Impressive at a steep price

2024 toyota tacoma i force

After months of waiting, I got behind the wheel of the 2024 Toyota Tacoma hybrid and found it to be amazing in terms of performance and, well, price.

We were in San Diego to drive the new Tacoma hybrid in several guises, including Limited, Trailhunter and TRD Pro. We did some road driving with the Limited and then got dirty with the TrailHunter and TRD Pro.

Toyota Tacoma hybrid on the road

To kick things off the pavement, I drove the Tacoma Limited for less than an hour, navigating city streets and highways to off-road terrain, much like we did during the first gas-only Tacoma drive.

A few quick things happened to me and my driving partner.

First, the Tacoma hybrid is surprisingly quiet on the road. It's eerily quiet, really. I've driven many Toyota SUVs that, frankly, were very noisy due to wind noise and road noise.

Second, the power delivery is simple and powerful. 326 horsepower is part of this, but it's actually 465 pound-feet of torque at just 1,700 RPM that launches the truck forward. That torque delivery is comparable to a small diesel engine.

Third, fuel economy sets it apart from a gas-only engine. During my ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​1 On, in it, I stayed in the mid-20-MPG range, and this shows an EPA-estimated 23/24/24 city/highway/combined MPG. This represents a nice increase from the 20/23/21 city/highway/combined non-hybrid Limited Tacoma.

The Limited Hybrid starts at $55,800 and is $3,700 more than the gas-only version at $52,100.

Basically, you get more power, better fuel economy and a smoother power train for $3,700 more than the gas model.

Playing in the dirt!

The second half of the day was playing with Trailhunter and TRD Pro on two different off-road loops.

Starting with Trailhunter, you know, the one tricked out with the well-known off-road companies, we went up the mountain and basically turned around to go down the trail using a variety of off-road equipment.

This meant that I cut off the front sway bar to better communicate with the wheels. We also used an electronic locking rear differential and had the option to use the ultra-quiet Crawl Control.

As someone who has spent years driving Toyota vehicles on the road, the Tacoma performed as you would expect from the king of the midsize truck market. What does that mean? It kicks in and makes off-road driving seem like a leisurely stroll around the park.

On a high-speed course, I got to experience the handling of the Tacoma TRD Pro. Yes, we skip. No, I didn't shout Dukes of Hazzard yeehaw! Although, I thought about it.

Also notable are the new IsoDynamic performance seats, which keep your head steady even when tackling moguls at high speeds. They allow you to move faster, with more confidence than usual. However, you don't lose hope of carrying four passengers, as the back of the seat slides out to accommodate built-in valves.

Both the Tacoma Trailhunter and TRD Pro had plenty of power, and I didn't feel the 8-speed automatic transmission was hunting for gears.

One of the biggest downsides to the Trailhunter and TRD Pro is the price. Both weigh only about 1,200 pounds. Another disadvantage is the price. The Trailhunter starts at $62,500, and the TRD Pro comes in at $65,000. That's about $5-10k more than rivals the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor and Chevy Colorado ZR2.

I would have liked to spend more time with both trucks, but that's kind of a first drive event.

2024 toyota tacoma limited light gray 300

An important point

Finally, we have fuel economy and prices for Tacoma hybrid trucks. The drop in fuel economy is nice to see, however, the price tag goes up for the midsize truck.

Indeed, the Trailhunter and TRD Pro are the perfect size vehicles for weekenders who want to drive a small truck during the week and not worry about being too big for the trails. It just comes at a cost and price.

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