Regardless of trim, all 2024 Toyota Tacomas use a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine offered in one of three configurations. It's available in standard, i-Force, or i-Force Max hybrid configuration. Looking at the engine, you might recognize some parts from the 2.4 that's in the Highlander and Grand Highlander. But it's substantially different in this application, reworked for the heavier duty cycle of a truck.
"There's a 50 percent greater standard for 'commercial grade' durability that we put the trucks through, versus passenger cars and our other vehicles," Craig Herring, senior engineering manager on the Tacoma's powertrain team, told Road & Track. "What that means is we test to higher life targets, longer mileage, stuff like that. We do a lot of higher temperature and higher load testing."
That team will do things like test the engine to max load while it's canted at a significant angle, to ensure that off-roaders can't starve the engine of oil or create flow issues. Cooling tests are tougher, too, which is why the 2024 Tacoma has a 3-inch coolant pipe. Herring says that's the size the company typically uses for V-8s.
Of course, every company will say its new truck engine is tougher and built to last longer than anything else. But Toyota sounds serious about the work it did to prep this engine for truck duty. The company claims that only 54 percent of the engine is shared with the Highlander. The block and the turbocharger are both different for the Tacoma, though the valvetrain and fueling system are the same. The changes allow the Tacoma to provide its maximum twist at 1700 rpm, good for pulling and crawling. But it's worth noting that 2.7-liter engine in the Chevy Colorado is available only in the Silverado and Colorado trucks, and that the upcoming Ford Ranger gets its 2.7-liter EcoBoost from its F-150 stablemate. They're more powerful and tow more than Tacomas equipped with any version of this engine.
There are also some slight changes between the 228-hp standard engine and the 278-hp "i-Force" engine you get on the trims above the SR. The base truck doesn't have the engine oil cooler that's on the i-Force, so Herring recommends stepping up to the optional motor if you're doing high-temperature towing. Eventually the i-Force Max will offer even more power, but the hybrid isn't launching until next year.
That's also when we'll see the new Land Cruiser, which uses the exact same powertrain as the Tacoma i-Force Max. According to Herring, the new powertrain was designed for the Tacoma first, but the setup is pretty much entirely identical in the Land Cruiser. There are some towing and packaging differences, but that vehicle is built for the same long-term, heavy-abuse life that the Tacoma is expected to endure. After all, if you a truck to survive in the conditions a Land Cruiser will face, you can't just use a Highlander motor.
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