Another Gefallen

  • December 12, 2023

Toyota has just “updated” the very popular Tacoma pick-up. Which has arguably remained popular for the past eight years precisely because Toyota didn’t “update” it. But nothing lasts forever – especially if it’s good – and so here we are.

The 2024 Tacoma will cost several thousand dollars more to start – and it will no longer offer a V6.

Everyone knows why.

Just the same as everyone knows why previously healthy (often young) people are coming down with strange maladies that just happen to be coincident with their having participated in a strange medical experiment – but we’re not supposed to notice (much less mention) the obvious correlation.

Just the same, we (meaning the car press) are supposed to just drive by the news that the Tacoma will henceforth be four cylinder-only. As if buyers had asked for that.

Turbocharged, of course, to make up for the displacement that’s been lost, just the same as every other case of a V6 being taken out of the lineup for no apparent good reason. As in the case of the Toyota Camry, for instance. As in the case of the Avalon – the Camry’s larger brother- which used to come standard with a V6. That’s gone – and so is the Avalon, too. It has been replaced by the Crown, which is powered by a turbo-hybrid four.

And a turbo-hybrid four (the iForce Max) is now the top-of-the-line powertrain in the just-updated Tacoma. It’ll be more powerful – 326 horsepower, according to Toyota (vs. 278 hp for the 3.5 liter V6 that’s about to rest-in-peace) but it’ll cost you several thousand dollars more, which is the price Tacoma buyers will be paying to both “save gas” and to “emit” less, as of carbon dioxide.

If, of course, they can afford to pay it.

The ’24 Tacoma’s base price will be $31,500 – for a 2WD SR trim without the turbo-hybrid set-up. It will come standard with just the turbo’d 2.4 liter engine, which will make 228 horsepower – substantially more than the current Taco’s standard 2.7 liter four (without a turbo) that makes 159 horsepower. But the price you pay for that update is $2,900 – which is the difference in base price between a current (2023) Taco with the 2.7 four and RWD – base price $28,600 – and the updated ’24 version.

Which is now almost as expensive as a base-trim full-size truck used to be – and almost still is. A base trim ’23 F-150 regular cab stickers for $36,750.

And it’s a full-size truck.

Of course, the Taco almost is, too.

No one sells anything less than a “mid-sized” truck and these trucks are full-sized, relative to the full-sized trucks of the early 2000s and prior. They are longer, in some cases (213 inches in the case of the ’24 Taco; 226.2 if you get the six foot bed) with only their width being just slightly less. So in that sense, you are getting more for your money.

The problem is not having more money.

Truck sales are beginning to show signs of greeness-around-the-gills. Probably because the economy is. There are only so many people who can afford a $53,595 truck. The latter is the MSRP of a Limited trim iteration of the just-updated Taco. The turbo-hybrid iteration’s MSRP is likely to be closer to $60k.

For a Taco.

Of course, that’s a steal compared with the now-common $70k-plus asking price of a loaded half-ton. Let alone an electric three-ton such as the Ford Lightning. The price of the latter approaches six figures when fully optioned out. The monthly payment on that approaches what people used to pay on their mortgage each month.

Back to the gas – and gasses.

The updated Taco with the turbo’d 2.4 liter four returns only marginally higher gas mileage: 20 city, 26 highway for the 2WD version vs. 20 city, 23 highway for the current version equipped with the 2.7 liter engine, sans the turbo. So it’s not about “saving gas” – and never mind how much that costs. Yes, the power increase is nice – assuming you can afford it. It’s likely many won’t be able to – rendering the power gain as irrelevant as the softness of the hand-stretched leather inside a Rolls Royce.

What it is about is “emitting” gas.

Or rather, “emitting” less – of the gas that’s invisible but said to be not-green by those who like red. The turbo-hybrid stuff is not just a coincident happening. It is happening for a reason very similar – in terms of the motives behind it – to the one that led to all this “dying suddenly” stuff that’s just happening. Never mind that it never happened before. Never mind that it began to happen after something else happened, first.

Toyota – to its credit – is trying to limit the updates. It did not turn the Taco into a battery powered device.

Not entirely, at least.

But, that’s an inevitability. Just the same as it was with regard to the updating of the V6 into oblivion.

Absent, that is, any serious attempt to stop the advancing red tide that’s using green to get people to accept less for more.

As is always the case when red becomes ascendant.

. . .

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