Snapshot

  • 2024 Toyota Tundra spied in Australia
  • Right-hand drive conversion project commences
  • Development work to continue until late 2023

Local evaluation for the 2024 Toyota Tundra has commenced this month, with one of the first right-hand drive examples photographed in Australia.

Clad in camouflage at the front and rear – and with covered badging and provisional tail-lights – this Tundra example looks representative of the flagship Capstone variant sold in the United States, with 22-inch chrome alloy wheels and adaptive air suspension.

“Toyota has confirmed an extensive development program in Australia for the Tundra pick-up, demonstrating its intention for local development and evaluation experts to re-engineer Tundra in a RHD format and evaluate the vehicle against Australia’s severe local conditions and tough customer use,” said Toyota Australia in a media release last month.

The company is partnering with the Walkinshaw Automotive Group for the Tundra project, thanks to its experience in converting full-size pickups in Australia.

It says that by late 2023, the final stage of the RHD re-engineering program will involve 300 vehicles testing nationwide in real-world conditions.

If the program is successful, local sales will officially commence soon after – likely in early 2024.

Spied hauling a twin-axle trailer, local engineers are naturally evaluating the towing capacity of the Tundra, which is rated up to 5443kg in the United States – while the grime suggests it has been taken on dirt roads or off-road.

This rating is unlikely to carry across to Australia, with its Ram 1500 rival limited to 4500kg locally, despite a similar claim in its home market.

Under the bonnet, the Tundra will feature an “advanced and fuel-efficient” twin-turbo 3.5-litre petrol V6 hybrid – with the ‘EV’ tag on the registration plate required for vehicles featuring any type of electrification in Victoria.

It produces 326kW and 790Nm and is offered only in the highest trim grades in the US, such as the TRD Pro and Capstone.

Other models feature a non-hybrid setup with lower outputs, which will not be offered in Australia.

The interior of this vehicle was covered up, but is right-hand drive, confirming top-secret development work at Toyota Australia has taken place over the past few months before the project was confirmed in August.

Toyota has confirmed the RHD conversion will see components borrowed from the LandCruiser 300, including the steering column and rack, accelerator, brake pedals, and gearshift lever.

That’s made easier by the Tundra and LandCruiser 300 sharing Toyota’s TNGA-F platform, along with the Sequoia three-row large SUV sold in the States.

The new-generation Tundra was unveiled in September 2021, replacing the previous model that had been on sale for 14 years.

Notable changes include a switch from leaf springs to a multi-link arrangement for the rear suspension, a more sophisticated cabin featuring either 8-inch or 14-inch infotainment systems and an available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, enhanced active safety technology, and new towing-focused drive modes.

It will compete against the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado – both available since 2018 – and the Ford F-150, which will commence local conversion next year ahead of a mid-2023 on-sale date.

As with Ram – which is managed by third-party distributor Ateco, rather than its Stellantis parent – and GM Speciality Vehicles (Chevrolet), Toyota Australia has partnered with Victoria-based Walkinshaw Automotive “for its extensive experience in this type of work”.

The factory-backed local conversion for the F-150 will be undertaken by RMA Automotive, also in Victoria, in partnership with Ford Australia.

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Keyword: 2024 Toyota Tundra spied in Australia as local testing commences

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