So many cars these last few days, but none were inspiring enough for a proper check. The electric car boom continues, Lexus released the RZ today, BMW released their new 7 Series accompanied by a full electric version called the i7. More tech than you find on an alien ship, I’ll leave it at that.
I was going through the New York International Auto Show when I discovered one interesting car. Everything else on the show grounds is either electric or electric.
Now, this is not one of those all powerful trucks and chances of you coming across one outside of America are slim. While it lacks the power of a Ram TRX or a F-150 Raptor, it has been blessed with a grill the size of Madagascar. If intimidation was a car, this would be it. This is a Toyota Tundra, a full sized pickup truck.
It’s silly, big, obnoxious but the kind of ugly that you can tolerate. Surprisingly the interior looks stylish and that’s something considering the years of neglect that this class of trucks endured when it came to interiors.
If you are wondering why it’s sold in America only, that’s because this size of pickup truck has no place in overseas markets. Even the manufacturing takes place in Texas, keeping the costs down a bit for an overall start price of $35k. Even the gray imports are not as popular, that’s because taxes get so high putting it in the price range of a new Land Rover Defender. The Tundra TRD PRO you see here has a start price of $66k.
See how Hiluxes are popular outside the US? That’s how Tundra and its competition are in North America. The competition includes Dodge Ram, Ford F-150 and the likes.
Before, this size of pickups was popular because even with a V8 onboard, fuel was not that expensive. Car makers have now started focusing on full electric versions as they prepare for the future of full size trucks. The evolution of the pickup has gone from an every day work tool to a daily driver with all the convenience features you would find on a luxury SUV. While they will not replace SUVs, they will keep on eating into the SUV market bit by bit.
Our Tundra here comes with a 3.4L V6 twin-turbo engine, the same one you find on the new LC300 and LX600. Max output is 394hp and 650nm. If you get the hybrid (this same hybrid will find itself in the LC300 too at some point) the power jumps to 443hp and 790nm of torque thanks to an electric motor working hand in hand with the V6 TT. A 10 speed auto is standard across the range.
Towing capacity is one of the selling points of these trucks, the Tundra does a decent 12,000 pounds, 2000 pounds less than an F-150 but respectable nonetheless. The transition to full electric won’t be as quick because it’s difficult to increase the towing capacity of electric trucks without sacrificing range. The F-150 Lightning for example is capped at 10,000 pounds despite having over 1000nm of torque. But in time when battery tech touches new dimensions then full electric trucks can bloom properly.
The interior comes with all the nice stuff that you would usually find on a SUV. Heated seats, panoramic roof, rear sunshade, car play, android auto and even over the air updates.
They ditched leaf springs in favor of coil springs, adopting an all new multi-link suspension at the rear and double wishbone at the front. Again, expect this to ride like an SUV.
Choose the TRD Pro like this one here and you get upgraded to Fox shocks with a 1.1 inch lift, BBS Wheels, Falken tires, aluminium skid plate and some more TRD goodies. I don’t think Gazoo Racing will be paying too much attention to it, so TRD is the best chance you have for a unique factory look.
Lastly, most buyers of this category of trucks seek aftermarket upgrades almost immediately after purchase. The possibilities are endless, just like the Tundra TRD Desert Chaser above. It was created as a support vehicle for those with desert racing cars, but ultimately meant to inspire Tundra owners who want to do more on their cars.