The next-generation Toyota Tundra pickup is undergoing testing near our offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with a Ford F-150 chase truck following close behind. While the front, side, and rear camouflage come as not a surprise, the underbody skirting and the distinct passenger-side rear wheel is of specific interest; more on those in a bit.
2021 Toyota Tundra Pickup Why It Matters
Introduced for the 2000 model year, revitalized adequately in 2007, but with only a minor once-over in 2014, the full-size Tundra is a genuine antique in a field of totally modern-day offerings from all the major players in the section. Although Toyota kept the Tundra’s marketing fresh by consistently upgrading the range of readily available trim plans and TRD editions, it never presented much of a danger to the established sector leaders. Still, the Tundra has a dedicated customer base and offered the relatively high earnings margin of pickups– and the truth that it shares some parts with the full-size Toyota Sequoia SUV– Toyota isn’t leaving the segment anytime quickly.
2021 Toyota Tundra Pickup Platform
Don’t anticipate Toyota to ditch the tried and real body-on-frame building that rules the full-size-pickup section. As for what the lower-body skirting and go after vehicle are attempting to conceal, we have a few concepts. Our most popular theory is that Toyota is dealing with a coil-spring or air-spring rear suspension to change its leaf springs, considering that what appears to be a tracking arm shows up in one of the images. The Ram 1500 uses a coil-spring setup and offers air springs, both of which contribute to its smooth ride. Utilizing a similar setup might tempt a couple of more buyers to the Tundra fold. Other C/D staffers theorized that, since the full-size Sequoia SUV currently makes use of an independent rear setup, adapting a similar rear suspension to the Tundra is possible, although it would considerably decrease payload capability. Lastly, it’s also possible that the skirting is in place from a previous testing session, and the team just left it in place while evaluating the vehicle. That said, our spy professional photographer informed us the engineers were “exceptionally concerned” when they tried to get clear shots below the vehicle.
2021 Toyota Tundra Pickup Powertrain
The present Tundra is readily available with either a 4.6- or 5.7-liter V-8, both mated to a six-speed automated transmission. Rumors persist that Toyota is dealing with a truck-specific twin-turbo V-6, perhaps based upon the 3.5-liter unit in the present Lexus LS500. Regardless of the engine, we anticipate Toyota to update the transmission to a more contemporary unit with eight or more speeds.
When it comes to the distinct passenger-side rear wheel, our technical editor says it’s a real-time torque-sensing wheel utilized for gathering information. Oddly, these are typically utilized in towing and payload scenarios or mountainous areas, leading us to believe that this mule has already been around the block a couple of times.
Estimated Arrival and Price
There’s a lot of debate on whether the new Tundra will debut as a 2020 and or 2021 model, and with traditional release schedules and model-year classifications progressively fluid, it almost seems irrelevant. We do know that the previous-gen Tundra made its launching at the Chicago auto show, but with the 2019 program simply weeks away, the timing seems right. For that reason, we think it might make a late-2019 or early-2020 launching as a 2021 model. Currently, base MSRPs for the Tundra starts at $32,915 for a base regular-cab two-wheel-drive model and run up to $51,925 for a Platinum or 1794 Edition team cab with 4×4. Anticipate the new Tundra to creep skyward somewhat but stay in the sweet spot with the competition.
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