First Look Review: The Toyota Tacoma TrailHunter Hybrid is a dream truck! [Update]

  • 2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter a hybrid-only offering
  • An officially sold overlanding rig; coming to U.S. dealerships in the Spring
  • To have high-clearance front bumper, rock rails, and ARB steel rear bumper with recovery hooks
  • Will feature Old Man Emu (OME) 4x4 Suspension by ARB as well

Update: ‘Modern-tough interior’ section added with new pictures and information.

In 1985’s cinematic triumph “Back to the Future,” there’s a memorable moment where Marty McFly’s eyes light up in sheer admiration as the freshly polished black Toyota Tacoma waits for him and his adventures, in the McFly garage. That vehicle had jumped straight out of Marty’s wildest dreams. Recently, I had a similar experience when I saw an accessorized Toyota Tacoma TrailHunter.

Here’s what you need to know about the Trailhunter, along with photos of the decked-up version (a prototype model) that I had a chance to check out recently.

Tough & customizable

While I walked up to the 2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter, the whispers about this new addition to Toyota’s lineup have been all positive, focusing on its overlanding capability and rugged features. Having looked at it in detail, I can tell Toyota, in conjunction with Australian accessories firm ARB, has given this a lot of thought.

The first thing I noticed when the Trailhunter was announced was the Old Man Emu (OME) 2.5-inch forged monotube position-sensitive shocks, which seemed pretty sturdy with rear external piggyback reservoirs. The steel rear bumper and rear recovery points look rugged and ready for adventure. There’s an added option for a bed utility bar with removable MOLLE panels, and the availability of both 5- or 6-foot bed Double Cab configurations.

There’s a choice between light- or heavy-duty versions of a full ARB bed rack for gear like rooftop tents, canopies, or a camp shower. This, in my book, provides some nice customization for different needs, including hardcore overlanders.

33-inch tires & lift

Accessorized Toyota Tacoma TrailHunter Hybrid side profile
I think the bronze wheels go well with the exterior theme of the 2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter.

The 33-inch Goodyear Territory R/T tires and OME shocks give the Trailhunter an extra lift – two inches up front and one and a half inches back. It also sports a high-clearance trail exhaust tip and a Trailhunter Air Intake that is strategically placed on the passenger-side A-pillar to source cleaner air.

Rock rails and hot-stamped, high-strength steel skid plates promise underbody protection straight off the assembly line. Besides looking the part, this vehicle seems ready for serious off-the-road adventures.

Taking a look at the bed, I noticed the lighting is well placed to avoid dark spots, and the integrated bedside scene lights will undoubtedly come in handy for night-time camp setups. Power is not a concern, with a big 2400W AC inverter providing power to two locations in the cabin and the rear deck where both 12V and USBs are available.

Unique styling

But it’s not all about the rugged features. The Trailhunter includes a bronze-colored “TOYOTA” heritage-inspired grille with a 20-inch LED light bar and white/yellow color-switching RIGID LED fog lamps. I feel that the unique touches add to the aesthetics and also contribute to functionality with improved lighting.

The Tacoma Trailhunter has a narrow body, which I feel should maintain the current Tacoma’s garageability. The wide upper grille, aggressive skid plates, high-mounted headlights, and functional side air intakes add robustness and functionality and hark back to the Hilux truck.

Portable Bluetooth speaker

Featuring an advanced subwoofer and the unique JBL FLEX portable speaker, Tacoma’s partnership with JBL offers a superior ten-speaker audio ensemble for audiophiles. My favorite part is the portable speaker, which is water-resistant, provides six hours of continuous playback and fits snugly in the dashboard.

What’s more, the Trailhunter comes pre-wired for external accessories with three auxiliary toggle switches right next to the steering column. This promises ease for those looking to add more gadgets or gear to their vehicle.

2.4L Hybrid powertrain

In terms of power, this new model is characterized by the i-FORCE MAX hybrid, which is capable of generating a healthy 326 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. It is undoubtedly the most powerful powertrain Tacoma has ever offered. Features such as the automatic limited-slip differential and Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) provide both power and control.

Modern-tough interior

The accessorized Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter features a modern-tough interior theme. It has a rugged-looking hefty dashboard with block-lettered brand inscription on the passenger’s side, a 14-inch floating touchscreen infotainment system, chunky knobs, regular buttons, and slim AC vents. A grab bar on the passenger side of the center console, pillar-mounted assist grips, and grilles built into the door panels and center console further emphasize the truck-like feeling and give the occupants more comfort and utility.

The Trailhunter grade wouldn’t be complete without some funkiness to highlight its off-road sporting capabilities. Toyota equips it with upholstery featuring yellow piping and yellow double stitching. The “TOYOTA” logo on the passenger-side dashboard features an outline in the same shade. Lastly, a Trailhunter badging in the front door panels further elevates the special feeling.

Safety

With the 2024 Tacoma, Toyota is standardizing safety. Every variant is equipped with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, a comprehensive set of safety technologies. A comprehensive suite of next-generation sensors, including Lane Departure Alerts, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Proactive Driving Assist, reinforces Toyota’s commitment to safety.

TopElectricSUV says

In summary, while it’s packed to the brim with a variety of features, the real test for the 2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter will be out in the wilderness and in the hands of serious overlanders. I’m looking forward to seeing how it holds up to demands on the trail, but for now, on paper and in view, it’s certainly checking most of the right boxes.