PHOTOS: Toyota’s Winners and Losers at CIAS




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I was able to attend Media Day at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto this year and as you’d expect, nearly all the content I captured was from the Toyota booth.

Now, please keep in mind that this coverage is coming from the perspective of a Toyota enthusiast, not an automotive journalist (I’m not one). So it makes sense that I spend most of my time talking about the trucks and performance cars.

The Winners:

The highlight of the show for me was the debut of 4th Generation Tacoma and the new Land Cruiser. 2022 marked the beginning of the new era of Toyota trucks when the 3rd Gen Tundra was released.

Small displacement, turbo charged, and hybrid powertrains are Toyota’s way forward – and this year, the Tacoma and Land Cruiser joined the group with their 2.4L turbo 4-cylinders.

Personally, I’m a much bigger fan of larger engines but the fact that the i-FORCE MAX produces 465 lb-ft of torque is hard to ignore.

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

This truck is so cool – definitely a winner. The Tacoma has been spending some serious time in the gym, and it shows. It’s as if they put every aspect of the outgoing 3rd Gen TRD Pro on steroids.

Fox suspension, a wider track with huge fender flares, a turbo charged, hybrid powertrain pumping out 326 Hp and 465 lb-ft, and even suspension seats!

This new TRD Pro has a lot of presence and I think they did a great job on the styling. Time will tell how dependable the new drivetrain will be, but I have high hopes. After all, Toyota is no stranger to turbochargers or hybrids.

2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter

I have to admit, I’m a bigger fan of the TRD Pro styling cues than the Trailhunter. The draw to the Trailhunter for me is what it represents – Toyota paying attention to the things owners do to their trucks and offering to give it to them straight from the dealership.

The Trailhunter version of the Tacoma offers plenty of aftermarket off-road focused parts. This includes things like 33″ tires on special 18″ wheels, Old Man Emu suspension, an ARB rear bumper and bed rack, as well as rock sliders, skid plates, and even a snorkel!

This truck is ready for overland adventures as soon as you sign the paperwork and it’s refreshing to see Toyota heading in this direction despite all the EV and emissions craziness going on in the auto industry.

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road

I almost feel bad for the poor TRD Off-Road model because it’s been overshadowed by the more expensive trucks. I would argue that this might be the best buy out of all of them.

The TRD Off-Road package is not exactly a wimpy street truck. It’s got more aggressive wheels and tires, skid plates, and an electric rear locker. The interior shares the same design as the more expensive models, minus the red accents and nicer materials.

I didn’t see pricing for the Pro or Trailhunter but this “lower level” model comes in around $60,000 CAD. I can’t imagine what the MSRP for the others is going to be but I think the best value is to get one of these and modify it to your liking.

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota has made some huge changes to their beloved Land Cruiser. It’s now smaller and comes in at nearly half the price.

The outgoing 200 series Land Cruiser was similar in size to the Sequoia. This new one is much closer to a 4Runner in terms of dimensions. It’ll be getting the same 2.4L 4-cylinder as the Tacoma.

The new Land Cruiser is available with 2 different front ends. This First Edition that Toyota had on display has the more retro-looking round headlights, a nod to the early generations. The other option has sleeker, rectangular lights and is a bit more modern looking.

Based on what we know so far, I’d say the new Land Cruiser is a win. I didn’t love the spec of the one they had at the show though. I would have loved to see it in a different color and I think the other front end is the way to go.

2024 Toyota Tundra and Sequoia TRD Pro

There didn’t seem to be any noticeable changes to the Tundra or Sequoia TRD Pros for this year. But we’ll give Toyota a pass since they were brand new last year.

I think Toyota did a really great job on these trucks. I’d MUCH rather see them continue with the 5.7 V8 though but I’m afraid all hope is lost on that one.

One thing I noticed was that the front end of the Sequoia sits quite a bit lower than the Tundra. I wonder why? They both share so many components and I’d assume the front suspension is the same. Is the Sequoia that much heavier or is it running softer spring rates or something?

The interiors of these trucks are gorgeous (and identical, as far as I can tell). There are tons of nice accents that make the TRD Pro model feel special. Plenty of branding, red stitching, and an overall more high-performance feel.

One thing is for sure – unlike the new Tacoma Double Cab, the rear seat space in the Sequoia is gigantic.

The fact that Toyota felt the need to make a 7-passenger family hauler that’s tuned for high-speed off-roading is awesome.

The styling of both the Tundra and Sequoia is really nice and I think it’ll age pretty well over the next few years. These are beautiful trucks with great performance, and an awful exhaust note. I just can’t get on board with a truck this size having a V6.

2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail

I still can’t believe that Lexus of all companies has brought us a dedicated off-road SUV. They’re normally so focused on luxury and refinement so to see them build something rugged and meant to hit the trails right from the factory is surprising.

The GX 550 is basically a Land Cruiser in a tuxedo but with a few changes. Of course, the front end features the same styling as the rest of the Lexus lineup.

