Here’s Why the 2024 Toyota Tacoma Manual Has a Funky Shift Boot

We’re all rejoicing that the 2024 Toyota Tacoma kept the manual transmission, but why the heck does the shifter look like that?

byRob Stumpf|
2024 Toyota Tacoma Shifter Hero
via Toyota

If you've been paying attention to news about the all-new 2024 Toyota Tacoma, you've undoubtedly heard that Toyota is sticking with one of the truck's most coveted features: the six-speed manual transmission. While we're overwhelmingly grateful for this, especially with introducing a fully refreshed platform in 2024, one thing is bugging us: What's going on with that shift boot?

Maybe we're just overanalyzing it, but the Tacoma's shifter-and-shift-boot combination feels a bit off. Is it too tall? Is it too frumpy? Or are we just so used to modern trucks having automatic transmissions that the style of yesteryear's larger boots seems weird? To find out, we asked the Tacoma's chief engineer to explain what's going on under that boot.

One of the biggest changes under the hood for the Tacoma is its new turbocharged four-cylinder. Toyota added a good bit of power with the new 2.4-liter, making up to 278 horsepower available to the driver. And while it ditched the outgoing truck's optional V6, it made up the difference with the i-Force Max hybrid system that produces a rather robust 326 HP and 465 pound-feet of torque.

Now, only the non-hybrid variant can be equipped with the six-speed manual. And because the new engine had to be mated to Toyota's six-speed gearbox, the automaker had to do some tweaking to make things fit, including adding a long shifter. According to Tacoma Chief Engineer Sheldon Brown, that extra length and longer throw is the secret sauce that prompted the look of the shift boot.

"The shift lever is a little bit longer throw because the 6MT made it to the new L4 turbo," Tacoma chief engineer Sheldon Brown told The Drive.

"We had to change, of course, the bell housing and so the mechanical attachment to where that goes to the transmission is a little bit longer. We have just a little bit longer throw, so, therefore, we had a little bit longer shift lever and the boot is just there to match that."

Even though the shifter looks a bit out of place, it's admittedly hard to normalize the looks of a manual transmission in a class where it's already so scarce. And, it's not like the answer is necessarily a shorter shifter either because tweaking the ergonomics of where the shifter lands in the driver's hand would require an additional redesign of the center console.

Despite the quirks, we're still happy to see a manual shift knob in a modern vehicle. Sure, it's no Volvo Spaceball or any Pagani shifter, but it's still fun and very truck-like. People will undoubtedly grow into it over time, so let's all enjoy that Toyota had the gall to keep a manual in the new Tacoma.

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