Why the 2024 Toyota Tacoma Has Such a Huge Air Dam

It’s a necessary evil to make sure that the new Tacoma gets good fuel economy while retaining ground clearance.

byChris Rosales|
Toyota News photo
Chris Tsui

The 2024 Toyota Tacoma is here, and it looks like a slam dunk. With a huge spread of trims, cool new features like the suspension seat in the TRD Pro, an all-new interior and exterior, two new turbocharged four-cylinder powertrains, and an optional manual gearbox. Yet the eagle-eyed noticed one strange thing about the new truck: the massive air dam. 

It’s been a growing trend in trucks but the Tacoma has the single biggest one I’ve seen yet. On modern trucks, they’re incredibly important and essential to the fuel economy and aerodynamics of tall vehicles. To get a clearer explanation, Reviews Editor Chris Tsui asked Tacoma chief engineer Sheldon Brown about the air dam.

Chris Tsui

"The air dam is part of the aerodynamic package. These trucks, we've lifted them pretty tall, they got wider, they got a little bit taller, that means our coefficient of drag x area increased which means the drag on the truck increased” said Brown.

Basically, the air dam redirects air around the extremely draggy front wheels and gives the truck much better aerodynamics. Most of the concern surrounding the air dam was concerning ground clearance, but Brown also addressed this and revealed that the air dam can be easily removed in the field if need be.

“It is a functional air dam, it has openings there so you can access the recovery points and if you decide you want to take it off-road, nine simple shots with a Phillips head screwdriver or a hex head socket—zip, zip, zip—comes right off, goes right back on.” Brown also explored the possibility of having an automatically retracting spoiler. “But the front overhang compared to Tundra is about 90 mm shorter. So we really don't have a lot of room to tuck that up and away.”

So, the air dam serves a specific purpose and easily removable, even if it looks a little silly on such a tall truck. We can’t wait to test the new truck properly in the coming months.