Worthy of a truck guy’s respect
These boys ain’t messin’ around. Irv Miller, VP of Corporate Communications, calls it a “big bad motha’ of truck.” Jim Press, president and CEO, refers to it as the “biggest, boldest bad-ass truck in history.” If you’re thinking this is guy talk taking place at a bar after a few beers, you’d be way off. It’s just after 9:00 in the morning at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show, and those remarks are from Toyota’s highest-ranking executives as they launch the totally redesigned 2007 Tundra pickup. Apparently Toyota has heard enough about its biggest truck being “not quite full-size” or “not really competitive with true truck buyers.” Though still called the Tundra, there’s little to tie this new brute to the model it replaces. The look is all-new, with a muscular, domed hood, subtle wheel flares, body accent lines along the bed and fenders, and a body that just looks, well, bigger. That makes sense considering the 2007 Tundra has a longer wheelbase, has increased ten inches in length, five inches in height, and is four inches wider. Some may call it overkill, others will more appropriately see it as what Toyota needed to do to become truly competitive, a point accented by three new bed options, including a genuine eight-footer, all of which feature dampers that assist with lowering and raising. But, size doesn’t matter if there’s no muscle to move it around. So for 2007, the Tundra is available with an economical 4.0-liter V6, an updated version of the 4.7-liter V8 found in the 2006 model, and a new 5.7-liter V8 with variable valve timing and capable of meeting ULEV emission standards. A new six-speed automatic transmission will also be on the menu. Combining the newly-available grunt with the 2007 Tundra’s 30-percent stiffer chassis and a tow hitch integrated into the frame allows this new super-sized Toyota to pull more than 10,000 pounds. Got a house you need pulled off of its foundation? Yes, it’s tough, but even truck guys like some comfort and convenience, something this American-built and -designed pickup promises to offer. When it goes on sale in January of 2007, the 2007 Tundra will be available in base, SR5, and Limited trims, each with up to four inches of shoulder room, and an additional six inches of hip room for rear seat passengers. The glovebox has been enlarged to accommodate a thermos, and the huge center console can double as a filing cabinet or laptop carrying case, a point surely to be appreciated by general contractors and road warriors everywhere. Options include a JBL audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, a 10-way power driver’s seat, and a wide-screen reversing camera hidden in the tailgate, a good thing to have in such a large vehicle. Toyota officials are still a bit tight-lipped about some of the 2007 Tundra’s specifics, including the price, though they promise that their goal is to provide the best value in the full-size truck market. Total sales for the first full year of production are estimated to reach 200,000 units.
Photo by Ron Perry