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Hybrid confirmed? New 2024 Toyota Tacoma hybrid spy photos confirm suspicions

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New spy photos of the 2024 Toyota Tacoma are out, and it sure looks like a hybrid will be one of the powertrain options for the new midsize truck.

The 2024 Toyota Tacoma will be a completely new generation with new powertrains, interior and exterior designs as well as a host of new technology and safety features.

2024 Toyota Tacoma hybrid coming

Along with the photos, the spy photographer sent the following commentary on the 2024 Tacoma.

We caught a mule for the next-generation Toyota Tacoma, and a front-fascia camo slip has shown some elements of what’s hiding behind the disguise. There’s also clues of hybridization, judging by high-voltage cabling.

The mule’s front-fascia camouflage slipped down, revealing some of the grille, headlights, and some of the front fender. It gives us a little more insight into the shapes hiding behind the frontal disguise, at least on this mule. What we see here is very close to the Tundra, so if these aren’t the final production panels, we may reveal different styling elements. We have heard that fully production-bodied prototypes are being tested, so we’ll see how the story develops.

This mule had another interesting detail, once a view of the passenger side came into view. Our rear view of the Tacoma mule reveals an open rear window, with a nest of bright orange cabling spilling out into the daylight. The orange cable has always been associated with high-voltage wiring, suggesting that there are some sizable batteries tied into this truck’s powertrain. A hybrid Tacoma would be an answer for the expected Ford Ranger PHEV that’s expected to join the lineup in 2023 or 2024.

Turbo and turbo hybrid coming?

Along with the spy photos, there is an anonymous Toyota source who has shared the new Tacoma will have two powertrain choices and no manual transmission.

A story posted on TFLTruck.com, says these engines will be two different forms of the 2.4-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine found in the 2023 Toyota Highlander.

This engine would likely be tuned differently for the Tacoma, but currently it produces 265 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque. In the Highlander, it is rated at 25 MPG in combined driving for the front-wheel-drive model, with all-wheel-drive models losing 1 MPG.

There is also a hybrid version of that engine in the Toyota Crown, which produces 340 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. In the Crown, this powertrain returns 42 MPG in the city and 41 MPG on the highway.

It is expected that Toyota will kill off the manual transmission on all models, and it will have either an 8-speed automatic as found in the Highlander or the 10-speed automatic found in the Tundra.

Fuel economy to improve?

One of the big questions for a hybrid Tacoma is whether it will be focused on fuel economy or off-road torque.

Most buyers assume a hybrid powertrain means better fuel economy, however, with what we saw when the 2022 Toyota Tundra hybrid was unveiled, Toyota engineers opted for more towing power rather than a big fuel economy improvement.

The midsize truck space is increasingly targeting an active, off-road lifestyle — see the new Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon as examples. So, the question is going to be which direction Toyota decides to go with the Tacoma.

On the one hand, they could set up the truck to have more low-end torque for better rock crawling. On the other, they could set it up for better fuel economy, and return a massive improvement in MPG.

Either way, we won’t likely hear anything until next spring with an on-sale date happening in the fall of 2023.

The bottom line

Fuel economy or better torque? That is going to be a key question for this new truck. While most incorrectly assumed the new Tundra hybrid would be much better on gas, it wasn’t. Now this is causing a lot of confusion on which way Toyota plans to go with their hybrid trucks. What do you think, are you #TeamMPG or #TeamTorque? Comment below.

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Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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4 Comments

  1. Jared December 13, 2022

    #TeamMPG here. I’m still hoping for one version to have combined 30+ MPG. While I think the torque would be nice, not everyone needs it to be able to rock climb. While a lot want the look of a rock crawler most who buy it for that never leave the pavement. I was really hoping to see two hybrids similar to the Crown Set up, one MPG (while plenty powerful for most) and one Power while still getting decent MPG.

    The Maverick proves there is a market for a high MPG ‘truck’

    Reply
  2. Anonymous December 14, 2022

    Team mpg over 30 would be great

    Reply
  3. Anonymous December 15, 2022

    #TeamMPG for sure. If i want to go rock crawling I will buy an old beater. I’m not taking my brand new $45k truck rock crawling. As long as it can get me down a deeply rutted out road then that is all i need.

    Reply
  4. Anon January 15, 2023

    TeamTorque……screw electric. I don’t want my truck burning up like a Tesla due to lousy battery implementation. And this new woke green energy agenda crap is burying America. Give me all-gasoline all day, every day. You don’t buy a truck for mileage, you buy it for power, towing, and off-road ability. You want mileage, go buy yourself a Prius and stay in the right lane.

    Reply

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