2024 Tacoma keeps manual alive, USPS trucks delayed, Model 3 Long Range returns

2024 Toyota Tacoma manual transmission three pedals Manifold lede bannered

2024 Tacoma keeps the manual flame burning

Intake: Welcome back to the weekly Tacoma Teaser corner. This week, Toyota revealed something that genuinely caught us off guard: The 2024 Tacoma will still offer a manual. The teaser image above was released with this kitschy little quote: “Legends are more than automatic; they always come in clutch.” The current Tacoma is one of just two mid-size pickups to offer a manual transmission, Jeep’s Gladiator is the other one. It’s unknown yet whether the manual option will be offered with the hybrid drivetrain that Toyota previously teased for the new Tacoma, but we wouldn’t bet on it.

Exhaust: The Tacoma has long represented Toyota’s adherence to older, proven technology that just plain works, but we’re surprised to see a manual stick around during a landmark transition for the best-selling mid-sizer in the U.S. Between this news, the detachable Bluetooth speaker, and the upcoming Trailhunter trim, the 2024 Tacoma seems ready to offer something for just about everyone. — Nathan Petroelje

New USPS vehicles behind schedule

old usps mail truck fleet
Flickr | Navymailman

Intake: The U.S. Postal Service said it doesn’t expect to receive its next-generation delivery vehicles until June 2024, nine months behind schedule, says Reuters. In March of 2022, the USPS placed an order worth nearly $3 billion with Oshkosh Corporation for 50,000 next-generation delivery vehicles. It expected to begin receiving deliveries in October. The modern vehicles will replace older USPS vehicles that lack airbags and air conditioning. It will also buy 18,500 trucks from Ford and Chrysler. In February 2021, the USPS announced an initial $482 million contract for Oshkosh and said it could order up to 165,000 vehicles over 10 years in a deal that could be worth $6 billion or more.

Exhaust: If it sounds complicated, it is, and further muddying the water is that the deal is being challenged by 16 states and environmental groups that filed a lawsuit seeking to block USPS’s plan to buy mostly gas-powered trucks instead of electric ones. In December, USPS said it would more than double planned electric delivery vehicles purchases, saying it now plans to buy at least 66,000 electric vehicles through 2028, including at least 45,000 out of 60,000 Oshkosh-built vehicles. USPS said it would also buy 14,000 charging stations. – Steven Cole Smith

Tesla re-opens order books for Model 3 Long Range

Tesla Model 3 Long Range exterior front three quarter white

Intake: After a nine-month hiatus, Tesla has re-opened the order books for the Model 3 Long Range, which has a bigger battery and a 325-mile range, compared to 358 miles for the last Long Range. Starting price is $48,880 with destination, for a June delivery date. It’s eligible for a $3750 incentive, the same as the base model, which has a range of 272 miles. The Performance version of the Model 3 is eligible for the full $7500 incentive. It all depends on where the battery materials are sourced from, and where it’s assembled.

Exhaust: Electrek.co is speculating that the new Long Range may be using a different, Chinese-sourced battery pack. “There are changes that suggest the car might be using Tesla’s LFP [lithium-iron-phosphate] pack, which is used in Chinese-built Model 3s and in the Model 3 Standard Range. The car is now listed as having ‘325+’ miles of range, as compared to the previous 358 miles. LFP is a cheaper, less energy-dense technology, so it would make sense that a pack might have less energy in it, and less range as a result.” Since Tesla has no press office and doesn’t respond to queries, your guess is as good as ours. – SCS

Porsche to hike prices to fight higher supply chain costs

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS front

Intake: To curb higher costs that hampered profits in the first quarter of 2023, Porsche has announced that it will raise prices for its vehicles between 4 and 8 percent, according to a report from Automotive News. Porsche’s chief financial officer Lutz Meschke told AN that supply chain issues, particularly for semiconductors and the parts for the Taycan EV’s high voltage charging system are to blame, but that those pains should ease in the coming months. The company also said that it is targeting a move further upmarket to challenge the likes of Ferrari.

Exhaust: Those supply chain pinches around key EV components are a focus for Porsche right now. Within the next 5 years, Porsche is planning to release an all-electric Macan, an electric 718 sports car, and an electric high-performance crossover that will sit above the Cayenne in its lineup. — NP

Volvo’s smallest crossover EVs get RWD option, more range

Volvo C40 Recharge and XC40 Recharge exterior front three quarters by beach

Intake: Volvo announced a handful of changes for its C40 Recharge and XC40 Recharge compact crossover EVs. To boost the range of the small electric utes, the Swedish automaker will now offer a rear-wheel-drive version of each—the first time in 25 years that RWD has been offered on a Volvo USA product. The 248-hp electric motor pairs with the same 82-kWh battery pack as before, but range climbs to 297 miles on the C40 Recharge and 293 miles on the XC40 Recharge, up from 226 miles and 223 miles, respectively.

