The New 2024 Toyota Tacoma Has Acceded to the Throne
The Tacoma hasn’t been redesigned since 2016, and its chassis dates back to 2005. Why mess with a good thing?
The Ford F-Series is the king of trucks, or so we have been led to believe.
The full-size model line represents a roughly $40 billion business on its own and Ford delivered 750,789 in the U.S. in 2023, which was an off-year.
It has been the best-selling truck in the USA since 1977 and the best-selling of all vehicles since 1981.
Few products in history have dominated their market the way the F-Series does, except that its recent success comes with an asterisk.
You see, while Ford only sells the F-Series, General Motors splits its big truck sales between the mechanically identical Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
Combined, they actually outsold the F-Series by 100,000 units last year, so both companies get their bragging rights.
Ford can say it makes the best selling truck model, and GM can say it is the top truckmaker. So, it’s more of a diarchy than a monarchy.
Things are different in the midsize pickup class.
There, the Toyota Tacoma has been number one since 2008 and last year there was no dispute.
Toyota sold about 235,000 Tacomas, which equalled the total sales of the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Plus the Nissan Frontier and the Honda Ridgeline, just for good measure.
Granted, some of the other brands had a harder time dealing with supply issues and strikes, but the Tacoma hasn’t had a close sales race in years.
What makes this particularly impressive is that the Tacoma hasn’t been redesigned since 2016, and its chassis dates back to 2005. Why mess with a good thing?
Toyota finally has, and playing King of the Hill just got a lot tougher for the competition.
The 2024 Tacoma is all-new and built on the same platform that’s being used for the larger Tundra, the Sequoia and the upcoming Land Cruiser. If the Tacoma had any shortcomings, they’ve all been addressed.
Aside from its boxy new styling, the biggest change is the size. Overall it is pretty much the same, but a longer wheelbase makes for a much roomier cabin. The last Tacoma was teeny inside and had economy class seating, but the new one feels like a big truck up front and offers far more room in the rear. Several models have a 14-inch infotainment system display that looks bigger than the doors on the old Tacoma.
The Tacoma is available in more than 20 body, bed and trim combinations at starting prices ranging from $32,995 to $53,595. No other brand offers anywhere near that variety.
They all have a 2.4-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that’s rated at 228 hp in the entry level model and 278 hp in all the rest. That is unless you pass on the eight-speed automatic transmission and order it with the six-speed manual, which comes with a 270 hp version of the motor.
All Tacomas feature rear disc brakes for the first time and most models have a coil spring rear suspension that provides a better ride than leaf springs. There are plenty of 4×4 grades to choose from, but my first experience was with a mid-level rear-wheel-drive TRD Sport that, of course, arrived during New York’s only snowy week of the year.
The TRD Sport features street-tuned shocks and all season tires. As with all Tacomas, it has a full package of standard electronic driver aids that includes a lane-tracing adaptive cruise control system that keeps the Tacoma smack in the middle of the lines as long as you don’t take your hands completely off the wheel.
The ride quality is significantly improve and, despite its paved-road focus, the TRD Sport didn’t mind going for a detour down a snowy gravel road. Its traction management system had no trouble handling the slippery surface. An electronic locking rear differential is standard and helpful in these situations and when towing at the Tacoma’s maximum 6,500-pound rating.
The engine is as powerful as the previous Tacoma’s V6, delivers 22 mpg combined and sounds great with the exhaust you get on the TRD Sport. Toyota has a hybrid model on the way, but is primarily aimed at improving performance with a 326 hp powertrain, rather than efficiency.
It will be the only hybrid in the midsize class, but the Tacoma isn’t the only new truck.
A new Colorado and Canyon were introduced last year and there’s an all-new Ford Ranger coming this spring, while the Frontier and Ridgeline were also recently updated.
They’re all pretenders to the throne until they can take it, but loyalty runs deep with midsize buyers. The “Taco” has earned it by being both the most reliable truck and the one that holds its value the best.
Only time will tell if the new one can live up to that legacy, but the new Tacoma’s owners should enjoy trying to find out.