Spied: 2020 Toyota Tundraby Byron Hurd
Toyota's updated half-ton has been caught road-testing.
In this industry, the "Big Three" pickups seem locked in a constant rotation of one-upmanship, but the Japanese manufacturers, knowing full-well that they'll never enjoy the volumes of the domestics, are content with a far more elongated and less reactionary product life cycle.
Our spies tell us that this Tundra mule is testing what will amount to a fairly extensive refresh of the current-generation pickup. These updates will hold the Tundra over for a few more model years, at which point an all-new truck should be ready for prime time.
The extensive front camo hides what seems to be a robust overhaul of the front-end bodywork. Expect new headlamps and fenders, a new hood, a new grille and new front bumper, by the looks of things. The rear is equally obscured, which likely means new box sides and a new tailgate design.
If we're to believe what we're seeing, the entirety of the greenhouse will remain identical to the existing Tundra's. Mechanically, we are expecting the Tundra to inherit the 10-speed automatic transmission used elsewhere in the Toyota family's rear-wheel-drive portfolio.
What we don't know is why Toyota went to such lengths to obscure the rear suspension--a measure which would make more sense if this were riding on an all-new chassis. It's possible Toyota is planning a load-leveling air suspension similar to that used on the Ram 1500. A similar system is already available on the Toyota Sequoia full-size SUV, which lends some credibility to this theory, however the Sequoia's independent rear suspension would not directly swap over.
If the 2020 timeline for this updated Tundra is accurate, we should get some answers soon. Stay tuned.
Photos by Brian Williams.