2024 Tacoma First Test Drive Impressions

2024 Tacoma TRD OR Solar Octane - First Driving Impressions

All-New 4th Gen (2024+) Tacoma Pre-Release Driving Experience

If you haven’t heard yet, Toyota has killed off the beloved 3.5L V6 in favor of a 2.4L Turbo Inline 4cyl for the new 4th Gen.

I recently had the opportunity to drive one in Malibu, California during Toyota’s National Press Preview Event (NPP). Why does it matter that the NPP was in Malibu? Well, I’ll tell you. The 3rd Gen has a major Achille’s heel, its unhappy constant gear hunting 6-speed automatic transmission. This paired with a very reliable yet underwhelming V6 resulted in a rather fatiguing driving experience for those driving through canyons, mountain passes, or also while at elevation.

So, why did Toyota choose Malibu then? If you aren’t familiar with the Malibu landscape, this stunning coastal city has canyons, rolling hills, and also some rather steep grades that mimic every sort of villainous terrain the outgoing 3rd Gen hates. I believe this event location was chosen to intentionally showcase how great this new powertrain is both on-road and off-road, and ultimately prove to us, that we won’t miss the 2GR-FKS V6 at all…

More 4th Gen news…

On-Road Review

2024 Tacoma Solar Octane - Driving Experience

This all-new i-FORCE is powered by a 2.4L Turbo Inline 4-Cylinder making 278 horsepower and 317ft-lbs of torque (which comes on a a very low 1700 RPM). This powerplant is paired with either a 6-speed manual or an all-new 8-speed transmission.

I was lucky enough to drive four models at this event and I’ll break them down individually in this section, but I want to talk about some commonalities I noticed between all the trucks. First off, turbo sounds galore! This single turbo was an awesome turbo spool sound that is very present throughout the RRM range. With peak torque coming on at 1700 RPM, it takes off from a dead stop with ease and almost feels a little diesel-like with its low-end torque.

The seating position of this truck was significantly improved so you no longer feel as if you are sitting on the floor of the Tacoma like you did in the previous gen. The automatic transmission was very happy in the hills of California, it never seemed like it wanted to hunt for gears at all. Rather the new automatic always seemed to be at the perfect RPM to deliver instant power when the gas pedal was depressed.

The new trucks all seemed to have very minimal wind and road noise thanks to the standard active noise cancelation (minus manual transmission trucks). Lastly, the electronic power steering (EPS) was a dream to work within the canyons when compared to the clunky hydraulic steering of the outgoing model.

Every trim level is different in its own way though. Let’s break it down a little further with each model I was able to drive.

SR5 Double Cab Long Bed

This truck was a boat! However, weirdly, it seemed nimble enough to drive through the canyons. The suspension on this SR5 model was neither too firm nor too soft. I remember my 2021 TRD Off-Road DCLB that I previously owned, being very bouncy when compared to this new truck with the longer bed. I think that has to do with the new multi-link rear end that the new double-cab Tacomas come with when compared to the outgoing truck’s leaf spring setup in the rear.

TRD PreRunner

This truck was one of my favorites to drive on the road for some reason. I’m not sure if it is because it was so small and lightweight or what, but it felt like a little rocket ship! Unlike the SR5 with the long bed, this TRD PreRunner’s bed liked to bounce around a little bit, and I think that was due to it being an XtraCab and having leaf springs rather than the new multi-link rear end. The Bilstein-tuned off-road shocks did help smooth that bouncing sensation out a bit.

I have no doubts that this truck would shine out in the desert going 80+ MPH down some washed-out roads!

TRD Sport Manual

This truck was a ton of fun! I typically don’t drive manuals, however, this truck made it rather easy and dummy-proof. Manuals have an Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) button located in the center console. When depressed, this button makes the truck essentially stall-proof, and it will also rev-match for you if you shift a little early if you aren’t a seasoned stick user like myself. The clutch catch point was rather high up, but the new seating position of this Tacoma made it easy to feel the clutch grab and I quickly got used to it.

The TRD Sport-tuned suspension was rather stiff in my opinion, however, it allowed this truck to carve through the canyons rather quickly. I looked down at the speedometer at one point to see myself going 70 MPH… Oops.

TRD Off-Road 

I was lucky enough to drive this truck both on and off-road. We will talk about how it performed off-road in the next section, but as for on-road, I think this had to be my favorite that I drove. The new Bilstein piggyback reservoir suspension that this truck has, allows it to ride like a dream. I also tested it on my drive to our hotel from the off-road course about 20 miles.

The truck felt very plush on the road, kinda like a TRD Pro of the last generation with its upgraded Fox shocks. The BFG A/T tires handled decently well in the canyons while providing honestly very little tire noise into the cabin.

Off-Road Review

Bronze Oxide Tacoma TRD Off Road Test Drive

What can I say, it’s a Tacoma. The new 4th Generation takes everything phenomenal about the last gen and improves on it with this new truck for its off-road capacities. We were only able to off-road the new TRD Off-Road models during this event so I can’t speak on how the PreRunner, SR5 4X4, or TRD Sport will handle off-road, but I can give you some insight on the TRDOR.

The new TRDOR is essentially as good, if not better than the outgoing TRD Pro of the 3rd Generation. This new truck has new Bilstein shocks as I already mentioned with piggyback reservoirs. It has a new and improved crawl control system/multi-terrain select with built-in A-Trac that is virtually silent while in use. Gone are the days of hearing your ABS constantly pulsating while using the DAC feature. This new TRDOR also has an electronic front stabilizer disconnect to act as a pseudo locker allowing for increased front end articulation to aid in getting the tires on the ground for increased traction. Speaking of tires, this Tacoma has all-new BFG A/Ts that were co-developed by Toyota and BFGoodrich for this new tuck.

2024 Tacoma Crawl Control Feature

The new 360-degree Multi-View Monitor System (MVM) was also a nice improvement on this truck. Yes, this is something the last-gen truck had, however, this new truck isn’t at 240p potato quality anymore, plus it displays the views perfectly on the massive 14″ infotainment screen in HD clarity.

It is everything that I hoped it would be off-road and more.

Final Thoughts

2024 Tacoma Interior With TRD Jon Test Drive

If you can’t tell, I’m so excited, that my 3rd Gen TRD Pro is for sale. The amount of power and prompt delivery this new powertrain delivers truly is spectacular. The peak torque of comes on at an early rpm, making this truck feel like the diesel Hilux we’ve always longed to have here in the United States. The 8-speed automatic transmission isn’t gear hunting all over the place, rather it knows exactly where to be in the RPM ranges to give you minimal turbo lag and instant throttle response no matter what.

All this being said, there is still one more powertrain that it offers, the hybrid i-FORCE MAX. This hybrid-assisted version makes another 148ft-lb of torque to make what I’m sure will be the ultimate driving experience. I hope to drive that truck around March/April timeframe of 2024 and will report back to you all then.

Are you excited to get behind the wheel of the all-new Tacoma? Let us know down in the comments.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Questions or Comments?x