Pay Attention: Toyota Unveils New Tacoma

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Why are we asking you to pay attention? Because thanks to Toyota’s glacier-like design cycle, it is entirely possible this is an event that will happen infrequently in our lifetimes. Hot on the heels of a new Colorado/Canyon and fresh Ranger, the Big T has unleashed a new Tacoma.

We may revisit this topic next week to avoid turning this post into a gazillion-word tome rivaling War & Peace; such is the amount of change hurled by Toyota at their best-selling midsize pickup truck. The upshot is this – two new engines (one’s a hybrid), the manual transmission remains, there are 8 trim configurations (three of which retain rear leaf springs), and the top-tier is now shared by the ‘go far’ Trailhunter and the ‘go fast’ TRD Pro.

First, engines. The non-hybrid Tacoma is powered by a 2.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with transmission choices comprised of an 8-speed automatic or 6-speed manual. SR trims eke 228 horsepower and 243 lb-ft of torque from this mill, whilst other trims get 278 ponies and 317 lb-ft of twist. Subtract 8 and 7 respectively if you select the manual box.

Like its big-bro Tundra, this mill is appended with hybrid gubbins as an option in pricier trims (TRD Sport and up). It tag teams an electric motor and 1.87-kWh nickel-metal hydride battery to produce a system total of 326 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque. If you think that twist beats even the gonzo Ranger Raptor, you’re exactly correct. This powerplant is only available with the automatic transmission.

Let’s start at entry-level since we know you lot are weird and like base trucks. The SR and SR5 XtraCab are two-door variants with a six-foot bed and a functional rear cabin storage area (read: No rear doors and no rear seats). Returning for 2024, the TRD PreRunner is available in the XtraCab configuration with two-wheel drive only. It is these three trucks which are remain equipped with the old-school leaf springs out back as standard gear, though they do get four-wheel discs like everything else. In short – if you see a 2024 Tacoma XtraCab, it’ll have leaf springs. Toyota is choosing not to offer these trims in some markets.

Leaping up the ladder, we find an SR5 Double Cab with twin-tube shocks and multilink rear suspension. The popular TRD Sport (and every other trim from here on out) is available only as a Double Cab and the hybrid engine as an option or standard kit. TRD Sport trims get some burly details like red TRD-tuned suspenders, a hood scoop, and unique wheels. TRD Off-Road trims, meanwhile level up with Bilstein shocks, locking rear diff, and available front stabilizer bar disconnect. Meaty 33-inch tires are available.

Off to the left we find the Limited trim. This is the one for yer old man as it comes with luxury features like a 14-inch infotainment screen (as to all the trims from here on out), adaptive variable suspension, power running boards, and an easy-to-use full-time 4x4 system. Add heated/cooled seats and a JBL audio system to round out the package.

But what you really want to hear about are the Trailhunter and TRD Pro trims. These will share the limelight atop the Tacoma food chain, appealing to customers who desire gobs of off-road capability right out of the box. But this is more than just a lick of paint and some stickers; the differences between these two are myriad, with the Trailhunter geared towards overlanders and the TRD Pro aimed at desert runners.

Trailhunter trucks (great name, by the way) get 2.5-inch Old Man Emu forged monotube position-sensitive shocks with rear piggyback style remote reservoirs, forged aluminum upper control arms, 33-inch Goodyear Territory tires, a raft of skid plates, and the expected rear locker. That slick high-mounted air intake up the A-pillar is standard and looks way better than the existing unit which must be goofily turned backward when driving in inclement weather.

Rounding things out are an integrated air compressor and 2.4kW inverter, rock rails, plenty of recovery points, fog lamps which can flip from yellow to white, and an electrically disconnecting front sway bar. Also peep the removable JBL speaker here and in some of its brethren for tailgating tuneage.

Taking up residence right next door is the TRD Pro. It chooses 2.5-in. Fox internal bypass shocks with a trio of settings and rear piggyback style remote reservoirs, pairing up well with nifty rear bump stops that have internal floating pistons. In other words, this thing will land like a pillow. We again find forged aluminum upper control arms (red, this time), locking rear diff, stabi-bar disconnect, and 33-inch Goodyears. Skid plates abound, as does a power inverter and a bank of factory AUX switches (the latter available on other trims – thank you, Toyota).

We’d be remiss not to mention those outrageous seats; called IsoDynamic Performance, they use an air-over-oil shock absorber system permitting vertical and lateral seat movement simultaneously to dampen body movement and stabilize the head and neck to keep alignment with the spine. It’s apparently tunable based on body mass, can be switched off by Luddites, and are a tremendous party piece to show off.

The new Tacoma will go on sale later this year, with hybrid models arriving in early 2024. Manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale dates.

[Images: Toyota]

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Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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4 of 23 comments
  • Zang Zang on May 20, 2023

    i gotta feel bad for the GM and Ford engineers on the Colorado/Ranger who just had Toyota completely overshadow their launches.

    Whereas they cut trims and options and pretty much phoned it in, Toyota went the other way and has everything from basic utility to broverlander covered. It even has a stick.

  • VoGhost VoGhost on May 20, 2023

    As this is the final ICE Tacoma, I expect resale values to be even better than previous models. Of course, you'll want to get one at MSRP or below to take advantage.

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  • Pig_Iron 💝