THE "ALL-AMERICAN" 2007 TOYOTA TUNDRA
Raising the standards for the Â½ ton truck market.
Sit down and hang on Toyota fans, the introduction of the all-new 2007 Toyota Tundra will raise the bar for anyone shopping in the very competitive ½-ton truck market. “From bumper-to-bumper, under the hood and from the inside out, the new Tundra is a true American truck that will set a new benchmark in the full-size truck segment,” said Jim Lentz, TMS group vice president and General Manager.
Tundra’s entire engineering development program was controlled and coordinated at the newly expanded Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing, North America (TEMA) facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Toyota stag ed numerous focus groups with true truck users in a variety of different occupations, including commercial buyers, to come up with 31 different models to be offered in ’07, including the massive CrewMax. Since Toyota’s introduction of their first full-sized truck, the T-100 in 1993, their commitment to the truck market has led to product loyalty and reliability that will be reestablish with the 2007 Tundras.
Off-Road.com had an early peek of the new line-up at the Alisal Guest Ranch in Solvang, CA, and needless to say, we were also impressed with their level of commitment to the production and details of the new truck.
The new Tundra has been super-sized in every metric comparison to the previous truck. According to Brian Smith, Toyota’s Corporate Manage of Truck Operations, this launch will be “the single biggest product launch in their 50-year history. It will also hold the title of the most American product every built by Toyota.”
The key features of the 2007 Tundra will be its overall size which will be as big (or bigger) than any current ½-ton full-size pick-up. It is up to 10” longer overall and than corresponding current models, a significantly expanded wheelbase that is 4” wider than current models, as well as nearly 5” taller than current models.
The three cab combinations B-Cab, C-Cab and the mighty D-Cab (CrewMax) will continue the three-grade strategy with the Base, SR5 and well-appointed Limited trim levels. Toyota has literally done their homework with consumers over the last couple of years developing the new interiors and it has paid off with more than a handful of features including sliding / reclining rear seats in the CrewMax, and more legroom than of any current 1/2 –ton truck produced.
Other neat options will include a JBL audio package with Bluetooth telephone capability, a wide-screen back-up camera integrated into the tailgate handle for enhanced rear-view safety.
Toyota has also maximized the truck with a variety of storage compartments including a concealed compartment to the right of the shift lever, a built-in toolbox behind the rear seat, and a very accessible storage area for the jack, handle and lug wrench in all cab versions.
All cabs will also have large storage pockets and two 22-ounce bottles (actually allowing you large coffee mug or drink to fit)!
In the Double Cab and CrewMax models, the rear seat backs fold in an easy one-handed operation to provide a flat storage area. The rear doors on the Double Cab and CrewMax models each hold one bottle.
The new cab configurations and roomy features are some of the best we have ever come across. Toyota has done a great job listening to consumer and delivering passenger and drive comfort to the Tundra.
ENGINE / TRANSMISSION
Buyers will have a choice of three United States-built engines at the Huntsville, Alabama plant where close to 500 million dollars has been invested. In addition to the new 381hp 5.7L V8, the 236hp 4.0L V6 and the legendary 271hp 4.7L i-Force V8 will be available. We did not get any driving time in the V6 but we drove the two V8s and they were rockets both on and off-road, especially the new 5.7L model. It is an aluminum block design with a 10.3:1 compression ratio and delivers 401 lbs/ft of torque and 3600 rpm…and it runs on Regular Unleaded gas thanks to the Variable Valve Timing, dual cams, and Electronic Throttle Control. A new stainless steel “tuned” exhaust system designed with a 4-into-2 configuration help the horsepower and torque specs and also give it a quiet comfortable tone during normal driving conditions. Once you mash the throttle though, expect to hear the truck roar. It is a nice balance and the engineering of the exhaust system gets merits from us.
Its competitors will also be woken up from the new 5.7L motor as it offers more hp than both the Dodge Hemi and 6.0L Chevy it is classed with.
The V6 and 4.7 V8 models will be equipped with a 5-speed automatic transmission and the 5.7L will have the all-new 6-speed. Sorry folks, no manual transmission will be offered this year. The Tundras that are equipped with the Towing Package will find a “Tow/Haul” mode and “shift logic” that is managed by an on-board computer system. The Tow/Haul mode will hold a gear when accelerating or decelerating and the Shift Logic will provide rapid accelerator release when it senses hard braking.
Two new rear differentials, the B24 9.5-inch ring gear and the B26 10.5-inch ring gear can be found and different gearing combinations will allow the buyer to pick a ratio / model of Tundra that will suit their needs.
The expanded size and power of the Tundra will be reflected in its ability to tow over 10,000 pounds (10,800) in the 4x2 version and 10,500 lbs in the 4x2 version. To give the truck the best towing rating for any ½-ton truck currently on the market is an all-new 381 hp 5.7-liter i-Force V8 engine that awards itself with the most horsepower of any 6.0L V8 on the road.
As well as the V8, a new heavy-duty six-speed automatic transmission, heavy-duty front disc brakes with four-piston calipers and vented rotors (increased by nearly 1 ½”), standard rear disc brakes, a high capacity cooling and electrical system and a new C-channel chassis made with 30-percent higher tensile strength steel make it a solid package for anyone with towing or hauling needs. We found this to be true on our test drive. The truck handles the large payload without sacrificing stability and safety. The secure feeling rack-and-pinion steering system with double A-arm and coil-over spring shocks in the front and staggered shocks mounted outboard of the leaf spring in the rear and the large disc brakes equip the truck for an award winning towing experience amongst any ½-ton truck we have driven.
The only drawback of the stiffer rear is without the increased payload or the truck unloaded, the on and off-road ride feels a bit stiff in the rear, but that is to be expected and the price to pay for the increased towing capacity.
We drove the off-road portion of the course in a variety of trucks, including the TRD Off-Road package. The new Tundra has a lot of features that made it dirt-worthy. The 18-inch “standard” wheel package is combined with B.F. Goodrich Radial T/A off-road tires, Bilstein 46mm mono tube shocks, dual rate progressive front coil springs in the 2WD versions and stiffer linear-rate front coil springs in the 4x4 models. The TRD Off-Road package also include fog lamps in the lower bumper and front tow hooks that attach directly to the front frame rails.
On the off-road test course that we drove, the suspension was solid, but not harsh on the fast dirt roads we drove and yet it was pliable and conformed perfectly on the tight and rocky trail we drove. The new active traction control called “A-TRAC” allowed us to use the truck in 2WD on most of the sections of the course that were marked for 4WD. In 4WD, the trucks capabilities rival any truck in its class for off-road performance.
The list goes on-and-on as to what you can expect if you pluck down your hard-earned cash for the new 2007 Tundra. All models of the truck will rival their competition in almost every aspect you can compare to. We do not know the pricing of the trucks at this time and Toyota promises to give that information to us as soon as it is available.