The rumors continue to swirl around the next/third generation 2018 Toyota Tundra. Will it be a complete redesign? What powertrain options will it have? Will it be a 2018 or a 2019 model? When will it be released? These are all great questions, and there is very little official information out there about the upcoming Tundra. There are rumors that the next Tundra will debut at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show in February. Toyota revealed the refreshed 2014 Tundra at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show (see video below). If this is the case, it will make the truck a 2018 model.
Here is my take on the 2018 Tundra. I do not expect a drastic change for the next generation of the truck. It’s highly unlikely that the Tundra will switch to aluminum body, turbocharging, diesels, or hybrids. Currently, the Tundra is built at the Toyota’s San Antonio manufacturing facility, which is running overtime to build Tundras and Tacomas. Retooling the factory for aluminum (or another body material) would also affect the Tacoma production, which is in very high demand.
Toyota has recently stated that it does not see a business case for diesel-powered light trucks in the United States. The level of investment that would be required outweighed the revenue it would bring in. This position is unlikely to change soon. How about turbocharged gasoline engines? Toyota has been slow to adopt turbocharging in its vehicles, although several Lexus cars and crossovers are now using small turbos. How about a hybrid gas/electric powertrain in a truck? Toyota is an expert in hybrid technology as well as hydrogen fuel-cell electric propulsion. However, this may still be a few years away in a pickup truck.
I would bet on Toyota’s latest D-4S dual injection technology that made its debut in the 2016 Tacoma and its 3.5L V6 gas motor. Naturally, better fuel efficiency is the name of the game, so the next Tundra will likely use a V8 engine with the D-4S direct and port fuel injection. Several manufacturers are going down this route, including Ford with their second generation 3.5L EcoBoost V6 that uses dual injection. The engine controller decides when to use direct versus port fuel injection for best power or efficiency.
Toyota also has access to an 8-speed and a 10-speed automatic transmissions. A smaller displacement V8 (perhaps a 5.0-liter) with D-4S paired with an 8 or a 10-speed automatic is the likely choice for the 2018 Tundra. This combination should provide improved power, efficiency, and retain the reliability that Toyota is known for.
Toyota is likely to improve the frame, suspension and throw in new exterior/interior design for an all-new truck. Also, expect one or more luxurious trim level on the next Tundra at and above the current 1794 Edition. Others are selling $60K+ or $70K+ luxury half-ton trucks. Why can’t Toyota do the same?
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Here is the official debut of the updated 2014 Toyota Tundra from the 2013 Chicago Auto Show.