Toyota is reportedly gearing up to reveal a more off-road-ready version of the Tundra pickup that’d rival the Ford F-150 Raptor.
The Drive reports testing is currently underway of this even more rugged Tundra.
A person with inside knowledge reportedly said it will be very similar to the TRD Desert Chase Tundra concept shown off at SEMA 2021.
Toyota is also reportedly looking at taking this Tundra desert racing at a yet-to-be specified event.
If this sounds familiar, Ford did the exact same thing with an almost-stock, V6-powered F-150 Raptor in 2016 where it entered in the stock full class of the Baja 1000 off-road endurance race.
The F-150 Raptor has a long history with the Baja 1000 that dates back to the F-150 SVT Raptor R in 2008.
It’s likely Toyota is wanting to get some of this off-road credibility with this hardcore Tundra off-roader.
The TRD Desert Chase Tundra concept is based on the already off-road-focussed 2022 Tundra TRD Pro and has a number of additions to make it “the toughest, most capable, [and] most advanced Tundra ever”.
These additions include a set of 37-inch all-terrain tyres with 18-inch forged aluminium Method wheels, a wide-body kit with flared wheel arches, TRD-designed control arms, additional lights all around, and a roll bar with spare tyres fitted.
Powering the Desert Chase Tundra concept is an unmodified i-Force Max 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine with a motor generator and a 288V nickel-metal hydride battery pack.
This i-Force Max hybrid powertrain is paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission and has total system outputs of 325kW of power and 790Nm of torque.
There’s no V8 engine available in this new generation of Tundra for the first time, with a non-hybrid 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 with 290kW and 649Nm also available on lower trims.
This non-hybrid V6 is also used in the LandCruiser 300 Series in other markets, with Australian-spec models receiving a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel engine.
To put this all into context, if Toyota goes ahead and mass-produces this off-road-ready Tundra, it’ll go head-to-head with the Ford F-150 that’s powered by a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 petrol engine that produces 335kW and 691Nm.
The F-150 Raptor also has 37-inch all-terrain tyres as standard and numerous off-road modifications, much like the Desert Chase Tundra concept.
Ford already appears to be a step ahead though with its V8-powered F-150 Raptor R that’s in the works. This’ll rival the Ram 1500 TRX and will be in a different performance class from the Tundra altogether.
If this hardcore Tundra goes on sale, what’s stopping Toyota from introducing similarly modified versions of other vehicles in its line-up?
Locally, Toyota Australia has been evaluating the possibility of bringing the full-sized Tundra Down Under.
In October 2021, Toyota Australia vice president Sean Hanley said he’s “envious” of his American colleagues who get to sell the full-sized Tundra pickup.
At this stage, there’s no set plan for Toyota Australia to secure it in right-hand drive for sales through its dealer network.