If you had a two-door 2024 Toyota Tacoma on your bingo card for this year, then bravo. I know I didn't. Crew cabs are the volume drivers for pickups these days, and the Tacoma's American competitors have ditched every other configuration by now in the United States. That's what makes the new so-called Xtra Cab variant a surprise, and I think it's brilliant.
There are no swinging half-doors, and there are just two seats. Rather than building a traditional single- or extended-cab, Toyota blended the two to make a more practical solution for those who need to haul around stuff instead of people. Space behind the driver is now reserved for gear, groceries, and what have you as there's a nifty parcel shelf in place of a rear bench. It even has lockable dry storage to stash your goods away securely.
The Xtra Cab is available on the SR, SR5, and TRD PreRunner trims; in fact, it's the only option on the latter model, and a six-foot bed is standard. You tragically can't spec it with the Tacoma's six-speed manual transmission, but I'll take what I can get. It almost feels like a miracle that Toyota is offering this at all so I won't nitpick too much.
"We have been taking a look at our market and we're seeing tremendous growth in the compact segment and a lot of that growth is happening in the double cab," the Tacoma's chief engineer Sheldon Brown told The Drive. "Double cab five-foot deck is explosive, we see that really growing. The access cab, which was our previous offering, we saw that not just for Toyota but for the general market, we saw that stay pretty stable over the last five years, it really wasn't increasing. And then we started to take a look at our access cab and saw that for about 50% of our access cabs, people were taking the rear seat delete option. So what that told us is that they're not using this to haul people. They're really hauling goods and tools and equipment and things of that nature.
"So we thought to ourselves, well, having the suicide doors and having all the hardware and the engineering is basically a completely different cabin, a lot of cost goes into that and, of course, we know in the compact segment more so than the full-size segment folks are very sensitive to the entry price, especially folks who are looking for a value proposition, that entry-level truck. Overall, what we decided then is 'How can we do that better, how can we take the cost of that so we can provide a very very competitive entry truck.' And that was sort of the genesis, so let's think like B cab but let's maximize the storage and utility."
Maybe what's most impressive is that you don't have to give up every amenity to get the two-door. You can buy a base model with 4x4 or you can buy the TRD PreRunner, which gets all-terrain tires, a locking rear differential, sporty styling, and the more powerful gas-only engine that makes 278 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. What I'm saying is, you've got options, even if you can't get it with fancy suspension or the high-power hybrid.
Pricing for the 2024 Tacoma has yet to be announced, but it's nice to know that at least one model worth getting excited about is sure to be the cheaper option. This is the answer for folks who need a truck but don't want a huge hunk of metal they can't park anywhere. Toyota's smart for offering it when few others are, and if you want to see it come back, then you might ought to buy one.
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