Toyota beefs up the Tundra

TOYOTA IS TAKING aim at the Big Three with its release of the 2007 Tundra full-size pickup.

“It's loaded with innovations and it's ready for work,” said Rich Bame, national truck market development manager.

“The truck is wider, taller, longer, and more powerful than any Tundra to date,” said Mike Reding, VP of corporate accessories. “And the payload and capacity are very competitive with other entries in the market. This truck was designed for US customers as the no-excuses full-size pickup.”

The pickup, which was named “Most Significant Vehicle of the Year” by edmunds.com, has the ability to tow over 10,000 pounds. To achieve this towing capacity, every major component was designed for maximum strength, durability, and reliability over the long haul. This will be accomplished with an all-new 5.7-liter i-Force V8 engine manufactured at Toyota's Alabama engine plant. The V8 will be mated to a new heavy-duty six-speed automatic transmission.

In addition to the new powertrain, Tundra will also come equipped with heavy-duty front disc brakes with four-piston calipers and vented rotors increased by nearly 1.5“, and standard rear disc brakes. High-capacity cooling and electrical systems will help Tundra tow heavy loads through the toughest weather. Finally, Tundra will ride on a new rock-solid chassis platform with 30% higher tensile strength steel.

Development of the new Tundra was spearheaded by Toyota's US-based facilities. Product planning began at TMS headquarters in Southern California. All engineering development was directed by the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Styling, inside and out, was the work of Toyota's Calty Research and Design Centers in Newport Beach, California, and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Finally, the new Tundra will be built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Princeton, Indiana, and Toyota's new truck plant in San Antonio, Texas.

Expanded wheelbase

Tundra has been super-sized in every metric of comparison with the vehicle it replaces. Its all-new, full-size platform will feature a significantly expanded wheelbase and an increase of 10" in overall length. Tundra will also gain nearly 5" in height and will be 4" wider than before, placing it among the segment leaders in overall size.

Buyers of the new Tundra will have a choice of three engines. In addition to the new 5.7-liter V8, the capable 4.0-liter V6 and the legendary 4.7-liter i-Force V8, both also built in Alabama, will be available.

The new Tundra will come in three cab configurations. It will retain its three-grade strategy with the Base, SR5, and well-appointed Limited trim levels. In all, Tundra will be offered in more than 30 different models, nearly double the current generation.

The new Tundra will feature a tailgate that can be opened and closed with just two fingers. Robust dampers on the hinges have been added to help cushion the tailgate when opening and also help reduce bouncing when driving with the tailgate down. Other design features with workers in mind include large door handles, inside and out, easy-to-turn HVAC knobs, and adjustable headrests, allowing drivers and passengers to ride to their next work site without having to remove protective gear such as hardhats or gloves.

Designers also had safety in mind with the addition of extra large side mirrors to provide a wide field of view, while reducing wind noise and image vibration, always important when towing precious cargo. Additionally, a trailer hitch will be integrated into the Tundra's frame for better stability when handling heavy loads.

The Tundra will be loaded with standard-equipped comfort and convenience features. An array of options and accessories will also be offered, such as a JBL premium audio system with Bluetooth telephone compatibility, 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and a wide-screen backup camera integrated into the tailgate handle for enhanced rear-view safety.

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