Toyota has introduced the new third-generation Tundra full-size pickup with two different powertrain configurations. The new, base twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 engine produces up to 389 horsepower and 479 lb-ft (649 N·m) of torque. When paired with the new i-FORCE MAX system, the result is a combined hybrid performance output of 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft (790 N·m) of torque.
Both configurations will be mated to a 10-speed Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission with intelligence (ECTi). The new 10-speed features a sequential shift mode, uphill/downhill shift logic and TOW/HAUL driving modes.
The twin-turbo V6’s aluminum block features a displacement of 3,445cc via an 85.5mm bore and 100mm stroke. The 24-valve, Dual Overhead Cam V6 is chain-driven and features Dual VVTi systems. With the water-cooled intercooler keeping turbo temperatures down, the V6 engine improves on the outgoing V8 engine in every way.
Toyota engineers developed new cylinder heads for max-boost reliability with a two-layer water jacket structure for maximum coolant flow and combustion chamber strength and then added machined cross-channels for additional combustion chamber cooling. Low-profile, laser-applied powder-metal intake valve seats enhance the intake port efficiency and allow maximum coolant flow close to the spark plug.
Exhaust cooling starts with the computer-optimized exhaust valve shape and is further enhanced by the integrated exhaust manifold and cylinder head design that uses the same water jacket to lower exhaust gas temperature entering the turbochargers to further improve reliability and performance.
The cylinder heads themselves have machined cross-channels to allow coolant to flow through them laterally to provide additional cooling to the combustion chambers. This also contributes to cylinder head reliability and operating efficiency. The exhaust valves’ shape has also been optimized to enhance cooling performance.
The new i-FORCE MAX powertrain—the hybrid option—relies on the same twin-turbo V6 platform but features a motor generator with a clutch located within the bell housing between the engine and 10-speed automatic transmission. In essence, the motor generator is built in-line to provide additional power that is transferred efficiently via the transmission, while the engine start-up, EV driving, electric assist and energy regeneration are solely done via the parallel hybrid components.
During towing applications, the hybrid system provides additional power and torque. In city driving, it offers a quiet ride with improved efficiency while in low-speed EV mode. On the highway, responsive linear power delivery is emphasized, and off-road driving is further enhanced thanks to peak torque performance being achieved low in the RPM range.
A newly developed Power Control Unit (PCU) is used to achieve excellent battery durability and thermal performance with a focus on drive performance. The system employs a 288V sealed Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery that resides under the rear passenger seats.
Using the SPORT or SPORT+ settings under Drive Mode Select, i-FORCE MAX makes use of the electric motor’s instantaneous responsiveness. Although the electric motor does the bulk of the work at lower speeds, once above 18 mph the gasoline engine is constantly in operation for excellent performance in the mid- and high-speed range. When in TOW/HAUL mode, the i-FORCE MAX system is constantly in operation to provide acceleration and torque for towing needs.
Chassis. Research and development for this truck was conducted at Toyota Technical Centers in Michigan, Arizona and California. The key themes atop the whiteboard for Tundra chassis engineers included improve capability and ride comfort compared to the competition. The team found great benefit in moving to a fully boxed frame, which improved rigidity significantly compared to current generation and offered overall improvement in capability.
The rear frame member is widened to improve stability and towing capability. This foundation also helped ensure excellent ride comfort and polished handling dynamics, particularly on grades Limited and above where the cabin is mounted to the frame with hydraulic cab mounts.
High-strength steel is employed throughout the chassis to increase rigidity considerably over the previous generation, while aluminum is used in key areas to help reduce weight. Frame crossmembers are more than doubled in size to provide additional reinforcement and rigidity. A new front cross member was constructed for the steering gear box, which adds rigidity via additional cross member support while enhancing steering input for the driver and handling dynamics.
The truck bed is lightweight and extremely strong due to the new Sheet-Molded Compound (SMC) construction and the use of reinforcing aluminum cross members in the bed. The new SMC bed offers added protection against dents, impact dings and rust compared to traditional steel decks. Even the tailgate uses lightweight construction techniques to reduce weight by 20% compared to the outgoing model. A tailgate release on the key fob is standard on all models.
Suspension. The most noteworthy change to handling and performance is the new multi-link rear suspension, which ditches leaf springs in favor of coil springs (also used in Ram pickups). Ride comfort, straight-line stability and overall handling dynamics are improved with the multi-link rear suspension, along with towing capability. The maximum towing capacity for Tundra increases 17.6% over the previous generation to 12,000 pounds. The maximum payload increases to 1,940 pounds—an improvement of more than 11% compared to the previous generation.
