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2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max First Drive: Back on Top

224 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: D.Rufiange
  • EPA Category: Midsize pickup
  • Price: 46950 $ - 82950 $
  • Warranty: 3 years / 60000 km

strong / weak points

  • Great design
  • A version for everyone
  • Undeniable off-road abilities

  • 6-foot bed only possible with most expensive version with i-Force Max engine
  • A very steep price range
  • Only one choice of cab
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Daniel Rufiange
The new Tacoma is a success on many fronts, but it comes at a price.

•    Auto123 gets in a first drive of the 2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max, the hybrid-powered variant of the midsize pickup.

San Diego, CA - the presentation of the new-generation Toyota Tacoma took place in three stages. In Hawaii, in May 2023, for the static unveiling of the model. Then, last autumn, for the first tests with variants equipped with the base engine (i-Force). And finally with the testing of the model's hybrid variants, those equipped with the i-Force Max engine.

By this point in time, it’s clear the Tacoma is making a strong comeback in its class. As timid as the last redesign was in 2015, this one is very bold, and it results in a truck that’s more complete than ever. It has returned to the front of the pack in its segment.

Toyota has succeeded with its Tacoma even as bitter rivals Ford and GM have their own freshly renewed models to offer customers.

Our assessment here focuses on the new powertrain presented in San Diego, and touches on the variants equipped with it. With so many variants in the catalog, it would be impossible to cover them all in detail.

2024 Toyota Tacoma: What's new?

The new-generation Tacoma offers customers more than ever. Twelve model configurations are available, including trim levels, engine choices and transmissions. The trim levels are SR5, TRD Off-Road, TRD Sport, Limited, TRD Pro and Trailhunter. A Plus package can be added to Sport versions, while a Premium package can be added to Sport or Off-Road variants.

The 6-speed manual gearbox is available with TRD Sport Plus and TRD Off-Road (i-Force engine) versions.

The i-Force Max engine is standard on three versions (Limited, Pro and Trailhunter) and optional on the other (TRD Off-Road with Premium Package).

Everything else is new, from the chassis to the bodywork and interior.

2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max, three-quarters front
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max, three-quarters front | Photo: D.Rufiange

Design of the 2024 Toyota Tacoma - 9.5/10

This new-generation Toyota Tacoma was designed in the company's studios in the U.S. Interestingly, the model was developed in parallel with the new 4Runner, which is coming to market for next year and which we also were introduced to in San Diego. So you'll find a lot of similarities between the two, both in terms of exterior and interior design.

See: 2025 Toyota 4Runner First Contact: The Wait Is Finally Over

The Tacoma lineup also features significant differences between the finish levels. This was a clear wish of the designers, mindful that Toyota isn’t just selling a pickup, it’s selling an image. Not all Tacomas are created equal, nor are they necessarily aimed at the same clientele.

One commonality, though, is a very assertive style, with strong, masculine lines. And a clear identification of variants. 5- and 6-foot beds are available, all with a double cab. An extended cab may eventually be added to the range - to be continued.

With the i-Force Max engine, sadly, we mainly get 5-foot beds. To get a 6-foot box, you have to look to the top of the range with the Trailhunter variant. Tire size doesn’t vary much (17 or 18 inches), but the type of rubber does.

2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max, interior
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max, interior | Photo: D.Rufiange

The cabin has been completely redesigned, and frankly it's pleasing to the eye. The various sections of the dashboard feature square corners that add to the model's robust character. The huge handle that rests on the centre console seems to have been designed with passengers in mind, so that they can grip it when driving off-road. Clearly, this feature has been a priority from day one of this model's design.

Above all, the controls are all well identified and arranged, so you don't have to spend too much time finding your way around. There's nothing wrong with the driving position either, which is a huge step up from the previous-generation model, which wasn't kind to its occupants on longer road trips.

Two things worth mentioning: In the rear, storage space is generous, as the back seat can be raised to free up space. You can also opt for seats with integrated shock absorbers (very visible on the backrest) to lessen the impact of off-road driving. Yup, the cool factor of this option is very high.

The 2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max, disrobed!
The 2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max, disrobed! | Photo: D.Rufiange

Technology in the 2024 Toyota Tacoma - 8/10

Here, we need to distinguish between two types of technology: that found inside the vehicle, mainly electronic, and that found underneath the vehicle, both mechanical and electronic.

Hybrid models equipped with the i-Force Max engine are at the upper end of the range, so you're spoiled for choice when it comes to equipment. For example, all models equipped with this powertrain feature a configurable 12.3-inch display in front of the driver, which brings together all driving-related information. The console features a 14-inch screen for the multimedia system. Connections are made wirelessly to the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto apps, and wireless charging for cell phones is possible. USB-C sockets are also included, for both charging and data.

And with the necessary subscriptions, a digital key is possible, turning your smartphone into an access card, for example.

A 10-speaker JBL audio system is also part of the deal with models bearing the i-Force Max logo.

The off-road technology is, you guessed it, advanced, and there’s a lot of it. Each Tacoma has its own suspension adjustments. As mentioned above, different variants are not necessarily aimed at the same buyers.

