New Tacoma is here, Kia and Hyundai settle theft suit, Chevy’s 450-mile electric work truck
New Tacoma arrives with manual, coil springs; no V-6
Intake: One of the oldest vehicles in the U.S. fleet has finally been updated: The Toyota Tacoma is all-new for 2024. “Redesigned from the ground up and built upon the TNGA-F global truck platform shared with Tundra and Sequoia, the all-new Tacoma was designed and engineered for the U.S. market,” Toyota says. There are at least two notable aspects on the mid-sized, body-on-frame truck: It’s still offered with a six-speed manual transmission, and the once-available V-6 is gone. Still, the engine choice is impressive: The i-FORCE turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine produces up to 278 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque; the available i-FORCE MAX turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder hybrid, 326 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque. Maximum towing capability is 6500 pounds. Also enhancing ride and handling characteristics on Tacoma is a newly available multi-link rear suspension. This system replaces the previous model’s leaf springs in favor of a set of coils. However, leaf springs remain standard on SR, SR5 XtraCab, and TRD PreRunner grades.
Exhaust: First impression? Worth the wait, even if the new Taco doesn’t offering a locking front differential like the Ranger and Canyon do. The Tacoma, which Toyota calls a “bad-ass adventure machine,” features an all-new Trailhunter model, a factory-developed overlanding rig built from the ground up with integrated off-road equipment from ARB, Old Man Emu, and RIGID. The Trailhunter, which comes with 33-inch tires, features an integrated high-output air compressor in the bed for airing large-diameter tires back up quickly after airing down for spending days, or weeks, on the trail, Toyota says. —Steven Cole Smith
China’s Geely doubles down on Aston Martin
Intake: Geely has doubled its stake in Aston Martin to 17 percent, making the Chinese conglomerate the third biggest shareholder in the 110-year-old British sports-car maker. The other key owners of Aston are Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll and his Yew Tree consortium, along with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, while Mercedes-Benz also holds shares. Significantly, by investing around $290 million in Aston Martin, the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group will get a seat on the board. “Since first acquiring our minority holding last September, we have worked collaboratively with executive chairman Lawrence Stroll and his colleagues and now look forward to exploring joint technology synergies and new growth opportunities to help this iconic automotive brand to achieve its full potential,” says Geely chairman Eric Li.
Exhaust: Geely’s cash injection is much needed and has also helped shore up Aston Martin’s share price after its original listing on the London Stock Exchange failed to deliver as expected. Geely’s plans for Aston Martin don’t end here, however. Although it has agreed not to buy any more of the British company until August 2024, Geely will almost certainly take more control in the future, just as it did with Volvo and Lotus. —Nik Berg
Hyundai and Kia settle class-action lawsuit
Intake: To settle a class-action lawsuit, Hyundai and Kia have agreed to pay more than $200 million to owners of as many as 9 million theft-prone vehicles that lacked engine immobilizers, said Automotive News. The automakers did not include the immobilizers, which prevents the engine from starting without a key, on base trims levels of certain 2011–2021 model-year Hyundai and Kia vehicles. “Last summer TikTok users posted how-to videos that exposed a method to steal the vehicles. The posts triggered a spike in a vehicle theft across the U.S.,” Automotive News said.
Exhaust: A portion of the settlement, $145 million, will go toward out-of-pocket losses experienced by owners, including vehicles lost or stolen. Steve Berman, managing partner at the Hagens Berman law firm in Seattle and lead attorney in the lawsuit, said in a statement that they “worked to achieve a settlement that covers many types of losses—from those who were lucky enough to have never had their theft-prone car stolen, to those whose stolen cars were totaled completely due to Hyundai and Kia’s negligence.” —SCS
Chevrolet EV Work Truck will have 450-mile range
Intake: The Chevrolet Silverado EV Work Truck’s EPA-estimated range is in: 450 miles on a full charge. With this official estimate, the Silverado EV WT is expected to offer over 100 miles more than its closest on-sale competitor. The engineering team targeted at least 400 miles of range, but they were able to go above and beyond to achieve this increase. Over the past several months, extensive development and testing unlocked the increased 450-mile range. “This figure, paired with the ability to charge at 350 kW, makes the Silverado EV WT the choice electric pickup to serve fleet buyers’ needs. After all, this truck wears a Silverado badge—it’s made for tough jobs,” Chevrolet says.
Exhaust: The truck is on track to launch in late spring. This fall, the company will start production of the Silverado EV RST First Edition for retail customers. —SCS