Toyota Tundra — Built exclusively for the U.S.

By David Finkelstein

Toyota’s $2.2 billion San Antonio, Texas, truck manufacturing assembly plant has been ratcheting up their production of the all new Tundra half-ton pickup’s since the re-done 2014 model was introduced. According to Tundra’s chief engineer, Mr. Mike Sweers, this vehicle is built and engineered exclusively for the U.S. and no full-size truck has more North America content than does this model.

With the Tundra manufactured to meet the demands of many potential owners, the product mix is quite impressive. Tundra fits the needs of three specific buyer including the traditional family truck owners, buyers with active lifestyles and buyers seeking a truck for work or on the jobsite itself.

With the new body design, Tundra operators can take advantage of the trucks full-size capabilities coupled (once again) with the engineering and technologies that are crafted for a wide variety of potential owners and passengers. This includes three cab configurations as well as three different engines. Additionally, Toyota also offers it in five distinct grades or levels to help broaden its overall vast appeal.

This includes their entry level SR version, built with either the regular cab or double cab with a 6‘ 5"or an 8' 1“ long rear cargo box bed. From there, they offer Tundra with the SR5 trim level in a double cab or in a crew max cab configuration. The crew max model has the most interior room. Next, Tundra is assembled in a Limited mid-level offering that is sold with either the double cab or crew cab design. The next level is the Platinum series manufactured with the crew max body design. And for 2015, a higher level of luxury can be had with the all new 1794 Edition.

The Tundra 1794 includes attractive perforated leather trimmed heated and ventilated front bucket seats plus an upscale interior with special exterior badging. 1794 also has as standard a power tilt/slide moonroof with sunshade, 20-inch chrome clad wheels, LED daytime running lights, premium JBL audio system with large screen navigation and mobile APP suite.

The 1794 model also includes 60/40 split leather rear seats, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, front and rear parking assist electronic sonar and an advanced anti-theft system with engine immobilizer that also includes a glass breakage sensor. 1794 represents the year the ranch was originally founded where the manufacturing plant is located, just south of San Antonio.

Toyota’s truck heritage certainly goes back a number of years. For instance, their Toyota Stout truck was sold in the U.S. back in 1964. The first generation of the Tundra was made available in the 2000 model year. The new model is considered the third generation of this vehicle.

Tundra’s chiseled exterior body configuration was designed at its state-of-the-art studios in southern California. The vehicle's front-end boasts a muscular look with a miniature upper grill formed in the frontal area of the bold engine hood cover. The truck has a built-in as well as integrated rear wind spoiler with the vehicles factory logo stamped/embossed in the tailgate housing.

I can also share with you that the ride is amazingly quiet, even at highway speeds. The many controls and gauges are self explanatory and user friendly to operate the cab is spacious and comfortable. With the 4 X 4 option package, I would position this vehicles off road capabilities up against anything in its segment with total confidence. It climbs muddy terrain and crawls over rocks and fallen trees as if it's on a newly paved interstate road.

Toyota’s engine line-up includes their standard 4.0-liter V-6 rated at 270 horsepower. From there, Toyota offers the 4.6-liter V-8 which produces 310 horsepower followed by the top of the line performance motor, the 5.7-liter V 8 generating 381 horsepower. Depending on the engine, the Tundra comes with either a 5- or 6- peed automatic transmission. Both use artificial intelligence resulting in smooth shift control under all operating conditions.

Toyota marketing is offering a unique point of sale tool for interested parties. At road test, the 2015 4X4 Platinum Crew Cab version I drove with the 5.7-liter V-8 engine had an MSRP of $50,250 after options and delivery charges. The EPA numbers are 13-mpg city/17-mpg highway.