Keen to get behind the wheel of the Toyota Tundra in Australia?
You’d best get to know your local dealer, and start explaining how you plan to use it.
Toyota hasn’t confirmed the Tundra will actually be produced at scale for Australia yet, but it has confirmed it’ll remanufacture 300 cars from left- to right-hand drive as part of a “real-world evaluation and validation program”.
Toyota Australia vice president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said customer testing is an “essential stage before full-scale production can be approved”.
“I stress, this is a test and a trial. This vehicle has not been marked for launch in Australia at this point,” Mr Hanley told media – before admitting “we’re not doing this not to bring it to production”.
Toyota won’t be selling the vehicles outright, and will instead offer “an attractive full-service lease … that recognises our need for customers to provide feedback through the regular dealer check-ins”.
“To help us choose the most appropriate drivers, our dealers will contact potential customers and provide us with a shortlist for final selection based on location, occupation, and planned usage,” Mr Hanley said.
The first prototypes will be delivered to customers between December 2023 and April 2024, although there are some cars already on Australian roads. The car pictured above was snapped by a member of Car Spotters Australia in Victoria this week.
Toyota Australia announced in August 2022 an “extensive program is underway to re-engineer Tundra” for right-hand drive in partnership with Walkinshaw Automotive Group, which already re-engineers the Chevrolet Silverado for GMSV, and the Ram 1500 for Ateco Group.
Toyota said it would draw on “key components” from its global parts catalogue, including the steering column and rack, pedals, and shift lever from the right-hand drive LandCruiser 300 with which the Tundra shares a version of its TNGA-F platform.
The first batch of Tundra right-hand drive test mules feature the hybrid powertrain offered in the USA.
The hybrid pairs a 3.4-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine and 10-speed automatic transmission with a motor generator, new Power Control Unit, and a sealed 288V nickel-metal hydride battery charged by brake-energy recuperation. Total system outputs are 326kW of power and 790Nm of torque.
If (or when) it goes on sale in Australia, the Tundra will go head-to-head with the Ram 1500 (which led the charge for American pickups Down Under), Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and Ford F-150 (set to launch in the coming months).
MORE: Everything Toyota Tundra