2024 Toyota Tacoma Hybrid First Drive Review: Fun Will Cost You

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

2024 Toyota Tacoma Hybrid Quick Take

The Tacoma finally brings Toyota's hybrid expertise to the mid-sized truck market. Far from a single-minded fuel-sipper, this electrified Taco comes correct with a muscular powertrain and a whole new Trailhunter trim catering to the overlanding crowd.

There's one problem: just like tacos, these trucks have become pricey in their popularity.

If there’s one defining feature of the 2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter, it’s the sound.

This is a new trim for Tacoma, one of two to go exclusively hybrid as part of the fourth-generation truck’s lineup. We’re bombing around a trail just a few miles North of the Mexican border. A high-mount intake snaking along the passenger-side window gives us front-row seats to the controlled chaos underhood. Despite an additional cylinder and nearly a full liter of displacement, this spicy Taco soundtrack gives GR Corolla vibes. The connection isn’t just audible either: out in the dirt, both the Trailhunter and returning TRD Pro share the hot hatch’s excited-puppy attitude.

Forget your preconceived notions about what hybrid means, because here in Taco-town, it’s all about fun and desire. Just be prepared to pay big money to satisfy those wants.

What’s new for 2024?

The Tacoma Trailhunter is an all-new trim for 2024, both for the brand and the model.

Toyota totally redid the Tacoma for 2024. A new, fully boxed frame, new powertrains, new technology—it was a big deal when we first drove the 2024 Tacoma late last year. We’re back for round two to focus in on that hybrid powertrain.

Much like the larger Tundra, the mid-sized Tacoma uses electrification to first boost power and then improve fuel economy, not the other way around. The 2.4-liter turbo-four is familiar from the regular truck, but now there’s a 48-horsepower electric motor integrated directly into the eight-speed automatic. That pumps up total horsepower to 326, which is more than anything else in the mid-sized market not badged Raptor. Torque is even more impressive at 465 pound-feet: more than the Ford’s 3.0-liter turbo V6 can muster, and a whopping 75-percent more than the outgoing Taco’s atmospheric V6. 4WD is standard with the i-Force Max: a part-time setup for most trims, and full-time for the Limited.

Exterior style: Pure aggression

TRD-branded skid plates are standard on TRD Pro and Trailhunter trims.

Like-for-like, there isn’t much giving away the electrified powertrain tucked behind that wide grille. Passersby will need to scour that built-from-Lego exterior to find the i-Force Max badge, and it’s so subtle it’s even missing the hyphen. For the TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, and Limited trims that’s the only real tell.

The TRD Pro and Trailhunter are different stories. These dual headlining acts ladle on extra aggression, with pumped up arches, cutaway bumpers for improved off-roading angles, and an extra dash of ride height. An old-school grille treatment with “TOYOTA” front and center is paired with additional exterior lighting and two different 18-inch TRD wheel designs, wrapped in 33-inch all-terrain tires.

Why the split? Toyota always meant for the TRD Pro to be focused on high-speed off-roading, but found lots of owners were using it for overlanding. The Trailhunter addresses that demo, built for slower, more methodical off-roading. It shares the Pro’s ARB steel rear bumper and numerous underbody skid plates, but swaps in ARB Old Man Emu shocks in place of Fox internal bypass units.

Another important difference: the Trailhunter can be had with a six-foot bed, the only hybrid model to do so. This is the only Trailhunter configuration available in Canada.

Powertrain and economy: Electrified muscle

The Trailhunter is billed as the overlanding trim, but it'll still do dirt roads with a quickness.

The difference is immediate: the Tacoma surges forward when asked to, the instant-access torque of that electric motor giving it an almost diesel-like power curve. That can result in an on-road experience that doesn’t initially match up with the headline figures. Wring the Tacoma out in a passing maneuver and it runs out of steam early. Keep the tachometer in the meaty mid-range for best results.

Thankfully the eight-speed auto makes that easy. It’s a quick-witted and well-mannered ‘box, holding gears when needed or quickly kicking down. As mentioned, the Trailhunter has the best soundtrack of the bunch, its snorkel dumping all the wastegate whistles right by the passenger window. It’s optional on the TRD Pro. Both trucks feature a muscular rumble out of their exhausts.

Most Tacoma i-Force Max models post fuel economy figures of 22 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined. The Limited bumps the first figure up to 23, enough to earn a 24 mpg combined figure. Going hybrid means a towing capacity of 6,000 pounds (2,722 kilograms), 500 lb (227 kg) less than the non-hybrid model. Payload capacity tops out at 1,709 lb (775 kg).

Handling and drivability: Truck real big

The TRD Pro returns as the flagship Tacoma, still hugely capable at baja-style high-speed desert running.

Toyota is proud of the fact most of the Tacoma’s exterior dimensions are essentially unchanged from before. A longer wheelbase adds additional stability but otherwise, this is the same right-sized package for work and personal life.

The TRD Pro and Trailhunter stretch that idea to nearly breaking point. With the added right height and width, it becomes harder to judge the extremities of the vehicle. While the steering is typical Toyota light and accurate—not to mention, at 3.06 turns lock-to-lock, quicker in these two models—the added squidge of those off-road tires introduces a level of fuzziness that is unwelcome on narrow canyon roads. A TRD Sport I drove later was much better in this regard, capable of covering long distances with ease. Current Tacoma owners will appreciate the four-corner disc brakes now too, especially those who call mountain roads home. Hybrid models feature 13.4-inch front discs and 13.2-inch rears, representing 0.8 and 1.0 inches more diameter than non-hybrid models, respectively.

