1. Larger fuel tank. Based on comments from Toyota engineer Mike Sweers (the man currently in charge of designing and developing the next generation Tundra) in this Wall Street Journal article, we know that the new truck will have a larger fuel tank.
2. More traditional styling. From the same article above, we learn that the truck will have a more traditional and aggressive truck like look. Hopefully, we’ll see a glimpse of this new look in the next year or two on a Toyota concept.
3. More aerodynamics and a lower ride height. One of the easiest ways to improve truck fuel economy is to reduce the ride height a little bit as well as flatten the underside the vehicle. The trick is doing these things without impacting ground clearance.
4. New dash. This is almost a foregone conclusion. While we may still see the over-sized knobs, we’ll definitely see better quality materials, new gauges, and a modified layout.
1. Variable valve lift. Variable valve timing (VVT) is commonplace, but variable valve lift is still a newer feature on most vehicles. Toyota, long a fan of VVT, currently has a couple of engines running a variable-valve lift system. This should make it’s way into all Toyota vehicles in by the middle of the decade.
2. Electric steering. Hydraulic steering pumps are less efficient than electric motors. GM and Ford both plan to move this into their full-size trucks soon, and Toyota will likely follow. In fact, this will be a common feature industry wide.
3. Weight reduction. Toyota will definitely be emphasizing a lower curb weight in the next generation Tundra. However, what they will do to reduce weight is to be determined. It could be that we’ll see a composite pickup bed (similar to the Tacoma), increased use of high-strength steel (which is lighter albeit more expensive), and more expensive sound-deadening materials that dampen road noise without adding weight.
4. New frame design. Between the Tundra frame rust fiasco and complaints about harsh ride and bed bounce, the current Tundra’s frame is a weak spot in many consumer’s eyes. While it’s true that Toyota’s frame is similar in design to heavy-duty trucks offered by GM and Ford, the fact of the matter is that the current frame doesn’t have a good reputation. Look for Toyota to come up with something new.
5. Integrated trailer brake controller. If this feature isn’t already an option, it will be by 2014. Here’s to hoping it comes along sooner.
6. Engine stop-start. This system shuts off the engine at stop lights and then quickly restarts when it’s time to go. It’s a pretty good idea, it saves fuel, and the technology has been around for years. Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota executive VP in charge of R&D, has been quoted as saying that stop-start will be added to select products. Considering the amount of fuel used during idle by a big V8 – and considering the special allowance for stop-start systems in the most recent set of CAFE regulations – stop-start seems like a logical addition to the Tundra.
7. More configuration options. We’ve been told that Toyota recognizes the Tundra’s limited configurations hamper sales – especially fleet sales. If Toyota allowed customers to pick and choose options, they could probably gain some sales.
NOTE: These items are based on informed speculation…but speculation none the less.
1. A new smaller and more efficient V6. Toyota may bring out a replacement to the 4.0L V6 to the Tundra (and Tacoma too).
2. Direct injection. Direct gasoline injection is a great way to improve fuel economy – it’s estimated that it can improve gas mileage from 5-10%, depending on the engine.
3. An HD version of the Tundra. This seems to be the next big move for Toyota, but it will be interesting to see if they actually have the guts to do it. Creating an HD Tundra gives the brand another level of legitimacy, not to mention more sales. However, HD trucks must have a diesel option to be truly competitive. Considering the level of investment required to design, build, and test a new diesel – not to mention the strict emissions requirements – it’s hard to imagine Toyota will pursue this option. Still, some of the people we talk to seem to think it’s coming.
4. Turbocharger. Depending on the success of the EcoBoost F150, Toyota may decide to copy Ford and offer a V6 with a turbo. Toyota’s R&D manager has been quoted as saying that Toyota will be adding turbochargers across the Toyota line-up.