Long-awaited 4th-gen Tacoma retains ‘iconic look’

The offroad-ready 2024 Toyota Tacoma. (Bud Wells photos)

As I stepped out of the 2024 Toyota Tacoma in the parking area at a Greeley Post Office, the man exiting his pickup beside me said, “Oh, that’s the new generation Taco; I’ve been driving this one (pointing to his 1999 Tacoma) for years, but I’m planning to give in and purchase the new ’24 model.”

The ‘new one’ is the 4th generation Tacoma, which many midsize pickup owners have been awaiting anxiously.

Delivered to me was a preproduction model of the Tacoma Limited Double Cab four-door; it is also available as a two-door XtraCab, a two-seater with extended storage behind the front seats.

The 2007 Toyota Tacoma.

The Tacoma has been around for almost 30 years, introduced in the spring of 1995 as a compact, replacing the small Toyota Pickup (known as the Hi-Lux in Japan). Since arrival of the second generation in 2005, it has been classified as midsize. Production of the third generation began in ’15.

Improved ride and handling, attained through a redesigned multilink, coil-spring rear suspension, are noticeable with the new-gen ’24. It is built on the TNGA-F global platform shared with the brand’s other body-on-frame units – the Tundra, Sequoia and Land Cruiser.

It’s got “the iconic Tacoma look,” said Toyota on the truck’s introduction, “with a high lift, big tires, slim body and a powerful athletic stance as inspired by prior Toyota Baja racing models.” Its supersonic red exterior finish is a $425 option.

With a 5-foot bed (a 6-foot bed is available), the Tacoma review model is 213 inches in overall length, about an inch longer than the ’23 pickup. A bed feature, in addition to being lighted and with a deeper box, is the aluminum tailgate power opening and closing functions.

The Tacoma’s retractable running boards deploy into position for relatively easy, comfortable access into the updated cabin.

A new turbocharged 4-cylinder engine matches the power of last year’s 3.5-liter V-6 and exceeds its torque rating. The 2.4-liter, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, delivers 278 horsepower and 317 lb.-ft. of torque. When properly equipped, the truck’s tow capacity is up to 6,500 pounds.

It carries a 20-23 EPA fuel-mileage rating; we managed an average of 22.6, helped by a 110-mile highway run to meet Kurt and Tammy Wells for an early lunch at Panera off I-25 at 144th Ave.

Sticker price on the Double Cab Limited 4WD is $54,595. The Tacoma is available in seven other trim levels. All Tacomas are standard with Toyota’s Safety Sense 3.0 driver-assistance package, including adaptive cruise control and proactive driving assist.

Following its introduction in 1995, Tacoma sales in the U.S. averaged about 150,000 per year for 20 years, and for each of the six years since 2018 have been beyond 200,000, totaling 252,490 in 2021, 237,323 in 2022 and 234,768 last year.