2024 Tacoma TRD Sport Double Cab review by Ben Lewis

It’s hard to imagine a more popular mid-size pickup truck than the Toyota Tacoma. If you don’t believe us, check out the prices on used ones. Even old and dodgy (Not Dodge-y) ones with hundreds of thousands of miles on them go for big bucks. It’s simple – these things hold up – even under massive amounts of abuse.

So now Toyota has introduced an all-new Tacoma. The 4th generation of a legend. So how does it stack up against the previous model? Let’s take a look!

Badass Adventure Machine

When Toyota came up with a mission statement for the new Tacoma they came up with “Badass Adventure Machine” – and it certainly looks the part.

This is an American vehicle, with design work done by Toyota’s CALTY Design Research Center in Newport Beach, California and Ann Arbor, Michigan, by the same team that led the design of all-new Tundra and Sequoia.

The CALTY team focused on Toyota’s truck DNA and the Toyota Baja race trucks for inspiration. High lift, big tires, slim body and a powerful athletic stance define the iconic Tacoma look, referred to as ”Tacoma-ness.”

Up front feels very Tacoma with a wide hexagonal upper grille, flanked by slim LED headlights and additional side grilles. A lower grille with horizontal LED fogs adds an aggressive look. Our TRD Sport also had a hood scoop on top and a lower air-dam below the bumper to give the Taco a hungry look.

The profile is pure mid-size truck, and there is a ton of muscle with a narrow-body look with massively bulging fender flares. The Tacoma sits tall too, with a high ride height and plenty of clearance in the wheel wells. We loved the multi-spoke 18-in machined alloy wheels. The Tacoma also cuts a large presence, it seems much larger than the previous model. (And wouldn’t fit in our garage, that easily held a Kia Telluride!)

The rear is simple and stylish with TACOMA emblazoned in the tailgate, and we love the integrated spoiler on the top of the gate, also with TACOMA molded into the top. The finishing touch for us was the Blue Crush Metallic paint that really helped the design pop.

Big Screen Territory

Inside the Taco reminds us of the all-new Tundra we recently tested, and that’s a very good thing!

Open the door, and you’ll find the same horizontal theme, reinforcing the feeling of spaciousness in the cabin. A big (or less big) advantage over the Tundra, you could easily get into the Tacoma’s cabin with having to haul yourself up to a very high seat.

Once you get into that seat, you immediately notice a big improvement over the previous Tacoma, where the old model felt like you were sitting on the floor, and also felt like the roofline was low, it was cramped. The new model sits you higher up in a much more comfortable position, and there’s enough headroom that our model could even enjoy a moonroof without feeling like you’re getting squished.

A comfy seat is good, because this is a cab you want to spend time in. Facing the driver is a handsome digital gauge cluster, again reminding us of the Tundra. A digital speedo surrounded by a nice 8,000 rpm tech feels sporty and is easy legible. Digital displays give a choice of info on the left, with trip computer readouts on the right. We also liked the horizontal bar displays for oil, coolant, battery and fuel.

The big fun is the huge 14-inch info-tainment display in the center stack. It’s a great resource with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on all Tacoma’s. Our tester had the optional Premium Audio Package which makes the connections wireless, and also lets you take advantage of the wireless charger.

A cool option is a JBL audio system with a FLEX portable speaker. When docked on the dash, the speaker charges and operates as the center channel speaker. When undocked, it works as a portable Bluetooth that can run for up to six hours, can be paired with other Toyota JBL® FLEX Portable Speakers, and even be submerged in up to three feet of water. Very cool!

The rear seats are comfortable for adults, and Toyota points out that the under-seat storage area is three times larger than before. Adding flexibility, the rear seatback can also fold down flat for additional loading surface.

Of course, Toyota also made some upgrades to the bed, which Is seven percent larger, deeper from rail to deck. Our tester had a 5-foot bed, and a 6-foot bed is also available. Engineers made sure a campsite fridge would fit under a closed tonneau cover. Nice.

The aluminum tailgate features an available power open and close function with a quick release and close button integrated on the side of either taillight. There’s even a hands-free tailgate auto-close function that is activated by simply pushing up the tailgate with your knee.

Modern Truck Performance

We love the looks and interior, but it’s the drive that really separates the Tacoma from its older siblings.

It starts with a turbocharged 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder under hood. On lower trims you get 228 horsepower, but our TRD Sport enjoys a boost up to a strong 278 horsepower and even more impressive 317 lb.-ft of torque at just 1,700 rpm. There’s also good news on the transmission front – a 6-speed manual is available, but power comes down a bit to 270 hp, and 310 lb. ft of torque. A marginal loss.

This is a powerhouse of an engine, and it pulls strongly and smoothly. We doubt many will miss the old V6. Our tester had an 8-speed automatic, and it works well with quick, clean shifts. Another advantage of the turbo 4 – a combined 20 mpg EPA rating. For a healthy-sized 4WD pickup, that’s impressive.

There are also two choices of suspensions. Lower trims will have rear leaf springs, but models like our tester have a new coil spring, multi-link rear suspension and it’s a game changer.

The ride is impressively smooth and controlled and there’s very little “truckiness” bouncing around. Also helping in the ride and handling department our TRD Sport tester has unique shocks for more responsive on-road handling – and this is fun truck to toss around. It always feels willing for your next adventure.

While we’re sure our tester would be capable off-road, the on-road is extremely impressive. It’s quiet, smooth, and with the excellent seating position is a very comfortable truck to do long distance. Those bringing toys along will appreciate a 6,500 lb. max towing capacity, or 1,700 lbs. of payload.

How Much to Own a Taco Truck?

Well, there’s a very broad range of models, so it depends on your wants and needs. You can get into a SR 2WD model starting at just $31,500, and for a modern, comfortable and efficient truck that’s great value.

Our TRD Sport is mid-level in the lineup and started at $42,600. Ours had a few nice options, including Premium Audio Package ($845), Deck Rail System ($70), Moonroof ($850) and heated seats ($585). Our tester rang the bell at $44,950.

Competitors would include the Honda Ridgeline at $44,430. The Honda is more car like, but with the new rear suspension the Tacoma has become very close. And if you do plan to do any off-road, the Toyota would be more capable. Those missing a V6 truck should consider the Nissan Frontier, and coming in at $43,139. It’s a nice truck, feeling like an evolution of the previous model, but the Tacoma feels revolutionary – so it boils down to how traditional you want to be.

It’s been a long wait for the all-new Tacoma. With great looks, a modern interior, and a powerful, capable powertrain, the 2024 Tacoma is once again best-in-class!

Ben Lewis grew up in Chicago, and after spending his formative years driving sideways in the winter – often intentionally – moved to sunny Southern California. He now enjoys sunny weather year-round — whether it is autocross driving, aerobatics, and learning to surf.

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