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2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4x4 Double Cab review

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4x4 Double Cab
Mark Savage
Savage On Wheels
2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4x4 Double Cab left front

Pickup lovers whose lives have become too simple can put down their prayer books, fold up their prayer rugs, or hang up their spirit crystals. Toyota has answered their prayers with its new Tacoma pickup.

Like all new trucks, it’s bigger and better and pricier, but being mid-size it’s just right in the dimensional department.

Choices? Here’s where that simplicity has been exorcized. Tacoma comes in six trims with a hybrid model being prepped in the vestibule. With that there will be three powerplant choices, two cab choices, two bed-length choices and two rear suspension choices.

Options? Those are just more choices, predestined likely by your initial choices.

Time to pray for some additional guidance? Let me try to help.

First, Tacoma is the mid-size pickup sales leader but has been freshly redesigned for 2024 with an additional 4.5 inches of wheelbase, an extra inch in length for the most popular Double Cab version and about 350 additional pounds, not to mention a higher price tag. More on that in a bit.

Gone is the former Tacoma 3.5-liter V6 and 6-speed automatic transmission. Now there’s a peppy 2.4-liter turbo iForce 4-cylinder that makes 228 horsepower in the base SR model and 278 horses in the rest of the lineup, except the coming hybrid. Those 278 ponies represent the same power as the former V6, but with more torque at 317 pound-feet. Result, it’ll still pull 6,400 pounds of trailer, but gets better fuel economy. Winner!

How so? Well the old V6 was rated at 18 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, the new smaller turbo is rated 1 mpg better on both and I was pleased to get 21.9 mpg myself. I’d managed just 15.9 mpg in the previous V6 model.

Upgraded too is the rear suspension in all but the three lower trim levels, the SR, SR5 and TRD Pre-Runner, a new model this year. Those trims still use Toyota’s leaf-spring rear suspension while the upper trim level models, including the tested Tacoma TRD Off-Road Double Cab, go with a more sophisticated coil spring system, as do most of Tacoma’s competitors.

The result is a somewhat more refined car-like ride in this body-on-frame truck. Oh, there’s still bounce as in all pickups, but with less severe thumps and bumps, so if you’re not off-roading, simply dodging pot holes and road construction the ride is a bit tamer.

That’s your suspension choice, but to get it one must move decidedly upscale.

Naturally, there’s still the Xtra Cab model just in SR trim. That comes with a front seat, no second row, but room for interior storage. Think work truck, not family hauler. It comes with a 6-foot bed and a 6-speed manual transmission is available, so just the basics.

Just one level up, the SR5 and trims beyond offer a 5-foot or 6-foot bed, but all feature the horsier engine and only one transmission, a new 8-speed automatic that aids the fuel mileage. It’s mostly smooth but occasionally seems to hunt for gears at lower speeds. Yet it felt quite perky as the truck accelerated quickly to highway speeds where it was a comfortable cruiser.

Handling is ok, but while this is a mid-size truck, the turning radius still seems large when trying to park it in a tight parking lot. Ride, as mentioned, is improved but remains trucky.

The tested dark Blue Crush Metallic TRD (Toyota Racing Development, not a crude scatological term) Off-Road is, well, aimed mostly at serious off-roaders and trailer haulers. The good news, it comes with the more powerful engine, coil springs and an updated interior with a 12.3-inch driver digital gauge cluster while an 8-inch info screen is standard.

But the test truck added a high-priced ($8,800) premium package that was loaded with goodies most of us would desire, including a monster 14-inch info screen. Toyota has mastered the touchscreen now so it’s easy to use. That driver instrument cluster though was confusing with various buttons to push on the steering wheel’s left hub to adjust its view. Simple it was not, taking several minutes and multiple button pushes to even locate the trip odometer. Choices!

Still, a trucker who enjoys masculine interior design will enjoy the new Tacoma digs, a big upgrade from earlier models and squarish in design like some of its competitors.

In addition to the aforementioned screens, there are SofTex-trimmed gray seats, that fake leather being perforated. The powered seats also are comfy and heated and cooled up front. There’s also a grab handle on the passenger’s side console. It and all door pulls are rubberized for comfort and easy grip.

The dash featured a pewter-look plastic trim that carries over to door releases, air vents, and steering wheel trim. TRD is emblazoned on the door panels and on carpeted floor mats too.

