Do you wish to go quick or go far? That’s the query Toyota Tacoma Chief Engineer Sheldon Brown posed once I requested how somebody chooses whether or not to purchase the 2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional or Tacoma Trailhunter. One other query value asking is, how a lot is in your price range?

Toyota’s off-road Tacoma flagship has been cut up in two, every with its personal character. The TRD Professional is supposed to go quick over sand and dust, whereas the Trailhunter is constructed to crawl over off-road obstacles.

The outgoing Tacoma TRD Professional was meant to be the do-everything Swiss Military knife of midsize pickup vehicles, Brown defined. Nonetheless, making an attempt to be good at every little thing usually makes a product mediocre at most issues. 

After spending time behind the wheel of each the 2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional and Tacoma Trailhunter pickups, it’s clear the automaker centered every truck on its devoted mission. Nonetheless, neither truck is the off-road king of the hill.

Let’s go off-pavement and dig in.

2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional and Trailhunter go hybrid

Each Tacoma TRD Professional and Trailhunter pickup is a hybrid. RIP to the previous V-6.

Beneath the hood sits a 2.4-liter turbo-4 mated to an electrical motor situated within the 8-speed automated transmission. Whole output checks in at 326 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. On paper these numbers outgun the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 turbo-4’s 310 hp and 430 lb-ft. The Toyota additionally bests the Ford Ranger Raptor’s 430 lb-ft of torque score, however falls wanting beating the Raptor’s 405 hp quantity.

The hybrid system supplies solely first rate gasoline economic system numbers at 22 mpg metropolis, 24 freeway, and 23 mixed for each vehicles. I didn’t get to drive these vehicles on pavement, so I can’t touch upon real-world gasoline economic system.

I did expertise this powertrain on-road in a Tacoma Restricted mannequin lined with leather-based. Like different Hybrid Max-badged Toyotas, the hybrid powertrain is robust, however considerably underwhelming, with no wallop of energy off the road or on the freeway regardless of the excessive torque quantity. 

Off-road, the story is completely different, although it’s nonetheless a combined bag. The electrical motor contributes to rapid torque that gives loads of grunt at low speeds and when crawling within the Trailhunter. Energy supply is clean, as anticipated as a result of Toyota has turn out to be the chief at hybrid energy mixing. 

Within the TRD Professional, nevertheless, as soon as the electrical motor’s enhance trails off the turbo-4 merely doesn’t ship the identical kick within the pants because the bigger 2.7-liter turbo-4 within the Colorado ZR2. Additionally, no Tacoma gives paddle shifters just like the Ranger Raptor. Brown mentioned the crew thought of paddle shifters for the TRD Professional, however it wasn’t actually positive how many individuals would use the handbook shift functionality. I’d’ve whereas driving at excessive speeds off-road as a result of if programmed appropriately it permits for extra management to remain within the energy band when wanted.

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional

The turbo-4’s noise, even with the efficiency exhaust of the Trailhunter and TRD Professional, isn’t in the identical class because the throaty high-pitched turbo V-6 burble of the Ranger Raptor. It’s notably deep for a turbo-4, although. That’s partially as a result of TRD efficiency cat-back exhaust system. On the Trailhunter, the exhaust dumps out excessive simply in entrance of the rear axle, the place it’s tucked away from to stop injury. On the TRD Professional, the exhaust splits into two welded black suggestions that exit on the driving force aspect simply behind the rear wheel.

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, photo via Nathan Leach-Proffer

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional, picture by way of Nathan Leach-Proffer

2024 Toyota TRD Professional goals for Raptor and ZR2

In some methods the Tacoma TRD Professional hits the mark and bests the competitors, however in some ways it falls quick.

The Tacoma TRD Professional can certainly go quick off-road, to some extent, as I realized on a bumpy gravel street.

Once I pointed the TRD Professional down the rock-strewn gravel fireplace street, my right-seat companion, Andy, an expert stunt driver, instructed me to hit the hump within the street at 40 mph. That pace would ship the truck flying. Any quicker and we would land and bury the nostril into the bottom, a lot much less and we wouldn’t get the air I needed. I hit 48 mph earlier than the hump, then lifted as instructed by Andy. Our pace dropped to 36 mph as we crested the hump. The truck took flight for a number of ft and landed softly.

“That wasn’t dramatic sufficient,” I instructed him, noting we had been going to wish to try this once more. 

The entrance tires hit the hump the second time with the speedometer at 46 mph, somewhat quicker than instructed.

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, photo via Nathan Leach-Proffer

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional, picture by way of Nathan Leach-Proffer

When the truck landed the two.5-inch Fox QX3 shocks with small piggyback distant reservoirs went to just about full compression and took the hit. I don’t assume the rear finish hit the hydraulic Fox jounce bumpers (the Trailhunter doesn’t have these), but when they did, they took the blow so nicely I didn’t even discover.

