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Tundra out cold for Oz

Toyota Australia says it has ‘no plans’ for F-150 rivalling Tundra, 70 Series to soldier on

8 Apr 2022

WITH Ford Australia’s recently announcement that it would soon sell selected variants of its F-150 – and the possibility that Toyota’s long-serving LandCruiser 70 Series may soon fall fowl of tightening side-impact collision regulations – the opportunity for Toyota Australia to follow in the Blue Oval’s wheel-tracks in bringing a full-size American pick-up truck Down Under may seem logical.


Australian buyers have a seemingly unquenchable thirst for light- and heavy commercial utility vehicles, which suggests that a right-hand-drive version of Toyota’s latest Tundra would appear to be a business-case no-brainer.


But a Toyota Australia spokesperson told GoAuto News its aging LandCruiser 70 Series utility models would continue to serve the local market segment that the Tundra would otherwise occupy; and those upcoming regulatory changes will be “addressed” in a bid to keep the now 38-year-old pick-up on the road.


“Toyota Australia has seen the growing popularity of the full-size pick-up segment in recent years. It is a segment that continues to interest us and our customers,” the spokesperson said.


“While there are currently no plans for Toyota to produce a right-hand-drive Tundra, this is something we are continuing to study.”


From November 1, the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series range (and similar commercial vehicles) will need to comply with Australian Design Rule 85/00 – Pole Side Impact Performance (or ADR 85). The measure is designed to limit serious injuries and fatalities resulting from side-impact collisions with poles and trees.


The pending rule changes, which have already come in to affect for passenger and light commercial vehicles, have already spelled the end for several models locally. The Nissan GT-R, Volkswagen Amarok, Mitsubishi Mirage, Alpine A110, Skoda Fabia wagon, Fiat 500 convertible, and Lexus’ CT, IS and RC variants all face the chopping block.


LandCruiser 70 Series rivals, including the soon-to-be-introduced Ford F-150 and existing Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado are already ADR 85 compliant or above the requisite GVM threshold.


Which means the LandCruiser 70 Series range will need to comply with the forthcoming mandate or become relegated to the history books.


Last year, Toyota Australia executives told GoAuto News that LandCruiser 70 Series derivatives will be “updated to comply with the stricter side-impact crash regulations”.


However, Toyota Oz did not confirm whether it would upgrade the structure of its aged utility range to meet the more stringent ADR 85 standards, or simply increase the vehicles’ GVM to above 3500kg to bump it out of the NA light goods vehicle category (and thereby exempt it from mandate).


The LandCruiser 70 Series range features a GVM of 3060kg in five-door wagon format, 3300kg in Troop Carrier and dual-cab utility guises, and 3400kg in single-cab utility form.


To keep the LandCruiser 70 Series as safe as it can be, Toyota previously upgraded single-cab versions of the model to achieve the minimum five-star ANCAP safety rating required by its multitude of fleet buyers.


However, the 2016 running changes were not applied to other 70 Series variants, with five-door wagon (76 Series), dual-cab utility (79 Series) and high-roof Troop Carrier (78 Series) receiving only stability and traction control, brake assist, electronic brake-force distribution and hill-start assist control.


Yet, despite the limitations of the dated LandCruiser 70 Series, the architectural commonality between the LandCruiser 300 Series and its American Tundra pick-up, and the desire among buyers for such models, Toyota Australia is adamant the Tundra will not be offered in local showrooms.


The newest third-generation Tundra rivals the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 and, compared to the LandCruiser 70 Series, is lightyears ahead in performance, safety, technology, payload and towing ability, not to mention fuel consumption and environmental credentials.


By way of comparison, the 1VD-series 4.5-litre turbo-diesel V8 powering the LandCruiser 70 Series develops a leisurely 151kW and 430Nm and is paired exclusively to a five-speed manual transmission, while the latest Tundra offers powertrains shared with Toyota’s newly introduced LandCruiser 300 Series, US-only (and Tundra-based) Sequoia full-size SUV, and Lexus LX range.


Engine offerings include petrol (290kW/650Nm) and hybridised petrol (326kW/790Nm) versions of the big T’s 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission, which is also offered in the local LandCruiser 300 Series.


Furthermore, Australian delivered Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series and Lexus LX variants are offered with a 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 diesel unit developing 227kW and 700Nm, and likewise paired to a 10AT gearbox.


On the combined cycle, the LandCruiser 70 Series consumes a claimed 10.7 litres per 100km and emits 281 grams of CO2 per kilometre against the thirstier Tundra’s 12.4L/100km and 238g/km.


There is also considerable contrast between the towing and payload capacities of the LandCruiser 70 Series and the thoroughly modern third-generation Tundra.


Comparing like-for-like body styles, the 79 Series dual-cab offers a maximum payload of 1110kg and a braked towing capacity of 3500kg. The dual-cab Tundra, meanwhile, offers a payload rating of just 790kg, but a beefier hauling capacity of 5044kg.


For now, it seems Australian would-be Tundra customers will have to seek out locally-converted vehicles, choose a ‘Big Three’ American pick-up truck, or simply continue to settle for the trusty old LandCruiser 70 Series.

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