2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max, rear
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max, rear | Photo: D.Rufiange

The TRD Pro and Trailhunter models focus on off-road driving with a terrain management system, and there are cameras that let you see the road ahead at low speed, Crawl Control, a device that disconnects the front stabilizer bar for better wheel articulation, a two-speed transfer case (electronic control), a rear differential that can be locked, and a suspension raised by 2.0 inches at the front and 1.5 inches at the rear.

The TRD Off-Road model inherits some of these features as standard (such as the transfer case), but for others you’ll have to dig into the options list.

And just to illustrate how many subtle differences there are from one variant to another, with a Limited model, it's a center differential that can be locked, rather than a rear one. The latter also benefits from a permanent, rather than temporary, four-wheel drive system.

Frotn end of the 2014 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max
Frotn end of the 2014 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max | Photo: D.Rufiange

Powertrain of the 2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Dorce Max - 9.0/10

The i-Force models are fitted with a 2.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which delivers 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque.

The i-Force Max engine generates 326 hp and a maximum torque of 465 lb-ft, made possible by the presence of a 48-hp electric motor integrated into the 8-speed auto transmission. If that motor’s energy runs down, the torque of the base engine remains available.

That 465 lb-ft of torque represents a 75 percent increase over that of the V6 engine that served the prior model.

2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max, front
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max, front | Photo: D.Rufiange

Driving the Toyota Tacoma 2025 - 8.5/10

On the road, the Tacoma's handling is transformed, mainly due to new rear coil-spring suspension taking the place of leaf springs. It's a complete game-changer.

Comfort levels are at higher than ever with this model. Of course, this will vary from version to version, depending on the suspension settings and tires used. With an off-road model and tires designed to withstand rocks and crevasses, behavior is more rustic. With these tires mounted on a TRD Pro version, designed for fast off-road riding, it's truly impressive. We had the opportunity to drive at 70 or 80 km/h on a groomed trail that would have destroyed a Corolla in seconds. The Tacoma was begging for more.

And at low speeds on steep trails, the Trailhunter version is like a fish in water.

In short, tell us what you want to do with your Tacoma and we'll point you in the right direction. That's the company's message... and it's a pretty accurate one.

Fuel consumption
The advantage of these i-Force Max engine variants is most apparent at the pump. We'll have to see what happens in more conclusive tests, because we're talking about a pickup truck here. Here’s what Toyota has announced for this powertrain: averages of 10.3L/100 km and 10.0L/100 km, depending on whether the model is equipped with temporary or permanent four-wheel drive.

2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max, from above
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max, from above | Photo: D.Rufiange

2024 Toyota Tacoma pricing

Here's what the offer in Canada looks like, for the full Tacoma range.

  • - 2024 Tacoma SR5 i-Force - $46,950
  • - 2024 Tacoma TRD Off-Road i-Force - $50,650
  • - 2024 Tacoma TRD Sport i-Force - $50,050
  • - 2024 Tacoma TRD Sport+ i-Force - $54,450
  • - 2024 Tacoma i-Force TRD Sport Premium - $58,150
  • - 2024 Tacoma i-Force Off-Road TRD (Man) - $48,550
  • - 2024 Tacoma i-Force TRD Off-Road Premium - $58,350
  • - 2024 Tacoma i-Force TRD Sport+ (Man) - $52,350
  • - 2024 Tacoma i-Force Max Limited - $63,390
  • - 2024 Tacoma i-Force Max Premium Off-Road TRD - $64,850
  • - 2024 Tacoma TRD Pro i-Force Max - $76,990
  • - 2024 Tacoma Trailhunter i-Force Max - $82,950

Added to this are transport and preparation costs, as well as other charges, that could boost the prices by about $3,500. The Trailhunter variant, for example, has a Toyota-estimated price of $86,581.

2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max, on the trail
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max, on the trail | Photo: D.Rufiange

Frequently asked questions about the 2024 Toyota Tacoma

What is the towing capacity of the 2024 Toyota Tacoma?
The new Tacoma can tow a maximum of 6,000 lb.

What kind of tires do the TRD Pro and Trailhunter versions come with?
These models are equipped with 18-inch wheels, belted with 33-inch Goodyear Territory R/T tires.

The final word
This is a truly impressive Toyota Tacoma. There's a version for everyone, and just about everything is well-conceived and well-executed. The catch is that the price is no longer for everyone.

That's true elsewhere, mind you, but with a bill of more than $60,000 with taxes for most variants, you'll understand that some buyers won't be able to step up. Likewise, don't expect to find Trailhunter versions on every street corner. With taxes, the price of that model will be close to $100,000.

We're talking about a mid-size pickup here.

Toyota may find it a challenge selling this new Tacoma at the same rate as the old one.

Competitors of the 2024 Toyota Tacoma

  • - Chevrolet Colorado
  • - GMC Canyon
  • - Ford Ranger
  • - Nissan Frontier
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max, detail
2024 Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max, detail | Photo: D.Rufiange
2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro i-Force Max, rear hatch
2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro i-Force Max, rear hatch | Photo: D.Rufiange
Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max 2024, écusson i-Force Max
Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max 2024, écusson i-Force Max | Photo: D.Rufiange
Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro i-Force Max 2024, sièges
Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro i-Force Max 2024, sièges | Photo: D.Rufiange
Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max 2024, de profil
Toyota Tacoma i-Force Max 2024, de profil | Photo: D.Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists