2024 Toyota Tacoma’s Manual Transmission Opens Door To Stick-Shift 4Runner

Platform sharing could technically give us a three-pedal drivetrain in the next-generation SUV.

byLewin Day|
Toyota News photo
Caleb Jacobs

The Toyota 4Runner is a hit, but it's undeniably long in the tooth. The next-generation model is just around the corner, set to follow behind the brand-new 2024 Toyota Tacoma that broke cover last week. It's possible that the connection between the two could result in a manual 4Runner next time around, and we went straight to the source to find out.

Of course, it's never that simple. At the Tacoma reveal last week, the truck's chief engineer Sheldon Brown told The Drive, "Obviously I can't really talk about future development and future product, but certainly for Tacoma, it's always been there and it was really important that we maintain it so for us. Obviously, it's not a high-volume seller but for those who love the three-pedal truck, we wanted to keep it alive."

The new Tacoma goes all out with hybrid drivetrains, a two-door, two-seater spec, and yes, a manual transmission option on the 2.4-liter turbo four-cylinder. Given the new Tacoma will share the TNGA-F platform with the next-gen 4Runner and the legendary Hilux, it suggests that a three-pedal setup could be a drop-in fit for the popular SUV, too.

Notably, Brown didn't rule out a manual option for the 4Runner. There was no mention of intractable engineering or manufacturing issues that would preclude such an option, nor an expression of difficult market realities.

Of course, Brown's answer doesn't affirmatively tell us a lot, which isn't surprising. Automakers always carefully control any reveal of information about future models. Plus, staff are primed before press events to ensure they don't accidentally give away any crucial secrets. Regardless, it may be that no manual 4Runner is on the cards, or that it will prove too niche to be worth the effort. But the possibility is there, and we're yet to hear an outright denial from Toyota itself.

For now, though, the window remains open. Manual transmissions may not be as popular as they once were, but they've hung on for the die-hard enthusiast set. This is particularly true in the off-road world, where manual Ford Broncos and Jeep Wranglers continue to sell well. Whether Toyota gives 4Runner buyers a clutch pedal for the first time in 23 years remains to be seen, but we'll keep our fingers crossed.

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