The biggest difference between these 2 is the engine – instead of the 2.4L 4-cylinder, the Lexus has a 3.4L twin turbo V6 that boasts 349 HP and 479 lb-ft.

For me, the Lexus wins over the Toyota in the styling department – and normally I believe the opposite, especially when it comes to the Lexus front ends. This tan color was a bit classier looking than the more yellowish tone on the Land Cruiser.

But seriously though. How cool is a Lexus that comes from the factory with a set of Toyo Open Countrys?!

2024 Toyota Rav4 Trail

I’m not normally big on crossovers but I’m going to consider the Rav4 Trail a win. Like them or not, crossovers have become one of the most popular vehicles on Canadian roads.

The Trail model of Toyota’s hugely successful Rav4 is an interesting way to make a somewhat “regular” car cool.

Most of us don’t want to admit it but there are times when someone with a crossover and a set of A/T tires can make it through the same trails as our lifted, body-on-frame, low speed transfer case equipped trucks.

Combining some mild off-road capability with the fuel efficiency and smooth ride of a car is interesting – I might not be in line to buy one but I can respect it.

2024 Toyota GR Corolla

Of course, this is a win. I would consider this the best performance car Toyota has built in recent years. The GR86 is fine, and the Supra is a great car, but they were built in partnership with Subaru and BMW.

The GR Corolla is the only one of Toyota’s performance trio that was built completely by them. A widebody, 300 Hp, Turbocharged, manual rally car for the street – what’s not to love?

Toyota hasn’t changed much on this 2nd model year of the GR Corolla but they did add a new bright “Blue Flame” color to the mix.

I was a little surprised to see they chose white for the car at the Autoshow when the new color would have grabbed a lot more attention.

The Losers:

Finally, we have to move on to a few things that didn’t quite hit the mark in my opinion.

TRD Pro Special Color – “Terra”

Every year, Toyota offers a special color that’s only available on the TRD Pro lineup of trucks. Sometimes it’s a low-key color like Lunar Rock or Cement. Other years are much brighter with colors like Voodoo Blue or Lime Rush.

This year, the special color is called Terra. I had a hard time capturing it properly on camera but in person, it’s much closer to brown than orange.

The Toyota booth was drenched in Terra. I wanted to keep an open mind and I wanted to like it but the truth is – it’s ugly. It’s certainly unique, but this non-metallic paint job just doesn’t do it for me.

2024 Toyota GR86

Don’t get me wrong, the GR86 (formerly the Scion FRS) is a good car. This Subaru/Toyota joint venture was definitely a success. Originally meant to honor the legendary AE86 Corolla, with its light weight, high revving personality, I’d say it’s done its job.

But the sun is setting and 228 Hp just isn’t cutting it anymore. I understand that the Supra is supposed to be the high powered car in the lineup but I just feel like the GR86 needs something more than another facelift to keep up with the competition.

2024 Toyota 4Runner

As a die-hard 4Runner lover, I feel bad for putting it on this section of the list. But the truth is, we are now 14 years into the 5th Generation 4Runner, and to say this truck is outdated now is an understatement.

Am I saying the 5th Gen 4Runner is a bad vehicle? Absolutely not. I LOVE this truck. It was officially the only one at the booth that didn’t have a small displacement, turbocharged engine (or a hybrid option).

The 2024 4Runner features a 1GR-FE 4.0L V6 engine that originally debuted in 2003. It has a clunky 5-speed automatic transmission. The interior hasn’t really changed much for many years.

There are a lot of people that would consider this the best truck Toyota makes still, because of these simple, reliable, and old-school specs. It’s been proven to perform well while continuing to be incredibly reliable.

My only gripe (aside from its age) is the price point. This 4Runner that was on display at the show had a price tag of nearly $74,000 CAD. That’s hard for me to wrap my mind around.

It makes sense that there aren’t any real changes to the 2024 4Runner though because this is likely its final year. The new 4Runner has been seen testing in Michigan and Arizona recently and it seems like it’ll be an SUV version of the new Tacoma.

The final year of the 4Runner is a good, but expensive one. If you’re considering buying one though, I think I’d go with a used one that’s a few years old. It’ll be essentially the same 4Runner, just as reliable, and a fraction of the price.

It’s time to say so long to the 5th Gen 4Runner – bring on the 6th Gen!

2 responses to “PHOTOS: Toyota’s Winners and Losers at CIAS”

  1. Guillermo Avatar

    Great entry Tim! I must confess that I’m seriously thinking about getting that Tacoma in TRD Off Road trim, it just looks badass! Plus the fact that its been refined in every aspect (specially the rear multi-link suspension) makes it a great contender to replace my beloved 4gen T4R. Time will tell if that turbo 4-banger is really up to the standards of reliability and longevity that Toyota it’s been known for. Not a fan of the Terra color, I feel that’s an afterthought. Other than that, great display by Toyota at CIAS! Cheers.

    1. Tim Rempel Avatar

      Thanks for taking the time to comment! Make sure to follow TRD Jon on Youtube – he just bought a 4th gen Tacoma and is making lots of videos about the ownership experience.


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