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Toyota has always said it needs two completely different midsize pickups. One, the HiLux, works for most of the world. But America has the Tacoma because Toyota says we require a better-riding truck with more refinement. There is a case to be made for that, but there is no right or wrong answer. But there is something to be said for the HiLux, and that even applies today, with the official launch of the all-new 2024 Tacoma.

First, the new 2024 Tacoma is an awesome truck. It should continue Toyota’s dominance in this midsize truck segment. But the things that make the Hilux a better truck haven’t gone away with this new Taco. And we don’t mean just the difference in specs.

How do Toyota HiLux and Tacoma towing and cargo capacities compare?

2024 Toyota HiLux pickup flinging dirt
2024 Toyota HiLux pickup | Toyota

But that is where we need to start. The 2024 Tacoma TRD Sport sits in the middle of the trims, with an MSRP of just over $40,000. The towing capacity is 6,500 lbs, and the cargo capacity is 1,709 lbs. With the iForce hybrid system, the numbers go down slightly.

Now, compare that to the HiLux. The 2024 HiLux GR Sport pickup payload is over 2,200 lbs, with a towing capacity of slightly over 7,700 lbs for the lone diesel engine. The Tacoma has three engine options. There is the turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder, the aforementioned iForce, and the iForce Max, which has 326 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque.

What’s different underneath the 2024 Tacoma and HiLux?

The 2024 Toyota Tacoma kicking up dirt
2024 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

Only the 2.8-liter diesel four-cylinder engine is available in the HiLux, which some will see as a plus while others won’t. In the late 2000s, you could order a Hilux with a 4.0-liter V6 gas engine with 300 hp, according to Australia’s CarSales. The 2.8 diesel offers up to 221 hp and 405 ft-lb of torque, with the exceptional torque that one expects with a diesel engine. While a diesel engine in a Tacoma is a non-starter, diesel is still very popular in the rest of the world.

Where things really diverge is with the frame and suspension. Yes, the HiLux has a choppier ride, with heavier-duty springs in place of the Tacoma’s softer leaf springs. The frame of the HiLux is boxed, which means there are no frame flanges. Where a cross-section of the Tacoma frame looks like a “C,” the HiLux looks like an “O” or a “D.”

Why are 2024 Tacoma frames not boxed?

2024 Toyota HiLux pickup kicking up dirt
2024 Toyota HiLux pickup | Toyota

This means the frames on HiLux pickups are much stronger, with less tendency to give under certain conditions. The Tacoma frame offers less resistance, which aids in the ride department. Though anecdotal, we also believe that trucks Down Under or in developing countries just get harder use. So, with some roads being dirt, with the ruts and unevenness that comes with it, the ride is less of a factor than in the U.S.

For other chassis components like the front and rear differentials and brakes, they use the same stuff. Even the axle shafts and the number of splines are the same. The way Toyota looks at it is that in America, it is more about towing. For the HiLux, it is about payload. 

The 2024 Toyota Tacoma off-roading in mud
2024 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

In general, the Tacoma offers many more trims and features than what is available for the HiLux. Again, it is what owners demand. But that doesn’t mean the HiLux is a stripper. Several trims offer a leather interior, with an eight-inch infotainment screen standard and a 14-inch version as an option. Still, the 2024 Tacoma has the HiLux beat for bells and whistles. 

How old or new is the 2024 HiLux?

2024 Toyota HiLux pickup suspension and skid plate
2024 Toyota HiLux pickup | Toyota

Now, if you think the HiLux beats the Tacoma, keep in mind that this is an eight-year-old design. Yes, it has gotten updates, with some major ones in 2019 and again in 2023. But Toyota plans on replacing it with an all-new HiLux for 2025. 

We don’t know if it will continue to be its own midsize truck or if it will receive the 2024 Tacoma’s design with a beefier frame and suspension. What all this proves is that there are several ways to slice an apple. It just depends on what you want and need in a truck that establishes your buying priorities. 


Import or Modify: Toyota Tacoma vs Hilux