TOyota Australia says that a final decision has been taken. Tundra uteA 300-series Land Cruiser with a tub will be sold in Australia, it’s yet to be built but it looks more formal than anything for now.
To make things even more interesting, the Tundra’s petrol-electric-hybrid powertrain has been added to the 300 series Land Cruiser which is only a few years away from Australian showrooms.
Toyota Australia’s rollout strategy with the Tundra appears cautious. Toyota’s concern would be that given Australian buyers’ strong preference for diesels, the diesel has been kept around for a long time, currently reverting to petrol power, even if the petrol engine in question has an energy-efficient electric subsystem attached. (ie the hybrid bit), the ute will be a complete facelift in buyers’ preferences.
Further clouding the Tundra’s market appeal is that it will be significantly larger than the utes Australian buyers are most familiar with (Hilux, Ranger, etc.) and it won’t – obviously – be cheap. Think $100K and north.
Currently, the Tundra is only built in left-hand drive (LHD), primarily for the USA market. To develop a right-hand drive (RHD) model, Toyota Australia’s plan involves working with Walkinshaw Automotive Group, a world leader in right-hand drive conversions for utes acquired by LHD USA. Yes, given the work he has already done with GMSV. (Chevrolet) Silverado and Ram are sold here.
If you’re not familiar with the name Walkenshaw, think V8 supercar racing, HSV, pumped Amarok V6s and most things fast. These blokes are so clever that they’ve turned the uncontrolled handling – near dangerous – LDV T60 ute – as it was when it first arrived in Australia – into something with decent handling with just a wave of their suspension tuner’s magic wand. I changed.
“The Tundra will impress in any demo drive as its latest 3.5-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 is good for around 305kW and 650Nm”
As I write this, the first prototype RHD Tundras are already undergoing testing on Australian roads. In 12 months or so, 300 RHD Tundras will be built by Walkinshaw’s second-stage manufacturing enterprise, which currently churns out impressive numbers of RHD Rams and Silverados. According to Toyota Australia, these 300 Tundras will – and interestingly – be part of the “final phase of the RHD re-engineering program”.
For a vehicle that has already been fully prepared in LHD form and has had many factory parts from the RHD 300 used by one of the best RHD conversion practitioners in the RHD conversion world, rest assured that you will find 300 Engineering. No validating vehicles required! These 300 Tundras, or at least a good number of them, will be on display at Toyota dealers nationwide to gauge public interest. According to Toyota Australia, they will not be for sale.
Physically seeing the Tundra in the metal will be important to buyers because it will impress (and perhaps intimidate) its size. It is public interest ‘validation’ and not further engineering validation that will determine whether Toyota goes ahead and offers the Tundra for sale.
Frankly, it’s probably a done deal, given Toyota Australia is rumored to have already received over 250 ‘expressions of interest’ deposits for the Tundra. Perhaps the only decision to be made is whether Walkinshaw will continue building Tundras when they go on sale here or Toyota will switch to factory-built RHD models from the USA if Australia and other RHD markets warrant such a move. There is a lot of demand for
However, one thing is certain. The Tundra will impress on any demo drive as its latest 3.5-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 is good for around 305kW and 650Nm, and that’s before the hybrid system’s 36kW electric motor takes power to a total of 326kW. And it will be a big increase. of torque from idle to right in a way that only electric motors can.
Toyota USA quotes the Tundra’s combined maximum torque output at a very healthy 790Nm! (Note: Hybrid output figures are not necessarily the simple addition of the maximum output of the combustion engine and electric motor.)
The Tundra will not only offer impressive acceleration but will also be quiet, refined, spacious and comfortable in Land Cruiser style. In fact, it will be so far removed from the four-cylinder diesel Hilux in every measure that it will feel like it comes from a completely different car company. If the price is right, it will be the winner of the sale.