The all-wheel-drive versions of these two also get updated drivetrains. In place of a 150-hp electric motor affixed to each axle in the old setup, Volvo’s new in-house developed 255-hp electric motor will now be fitted to the rear axle and a 147-hp asynchronous electric motor will power the front axle. The new setup, which won’t require the front axle motor to provide power continually, allows the C40 Recharge and XC40 Recharge to eek 254 miles of range out of the 78-kWh battery pack, a gain of 31 miles over the outgoing layout.

Exhaust: These smaller electric crossovers might not offer the big profit margins automakers seem to be addicted to these days, but because of their lower prices, they’re the types of vehicles that will make a bigger impact on getting folks to transition to EVs. With competition from the likes of the Genesis GV60 mounting, Volvo’s updates bring a welcome boost to these trendy utes. — Nathan Petroelje




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    Despite currently having an all Toyota line up in my garage (Tundra & Camry), I have never been a fan of the Taco. Haven’t liked its looks and its awkward legs-out seating position (which is very weird for a truck). But them keeping around a manual for the new one has me very intrigued. If the styling is better and the seating position is better and if the manual is paired with a desirable powertrain, I might be very tempted. I’ve previously owned 3 manual equipped vehicles over the years, staring to get the itch for the 4th.

    Agree on the Taco seating, I have driven thousands of miles in early 2000s Tacoma’s during a 4 year stint at a utility company with Taco’s for its fleet. I would do about 200 miles daily in one. They also had older 90s Rangers that the Taco was replacing as they aged out, and it was a fight in the morning over who got the few remaining Rangers as they were sooooo much nicer to spend a day in. I never understood why anyone would by the Taco as a daily if they test drove any other midsized truck for comparison. Sure, if you off-road a lot, the Taco makes sense, but if you rarely or don’t off-road, it is objectively the worst midsized truck in every way. Even that “legendary Toyota reliability” is not that much better than the rest of the pack in recent years if you look at the JD Power numbers. The difference between the most and least reliable is shockingly slim. In fact, Forbes had an article last year (easy to google, title is “Built To Last: Cars, Trucks And SUVs Most Likely To Run For Over 200,000 Miles”) sourcing a study on vehicles most likely to last over 200,000 miles. The top 15 vehicles contained only 2 pickups, one was the Tundra (#8 on the list), and the other was the Honda Ridgeline (#13). That’s right, the Honda Ridgeline is in fact, demonstrably more likely to last 200k miles than the Tacoma, or any other midsize truck, and all but one full-sized truck. Now, an interesting twist is that 8 of the top 15 vehicles were Toyota products (suvs, crossovers, and cars), and an interesting caveat that the list excludes diesel HD trucks (I imagine so it wasn’t a list of diesel trucks and nothing else). The company that researched the underlying data does have studies that include HD trucks, and yes the diesels take the top, and that list is also for reaching 250k rather than 200k, in which instance the Taco does make an appearance (apparently the Honda’s longevity must take a nosedive somewhere between 200k to 250k miles, something to keep in mind if you want a high-mileage Ridgeline, I’m guessing it is due to the engine being an interference type, but using a timing belt rather than chain, so my speculation is that after 200k miles more than a few Hondas ate their valvetrains). All that said, I have only ever had one vehicle after high school that was an over 100k mile during my ownership, and now buy new, so the legendary reliability is pointless, and as such, the Taco is an extraordinarily poor choice if the only good thing is reliability that the 3rd owner would enjoy rather than me.

    I think you are thinking about the Toyota Hilux…. world platform vehicle available with a kicker 3L diesel engine. I own one of each. both 2013, tacoma is a bit wider and made in US vs Japan. interestingly I find the paint finish on the Hilux a lot more durable than the tacoma that scuffs just looking at it. Possibly so it doesn’t show the shrapnel damage …lol

    My daughter has a Tacoma with three pedals which is just what a truck should have. Whether she was driving on an epic journey through over 28 states or we four wheeled over Tin Cup pass and Stony pass in Colorado it never failed!

    Delays on the USPS trucks? Who could have forseen that? /sarcasm
    How much over budget will they be while we are at it?

    Selling these transmissions globally help as so few sell in the states anymore.

    Toyota has a lot to do as the new Colorado is a home run as a truck of build quality and power. Toyota has remained stagnate for way too long.

    My buddy had one and bought it at the same time I bought my Canyon. He sold it due to issues like a leaking roof and just not happy with it.

    People need to get beyond the myth that Toyota is better, Anymore they are just the same as any other model as most have caught up and passed them by.

    Tesla long range now has bigger batteries but a shorter range? Glad to see we’re getting a little more realistic on the range electric vehicles offer. Here’s a hint- less range than promised.

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