Toyota Engineer Shares What Makes The Four-Cylinder Tacoma Engine So Reliable - SUV VEHICLE

Toyota Engineer Shares What Makes The Four-Cylinder Tacoma Engine So Reliable

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Summary

  • Toyota’s new Tacoma for 2024 comes with a revamped powertrain, featuring a hybrid engine for enhanced performance and fuel efficiency.
  • The i-Force Max Hybrid engine in the 2024 Tacoma delivers 326 HP and 465 lb-ft of torque, marking a significant increase in power.
  • Toyota engineers focus on heat management to ensure reliability and efficiency in the newly designed turbocharged four-cylinder engine.



The Toyota Tacoma has reigned supreme in the midsize truck segment for nearly two decades, and the all-new 2024 Tacoma aims to set a new benchmark for modern trucks. Completely redesigned and reimagined for the 2024 model year, Toyota’s engineers focused on its extensive legacy of quality, durability and reliability, all of which are strongly reflected in its new powertrain.

Having made one of its initial appearances in the 2023 Toyota Crown, the i-Force Max engine has finally replaced the 3.5-liter V-6, which boasted 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. When Toyota announced that the upper-level versions of the 2024 Tacoma would feature a hybrid engine, it may have come as a surprise to some people. However, Toyota has been moving towards smaller displacement engines for some time now, so the transition from the V-6 to the hybridized 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine wasn’t entirely unexpected.


In the 2024 Toyota Tacoma lineup, every trim variant is equipped with a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which comes in three different configurations: standard, i-Force, or i-Force Max Hybrid. While some components of the engine might seem familiar, drawn from the 2.4-liter engines found in the Highlander and Grand Highlander models, it has been significantly reworked for the specific demands of a truck’s heavier duty cycle.

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from various manufacturer websites and other authoritative sources, including Toyota.

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A Key Factor That Plays A Huge Role: The Cooling System Helps To Efficiently Pull All The Heat Away


As explained by Sheldon Brown, chief engineer for the 2024 Toyota Tacoma, one of the key factors ensuring that the new turbo four-cylinder engine is as reliable as the old V-6 is having a robust cooling system capable of dissipating all the heat.

For some time now, Toyota has been transitioning to smaller displacement turbocharged engines, a shift that has been driven by emissions regulations as well as the goal of enhancing fuel economy and power performance. In this instance, the new inline-four engine incorporates a 3-inch cooling inlet designed to facilitate a robust flow of coolant throughout the entire cooling system.

This feature is particularly noteworthy because a cooling inlet of this size is typically associated with V-8 engines. As a result, there is a remarkable water flow within a much smaller engine, a feature that not only helps achieve the goal of effectively dissipating heat, but also enhances overall engine performance.


Proper Heat Regulation Also Plays A Vital Role In Turbo Performance

2024 Toyota Tacoma
Motormouth via Youtube

Heat management is also crucial in turbos, especially in designs that surpass traditional passenger car specifications to meet commercial grade standards. Sheldon explains that this is essential due to the varied duty cycles experienced by turbocharged engines in trucks, where towing, off-roading, and low gear lugging are common practices. Therefore, ensuring consistent power delivery while keeping the turbochargers cool is marked as a priority.

Several measures are taken to achieve this:


  • Optimizing the airflow into the turbocharger to ensure smooth flow is vital for expanding the Lambda range.
  • Special attention is given to both the inlet and exhaust sides, employing techniques such as twin-scroll technology for improved efficiency.
  • Bespoke cooling systems are integrated directly into the turbochargers to maintain optimal operating temperatures.

These combined efforts ensure that the engine meets the same reliability and durability standards set for all the other engines produced by Toyota. This one even takes it a step further by reaching commercial-grade standards.

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The Most Powerful Powertrain Available On The Tacoma To Date: The i-Force Max Hybrid

Among the new 2024 Toyota Tacoma’s advances in design, interior styling, and tech, its new i-Force Max hybrid powertrain stands out as one of the more compelling aspects of the new midsize truck, being the most powerful ever offered in the Tacoma lineup. The hybrid is optional on mid-level Tacomas and standard on higher trim levels such as the TRD Pro and the new Trailhunter trim, effectively replacing the previous optional 3.5-liter V-6 engine.


The i-Force Max Delivers 326 HP And An Impressive 465 Pound-Feet Of Torque

2024 Toyota Tacoma Limited in red posing on country road with forest background
Toyota News USA

In the 2024 Toyota Tacoma, the i-Force Max ingeniously combines a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a 48-horsepower electric motor powered by a 1.87-kWh NiMH battery pack derived from the Tundra i-Force Max. This combination results in a total system power of up to 326 horsepower and an impressive torque of 465 pound-feet, marking a remarkable increase of over 75 percent compared to the 265 pound-feet offered by the previous model’s optional 3.5-liter V-6 engine.


Further Possible Configurations

Besides the hybrid configuration, the 2024 Toyota Tacoma is available with two other powertrain options. The standard engine is a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, capable of delivering 278 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque, except on the SR model, which offers 228 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque.

