No horsepower arms race is necessary.
The Ford F-150 Raptor proved there was market demand for a factory-built hardcore off-road full-size pickup truck in America. In fact, many Raptor buyers were first-time truck buyers; they just thought the Baja-ready machine was straight-up cool. Very soon, the Hellcat-powered Ram TRX will debut and a more rugged Chevy Silverado 1500 is also supposedly on its way. But what's the deal for the Toyota Tundra?
CarBuzz spoke to Toyota's chief truck engineer, Sheldon Brown, about this topic, though don't expect an all-out Raptor fighter.
"It's tough to talk specifics about the future of the brand of where it's going to go, but I can certainly confirm we're committed to the TRD brand and Pro," Brown said. "It (Tundra TRD Pro) was the ability to take our off-road package and bring that high-speed off-road trail element to it. It's something that we believe to be an aspirational truck. We want to make sure our off-road customers can take it to that next level and push the performance envelope."
Is there any room above the Tundra TRD Pro? "We want to find a good balance. I wouldn't rule it (more power) out. But we need to know what is the purpose of the vehicle and how we want it used. We don't want to get into an arms race for power or towing." Although Brown wouldn't admit to us outright, he was essentially telling us no direct Raptor competitor is planned.
However, he did have this to add: "We think we can do better with more exciting product. Stay tuned. We have some cool things in store." Obviously, this is very vague, but Brown also clarified that "electrification makes sense." Moreover, "truck owners value torque and initial response."
Translation: electrification will be extremely helpful there. As we already knew, by 2025 Toyota intends to have electrification across its entire lineup, including body-on-frame trucks and SUVs. While Toyota may not be gunning after the Raptor or TRX, electrification will be used as a way to enhance power in future Tundras.
For Toyota's extremely loyal full-size truck buyers, this will be more than good enough.