By on September 17, 2019

Image: Toyota

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas is slated to receive a $391 million investment earmarked for streamlined pickup production. The manufacturer wants to merge the Tacoma and Tundra models onto a common platform, something we’ve mentioned in the past, and Toyota’s Tuesday announcement solidifies those rumors.

The new platform is meant to make hybridization easier and provide the basis for the entirety of the automaker’s global truck line — including SUVs like the Sequoia. (Read More…)

By on August 29, 2019

2019 Toyota Tundra TRD PROWith remarkable consistency, Toyota has sold over 2.2 million Tundra pickups over the truck’s 20-year history.

Toyota began building the first-generation Tundra in Indiana in May 1999; the truck went on sale 20 years ago this summer. Not surprisingly, Toyota’s celebratory words as the Tundra turns 20 relate in large part to longevity: a million-mile ‘07 Tundra; an ‘18 driven repeatedly through a forest fire on rescue missions.

It’s not as though Toyota is going to flaunt any newfangled technology or headline-grabbing capabilities. The Tundra is basically the same truck it’s been since production of the second-gen Tundra began in Texas in 2007.

Just as the truck fails to evolve, so too does its sales performance: the Tundra just keeps on selling. (Read More…)

By on May 29, 2019

While Toyota remains tight-lipped about its next-generation Tundra pickup, the online commentariat is abuzz with rumors these past several months. The automaker holds no aspirations of unseating the Ford F-150 as king of the full-size truck segment, but numerous reports suggest Toyota at least wants to offer something on par with its modern domestic rivals. Perhaps even class-leading.

The rumors include the possibility of the Tundra sharing its new platform with its midsize Tacoma stablemate, the adoption of an air suspension system (or perhaps even an independent rear setup), and now this: a hybrid turbo drivetrain. (Read More…)

By on April 8, 2019

2018 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition, Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

What is it with all of this pickup news today? Where are all the new sedans?

Oh right.

Anyway, in a burst of efficiency-minded thinking, Toyota is reportedly developing a single truck platform to replace those found beneath the midsize Tacoma and ancient, full-size Tundra. Sources at the automaker say it’s close to completion, and will make its debut beneath the larger of the two vehicles. (Read More…)

By on January 29, 2019

This May sees Toyota mark the 20th anniversary of the start of Tundra production. When that happy date arrives, there’s be two full generations of full-size truck memories to look back on. Yes, the Tundra is old, with the current generation bowing for the 2007 model year. A significant refresh came in 2014, with minor tweaks occuring ever since.

While testing a loaded 2018 crew cab variant a while back, this writer couldn’t help noticing the Tundra’s advancing age, despite the addition of new creature comforts and tech. The rig I piloted also weighed nearly 900 pounds more than a comparable Ford F-150.

Well, there’s good news for that uniquely loyal crop of Toyota truck owners. A new Tundra is on the way, but it won’t entirely break from the past. You’ll certainly recognize the cab. (Read More…)

By on August 17, 2018

Image: Toyota

With half-ton pickup facades now verging on grotesque, we’ll miss the Toyota Tundra’s appealing, chrome-heavy grille when the model inevitably gives way to a fresh generation. Speaking of fresh, the Tundra ain’t it. Bowing for the 2007 model year, the second-generation Tundra soldiers into 2019 relatively unchanged, though there’s improvements at the top of the range.

No, Toyota hasn’t put the model on a weight loss regimen or finessed its powertrain, but it has added off-road capability. And for this newfound ruggedness, you’d better be prepared to cough up more cash. (Read More…)

By on May 8, 2018

2019 Ram 1500

Sixteen thousand, five hundred miles. In ten months. It would be fair to say that I’m getting a lot of use out of my Silverado “Max Tow”. What that number doesn’t make plain, however, is how much effort I put into not driving the truck. Unless the hitch is in use or there is some kind of load in the bed, I don’t take it out of the driveway.

This is not sitting well with my wife, the infamous Danger Girl. She point outs that we should be able to get a quarter-million miles on the truck and it makes very little sense to use something that is plainly more expensive to run, such as my ZX-14R, rather than the Silverado. All I can say in response is that I feel guilty using a three-ton-plus vehicle for the drive to work or dinner. It’s a mild form of mental illness, I suppose.

Not everybody is crazy like me. Which brings me to today’s “Ask Jack” questioner, who is in a rather unique position to go truckin’ like the Doo-dah man.

(Read More…)

By on April 4, 2018

2017 Nissan Frontier King Cab - Image: Nissan

With an extra selling day compared to the March that came before it, last month saw U.S. new vehicle buyers continue doing what they’ve done for years. By that, we mean snap up trucks and SUVs like it’s going out of style. (There’s no indication it’s going out of style.)

According to figures from Autodata, truck and SUV sales rose 16.3 percent in the U.S., year over year, while traditional passenger cars continued to fade from the minds of new vehicle buyers. That segment declined 9.2 percent, year over year.