The overall structure of the new frame and the multi-link rear suspension allowed engineers to adjust the placement of the shock absorbers, which are mounted outside the frame rails for improved efficiency and enhancement to roll damping and towing performance. The lateral control arm provides increased lateral rigidity.
To enhance ride comfort, driving performance and overall durability, a newly developed double wishbone front suspension is fitted on Tundra. The front suspension benefits from a kingpin offset angle reduction to enhance straight-line stability and high-speed driving. The caster trail has been enlarged from 25.4mm (1 inch) on the previous generation to 34.1 mm (1.34 inches) for added stability. To improve cornering, roll steer has been reduced by 25% compared to the benchmarks, and the roll height center has been elevated (152mm compared to 104mm, or roughly 6 inches compared to 4 inches) to reduce body roll, especially when cornering.
Tundra will feature standard twin-tube shocks at the front and rear of each truck. The shock absorbers feature triple-oil seals and extended dust covers for added protection and durability. Beefy new aluminum forged knuckles are employed to optimize weight. To help prevent corrosion and stress cracks, steel inserts reinforce the ball joints. For TRD Off-Road packages, monotube Bilstein shocks improve damping for on- and off-highway driving.
The multi-link rear suspension provided the flexibility for the engineers to add Tundra’s new air suspension system to the rear of the truck. Available on certain grades, the system features automatic and manual leveling functions. It features height modes for High, Low and Normal. The High setting is designed for slow-speed off-road driving, and it will return to Normal height if the truck exceeds 18 mph; it also optimizes damping to reduce roll rigidity for off-road driving. Low height mode allows for ease of loading and unloading, and it will return to Normal height once the truck exceeds speeds of 8 mph.
Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system is also available or the first time on Tundra. It is designed to adjust damping force based on ever-changing road conditions, whether it be a large pothole, bump or small rock. The linear-solenoid-type AVS features built-in actuators in the front and rear shock absorbers to continuously change damping force based on the conditions, all to enhance handling, stability and comfort of the new Tundra.
All-New Toyota Audio Multimedia. Tundra will be the first Toyota to use the all-new Audio Multimedia system designed and engineered by Toyota’s Texas-based Connected Technologies team. The system operates on Tundra models via newly designed touchscreens and features an all-new Human Machine Interface (HMI). The advanced HMI delivers improved interaction through sight, touch and voice activation.
With processing power five times greater than the previous generation system, the latest Toyota Audio Multimedia system features a centrally located standard 8-inch touchscreen or an available 14-inch touchscreen with improved screen resolutions. It also includes more responsive touch functionality that is more familiar to consumers such as the pinch and zoom functions we experience on our phones and tablets. The new system also offers standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
TSS 2.5 standard. Every Tundra will come standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 on every grade.
The Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS with PD) features multiple enhancements, including not only detecting the vehicle ahead but also a pedestrian in low light, bicyclist in daytime, an oncoming vehicle and a pedestrian at intersections when making a turn. At intersections, the system is designed to detect an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian when performing a left-hand turn and provide audio/visual alerts and automatic braking in certain conditions. Additional PCS functions include emergency steering assist, which is designed to stabilize the driver’s emergency steering maneuvers within their lane while avoiding a preceding pedestrian, bicyclist or vehicle.
Tundra will be equipped with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC). Lane Departure Alert notifies the driver via audible alert if it senses the vehicle is leaving the lane without engaging a turn signal. When DRCC is set and engaged, Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) is designed to assist the driver by providing a slight steering force to help center the vehicle in its lane using visible lane markers or a preceding vehicle.
Automatic High Beams are designed to detect preceding or oncoming vehicles and automatically switch between high beam and low beam headlights. Road Sign Assist (RSA) is designed to recognize certain road sign information using a forward-facing camera and display them on the multi-information display (MID).
In addition to the TSS 2.5 system, other standard safety features include Blind Spot Monitor (BSM), which is designed to help detect and warn you of vehicles approaching or positioned in the adjacent lanes. Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) can help to detect vehicles approaching from either side while backing out and alerting the driver with a visual and audible warning. The available Parking Support Brake is designed to implement brake control when there’s a possibility of a collision with a stationary object, approaching vehicle or while parking.
The all-new Tundra will go on sale later this year, and pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.