Toyota Tundra gets right-hand-drive approval but…
Only the hybrid powertrain will be offered initially, a likely preview of the rumoured electrified Land Cruiser 300 expected next year.
Brawny F-150 rival unveiled last year won’t be sight on South African roads anytime soon.
Toyota has ended close on four years of rumours and speculative reports by announcing right-hand-drive availability of the latest generation Tundra, but only for Australia from next year.
Upping Australia’s North American-developed bakkie count to four after the Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and from next year, the Ford F-150, the Tundra will be converted by long-time former Holden turner, Walkinshaw Automotive, who handles the reconfiguration process for both the Ram and Silverado.
More than likely to be marketed by the Ateco Group rather than General Motors Special Vehicle (GMSV) which replaced the Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) division following the disbanding of the Holden brand two years ago, the process, according to Australian media, is expected to be easy given the Tundra’s components being identical to that of the model on which it is based, the Toyota Land Cruiser 300.
Reportedly, this involves not only the TNGA-F platform, also used by the Lexus LX and soon by the next generation Hilux/Tacoma, Fortuner and Land Cruiser Prado, but also the steering rack, gear lever, pedals and steering column.
“This a dedicated re-engineering programme, led by Toyota Australia and made possible by our global partners and is closely supported by our parent company and Toyota North America,” Toyota’s Vice-President of Sales and Marketing in Australia, Sean Hanley, was quoted by carsguide.com.au as saying.
“It will utilise OE levels of design, development, testing and componentry rooted in Toyota’s deep commitment to quality, durability and reliability. This project shows just how serious we are at Toyota about quality.”
Despite sharing its architecture with the Land Cruiser 300, the Australian Tundra will follow the same route as the F-150 by being offered solely with a hybrid drivetrain instead of a turbodiesel or a traditional V8 petrol.
This means it will derive motivation from the twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre badged 3.4-litre V6 used in the Land Cruiser 300, LX and Lexus LS, which carries the i-Force Max designation and produces a combined 326kW/790Nm thanks to the inclusion of an electric motor integrated into the bellhousing of the ten-speed automatic gearbox.
The setup will, therefore, result in the Tundra being more powerful than the 6.2-litre engines of the Ram and Silverado and also the 3.5 PowerBoost hybrid the F-150 will utilise when it becomes available in 2023.
Toyota’s confirmation now leaves the Nissan Titan as the only “full-size” American bakkie not sold Down Under, a trait unlikely to change following a report by Automotive News in June alleging Yokohama possibly ending sales of the Tennessee-built model by 2024 or 2025 due to slower than expected sales.
Set to start with testing in Australia from next month before the commencing of sales, pricing for Tundra remains unknown, though it is expected to be similar to higher-spec versions of the Ram, Silverado and the F-150.
Unsurprisingly, the Tundra, like the F-150, won’t be coming to South Africa in spite of the local market presence of Thai firm RMA Automotive selected by the Blue Oval to carry-out the conversion process Down Under.