When it comes to solid, durable full-size pickup trucks with excellent off-road capability and great resale value, it's hard to beat the Toyota Tundra. That said, in other ways, Toyota's big rig has fallen behind. Since it hasn't received an overhaul since the mid-2000s, it can feel archaic compared to its Big Three competition of the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado / GMC Sierra and Ram 1500. Couple that with bleak fuel economy numbers that make the Tundra one of the worst vehicles for the environment one can buy, and it's easy to see why it might not be at the top of many shopping lists or buying guides.
That's all about to change. Toyota is launching an all-new third-generation Tundra this year, part of a flurry of updates the Japanese brand has planned. Here's what we know about what the carmaker has planned for the full-size truck segment.
(Note: Toyota hasn't released any images of the next-gen Tundra yet. The trucks pictured here are 2021 models.)
The Tundra needs to get more efficient to succeed. A major component of that will be ditching the aging 5.7-liter V8; most speculation suggests the Tundra, much like the 300-Series Land Cruiser, will use the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 currently used in the Lexus LS 500. Expect Toyota to follow the Ford-F-150 and include a hybrid option; after all, all Toyota models will have one by 2025.
Toyota should also give the Tundra either an eight-or 10-speed automatic transmission to replace the current six-speed.
The Tundra should be among the first vehicles on a new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform for body-on-frame trucks, which will also underpin the Sequoia, Tacoma and 4Runner. The new platform should convert the Tundra to lighter-weight construction materials and improve ride quality and safety. The Tundra may also shift from leaf-spring to coil-spring suspension.
Improving the Tundra dramatically and adding features like a hybrid engine should increase the price point. The Tundra currently tops out with the Platinum trim, starting just over $52,000. That's barely above the average price paid for a new pickup. New Tundra pricing could be more in line with the F-150, which has King Ranch (~$56,000), Platinum (~$59,000) and Limited (~$70,000) trims.
The current Tundra has five-lug wheels. Spy shots of the new Tundra clearly show six-lug wheels, which strongly suggests Toyota plans to improve the current model's 10,200-pound towing and 1,730-pound payload capacity.
The third-generation Tundra should be a 2022 model year vehicle. Expect a mid-2021 debut, with the truck arriving at dealers before the end of the year.
Because you should give your 4Runner or Gladiator the fancy rubber it deserves.