There's a certain attraction in driving the biggest ute on the road, a vehicle that makes other drivers pay attention and get out of your face.
You can't miss something this big after all.
That's possibly one of the reasons why 'full size pick-ups' are so popular in the US. The other could be that the super size population there needs something this big to carry them around.
Apart from pandering to a bad attitude, big utes are darn handy things and will tow really heavy weights. Funny thing though - their load capacity in the tray is sometimes less than a smaller one tonner we buy here.
It costs $50 grand in the US but if you want a big, tough 'full size pick up truck' here, it will set you back nearly $120,000.
The substantial mark up is down to transportation, import duty, luxury tax and the cost of conversion from left to right steer.
"Couldn't be that much," we hear you say but just the bare FRP (plastic) dash chassis made locally in right hook costs around $8 grand.
That doesn't include fitting the instruments, wiring and trim or putting it in the truck. Then there's the re-engineering issue - swapping the steering column, brake and accelerator pedals, ADR (registration) compliance and so on. It all adds up...
Queensland re-engineering company Performax International has pretty much cornered the big ute market here with offerings from Dodge, Chevy, Ford and now, Toyota. They plan to sell hundreds of the things in the next year so lets hope our roads (and car parks) are wide enough to take them.
The latest entrant is Toyota's Tundra - in the same mould as the other contenders with a ladder chassis, bluff, prime-mover-style frontal styling, dual cab body, large style-side load bed, selectable 4WD, powerful V8 (petrol) engine, auto transmission, luxury car levels of kit inside.
Tundra sells OK in the US but nothing like the competition from Ford , GM and Dodge.
Typically for Toyota, Tundra errs on the conservative side of things in terms of looks and technology. The petrol V8 for example is the same as you'll find in other Toyota products including Lexus LX570. But there's no turbodiesel, no direct injection, no eight speed auto, no on demand ancillaries, no air suspension.
The six-speed auto transmission and other components in and around Tundra are straight out of Toyota's parts bin and heck, there's even a family Toyota look to the front, like an overgrown Kluger with a big chrome grille.
That said, the Tundra causes quite a stir wherever it's driven.
We had plenty of punters, especially 'tradie' types calling through an open window asking about the Tundra.
If you buy this truck expect to stay on first name basis with your local servo because it likes a drink. We saw 14.0-litres/100km best case but loaded that would almost double.
On the plus side is the fact that this 2.7 tonne CrewMax dual cab ute will tow up to 4.0 tonnes and take five passengers in a huge cabin similar to what you'd find in a luxury car. Leather seats, soft touch materials, premium audio with app suite, reverse camera, dual zone climate control, huge armrest storage bin, damped tailgate lowering, power adjust wheel, up/down back window and plenty more is includes. Two models, Platinum and 1794 Edition are available.
Tundra's engine is good for 284kW/543Nm and is rated at 13.8L/100km.
It rolls on 20-inch wheels and has double wishbone and coil front suspension with leaf rear springs and is rear wheel drive/4WD.
We wouldn't really like taking Tundra off road because it's too big but it would probably go nearly anywhere.
On the road it gets going sweetly thanks to the free revving V8 engine and six speed auto. The ride is comfortable even unladen. It actually goes around corners pretty well for something this size and weight and the brakes are pretty good too though we didn't push it too hard. The turning circle is way big and loading stuff into the tray would be problematic for shorter people.
You have to be careful going into underground car parks because Tundra is over 2.0 metres high. And reversing is difficult because of its size. Towing a boat or horse float...not a problem.