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Just a generation ago, the manual was the default transmission for pickup trucks. It was cheaper than an automatic up front, promised some fuel savings, and many drivers just preferred to choose their own gears.

How times have changed! Automatic transmissions have certainly improved, with a mind-boggling 10-speeds becoming the new industry norm. And an entire generation of drivers aren’t bothering to learn the good old three pedal.

No automaker offers a full-size pickup truck with a manual transmission in the U.S. (Though Stellantis still builds the stick shift Ram 4000 in Mexico). There are only two midsize trucks with a clutch: the Jeep Gladiator and Toyota Tacoma. And while the cog-swapper lives on with the fourth-generation Tacoma, you can only choose the option on three 2024 trims. Why? Because hybrid is taking over.

Red Toyota Tacoma truck with the 2024 manual transmission option
2024 Toyota Tacoma Limited | Toyota

Here’s the scoop: Toyota has decided that standard isn’t standard. In fact, the third pedal is an upmarket option. I wouldn’t call it an upgrade just because it slices $1,100 off the truck’s price. But the automaker isn’t offering it on the SR, SR5, new “TRD PreRunner.”

Why? I have no clue. It’s especially odd to me because Toyota has upped the truck’s base price by $2,900 and is dealing with the corresponding bad press. Just offering a manual Tacoma SR would mean advertising a much lower MSRP, even if no one actually chose the option.

What’s more, you can only row gears with the base-level I4 engine. The fourth-gen Tacoma won’t have any V6. Instead, the upmarket engine will be the I4 with added hybrid power: the i-FORCE MAX. But hybrids and three pedals don’t play nice together. The new top trims: the TRD Pro and the new “TrailHunter” will be automatic only.

All-in-all, this means there are only three 2024 Tacoma trims are available with the manual transmission. They are the TRD Sport trim, TRD Off Road trim, and the Limited trim. The TRD Off Road/Sport used to be an options package that Toyota is making into its own trims. The Limited is a more traditional upper trim. Neither is cheap ($39,400, $41,800, and $52,100 respectively). But if you’re getting one of these anyway, going with a stick shift is a nice way to save some cash and a few mpg.

Next, find out why the manual locking differential has become the manual transmission of off-roading, or see the manual 2024 Tacoma reviewed in the video below:

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