Additionally, there is a 6-speed manual transmission equipped with automatic rev matching and anti-stall technology. Manual transmission models produce 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.

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Going Hybrid Is Not Just About Fuel Efficiency, It’s Equally Aimed At Boosting Performance

Toyota Tacoma Covert Bumper

Why did Toyota choose to make the 2024 Toyota Tacoma a hybrid? It could be said that hybrid powertrains are something Toyota has specialized in, knowing exactly when and how to apply them. This becomes evident when looking at the lineup of the larger Tundra, which recently also adopted an optional turbocharged V-6 hybrid engine. However, unlike in Toyota’s cars and SUVs, this isn’t solely about fuel economy — it’s also about performance, particularly torque.


The Most Prominent Performance Enhancement Focuses On Torque

The primary advantage of the new standard i-Force four-cylinder engine in the 2024 Tacoma is its enhanced torque output. This improvement is designed to significantly enhance overall off-road performance and efficiency for the mid-size truck. Boasting an impressive torque output of 465 pound-feet, it surpasses the 430 pound-feet maximum torque output of GM’s non-hybrid, larger-displacement turbo I-4 found in the Colorado and Canyon pickups, as well as the same figure produced by the Ford Ranger Raptor’s twin-turbo V-6.

Available on the TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, TRD Pro, and Trailhunter models, this newly-developed powertrain almost doubles the torque output of the 2023 Tacoma V-6 engine.

Maximum Torque Is Achieved At 1,700 RPM

2024 Toyota Tacoma
Motormouth via Youtube


The 2024 Tacoma achieves maximum torque at just 1700 RPM and maintains stability all the way up to approximately 4,300 RPM before experiencing a slight decrease in performance. This significantly improves responsiveness and overall off-roading capabilities compared to the 2023 model, while also improving towing capacities. With a maximum towing capacity of 6,500 pounds, the 2024 model greatly benefits from the increased torque, making it much easier to manage towing heavy loads.

“From the perspective of a performance enthusiast, this is fantastic. You’re able to enjoy exceptional performance and power while also achieving better emissions and fuel economy”, explained Sheldon.

Moreover, when equipped with the i-Force Max, the Tacoma can effortlessly ascend an 8 percent interstate grade without needing to downshift, thus enhancing the comfort of long road trips in a Tacoma.


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Engines Must Endure Torture-Testing Across Different Driving Situations

Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter
Toyota

If there’s something Toyota is renowned for, it’s the reliability and durability of its engines, consistently demonstrating high quality and utility for those who go for a Toyota truck. While it’s obvious that every company claims that their new truck engine is tougher and built to last longer than any other, Toyota’s commitment to preparing this engine for truck duty sounds particularly serious.

When asked how much testing Toyota did to make this engine reliable, Sheldon responded: “I can’t give you the exact numbers, those are proprietary, but I can tell you that it gets torture tested on bench”.


Toyota Exhaustively Tested The Engine In Every Conceivable Position

2024 Toyota Tacoma
Motormouth via Youtube

Toyota’s testing process went beyond standard on-road conditions. They tilted the engine up, ran it to the side, and even ran it downhill. These various drive cycles simulate the different conditions the engine might encounter, and it’s been done this way to ensure that off-roaders can’t starve the engine of oil or create flow issues. This complements what was previously explained about the cooling system.

The testing involves long-term bench tests as well as installing advanced engines into vehicles currently on the road, accumulating miles to gather real-world data.


“I want to reassure everybody that we’ve done our job to ensure that we meet our quality, dependability and reliability. It’s the lifeblood of Toyota; it’s something that we hold very near and dear to our heart. We understand it’s what our customers expect, so we’ve done our job to make sure that we put it through the paces before it ever gets to you”, emphasized the chief engineer for the 2024 Toyota Tacoma.

Differences Relative To The Engine In The Highlander

Even though there has been considerable discussion about the similarities between this engine and the one foundd in the Highlander, the company asserts that there is only a 54 percent compatibility between the two engines. While the valvetrain and fueling system remain the same, the block and turbocharger differ for the Tacoma. These modifications enable the Tacoma to deliver its maximum torque at 1700 RPM, as mentioned earlier, enhancing its capabilities for pulling and crawling.


Manufacturers Wave Goodbye To The V-6

Alongside Toyota’s decision, most car manufacturers are bidding farewell to the V-6, as things like forced induction, hybridization and advanced valve timing has allowed engineers to develop V-6 levels of power from much smaller, four-cylinder engines. One of the main advantages of four-cylinder engines is that they offer similar power to a V-6 but achieve this with lower fuel consumption. Consequently, you might benefit from lower annual fuel costs in the long run.

But that’s not all; with a hybrid four-cylinder, you can have the best of both worlds, as technological advancements provide comparable, if not superior, power.

Nevertheless, the choice is ultimately yours, as you’re the one investing the money. So, it’s up to you; would you go for a hybrid inline-four.

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