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First Look: 2007 Toyota Tundra

Big Time: All-new Toyota Tundra Is (Finally) a Full-size

Mark Williams
Aug 23, 2006
Photographers: The Manufacturer
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.
Photo 2/12   |   2007 Toyota Tundra engine
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.
Photo 3/12   |   2007 Toyota Tundra front View
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.
Of significant importance, the interior is exceptionally clean with easy-to-read displays and clearly labeled dials. Reminiscent of the Ford F-150, a large center console (with an armrest/storage bin large enough to be a filing cabinet) and robust shift lever dominate the driver's experience, as the center stack uses large pushbuttons and well-marked knobs to control the radio and HVAC. In addition, we especially like the extra-large sideview mirrors as well as the hinge dampers on the tailgate, which help cushion when it's dropped or slammed closed, typical with everyday use.
Toyota has taken dead aim at what it's calling the "True Trucker," the real truck guy. And from the looks of it, it's taken all the right measurements and created a well-calculated combination of size, brawn, and style. However, Toyota better have a plan as to how it's going to imbue the soul of a work truck into this new vehicle. Toyota is probably in the best position of any of the import automakers to sell 200,000 full-size trucks a year, especially when a new Silverado is coming and fuel prices don't look to be going down anytime soon. Expect a diesel version to be an-nounced in a year or two, with one of its patented hybrid versions (maybe with a 4.7-liter V-8?) following close behind (we've even heard rumors of a diesel hybrid).
No word on pricing yet, but our guess is it'll price the new truck aggressively against a similarly equipped F-150 version. That's where Toyota's planning on stealing buyers. We'll see. As it stands, it's already pushed back the on-sale date once (it was supposed to be the end of this year, but now will not make it to dealerships until February 2007) and many things can happen--good and bad--to a new truck with a new engine when it's being built at a brand-new plant.
We'll see if the third time is the charm and report everything we can in an upcoming issue. Stay tuned.
Photo 4/12   |   2007 Toyota Tundra front View
Photo 8/12   |   2007 Toyota Tundra dash
Photo 12/12   |   2007 Toyota Tundra front Seats
Making a big splash as the North American International Auto Show in Detroit two years ago, Toyota showed the FTX concept truck that hinted at the proportions and overall size of the new Tundra.


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