Andy mentioned I might now go as quick as I might comfortably see down the remainder of the fireplace street. He was incorrect. With the pedal buried I quickly realized the truck was about to rattle aside if it went a lot quicker. The shocks weren’t maintaining with all of the bumps. I didn’t see my pace as a result of I used to be waiting for rocks so I wouldn’t blow aside the underside of the truck (been there, finished that, sorry, Chevy). The hood was shaking so violently that I let off the throttle a bit. I might’ve gone quicker, the truck I’m not so positive.  

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional

Brown instructed me the three-way adjustable Fox shocks had been set to degree two. Stage one is for street use. Stage two is for fireplace roads, which is what we had been on. Stage three is supposed for desert-style Baja driving with extra compression damping. Apparently, I can see at Baja-level speeds. Brown famous that if he had identified somebody can be keen to go that quick down the fireplace street he would’ve switched the shocks to degree three. Subsequent time, Brown. 

The TRD Professional’s steering weight was practically ideally suited as I didn’t need to noticed forwards and backwards on the  thick perforated TRD-branded steering wheel to maintain the truck going straight. 

Primarily based on my time with each the Colorado ZR2 and Ranger Raptor, each vehicles would have gone quicker on the fireplace street, at the very least with the Tacoma’s Fox QS3 shocks set to Stage 2. Not like the TRD Professional, these vehicles additionally don’t require a driver to manually flip a knob on every shock to regulate them, because the ZR2’s Multimatic DSSV shocks consistently regulate to situations whereas the Raptor’s Fox Reside Valve shocks regulate electronically based mostly on the chosen drive mode. 

The TRD Professional and Trailhunter are 3.0 inches wider than the bottom Tacoma SR5, which itself is about 3.0 inches wider than the outgoing SR5 mannequin. With the 33-inch Goodyear Territory R/T tires tucked underneath the bulging fenders, it’s hulking compared to an older Tacoma. Sorry children, 35s aren’t going to suit with out rubbing.

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, photo via Nathan Leach-Proffer

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional, picture by way of Nathan Leach-Proffer

That vast stance helped give the TRD Professional a secure feeling whereas blasting round corners and down straights within the dust on a motocross course. The brand new coil-spring rear suspension stored issues planted and the tires involved with the earth for higher traction. However full-time four-wheel drive is nowhere to be discovered in contrast to on a Colorado ZR2 and Ranger Raptor. That’s simply being low-cost, Toyota.

The varied off-road modes of the Multi-Terrain Choose system now work in 4Hi and 4Lo, and the crawl management system, which is like off-road cruise management, not clunks and thunks. Nonetheless, there’s no Baja mode or something that really kicks the TRD Professional’s powertrain within the pants. The off-road drive modes are restricted to Mud, Filth, and Sand. Coming round banked activates the motorcross course, the powertrain generally slowed down and received caught flat footed. The transmission merely didn’t wish to shift rapidly sufficient. Can we get a Baja mode, Toyota?

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional

Inside, the TRD Professional’s cabin is usually commonplace Tacoma fare. Chunky knobs and buttons function controls starting from local weather and audio capabilities to off-road options such because the rear locker. Nonetheless, the entrance seats boast built-in shock absorbers to assist with lateral stabilization whereas off-roading. They work. With air-pressure changes, these seats stabilize the driving force’s physique throughout high-speed off-roading for much less jostling and fatigue. They is perhaps one of the best seats in an off-road pickup, actually within the midsize section. The draw back is the shocks, and their brackets, severely eat into rear seat legroom, taking it to “do I’ve to take a seat again there?” standing. 

In concept, I just like the obtainable pink and black shade schemes, however the required camouflage seat sample is simply too Bro Truck for me. I might additionally do with out the TOYOTA title stamped into the passenger aspect of the dashboard. Brown confirmed that is a part of a three-piece molding and eradicating it will require the whole dashboard’s trim to be swapped out. 

2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter

2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter

2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter likes to take it sluggish

Trailhunters swap out the TRD Professional’s Fox QS3 shocks for ARB Outdated Man Emu position-sensitive 2.5-inch shocks with small piggyback distant reservoirs. They’re softer than the TRD Professional’s Fox shocks for much less jarring actions whereas clambering over obstacles. I’ll be curious to check each vehicles on the street to see the variations on pavement.

No Toyota on the TNGA-F platform (of which the Tacoma shares with the Toyota Land Cruiser, 4Runner, Tundra, Sequoia, Lexus LX and GX) gives a entrance locker; the chief engineer for the Lexus GX mentioned “we don’t want it.” Possibly, however a Ford Ranger Raptor and Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 each have one. 

