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It's Tundra time at last, Australia! Toyota's mega hybrid ute with 326kW and 4.5-tonne towing arrives to put the hurt on the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 as full lease costs and specification details confirmed

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The Tundra's first deliveries have begun.
The Tundra's first deliveries have begun.

Toyota’s long-awaited right-hand-drive Tundra has finished its Walkinshaw-led remanufacturing program, with the US-built pick-up truck now being delivered to customers in Australia.

And by customers, we mean the fortunate few. Some 280 Australian drivers have been chosen to as part of the ute’s final evaluation program, with the results to determine whether or not the ute is launched to the wider public towards the end of next year.

But the broader launch is looking like a done deal after the amount of work, and expense, that’s been put into the program, including Walkinshaw opening a new and siloed-off workspace to complete the right-hand-drive work.

Or, in the words of Toyota Australia’s sales and marketing chief, Sean Hanley, “we are not doing this not to launch the car…”

“This has never been done anywhere in the world. So we are not certainly not doing this to not launch the car, I think that’s a fair comment,” Mr Hanley says.

“But we still have a quality criteria that we must reach with our parent company… until we meet that this is not a confirmed position.”

Called The Tundra Insider Program, the 280 customers (it was 300, but around 20 vehicles will remain in Toyota’s hands) will be asked to report back regularly on their vehicle over the next 12 months, allowing Toyota to make any changes that might be necessary.

At a glance, it seems a solid deal for those customers, all of whom will sign a “subsidised lease” (in that Toyota shares the costs), and will then likely be given the option to purchase the vehicle at the end of the term.

The Tundra is being offered in a single Limited trim, and customers are charged $2500 per month, covering all scheduled servicing and maintenance, mechanical repairs, replacement tyres, roadside assist and comprehensive insurance.

If all goes well, and it’s expected to, the Tundra’s broader release will occur before the end of next year, with the trucks in dealerships and Toyota reporting no supply issues.

In terms of costs, it remains a mystery. But CarsGuide would be staggered if this wasn't a six-figure truck.

The Tundra is being pitched as Toyota’s ultimate towing vehicle, rather than its most rugged off-roader, with the brand happy to leave that mantle with the LandCruiser family.

Instead, the Tundra will arrive with a monster 4.5-tonne braked towing capacity (less than it gets in the USA, but able to be driven in Australia without the need of a special licence), making it the most tow-friendly vehicle in the Toyota stable.

It also debuts Toyota’s i-Force Max engine, which pairs a twin-turbo V6 with an electric motor and a 6.5Ahr nickel metal hydride battery to produce a total 326kW and 790Nm.

That power is fed through a 10-speed automatic and sent to the rear or all four tyres thanks to the Tundra’s part-time 4WD system with a two-speed transfer case and automatic limited slip differential.

The comprehensive reengineering project has seen the Tundra become something of a Toyota Group Frankenstein’s Monster, sporting bits from other Toyota and Lexus vehicles to make it feel more at home in Australia.

One example is the pedal box. Rather than shifting the pedal box from the left to the right - which leaves the pedals slightly out of position in Australia - the Tundra features the original accelerator pedal, but the 300 Series’ brake pedal and pedal box, and the steering rack from a Lexus LX.

It’s a laser-focus on the details which should make the Tundra feel like it came from the factory with the steering wheel on the right side.

“We are working through exactly the same standards as though this vehicle was coming off a production line,” says Ray Munday, Toyota’s Senior Manager, Vehicle Evaluation and Regulations.

The Tundra is a big beast, coming in at 5955mm in length, 1985mm in height and 2040mm in width, and riding on a 3700mm wheelbase.

Watch the road, the Tundra is coming soon.


  • 326kW, 790Nm 3.5-litre turbocharged V6 i-Force Max powertrain
  • Ten-speed automatic transmission with Eco, Normal and Sport modes
  • Dual-range 4WD system with limited slip differential
  • Front double wishbone and rear multi-link suspension
  • Ventilated 354mm front and 335mm rear disc brakes
  • 122-litre fuel tank
  • Electric power steering
  • LED lights, daytime running lights
  • 20-inch Sports Alloy wheels with 265/60R20 tyres
  • Heated, power folding exterior mirrors with reverse tilt-down
  • Active front spoiler
  • Tub management system with side and back rails and moveable tie-down points
  • Towbar, 3500kg towball and tongue
  • 12-pin trailer wiring harness
  • Nine colour options with solid, crystal pearl, and metallic paint finishes
  • Black synthetic leather seats
  • Heated and ventilated front seats with 8-way power adjustment
  • Leather-accented steering wheel with controls for multimedia and driver assist systems
  • 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
  • 60/40-split rear seat back
  • Front and rear carpet floor mats
  • Toyota Safety Sense
    • Pre-collision system with day and night pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection
    • Active cruise control
    • Lane departure alert with steering assist
    • Lane trace assist
    • Automatic high beam
  • Blind-spot monitor
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Panoramic view monitor
  • Four front and four rear parking sensors
  • ABS, vehicle stability and traction control
  • Trailer brake controller
  • Trailer reversing guide
  • Eight airbags
  • Two rear ISOFIX points
  • Dual zone climate control with rear vents
  • Smart entry and start
  • Automatic lights
  • 5 x USB ports and 1 x 12V accessory socket
  • Wireless phone charger
  • Power windows and back glass
  • Door pockets with bottle holders
  • 14.0-inch touchscreen
  • 12-speaker JBL audio system
  • AM/FM/DAB+ radio
  • Bluetooth compatibility
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay / wired Android Auto
Andrew Chesterton
Contributing Journalist
Andrew Chesterton should probably hate cars. From his hail-damaged Camira that looked like it had spent a hard life parked at the end of Tiger Woods' personal driving range, to the Nissan Pulsar Reebok that shook like it was possessed by a particularly mean-spirited demon every time he dared push past 40km/h, his personal car history isn't exactly littered with gold. But that seemingly endless procession of rust-savaged hate machines taught him something even more important; that cars are more than a collection of nuts, bolts and petrol. They're your ticket to freedom, a way to unlock incredible experiences, rolling invitations to incredible adventures. They have soul. And so, somehow, the car bug still bit. And it bit hard. When "Chesto" started his journalism career with News Ltd's Sunday and Daily Telegraph newspapers, he covered just about everything, from business to real estate, courts to crime, before settling into state political reporting at NSW Parliament House. But the automotive world's siren song soon sounded again, and he begged anyone who would listen for the opportunity to write about cars. Eventually they listened, and his career since has seen him filing car news, reviews and features for TopGear, Wheels, Motor and, of course, CarsGuide, as well as many, many others. More than a decade later, and the car bug is yet to relinquish its toothy grip. And if you ask Chesto, he thinks it never will.
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