At least for a time, Toyota will have the newest full-size pickup on the market late this year with its first full redesign of the Tundra in 14 years.
Yet the Japanese brand — which nine years ago used a Tundra to tow the space shuttle down a Los Angeles street — has no interest in jumping into the pickup wars that have raged in the segment for decades among the Detroit 3, says the vehicle's lead engineer.
"We're not trying to catch up" with domestic competitors, Mike Sweers, the executive chief engineer for Toyota's trucks, told Automotive News last week. Instead, Sweers said, "We're trying to make the next-generation Toyota truck. We have our own unique standards, and making a truck that will meet our [quality, durability and reliability] is really the ultimate goal."
The 2022 Toyota Tundra — which was scheduled to premiere Sept. 19 in a 60-second commercial during "Sunday Night Football" and will make its first public appearance during Motor Bella near Detroit this week — doesn't have a tailgate that does fancy tricks or an on-board generator that will provide emergency power to a wedding.
What it does have is an improved and overbuilt suspension for off-roading, an electronic system to keep a trailer straight when backing up, an optional hybrid powertrain tuned to add extra towing power and a composite bed intended to keep damage to a minimum for those who use their pickup for work, Sweers said.
"Do we have the most bells and whistles and gadgets? No, we'll never be that company," said Sweers. "But do we have an indestructible truck, or an overbuilt truck? Absolutely."