If you claim you're the best, wouldn't you try to prove it? That's what Toyota did at the birth of its next generation 2007 Tundra full-size pickup truck early this year. Sports gear shops, home improvement centers, rodeos and dozens of locations in between were the 350 launch points as Toyota sought out real world test subjects for its redesigned challenger.
The "Let's Prove It!" move was another step in Toyota's unrelenting effort to become king among American pickup buyers. It took aim at the heart of territory often called "Ford Country," or "Chevy Silverado Country," in mid-Texas when it chose that spot for a new plant to build the Tundra.
But what does this totally redesigned pickup bring to the corral, so to speak, in Toyota's effort to dethrone those other guys? The answer: Towing capacity, "acceleration run" speed, braking, and an ability to drag along some 10,000 pounds of trailer—some of the highlighted capabilities.
A big launch is the kind of thing an auto maker might do after lagging behind in size and ability compared with competitive models. The earlier Tundra was considered a little too small, a little too underpowered to be a serious contender. It's doubtful Toyota would make that same mistake again.
The result is a "power of the fist" design element derived from a sideview "barbell" styling with high wheel arches and swaggering stance meant to smack the uninitiated into realization that Tundra is now one of the big guys. Laying the groundwork is Toyota's thundering 5.7-liter "i-Force" aluminum block V8, with variable valve timing (VVT) that improves fuel efficiency and reduces emissions. Available across the lineup, it pumps out 381-horspower and 401 lb.-ft of torque. The 5.7-liter Tundras come in 4x2 and 4x4 (with low gearing) models and earn 16/20 and 14/18 MPG respectively. Two others are a 271-HP, 4.7-liter i-Force V8, that gets about 15/18 MPG. Base is the standard 4.0-liter, 236-HP V6 with fuel economy of 17/20.
Toyota echoes the offerings of its Tacoma midsize pickup, with multiple mix-match versions and three cabs—regular, four-door Double Cab and super-sized four-door CrewMax with extra rear-seat legroom.
Toyota aims at ratcheting up the number of Tundras it makes as truckers begin to discover its potential, variety of amenities and cost. Base pricing is $22,290, topping out at $41,850.
Toyota Tundra for Sale Online