For some, the third time's the charm. From its timid first attempt at a fuller-size pickup in 1993 with the T100 (only offered with a V-6), to the redesigned 7/8th-scale "full-size" Tundra seven years later, Toyota is hoping its third shot at the target is the one that hits a bull's-eye. And by bull's-eye, Toyota means 200,000 units a year, once the new San Antonio, Texas, truck plant is up and running.
Recently making its debut at the Chicago auto show (a favorite venue for Toyota), the 2007 Tundra is larger in almost every way over the current Tundra. In fact, we're told Toyota engineers became intimate with the current Ford F-150 SuperCab and Super Crew, making sure the new Tundra was bigger in all dimensions, even if only by a half-inch. The all-new frame has a wheelbase six inches longer than today's Double Cab. Measuring 145.7 inches, the new Tundra will have the longest half-ton wheelbase without an 8-foot bed (Ram 1500s offer a 6.5- and an 8-foot bed with Quad Cab models). Toyota says the vehicle will be longer than the current model by 10 inches as well as standing five inches taller and four inches wider when the new wheel and tire setup is finalized. Likewise, to more comfortably cope with the extra mass, the new Tundra will have four-wheel disc brakes with 1.5-inch-larger front rotors and four-piston calipers standard.
The new Tundras will have three engine choices across the board, regardless of cab and bed configurations. First, the 4.0-liter DOHC V-6, rated at 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, will remain the base engine, with the iForce 4.7-liter DOHC V-8, rated at 271 horsepower and 313 pound-feet of torque, as the midlevel option. However, the big news is the third engine--the class-leading (that's what Toyota tells us to expect) iForce 5.7-liter 32-valve V-8, reported to have 330 horsepower and possibly more than 375 pound-feet of torque. The latter engine is reported to include the ability to tow 10,000 pounds with a payload of up to 2000 pounds when properly set up. In addition, all Tundras will retain the three-grade package strategy, offering base, SR5, and fully loaded Limited trim levels.
One obvious benefit of making an exterior larger is that the interior is bound to grow as well. Among some of the improved dimensions are four more inches of shoulder and hiproom for front occupants and two more inches of rear legroom for passengers. So far, the only model we've seen is the new Double Cab (replacing the Access Cab), which eliminates the previous opposing-door setup in favor of the more conventional B-pillar-hinged rear doors for easier passenger access. We like the rear door handles, which allow big-handed or glove-wearing workers to comfortably open the door. We expect an even larger Double Cab version to offer the same solution, in addition to having wider doors and a larger cabin.