Monthly sales figures can be fickle, which is apparently the reason for General Motors’ switch to quarterly sales reports starting next month, but we prefer receiving data more often. And last month’s data paints a very different picture than February’s. Leaving SUVs aside, which pickups soared in March? (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2018

Ford F-250 Lariat

As we told you earlier this afternoon, two of the Detroit Three automakers posted significant year-over-year U.S. sales decreases last month. Ford Motor Company and General Motors both saw American sales volume sink by 6.9 percent. While passenger cars both low-end and premium can usually take the blame for any sales decrease, general wisdom says buyers will gravitate in equal numbers towards SUVs, crossovers, and trucks, cancelling out most, if not all, of the sales exodus.

This isn’t always true. In February’s case, Ford can lay some of the blame at the foot of its best-selling crossover, while GM can finger its full-size truck lineup. Ford Escape sales sank 23.9 percent in February, year over year — a loss making up roughly three-quarters of Ford’s missing vehicles. As customers await new versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, the aged models brought in fewer buyers than the same month in 2017 — 16.3 and 25.3 percent less, respectively. Like Ford, that’s roughly three-quarters of GM’s missing February volume.

A 15 percent year-over-year decline at the Ram brand — itself awaiting a new half-ton — brings home the importance of pickups in 2018. (Read More…)

By on February 8, 2018

Image: Toyota

It’s leg day at the Toyota Athletic Center. As the Chicago Auto Show kicks off, Toyota has changes in store for its off-road TRD Pro lineup that should help drivers of the brawniest Tacomas, Tundras, and 4Runners keep their sunglasses perched on their nose while blasting through an arroyo.

For the 2019 model year, the same 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass shocks found on the existing Tacoma TRD Pro make their way into the full-size Tundra and midsize 4Runner SUV, along with other suspension improvements. The net effect is a higher ride height and milder manners both on-road and off.

In the case of the Tacoma, going TRD Pro means you’ll never leave home without your snorkel. (Read More…)

By on January 3, 2018

2018 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition, Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

Taking stock of my leather- and suede-trimmed surroundings, the first thought to cross my mind after settling into the top-spec 2018 Toyota Tundra tester was, “I can think of an easy way to save $500.”

That’s the extra coin you’ll pony up for the 1794 Edition package Toyota Canada tacked on to this range-topping, root beer-colored pickup. (“Smoked Mesquite” for all you color swatch fans.) To my left and right, and even straight ahead, pale, butterscotch-colored leather sprung up on the dash and doors, complemented — if you can use that word — by faux woodgrain so shiny, you’d swear a shoulder check might reveal the presence of an opera window.

It’s 180 degrees from subtle, and perhaps the same distance from tasteful. Below my feet, embossed 1794 Edition floor mats called attention to the founding of JLC Ranch, home to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas. Round brass studs glistened on either side of my shoes, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the base of a centerfire rifle cartridge.

My second thought, once America’s oldest full-size pickup got underway, was: “Haven’t these buyers ever visited a Ford dealer?” (Read More…)

By on December 2, 2017

2018 Ram 1500 Hydro Blue Sport

Barring a blockbuster December, 2017’s light duty vehicle sales stand to dip below 2016’s record 17.55 million units. The National Automobile Dealers Association forecasts 17.1 million sales in the U.S. this calendar year, with 2018 sales falling to 16.7 million vehicles.

Bad news for automakers? Not if profits stay up. And nothing generates profits quite like large volumes of high-margin vehicles — pickup trucks, to be exact. While November 2017 was a relatively flat month for the industry, a closer look at the pickup segment shows America’s love affair with trucks is keeping the money taps flowing. (Read More…)

By on June 23, 2017

2014 Toyota Tundra Exterior-016

Now that pickup trucks have graduated from the role of farm and construction site conveyance to family hauler, space and seating have become as important as bed length and payload capacity. Not surprisingly, regular cab pickups and even extended-cab models have become a scarce sight on local roads.

Ram, Toyota and General Motors have since turned their extended cab full-sizers into front-hinged, almost-crew-cab four-doors, leaving Ford and Nissan with the only clamshell layouts in the business. As for regular cabs, who even thinks of those? Not many. So few, in fact, that Toyota beancounters decided to drop the axe.

Yup, there’ll be no regular cab Tundra when the refreshed 2018 models arrive in late summer. Are you sad? (Read More…)

By on February 9, 2017

2018_toyota_tundra_trd_sport_01_8ee19ebe1c41ad354b59edf3a42fdf0bac4ded48

It’s hard to go a day without overhearing people on the street whispering excitedly about the scandalous Toyota Sequoia. Okay, that statement is completely false, and no doubt part of the reason why Toyota saw fit to add an off-road-minded sport trim to its lightly refreshed full-size SUV for 2018.

Ah, hell, why not add it to the full-size Toyota Tundra pickup, as well? (Read More…)

By on November 21, 2016

2008_09_01_09_Tacoma_ACab (1)

Rust, as Neil Young once said, never sleeps, and neither will Toyota — at least, not until it has fulfilled its 12-year promise to inspect and replace (if necessary) hundreds of thousands of corroded truck frames.

Toyota has agreed to pay up to $3.4 billion to appease owners of several previous-decade truck models who launched a class-action lawsuit against the company. Replacing those severely rusted frames won’t be an easy task, and there could be plenty of vehicles needing a completely new skeleton. (Read More…)

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