FARMERS who want more options for a full-size pickup beyond the usual Dodge, Ford, Chevy or GMC will have another choice next year. Toyota is releasing an all-new, next-generation Tundra pickup that will solidly compete with the other models in its class.

Toyota calls its new 2007 Tundra a heavy half-ton pickup versus its current Tundra model, which it bills as a half-ton. During the official launch of the new Tundra, Toyota officials reported that the new model is not quite a three-quarter-ton truck but will handle all the jobs that eight out of 10 farmers need for farm work.

Toyota says the pickup market has changed since it introduced the first Tundra seven years ago. Today, owners want more power, more towing capacity and more body configurations. Plus, the full-size pickup market is the largest segment in the truck business, with 2.5 million models sold annually. However, the company didn't redesign its Tundra because sales lagged. To the contrary, Tundra sales increased 12% last year with 120,000 vehicles sold. Toyota's new model is geared to build on its success in the pickup market.

Bigger, more powerful

Toyota expects its new Tundra to stand out in the market with its ability to tow a hefty 10,000 lbs. Backing up that towing ability is a vehicle that has been fully designed to handle it. First, the Tundra features a new 5.7-liter V8 engine built by Toyota. The V8 will be matched with a new heavy-duty, six-speed automatic transmission, which is a first for Toyota.

Because more power and heavy work require better braking, Toyota installed heavy-duty front disc brakes with four-piston calipers and vented rotors that are nearly 1Ω in. larger that regular rotors. The company installed standard disc brakes in the rear that are nearly as big as those in the front. The Tundra is equipped with high-capacity cooling and electrical systems to help handle the challenges of heavy loads in tough weather.

The new Tundra sits on a chassis platform with 30% higher tensile strength steel. All around, the new Tundra is larger with an expanded wheelbase, an extra 10 in. in overall length, another 5 in. in height and an extra 4 in. in width. The design of the new Tundra complements its larger size by featuring a bold front grill, strong bumper and large headlights.

The rugged exterior styling moved inside with what Toyota calls a “command and control center” with the instrument panel within close reach of the driver. This new model offers extra shoulder and hip room for passengers in the front as well as in the rear seats of the two-row models.

Thirty configurations

Toyota wants to make sure its new Tundra customers can purchase the model that's just right for them. So the company is offering a selection of different engines, cab configurations, bed sizes, trims and 2- and 4-wd. The engine choices include the top-of-the-line 5.7-liter V8, a 4.0-liter V6 and a 4.7-liter V8, all built in Alabama.

The new Tundra is standard-equipped with many convenience features. In addition, owners may purchase other accessories ranging from Bluetooth telephone compatibility and a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat to a wide-screen backup camera integrated into the tailgate handle for rear-view safety.

Customers will find the new Tundra in showrooms in early 2007. It will be the first model built in Toyota's new San Antonio, TX, pickup truck factory. The company expects to sell 200,000 of the new Tundras in its first year on the market.

For more information, call Toyota Motor Sales at 800/468-6968, visit www.toyota.com or www.freeproductinfo.net/fin, or circle 204.