Trucks & Trailers: New generation Tundra fit for crews

When it comes to purchasing a half-ton pickup, whether for work or play, there are all shapes and sizes to choose from. Toyota’s new, half-ton, Tundra CrewMax, which was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in January, and its work truck theme suits landscapers’ lifestyles and work loads with a logical blend of comfort and capability.

The production of the next-generation full-size Tundra marks the first time in Toyota’s history that the complete responsibility of manufacturing a Toyota product has taken place in the United States. The result is a larger, tougher and more powerful truck built specifically to tackle the North American heavy-duty pickup market.

This more robust design is apparent on the CrewMax, with options including a 4.0-liter V6 with five-speed automatic transmission, a 4.7-liter iForce V8 with five-speed automatic transmission. The ultimate power option is the all-new 5.7-liter iForce V8 with a six-speed automatic transmission, which boasts 381 horsepower and 401 feet-pounds of torque. Maximum towing capacity on the CrewMax featuring the 5.7-liter V8 is 10,400 pounds and includes a tow/haul mode that optimizes powertrain performance in towing applications. The towing package also includes mirrors that manually telescope in width, a lower convex section for peripheral views and integrated running lights and turn signals on outer mirror housing. A final and important feature is an optional backup video camera located in the tailgate handle that projects on a monitor in the cab, enabling you to hitch up without help.

Landscaping crew members will fit easily in the CrewMax’s roomy cab that includes 44.5 inches of rear seat leg room, forward-hinged rear doors and sliding rear seats with storage spaces behind them large enough for a professional toolbox or five-pound bucket. Most landscapers don’t want to take off their protective gear between jobs, so Toyota engineered handles and controls operable by big hands, even while wearing work gloves.

In response to the recent uptick in fuel prices, many landscapers are restructuring budgets and being extra cautious when it comes to fuel economy. “In the past year, concern about fuel economy has become more important, but it’s still not as important as the capability of the truck,” says Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. executive vice president. “However, our target is to be the most fuel efficient in the half-ton class.” As a result, Tundra clocks in with estimated fuel economy around 20 mph on the highway (see box).

Tundra CrewMax model pickups will be available at Toyota dealerships nationwide beginning in March.

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