand has become synonymous with reliability over the decades, creating dependable daily drivers that hold their value while minimizing the trips to the repair shop. With such a stellar reputation, it’s little wonder that Toyota’s trophy case is bursting at the seams with awards including Best Resale Value, Most Trusted Brand, Five-Year Cost of Ownership, and Best Overall Truck Brand filling the shelves—and this trend doesn’t look like it’ll be slowing down anytime soon if exciting models like the all-new 2024 Tacoma are any indication.