2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter

2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter

The Trailhunter trades out the TRD Professional’s fancy entrance seats for traditional Tacoma thrones. My tester’s seats had been lined in artificial leather-based in a mineral grey shade trimmed with gold piping. The fabric was far more interesting to the attention than the TRD Professional’s camo-covered seats. Additionally they make the rear seat tolerable, although the Colorado ZR2 nonetheless has extra rear seat area with extra consolation. The dashboard trim appears prefer it was minimize out of granite with its matte end, and the Toyota title continues to be molded into the passenger aspect of the sprint.

2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter

2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter

2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter and TRD Professional angles and capacities

Each the TRD Professional and Trailhunter solely are available in four-door crewcab physique types. Whereas every might be had with a 5-foot mattress, the Trailhunter is obtainable with a 6-foot mattress for elevated cargo capability for off-road adventures.

Curiously, the TRD Professional checks in with higher off-road angles with 11.5 inches of floor clearance, a 35.7-degree strategy angle, a 25.3-degree departure angle, and a 27.4-degree breakover angle. These numbers eclipse the Trailhunter’s 11.0 inches of floor clearance, 35.2-degree strategy, 22.3-degree departure, and 24.0-degree breakover angle. 

Ought to a miscalculation be made when off-roading, the TRD Professional options 6-mm thick aluminum skid plates from the entrance finish to the again of the engine. The Trailhunter upgrades these skid plates as they’re comprised of high-tensile metal. Trailhunters additionally get a entrance skid plate that goes to the again of the engine, and provides skid plates for the switch case, transmission, and rear differential. Each fashions characteristic a resin protect across the gasoline tank.

Each the TRD Professional and Trailhunter come commonplace with an electronically disconnecting entrance sway bar for extra suspension articulation. A contact of a button helps hold the entrance tires involved with the earth. Ford and Chevy lack this neat characteristic.

Each vehicles are rated to tow as much as 6,000 kilos with the 5-foot mattress, and the Trailhunter’s non-compulsory 6-foot mattress drops towing capability barely to five,950 kilos. Brown instructed me the Trailhunter would be the higher tow automobile because it’ll squat lower than the TRD Professional.

The high-speed off-road TRD Professional is rated to haul as much as 1,675 kilos of payload, whereas the Trailhunter is simply rated to haul as much as 1,475 kilos with the 5-foot mattress, and that drops to 1,425 with the 6-foot mattress. 

Payload and towing match or greatest the competitors. The Colorado ZR2 checks in with a tow score of 6,000 kilos and is rated to haul as much as 1,280 kilos of payload. The Ford Ranger Raptor is rated to tow as much as 5,510 kilos and haul as much as 1,375 kilos.

2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter

2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter

2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter

2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter

2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter and TRD Professional lighting

Each the Tacoma TRD Professional and Trailhunter embrace lightbars mounted of their grilles, however in contrast to the Tundra and Sequoia TRD Execs these lightbars will probably be extra purposeful. The lightbars on the full-size automobiles solely put out about 5,000 lumens. An $80 flashlight can create extra mild output than that. The lightbars on the Tacoma fashions have a ten,000-lumen score. It was daytime once I drove the vehicles, so judgment day will come later.

Each off-roaders characteristic LED driving lights mounted of their entrance bumpers, however the Trailhunter’s setup, offered by Inflexible, can change between cool white or amber. Neat trick. Trailhunter vehicles even have white lights mounted on the mattress rails that come on with the inside entry lights. An ARB sport bar is mounted to the entrance of the mattress with Molle panels to mount off-road gear. It’s a neat bit no different competitor has and it supplies actual performance.

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, photo via Nathan Leach-Proffer

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional, picture by way of Nathan Leach-Proffer

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional and Trailhunter value large bucks

Worth isn’t baked into the Tacoma TRD Professional or the Tacoma Trailhunter.

The Tacoma Trailhunter prices $64,395 together with $1,495 vacation spot cost with the 5-foot mattress, and one other $500 do you have to go for the 6-foot mattress. The Tacoma TRD Professional prices much more at $65,395.

These costs make the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 appear like an absolute steal at $48,790, and the Ford Ranger Raptor appear affordable at $57,065. Each have entrance lockers and full-time four-wheel drive that the Toyotas lack.

The 2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional and Tacoma Trailhunter each do an excellent job of fulfilling their mission. The TRD Professional handles the punishment of quick off-roading, whereas the Trailhunter is more proficient when it comes time to choose your means down a path. 

Nonetheless, on condition that the Ford and Chevy have extra superior shocks, full-time four-wheel-drive methods, Baja modes, they usually each really feel faster, I’m left questioning how a lot the Toyota Tacoma title can justify the value premium. These fancy seats with built-in shock absorbers are implausible, however not $8,330-$16,605 implausible.

Toyota paid for journey, lodging, and I received sunburned to convey you this firsthand report.

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