The 2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is rocking some of the most technologically-advanced seats we’ve ever seen in any vehicle. Period. That counts for sports cars, supercars, SUVs, and of course, trucks. Toyota calls it the IsoDynamic Performance Seat, but read on to learn all about it.
Its party trick can be seen exposed on the seat back, as it’s rocking an air-over-oil shock absorber system, which is just nuts to see on a seat. The Tacoma’s Chief Engineer, Sheldon Brown, helped explain how it works. There are two main shocks for vertical movement, and two for lateral movement. Additionally, there are a couple of large ball joints inside that allow the seat to move somewhat independently of the rest of the truck. The idea is that all this will help reduce the amount of shaking and bumping the front occupants experience off-road, improving comfort and visibility and reducing fatigue. Brown noted that TRD Pro testers were consistently driving the truck faster over off-road sections with the seat active, than with it fixed in place, since they felt more comfortable and confident.
This is also why they’re featured in the TRD Pro. The Pro is becoming the high-speed off-road model in the Tacoma lineup, more so than the jack-of-all-trades off-roader it has been in past years. Toyota can do this now that it’s introducing the Trailhunter model, which is aimed more at slow-speed trail driving and overlanding. So a seat design that helps you go faster off road is perfect for the new Pro.
The seats can still be fixed in place. Toward the base of the seat back, there are a pair of tabs that control whether the seat is suspended or locked in. It’s possible that you might not want the dampened feel in all situations, perhaps when on pavement or more mild off-road stretches when you may prefer a bit more direct feedback from the truck. Maybe you even find you’re not a fan of the damped feeling at all. Regardless, you have the option.
These shocks are adjustable, too. They rely on air pressure, which can be adjusted via air-fill ports on the backs of the seats. Toyota will have some basic recommendations based on occupant weight, but of course you’ll be able to adjust things to suit your preferences.
Packaging all that suspension equipment adds lots of weight and takes up lots of space. To address the weight, Brown explained that parts of the seat frame are now fiberglass. And as for space, Toyota managed to fit most everything from the regular seats inside. It has most of the power adjustments, and heat and ventilation are available. The only thing that they couldn’t squeeze in was power recline, so you’ll be relying on the classic ratchet handle for that. Brown also emphasized that these seats have gone through the same crash testing as any of Toyota’s other seats and are just as safe as the rest.
We’ll be the judge of how well they work (though we’ll leave safety testing to NHTSA and IIHS) on the Tacoma’s first drive, but beyond the functionality, much of the appeal comes from how epic they look. Toyota’s presentation with the red dampers and carbon trim combined with the big “TRD” logo emphasizes how neat of a system this is. We love a good carbon-backed sport bucket, the likes of which you’d find in a new BMW M car or 911 GT3 RS, but none of those are rocking their own suspension systems.