Toyota has taken the wraps off the all-new 2022 Tundra – and it could be the model that finally brings the HiLux’s big brother to Australia.
American pickups are increasing in popularity in Australia with two of the Tundra’s primary US rivals, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Ram 1500, selling strongly down under. These are sold by General Motors Speciality Vehicles (GMSV) and Ram Trucks Australia – run by specialist importer Ateco Group – after being converted to right-hand drive locally.
Toyota Australia’s management has made little secret of its interest in bringing the Tundra to its showrooms in recent years, but given the previous model was late in its lifecycle it made little financial sense to begin a local conversion process. With an all-new model, Toyota Australia is now in a position to begin building a business case to follow the example set by GMSV and Ram and switch the Tundra’s steering wheel locally.
Officially Toyota Australia has said there are “currently no plans” for the Tundra to be built in right-hand drive from the factory but crucially added that it will “continue to study” the opportunity to bring the bug ute here.
While a local conversion program would be expensive, given that both the Chevrolet and Ram command six-figure prices it is possible for a suitable business case to be made that would make such a program profitable for Toyota.
The new Tundra certainly has the key ingredients that would appeal to Australia’s ute-loving tastes. It features a bold new look and packs a pair of new powertrains to take on its Chevrolet, Ram and Ford (F-150) rivals.
Under the bonnet is a new engine, dubbed, i-Force, a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine making 290kW of power and 649Nm of torque and paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Crucially in this era of electrification the new Tundra also has a hybrid powertrain, i-Force Max. This combines the twin-turbo V6 with a motor-generator mounted between the engine and transmission, which ups performance to 326kW and 790Nm.
Toyota claims the new Tundra has a maximum towing capacity of 5400kg and a peak payload of 879kg in its bed that will be available in three sizes in the US.
Even if Toyota Australia can’t make a case to bring the Tundra down under, the new model will likely influence the next-generation HiLux. The bold, aggressive look and the 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 are tipped for the new HiLux due to be revealed in 2023.