Monday, May 20, 2024
First Reviews2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max First Drive Review: Your New Favorite Midsize...

2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max First Drive Review: Your New Favorite Midsize Truck Starts at $63,390

The Toyota Tacoma will continue to rule the midsize truck space and they’ll still be on the road for decades


2024 Toyota Tacoma Pros

– i-Force Max power!

– Brilliantly styled, keeping the truck’s DNA intact.

– TRD Pro and Trailhunter trims to rule them all.


2024 Toyota Tacoma Cons

– 6-foot box only offered on Trailhunter.

– Priced like a premium vehicle, aka, not for a poor sap like me.


The old Taco is finally done! Well, we’ll still see some on the road for the next 40 to 50 years, but you’ll not be able to buy a new one anymore!! Welcome to a new era for the Toyota Tacoma, the 4th generation of its name, replacing the 3rd gen which lasted the better part of a decade. The new truck brings fresh elation with the introduction of the Trailhunter version, designed specifically for those who dare everything and are fearless.

2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The Tacoma’s legend extends beyond the boundaries of the midsize pickup. To an extent, this truck is Toyota’s flagship vehicle, more so than the Tundra or any SUV. This is one of those vehicles that a manufacturer cannot “screw up” and the good news for the giant Japanese automaker, they’ve done right by the Taco.


Trailhunter

The fourth generation Tacoma has undergone a thoughtful evolution in design while maintaining the rugged charm that has defined its silhouette over the years. No matter the trim, the new Tacoma’s styling is a proper evolution of the look we’ve fallen in love with since the mid-1990s.

2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The Trailhunter is the new top trim in the Taco’s well-garnished line-up. Tell-tale visuals include a strategically placed high-mount air intake, 33-inch Goodyear Territory Rugged-Terrain tires on 18-inch bronze alloy wheels, and distinctive exterior elements such as colour-changing LED fog lamps by RIGID Industries and a bronze “TOYOTA” grille with an integrated LED light bar. Other elements include underbody protection and a 6-foot bed.

Inside, the new Taco gains a completely new dashboard that is finally in line with the 21st century. It offers a large, easy-to-navigate 14-inch touchscreen displays featuring the latest Toyota Multimedia system, heated and cooled Softex front seats, and a heated steering wheel. Other items include 12.3-inch digital cluster, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a head-up display. And this is in the base Limited model. The major interior difference between the models is the addition of the surprising IsoDynamic Performance front seats in the TRD Pro. The latter are designed for Baja-inspired off-road driving control and comfort, and they absolutely work – we got to jump the TRD Pro at high speeds and felt little too nothing.

2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Overall, fit, finish, and materials is in equal parts very Toyota and of appreciable quality. Ergonomics are very good with a combination of physical buttons and the user-friendly interface. Storage is thoughtful throughout including the basket right of the shifter and the slot ahead of the passenger. Seats are generally comfortable even though I spent only a limited amount of time behind the wheel.


Hunting Trails

At the heart of this Tacoma is the i-FORCE MAX hybrid engine, the first-ever of its kind fitted in the truck. It is the same 2.4L turbocharged four-cylinder that utilizes an electric motor sandwiched between the engine and 8-speed automatic transmission found in the Land Cruiser and 4Runner. The power is both mighty and, on paper, efficient as it delivers 326 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque. The torque is remarkable as it comes in at only 1,700 rpm. Crawling and traversing through various off-road courses, the Taco never stops. And should momentum slow, the Tacoma has plenty of tricks up its sleeve.

2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Off-road prowess is guaranteed with features like crawl control, a rear locking differential, and a disconnecting sway bar, all complemented by a specially tuned suspensions in the TRD Pro (FOX QS3 three-way adjustable internal bypass shocks with remote reservoirs) while the Trailhunter rides on an Old Man Emu set up with forged monotube shocks with remote reservoirs.

We got to put the FOX components to the test with a 45 mph (72.5 km/h) jump which was deceptively effortlessly handled by the Taco. The IsoDynamic seats played a role in keeping occupants cozy. The Trailhunter essentially scoffed at all attempts to unsettle it with serious travel flexing and rocks. To be honest, cool though it was to off-road these trucks, it was also boring (except the jump) as the issue was never the Tacos, but the drivers…

2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

One feature on the Trailhunter that got me especially excited was the integrated snorkel. Not only does it seriously underline its off-road credentials but, with the windows down, grin-inducing intake and turbo-spool noises are heard – picture me punching the throttle for no apparent reason…


Pricing and Value

The Trailhunter is positioned as the new premium offering in the Tacoma lineup, and it’s loaded. The i-FORCE MAX Limited starts at a quasi-indecent $63,390 while the TRD Off-Road Premium fetches $64,850 (Bilstein shocks and rear locking differential).

Jumping up to the TRD Pro requires a $76,990 commitment – this is a $15,600 jump over the previous-generation. Yes, the new TRD Pro is outstanding but damn… And then there’s the Trailhunter. It’s said that its price reflects its specialized equipment and capabilities, and that amount is $82,950. The upside to both the TRD Pro and Trailhunter is that upgrades are basically unnecessary for their intended use. The off-side is that a new 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor starts at $77,945 and the 2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison is $72,000.

2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Conclusion

The new 2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max is an epic addition to the Taco and will undoubtedly sell well. I have, as do most midsize truck enthusiasts, have a penchant for the Taco. The ZR2 Bison is very special and would make me hesitate while the Raptor Jr would be left off the list for reliability reasons.

About reliability, Toyota promises that the i-Force engine will perfectly suit both long-time Toyota enthusiasts and newcomers seeking a dependable, capable, and long-lasting off-road companion, and that it will carry on the Tacoma’s legacy of quality and durability well into the future. I don’t doubt it for a moment.

2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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