After months of waiting, I climbed behind the wheel of 2024 Toyota Tacoma hybrid and discovered it is mind-blowing for performance and, well, price.

We were in San Diego to drive the new Tacoma hybrid in multiple trims, including the Limited, Trailhunter and TRD Pro. We did street driving with the Limited and then got dirty with the TrailHunter and TRD Pro.

Toyota Tacoma hybrid on road

Kicking things off on the pavement, I drove the Tacoma Limited for a little less than an hour, navigating city streets and highways to the off-road course, similar to what we did during the first drive of the gas-only Tacoma.

A few immediate things stood out to me and my drive partner.

First, the Tacoma hybrid is incredibly quiet on the road. Shockingly quiet, really. I’ve driven many Toyota SUVs that were, frankly, a lot louder for wind and road noise.

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

Third, the fuel economy separates it from the gas-only engine. During my quick drive, I was consistently in the mid-20-MPG range, and this mirrors the EPA estimated 23/24/24 city/highway/combined MPG. This represents a good bump up from the 20/23/21 city/highway/combined for the 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 powertrain for $3,700 more than a gas model.

2024 toyota tacoma i force max trd offroad solaroctane 141

Playing in the dirt!

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

Starting with the Trailhunter, you know, the one tricked out with well-known off-road companies, we climbed up a hill and basically flipped around to climb down the trail using a variety of off-road equipment.

This meant I disconnected the front sway bar for better wheel articulation. We also got to use the electronically locking rear differential and had the option of using the much quieter Crawl Control.

As someone who has spent years driving Toyota vehicles off-road, the Tacoma performed exactly as you’d expect from the midsize truck sales king. What’s that mean? It kicked butt and made technical off-road driving seem like a leisurely stroll around a park.

On the high-speed off-road course, I got to experience catching air with the Tacoma TRD Pro. Yeah, we jumped it. No, I didn’t do a Dukes of Hazzard yeehaw yell! Although, I strongly considered it.

Also of note is the new IsoDynamic performance seats, which keep your head steady even when tackling moguls at higher speeds. They allow you to go faster, with more confidence than you normally would. However, you do give up any hope of carrying four passengers, since the rear of the seat is extending outwards to accommodate the built-in shock valves.

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

One of the big downsides for the Trailhunter and TRD Pro is payload. Both only get around a measly 1,200 pounds. The other downside is price. The Trailhunter starts at $62,500, and the TRD Pro rings in at $65,000. That’s around $5-10k more than the top 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor and Chevy Colorado ZR2 competitors.

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

2024 toyota tacoma limited lightgray 3002024 toyota tacoma limited lightgray 300

The bottom line

Finally, we have fuel economy and pricing for the Tacoma hybrid trucks. The fuel economy bump is nice to see, however, the price tag is getting up there for a midsize truck.

Sure, the Trailhunter and TRD Pro are right-sized vehicles for weekend adventurers who want to drive a smaller truck during the week and not worry about being too big for trails. It just comes at a cost of payload and price.

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