It was easy to find all the buttons I needed daily, but do note there are 12 buttons on the dash just to the left of the wheel. Not all are used, but there are plenty of extras if you add more features, again, choices. I’d add a flat-bottom steering wheel to free up a little leg room as I’m a shorter driver, so closer to the wheel. So far, not an option.

Let’s get back to that pricy premium package as it adds a lot of options that made the test truck attractive, including a sunroof, premium JBL sound system, thick leather-trimmed wheel, many of those auxiliary switches mentioned above, a Smart Key function for your phone, digital rearview mirror and sliding power rear window over the bed.

In back, it adds an impressive power tailgate that easily lowered itself and if you try to shut it manually the power unit takes over to slowly close it. No fuss, no effort.

The package also includes a bed-mounted air compressor and AC power inverter, something more pickups are offering these days so one can operate power equipment from the truck’s bed. This Tacoma also added a $200 rubber bed mat over its plastic-coated bed. It would help hold items in place and could aid in quieting a noisy load of lumber, etc.

Plus, the premium package added more towing equipment with a towing tech package and trailer-brake controller in the package. All that can be operated, along with three drive modes via a dial on the console. Pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

For off-roading this TRD added a sway-bar disconnect mechanism ($1,250 extra) another item many competitors are offering. Jeep was among the first as this helps give wheels more play when juggling a rocky mountain trail climb. Note the Tacoma starts with 9.4 inches of ground clearance.

Safety is covered too with Toyota Safety Sense 3 system, plus the TRD Off-Road comes with blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert. Both are options on lower trim levels.

Things the TRD could still use? Well, running boards as it’s a 2-foot leap up into the cab, and there’s an annoying warning beep any time one leaves the window down and exits. Oh really? Drivers do leave windows down in summer. Stop this chiming madness!

Then there’s pricing. The tested TRD lists at $44,895 and with the big option package and a few minor add-ons it hit $54,829. That’s pricey, but there are other options including that base SR at $34,490. Yet to get the larger cab and engine, plus AWD, etc. one must move up to the SR5 at $39,190, or the TRD Pre-Runner at $41,090.

A TRD Sport lists at $42,390, then the test trim, and finally the Limited at $55,090.

As for the hybrid, well, it’ll run about $50,000, but will have 326 horsepower and get even better fuel economy.

Whichever version answers your prayers know that Tacoma has had a great reliability history along with good resale value. Tacoma’s prime competitors are the Ford Ranger and Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon, plus Honda’s Ridgeline, Jeep’s Gladiator and Nissan’s Frontier.

FAST STATS: 2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4x4 Double Cab

Hits: Off-road focused, good power with improved fuel economy, 4WD and beaucoup trailering functionality. Mid-size truck w/comfy heated/cooled front seats, heated wheel, sunroof, power rear window, Toyota Safety Sense 3, wireless charging, huge touchscreen, power tailgate with plugs in bed, plus reliable with good resale value.

Misses: Bouncy, but improved ride, fairly large turning radius, driver gauge adjustment too cumbersome, annoying “window open” warning beeps, also pricey, needs running boards, flat-bottom steering wheel.

Made in: Mexico

Engine: iForce 2.4-liter, turbo I4, 278 horsepower/317 torque

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Weight: 4,794lbs.

Length: 213 in.

Wheelbase: 131.9 in.

Tow: 6,400 lbs.

MPG: 19/23

MPG: 21.9(tested)

Base Price: $44,895 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $41,702

Major Options:

Stabilizer bar disconnect mechanism, $1,230

Off-road premium pkg. (SofTex-trimmed heated/cooled power front seats, leather-trimmed steering wheel, 14.0-inch info touchscreen, Multi-Terrain Monitor, premium JBL audio system, power sunroof, auxiliary switches, AC power inverter, bed-mounted air compressor, Smart Key, digital rearview mirror, towing technology package with trailer-brake controller, power tailgate, power rear window)), $8,800

Bed mat, $200

Ball mount, $70

Mini tie-down, $45

Gunmetal tailgate insert, $89

Test vehicle: $54,829

Sources: Toyota, www.kbb.com

Mark Savage writes the auto review column, Savage On Wheels, for WUWM (formerly for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and Savageonwheels.com. He is the former executive editor of American Snowmobiler magazine and FineScale Modeler magazine, both part of Kalmbach Media in Waukesha.
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