It has 300 of them undergoing engineering and development testing here in collaboration with Walkinshaw Automotive, which will be doing the left- to right-hand drive re-engineering. Walkinshaw already does such work for GMSV and its Silverado, and for Ateco with its Ram trucks.
While Toyota hasn’t yet confirmed that the Tundra will officially go on sale here, you don’t put that sort of development program in motion without serious intentions, and several development vehicles have been regularly spotted running around Victoria.
Having previously driven older model V8-powered Tundras in the USA and Australia, we couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel of the latest generation to see how it stacks up.
AVS has been re-engineering left-hand drive vehicles for right-hand drive markets around the world for decades and probably supplies more of them globally than any other company. Not just trucks, either – they do muscle cars, sports cars and even EVs.
Back to the Tundra though. This example is AVS’s first new-generation Tundra in Australia and it has been used to get all the approvals and certification to make it available here. It’s a 2022 Tundra SR5 model fitted with the TRD Premium pack.
SR5 trim gets an 8.0-inch touchscreen in the centre stack and analogue gauges in the driver’s binnacle. By contrast, upper-spec Tundras get a 14-inch multimedia screen and a 13.3-inch configurable digital gauge cluster.
The SR5 also has cloth seats and a simple audio system but you can spec-up to full-blown luxury trim and features in the 1794 Edition and Capstone models.
In the USA you can also get the Crew Max which has a larger back seat and longer doors, like most of the other American trucks on sale here. We expect that only the Crew Max will be offered by Toyota Australia if and when its Tundra goes on sale here.
Another thing that differentiates this Tundra from what we expect from Toyota Australia is the engine. This SR5 is powered by a twin-turbo 3.4-litre V6 petrol engine. There’s an optional drivetrain with the same engine combined with a 250Nm hybrid powertrain and Toyota Australia says that is what it is developing for our market.
The turbo V6 produces a V8-rivalling 290kW of power and 650Nm of torque, and with the 10-speed automatic transmission, it gets along swiftly when you put your foot down, even if it doesn’t deliver the V8 rumble of a Silverado or Ram. The 325kW/790Nm V6 hybrid version should be a rocket that will leave the V8 trucks in its wake.
It’s worth noting that the locally engineered Ford F-150 will be hitting Australian Ford showrooms in September and will also be powered by a turbocharged V6 petrol engine.
As Toyota undertakes localisation and testing of the 2024 Tundra in Australia, we take the off-road-oriented TRD Pro version for a spin to see what it’s like
8 / 10 Score
There’s no confirmation yet as to whether Ford Australia will offer a hybrid version of the Ecoboost Effie here but, you have to think it’s on the cards.
The Tundra’s all-new powertrain is fitted in Toyota’s TNGA-F chassis which also underpins the LandCruiser 300 Series and the upcoming 2024 250 Series Prado. This platform brings a lot more strength and rigidity to the Tundra compared to previous models and introduces the five-link coil spring rear suspension down the back instead of a leaf-spring setup.
While some of the suspension and steering components might be as simple as swapping over the RHD LC300 components, there’s still the dashboard to be remanufactured, all the HVAC and other controls to be altered and myriad other items that you may not even think of but are required for RHD – and to meet Australian Design Rules.
For example, the trick-looking LED headlights are not a direct swap and took more than a month to remake for this RHD application, while all the airbags and safety systems have to work just as they did in the original vehicle.
Coming from the Chev, we weren’t thrown by the size of the Toyota and once behind the wheel, we were surprised at how well the Tundra hides its size. It doesn’t feel nearly as big as the Silverado on suburban roads and is easy to place in lanes and manoeuvre on bush tracks.
Although the cabin is wide and spacious, my left thigh rested against the centre console in the Tundra where it didn’t touch it in the Silverado, or even some of the bigger mainstream utes sold here.
Its windows still give the driver plenty of vision around the truck but it feels more like a HiLux XXL than other full-size pick-ups. But a check of the dimensions shows that it’s still a big rig.
The rear seat in the Tundra Double Cab is small by full-size standards but still usable for adults even if their knees might be touching the back of the front seats. As mentioned, we expect that Toyota will only offer the Crew Max cabin in Australia with its much more generous rear seat space, but a shorter (1677mm) cargo bed. 
The TRD Premium package is mainly cosmetics, unlike the TRD Off Road Pro package which includes 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass shock absorbers. Yet the shocks in this vehicle are still quality Bilstein units and they do an excellent job of controlling ride and dynamics.
As mentioned earlier, all four corners are coil-sprung in the same setup as a LandCruiser 300, and these Bilstein shocks feel better than what’s under any 300 we’ve driven in Australia to date.
It feels a lot stiffer and less prone to axle hop over rough roads than the previous generations of Tundra we have driven in the past. We didn’t do any low-range off-roading in this vehicle but switched the part-time transfer case to 4×4 high-range for added traction on loose gravel tracks and boggy grass.
The twin-turbo V6 petrol engine gets along strongly, delivering grunt that would be welcomed by anyone familiar with the performance of a diesel HiLux. It has a bit of an old-school V6 groan to it but nothing offensive as some in the past have had.
We’re expecting more news on the line-up shortly but in the meantime, you can get a new Tundra in any model, any specification and any colour that Toyota USA sells through American Vehicle Sales and its dealers.
Now that the local Ram 1500 is available in the newer DT model only, the Ford F-150 just landing and 2023 Silverados already here, the addition of the Toyota Tundra will provide another full-size pick-up truck choice and some interesting comparisons.
As part of the Australian-owned Autogroup International it sources, converts and ensures compliance for American vehicles not just for Australia, but also other right-hand drive markets around the globe.
Popular vehicles to pass though the AVS facilities include all the American full-size pick-up trucks, muscle cars such as the Dodge Charger and Challenger, and the Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro, and more recently the new GMC Hummer EV, Ford F150 Lightning EV and the new Ford Bronco.
Check out the website to see what vehicles AVS has in stock at any time or call them to discuss your American vehicle requirements
Phone: (03) 9765 1300
While we felt that the Tundra didn’t feel as big as the Chevy Silverado ZR2 we’d been recently driving, we were sure that it was just disguising its size. So we looked up a few key dimensions to see how the two compare side by side and found that while the Tundra is actually smaller, the two trucks are closer in size than they feel. We’ve used the Crew Max Tundra in this table to offer a more like-for-like comparison with the Chevy.
4×4 Comparison
With the announcement that Ford and Toyota will be offering the F-150 and Tundra in right-hand drive, we compare their specs to see how they both stack up
Matt is a 30-year veteran of the auto industry spending the last five as 4×4 Australia editor.