It’s been the bestselling midsize truck in the U.S. market, but the Toyota Tacoma is facing some tough new competition. To hold on as king of the hill, the Japanese automaker has an all-new Tacoma coming for 2024. Among other things, it will mark the first time the midsize powerhouse will be offered with a hybrid powertrain, dubbed iForce Max.
While it’s not quite ready to pull off the wraps, the Japanese automaker dropped a teaser image of the 2024 Tacoma on Tuesday. It offered a few hints of what it will look like as it migrates to a new platform it will be sharing with the newest version of the full-size Toyota Tundra.
Toyota Is Hot for Hybrids
But the big news remains hidden under the hood where Tacoma is set to get a hybrid powertrain for the first time.
“The best-selling midsize pick-up in America is all-new for 2024 with electrifying iForce Max performance,” the automaker said in a terse news release.
But, what that means is unclear. When Toyota launched the latest-generation Tundra for 2022, it was fitted with a twin-turbo V-6 displacing 3.5L paired with an electric drive system, the combined package punching out as much as 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque.
Those are solid numbers in a full-size truck, but probably overkill in a midsize model, even one as rugged as the TRD Pro highlighted in today’s teaser image. So, there’s plenty of speculation about what hybrid drive system is being readied for Tacoma.
2024 Tacoma Powertrain: Several Options
Several options are being spotlighted, notably, the hybridized turbo-four found in both the Lexus RX500h and the new Toyota Crown where it makes as much as a still-impressive 366 horsepower. A single-turbo version of Tundra’s iForce hybrid package is another possibility.
Meanwhile, it’s uncertain whether the hybrid will be limited to just TRD Pro. Toyota has a variety of hybrid powertrains that could find their way into other Tacoma trims.
While Toyota has been slow to sign onto the EV bandwagon, it’s a big fan of “electrification” in the broader sense. During a media drive of the new 2023 Prius Prime last month, Toyota marketing VP Mike Tripp noted that the automaker will soon have 14 “electrified” products available in U.S. showrooms, almost all using conventional hybrid powertrains.
2024 Tacoma: Shared Truck/SUV Platform
Whatever Toyota comes up with, it will power a very different Tacoma than buyers curfrently are used to. For one thing, it shifts to a downsized version of the TNGA-F architecture first introduced for the new Tundra — and used under the Sequoia and LX600. It’s a more modern and flexible architecture that should expand on Tacoma’s already significant off-road capabilities.
Indeed, the automaker is widely expected to add an even more rugged model dubbed Trailhunter meant to take on the likes of the latest Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. That underscores the intensity of the battle within the revitalized midsize pickup segment.
U.S. Midsize Truck Competition
At a Colorado drive event earlier this year, Chevy marketing and advertising manager Mike Macphee declared that “This truck has been designed to go head-to-head” with Tacoma.
Toyota not only faces a new Chevy Colorado, but also the new GMC Canyon and the upcoming redesign of the Ford Ranger. The latest generation Nissan Frontier is also selling quite well.
Toyota officials have hinted that with the switch to the TNGA-F platform, they will have the ability to address some of the biggest complaints about Tacoma, starting with its limited headroom.
2024 Toyota Tacoma: Awaiting More Details
While the automaker has yet to release official pics of the new Tacoma, other than today’s back-end closeup, we did get digital renderings leaked out from Brazil where they were used for a patent application.
What we see is a truck sharing more design cues with Tundra, including new vertical LED taillights. And the midsize truck will add a new spoiler atop the tailgate.
In typical Toyota fashion, we can expect to see a series of additional teasers released in the weeks ahead, followed by a full unveiling midyear.