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The 2024 Toyota Tacoma recently debuted, and everyone is pouring over it. With all the new details, features, and design cues, one of the most exciting features isn’t new at all. Many were relieved to find out that the new Tacoma is keeping the manual transmission. However, there is something kind of strange about the shift boot. Why does it look like that? 

The redesigned Toyota Tacoma is one of the last new trucks with a manual transmission.
2024 Tacoma gear knob | Toyota

Why does the 2024 Toyota Tacoma shift boot look so weird? 

The Drive, along with others, have been wondering why the shift boot on the new Tacoma looks so weird. Instead of answering riddles in the dark, the folks at The Drive spoke with Toyota about it. 

Now that most modern vehicles don’t come with manual transmissions, there is a bit of wiggling that has to happen to make certain bits fit. The Chief Engineer of the Tacoma, Sheldon Brown, said that in order to make everything fit, the shifter needed to be a bit longer than normal. With that came the weirdly long shift boot. 

“The shift lever is a little bit longer throw because the 6MT made it to the new L4 turbo,” Sheldon Brown told The Drive. “We had to change, of course, the bell housing, and so the mechanical attachment to where that goes to the transmission is a little bit longer. We have just a little bit longer throw, so, therefore, we had a little bit longer shift lever, and the boot is just there to match that.” 

What trucks still come with a manual transmission? 

A red 2023 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon midsize pickup truck model perched on a grassy hill surrounded by large rocks
2023 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon | FCA

Seeing as how there are so few trucks, or any car for that matter, with manual transmissions, we also have to be ok with the possibility that it looks weird because it is weird. Of all the pickup trucks currently on the market, only two trucks come with manual transmissions; the Toyota Tacoma and the Jeep Gladiator. So, by definition, the Tacoma’s shifter/shift boot is weird. It is an uncommon thing that feels a touch out of place amongst the modern pickup truck’s interior. It does look weird, though. 

The team who designed the Tacoma clearly valued ergonomics over aesthetics here, and frankly, for pickup trucks, that is probably the way it should be. 

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

The 2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is off-roading.
Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro | Toyota

OK, the Tacoma is no gift horse, but the fact that it has three pedals at all is a blessing. The feature is all but gone. The day will likely come when even the Tacoma ditches the manual gearbox, but Jeep is more likely to go under than drop the manual. 

It’s a funny thing that we value progress and comfort so much that we start to lose things that remind us of our past. Sure, driving a manual car or truck is fun. It can even have some slight advantages in certain scenarios. However, it’s clear that automatic, CVT, and dual-clutch gearboxes are the way of the future and more efficient, if not simply better. While I still prefer to do my shifting myself, most people don’t. We can see that from sales. If these companies thought they would sell more cars with three pedals, I promise they’d make them. 

The 2024 Toyota Tacoma’s shifter is weird-looking, but weird-looking or not, we are just happy to have it.