Of course, you’re not getting a TRD Pro or Trailhunter for only on-road duty. Toyota set up two different trails to showcase these different models. The Trailhunter comfortably ambles up and over rock-strewn paths and sharp grades, the low-speed torque making short work of everything the Trailhunter encounters. Dropping into 4LO or engaging crawl control is easy, with just about everything handled via the rotary dial in the center console. There are a few areas where we’re encouraged to engage the rear locking diff, but the Tacoma can clear the area without it too.

The most laughs are reserved for the TRD Pro run. A high-speed loop including a jump shows the truck is just as accomplished as before but again, it’s the slower stuff where that muscular mid-range shines. The steering is sweet: the bit of play around the center on the road allows the Tacoma to feel limber on the dirt. There needs to be room for adjustment as needed, and the Tacoma allows for that in a way that feels natural and supportive. It wants you to have fun.

Ride quality and comfort: Dual roles

Rockcrawling is easy with the Trailhunter's ARB Old Man Emu suspension setup.

The perceived size of the Tacoma aside, this generation of truck has massively improved road manners. The often-overlooked advantage of these modern off-roading machines is that the suspension tech that makes them so capable off tarmac also works on it. The TRD Pro eats up mid-corner bumps and continues to track true.

The TRD Pro has another trick up its sleeve: the IsoDynamic front seats. These thrones feature an adjustable shock absorber system that effectively keeps my butt firmly in place during the high-speed dirt run earlier in the day. While not on the exact same trail, the higher-speed sections of the Trailhunter loop illustrates the difference.

There’s a big trade-off with the trick seats, though. The whole setup shaves inches off the rear legroom, effectively turning one of the tighter second rows in the segment into a storage-only affair. I hope you’re not planning on bringing more than one friend on that baja run. Should you manage to cram someone back there, they’ll be cursing the first time their knee bashes those shocks, too. No wonder we first saw the seats outside of the truck last year.

Interior style and quality: Chunky usefulness

The Tacoma cabin is much like the exterior: chunky in design, practical in use. A straightforward center stack houses plenty of physical controls, all easy to use without a glance and, in the case of the big climate dials, with gloves. The passenger-side storage above the glovebox is useful, too. I like the large grab handle to the right of the center console, but how come there’s no driver-side grab handles of any kind, Toyota?

Cabin tech naturally saw a huge leap forward for this generation. The digital instrument cluster is usefully customizable and matches the cabin style well. The available 14.0-inch central touchscreen is very easy to use. Some trucks at the event featured a crucial over-the-air update too, which now keeps the main Toyota menu permanently on-screen on the left even during (wireless) CarPlay use. Huzzah! Speaking of, the upright wireless charger deep in the center console is a good one, keeping phones in place even as the truck traversed dry, rocky river beds. The Trailhunter’s swirly trim and orange highlights matches its exterior; the TRD Pro goes for the now-traditional carbon fiber and technical camo look.

Value, dollars, and sense: Price real big

Do you like the TRD Pro's wicked-cool IsoDynamic seats? Bad news if you also like a usable back seat, then.

Getting into a hybrid Taco ain’t cheap. In America, the earliest stop on the trim walk to offer the i-Force Max is the TRD Sport, ringing in at $47,795 including destination. The TRD Off-Road adds another $3,300. The Limited and its fancy variable suspension rocks up next, at $57,295. Tacoma Trailhunter is $64,395 (plus $500 for another foot of bed), and TRD Pro tops the lineup at $65,395.

In Canada, the Limited is actually the start of the i-Force Max lineup, ringing in at $65,320 CAD, including destination. A TRD Off-Road Premium is ever so slightly more at $66,780 CAD. It's a big jump up to the TRD Pro from there, at $78,920 CAD. The Great White North places the Trailhunter as the clear flagship, available only in six-foot-bed form, for a scarcely believable $84,880 CAD.

In both cases, that is comfortably north of the Ranger Raptor and the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison.

2024 Toyota Tacoma Hybrid: Final thoughts

The Tacoma Trailhunter is the only way to pair a six-foot bed with the hybrid powertrain.

The 2024 Toyota Tacoma Hybrid is one of the final products from the brand to receive electrification, along with the related 2025 Toyota 4Runner. It’s understandable why Toyota took its time: this is an icon of its segment, and messing it up could spell disaster.

The hybrid setup is a good one. The efficiency is nice; the added power is nicer. More than that, both of the halo models are great fun when doing what they were designed to do. Toyota is leaning into the Taco’s spendy reputation with those trims though, and it’d be a shame if all the fun is locked away at the top of the lineup.

Discuss this review on our Tacoma forum.



Excellent hybrid powertrain

Super pricey now

TRD Pro and Trailhunter satisfy two sides

IsoDynamic seats turn Pro into two-seater

Cabin blends practicality and tech

Long bed only available on Trailhunter

2024 Toyota Tacoma Hybrid FAQs

  • Q: How much horsepower does the 2024 Toyota Tacoma Hybrid have?
  • A: The mid-sized truck comes with 326 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque.
  • Q: Does the 2024 Toyota Tacoma come with a manual transmission?
  • A: Yes, but only the regular gas model. The hybrid model is automatic-only.
  • Q: How much does a 2024 Toyota Tacoma cost?
  • A: In the United States the 2024 Toyota Tacoma hybrid starts from $47,795 including destination.



2.4L I4 Turbo w/ hybrid


326 hp, 465 lb-ft


8AT, 4WD

US Fuel Economy (mpg):


CAN Fuel Economy (L/100 km):


Starting Price (USD):

$47,795 (inc. dest.)

As-Tested Price (USD):

See text

Starting Price (CAD):

$65,320 (inc. dest.)

As-Tested Price (CAD):

See text

Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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