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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

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A side view of a black 2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD PreRunner parked off-road.

Which 2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Is Right for You?

The redesigned 2024 Toyota Tacoma has taken this iconic midsize pickup to all-new heights, especially when it comes to its already-impressive off-road capabilities. In fact, no fewer than five of the eight available trims are performance-focused, catering to a broad spectrum of truck enthusiasts. While the 2023 Tacoma offered the TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, and TRD Pro, the 2024 Tacoma adds the all-new TRD PreRunner to the mix and upgrades the returning trims with new options, making choosing the right truck more complicated. If that isn’t enough, there is also the new overlanding-focused Trailhunter trim, which competes with the TRD Pro for the top spot in the lineup even though it doesn’t wear the Toyota Racing Development name. That’s a lot to choose from, but which one is right for you?

TRD PreRunner

The all-new TRD PreRunner is a unique option in the modern off-road truck market. While crew cabs and short beds have become the norm these days, the PreRunner is a throwback with its standard two-door XtraCab and six-foot bed. It only has seating for two, devoting the space behind the front row to storage with lockable compartments in the floor and rear panel. This is a very bare-bones truck by modern standards and will likely appeal to the overlander, camper, or hunter who needs plenty of cargo space and isn’t too concerned about luxury features or passenger space.

When it comes to performance, the TRD PreRunner again sticks to the basics. While it comes with aggressive all-terrain tires and a locking rear differential, it is only available in rear-wheel drive. This limits its potential as a serious off-road vehicle but gives it enough traction to handle dirt roads and campsites without any issues. Unfortunately, there is one place where this trim did not stick to the basics––it cannot be equipped with the Tacoma’s optional six-speed manual transmission. Altogether, the TRD PreRunner is a fairly specialized trim that will be passed over by many shoppers in favor of the higher-end options. However, if you want a no-nonsense truck that won’t be embarrassed venturing off the pavement occasionally, then this option might just be for you.

TRD Sport

While the TRD PreRunner only comes in a single configuration, the TRD Sport has plenty of options. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but most adventurers will be happy to hear that four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case is an option. You can also choose between a five-foot bed and a six-foot bed, although the only cab option is a four-door double cab with seating for five passengers. When it comes to the powertrain, you can choose to go old-school and pair the standard 2.4L turbocharged engine with a six-speed manual transmission, or you can leap into the future with the available i-FORCE MAX hybrid. Upgrading to the hybrid won’t do much for your fuel economy, but it will provide you with a staggering 465 lb-ft of torque––that’s 64 lb-ft more than you got from the 5.7L V8 in the previous-generation Tundra!

However, despite having four-wheel drive available, in many ways, the off-road performance of the TRD Sport is a step backwards from the TRD PreRunner. The most glaring deficiency is the all-season tires, although it is easy to replace them with a set of good all-terrains. The TRD Sport is also missing several smaller features, such as the electronic locking rear differential, dual front recovery hooks, and underbody fuel tank protection of the TRD PreRunner. Overall, the TRD Sport is aimed more at drivers who spend their time on the pavement, and if that describes you, then you will likely enjoy this trim. With upgraded coil spring suspension, an added rear stabilizer bar, and the choice between a manual transmission and an incredibly powerful hybrid, this is a fun truck to drive on the road.

A red 2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road driving up a hill with a black 2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter.

TRD Off-Road

If you are looking to take advantage of the legendary off-road capabilities of the Toyota Tacoma, then the TRD Off-Road is a great place to start. This trim comes standard with four-wheel drive, a two-speed transfer case, and a locking rear differential for incredible traction on the trail. It also sports all-terrain tires on 17-inch wheels for plenty of sidewall. In terms of power, you have the same options as the TRD Sport––either a 2.4L turbocharged engine with an optional six-speed manual transmission or a powerful i-FORCE MAX hybrid. One cool aspect of the manual transmission in the Tacoma is that it includes automatic rev-matching and anti-stall technology, making it easier to use when negotiating technical terrain. It even has a special Clutch Start Cancel feature that lets you start the engine with the clutch engaged to prevent rollback.

In addition to the powertrain upgrades, the TRD Off-Road includes a collection of other off-road features. Like the TRD PreRunner, it comes equipped with dual front tow hooks and underbody protection for the fuel tank and transfer case. However, one of the best features is the optional Stabilizer Disconnect Mechanism, which will let you disconnect the front stabilizer bar at the press of a button for additional articulation. This is a new feature for the 2024 Tacoma and will really come in handy if you are a fan of rock crawling. You can also add a 3D Multi-Terrain Monitor camera system if you opt for the TRD Off-Road Premium Package, which lets you act as your own spotter. The TRD Off-Road isn’t the most capable option in the 2024 Tacoma trim lineup, but it will live up to the off-road expectations of all but the most demanding truck owners.


The final option to wear the Toyota Racing Development name is the TRD Pro. Ever since it was introduced in 2015, the Tacoma TRD Pro has represented the pinnacle of off-road trucks, and the 2024 version takes things to slightly ridiculous levels. Like the TRD PreRunner, it is only offered in a single configuration, but this configuration is for a double-cab short bed with the i-FORCE MAX hybrid powertrain and four-wheel drive. Not only does this truck have more torque than competing options like the Chevy Colorado ZR2 or Ford Ranger Raptor, but it also has plenty of specialized performance features to back up that power, making it the trim of choice for the most serious off-road enthusiasts.

The TRD Pro rides higher than the other Tacoma trims, thanks to a one-inch factory lift and larger 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory all-terrain tires. There is also a high cut front bumper to improve the truck’s approach angle, while an aluminum front skid plate, ARB steel rear bumper, and side rocker protection help shield the truck from damage. These are the most obvious off-road features of the TRD Pro, but they are far from the only upgrades that Toyota has given its ultimate off-road trim. One of the most important upgrades is the FOX QS3 coilovers. These shocks include three-position adjustable compression and rebound, as well as remote reservoirs to handle the roughest terrain.

Inside, the TRD Pro sports segment-first IsoDynamic front seats that include their own shock absorbers to keep you from bouncing around too much when tearing down the trail. It also brings off-road technology in the form of Multi-Terrain Select with six terrain modes, Crawl Control to manage throttle and braking at low speeds, and Downhill Assist Control. Further, optional features from the TRD Off-Road, like the Multi-Terrain Monitor and Stabilizer Disconnect Mechanism come standard on the TRD Pro. If you are looking for the ultimate off-road machine, this version of the Tacoma will not disappoint.

A white 2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro driving off-road.

It’s Time to Hit the Trail

Although there are four options from Toyota Racing Development to choose from, diving into the details of the different 2024 Tacoma trims reveals that each serves its own distinct purpose. The new TRD PreRunner stands out as a unique option for drivers searching for a no-frills truck with basic off-road features. The TRD Sport provides minimal off-road capability but is a fun-to-drive model for all your daily adventures. The TRD Off-Road lives up to its name with all the off-road features most drivers could wish for and makes a superb all-around option. Finally, the TRD Pro takes the Tacoma to new heights with class-exclusive features, allowing it to compete with segment leaders like the Colorado ZR2 and Ranger Raptor.

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