2024 Toyota Tacoma: Still the King?

Published on November 28, 2023 in Test Drives by Antoine Joubert

The Toyota Tacoma has been dominating the midsize pickup segment for a number of years, both in Canada and the U.S. Up north, it currently owns a 25-percent market share, with GM’s Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon a close second.

New generations are few and far between. The first one (1995-2004) had more of a compact size, while the second (2005-2015) and third (2016-2023) were considered midsize trucks by today’s standards. The Tacoma’s evolution over the years has been a timid one, although the company has made sure to address the many wants and needs of customers.

With a brand new Nissan Frontier that debuted for 2022, redesigned Colorado and Canyon following a year later, and the latest Ford Ranger now looking to out-muscle everybody, Toyota simply couldn’t afford to wait longer. And we haven’t even mentioned the expected return of a midsize pickup at Ram.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Meet the New 2024 Toyota Tacoma

Built on the TNGA-F body-on-frame chassis, the new 2024 Tacoma is stiffer and sharper, using all sorts of advanced and high-strength materials. The interior of the cargo bed is made of ultra-strong resin, eliminating the need for any kind of bedliner including spray-on protection. Meanwhile, the bedsides and hood are made of aluminum, contributing to a 14-percent lighter body.  

Unlike Ford and GM, Toyota continues to offer two different bed sizes (5 or 6 feet). There’s also a four-door Double Cab and a new two-door XtraCab with clever storage features behind the front seats (not available in Canada for now).

Photo: Antoine Joubert

What’s more, all Tacoma models now come standard with four-wheel drive. Two of them retain the option of a six-speed manual gearbox even though it accounted for just 2 percent of Tacoma sales last year. No other competitor, save for the Jeep Gladiator, does the same.

Same Size, But…

The 2024 Toyota Tacoma is pretty much identical in size to its predecessor. However, the wheelbase is longer, improving ride quality and increasing approach/departure angles at the same time. A massive new spoiler sits below the front bumper, creating a more aerodynamic profile. It can easily be removed for off-road driving purposes and doubles as a skid plate on models that don’t have any.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

The new Tacoma will launch this winter with a turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine producing 278 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 52 lb-ft from the outgoing V6. And it makes a world of difference. The truck feels livelier and seems to have an easier time handling most chores. Fuel economy is also improved in the process, but the 6-8 percent savings claimed by Toyota are rather disappointing when you think about the old mill’s obsolete technology and the company’s renowned expertise in developing efficient powertrains.

Official fuel ratings have yet to be announced, by the way, and this goes for the optional i-Force Max hybrid system, too. The latter churns out 326 horsepower and a stout 465 lb-ft of torque, likely prioritizing performance over frugality.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Toyota gave us the keys to a wide array of Tacoma models, from the base SR 4x2 (exclusive to the U.S. market) to the fully equipped TRD Sport. There were TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road models equipped with a manual transmission that, according to Toyota, has no impact on fuel economy.  

Comparing the new Tacoma with the outgoing generation also revealed the enhancements made to Toyota’s midsize pickup as far as comfort and noise levels are concerned. In particular, a newly available multi-link rear suspension, derived from the Tundra, replaces the previous leaf springs in favour of a set of coils, ensuring superior stability. It’s a meticulously designed system that can adapt to various applications, with the TRD models getting upgraded components for tackling more challenging terrains. The Tacoma also now gets four-wheel disc brakes for increased braking performance (how could Toyota wait so long?), and the TRD models receive a larger front brake package.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Versatile at Last

Another great thing about the 2024 Toyota Tacoma is the much roomier cabin enabling a better driving position. The seats are comfortable and multi-way adjustable, and accessing them is no longer a problem, let alone a deal breaker. Furthermore, the interior proves a heck of a lot more modern than the previous one, with a number of clever storage solutions throughout.

The new dashboard features a digital instrument panel and an 8- or 14-inch centre touchscreen depending on the model. Fit and finish could still be improved, as we found too many grey plastic surfaces inside the redesigned Tacoma. Metallic-looking trim pieces attempt to catch out attention but to no avail. Keep in mind the various units we tested were pre-production models requiring some more fine-tuning.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Some of the available features worth mentioning include 360-degree cameras providing a clearer view of tough-to-see areas around the truck and trailer, a premium 10-speaker JBL audio system with a portable Bluetooth speaker, a power-assisted tailgate, as well as full LED lighting.

How Much?

As you’d expect, all of these new features and enhancements come at a price. In Canada, the base 2024 Toyota Tacoma SR5 4x4 Double Cab with a 6-foot bed tops $50,000 when you include freight, PDI and dealer fees. Obviously, with many more models to choose from, it’s easy to spend more than $60,000, even $70,000 in the case of the overlanding-ready Tacoma Trailhunter.

That being said, the new Tacoma has everything you’d want in a midsize pickup—a solid powertrain, modern tech and amenities, robust construction and fantastic looks. Towing capacity? Hum, the numbers aren’t segment-leading, but Toyota says the Tacoma can confidently pull loads of up to 6,500 lbs whereas some competitors with higher ratings seem to struggle at times.

Watch: 2024 Toyota Tacoma First Look

Test drive report
Test model 2024 Toyota Tacoma
Trim level TRD Hors Route Cabine Double 5.0'
Price range $46,350 – $59,550
Price as tested 46 410 $
Warranty (basic) 3 years/60,000 km
Warranty (powertrain) 5 years/100,000 km
Fuel economy (city/highway/observed) 13,0 / 10,2 / N/A L/100km
Options N/A
Competitive models Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, Honda Ridgeline, Jeep Gladiator, Nissan Frontier
Strong points
  • Comfort levels are way up
  • Turbo-four engine is a good match
  • Increased versatility
  • Excellent build quality
Weak points
  • Prices are way up, too
  • XtraCab not available in Canada (for now)
  • Below-average towing capacity
  • A thief magnet
Editor's rating
Fuel economy 3.0/5 Frankly, we expected better from Toyota.
Comfort 4.0/5 Now one of the most comfortable trucks in its class.
Performance 4.0/5 The new turbo-four has plenty of low-end torque and delivers much better performance than the old V6.
Infotainment 4.0/5 Another area that’s vastly improved.
Driving 4.0/5 A pleasant pickup with an extra layer of fun in the form of a manual transmission.
Overall 4.0/5 The new Tacoma is impressive and the hybrid variants coming up promise to be even better.
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