The first participants of Toyota Australia’s Tundra Insider Program have been given the keys to their new full-size pick-up, with heavy-duty towing and a lap of Australia just some of the challenges to be tackled as a part of the right-hand evaluation program.
Following their right-hand-drive conversion by Walkinshaw Automotive Group, two new Tundras were presented to Anthony Smith from Peninsula Property Group and Mark Hodgson from Carpet World, who over the coming months will be evaluating the Tundra and reporting back to Toyota Australia on their experiences.
Both Mr Smith and Mr Hodgson were chosen to be part of the Tundra Insider Program thanks to their prior experience with Toyota’s full-size pick-up, having privately imported several previous-generation Tundras to Australia over the years.
Mr Hodgson has been a long-time fan and owner of the Tundra and said the ownership experience with Toyota and Lexus has been a big reason for his dedication towards the vehicle.
“I’ve had about four (Tundras),” Mr Hodgson said. “I’ve had the Series 1, the Series 2, I’ve had them all.
“I’d import them in because I love the concept of the big, luxury Ute. I’m very biased towards Toyota, I love Toyota because I’ve had such a good experience with them over my lifetime.
“I’ve never had a problem with a Toyota or a Lexus that I’ve owned, I just trust the product.”
He added that the seamless fit and finish provided by the Walkinshaw conversion was unlike anything he’d experienced to date.
Mr Hodgson’s trust will be on display when he sets off on a roughly 15,000km expedition with his new Tundra across the Nullarbor to Esperance in Western Australia, before turning north along the Western Australian coast up to Broome and eventually Darwin.
Mr Hodgson will be pulling behind him a 2.5-tonne Bruder camper trailer across a range of harsh and varied terrain, making the most of the new Tundra’s 4500kg maximum braked towing capacity1 and torque-rich 3.5-litre turbocharged V6 i-Force Max powertrain.
Producing an impressive 326kW of power and 790Nm of torque, the i-Force Max V6 petrol powertrain has already made an impact on Mr Hodgson, who was surprised at the impressive performance when compared to the previous-generation Tundra’s 5.7-litre V8.
“My one big standout, I was pleasantly surprised by the power of the six-cylinder; coming from the V8 they had plenty of performance, and I was so surprised by how good the powerplant is – it’s amazing,” he said. “It’s got so much torque and presence.”
Likewise, Mr Smith had also privately imported the previous-generation Tundra for private use, and has extensive experience with Toyota vehicles having formerly been a Toyota dealer for more than 30 years.
During his time with the Insider Program, Mr Smith plans to use his Tundra for a mix of work and personal use, with the latter to include use as a farm truck at his property on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.
Along with usage loading and hauling equipment around the farm, Mr Smith’s Tundra will be used for long journeys and towing his two-horse float, which when fully loaded can tip the scales at 3500kg.
Mr Smith was impressed by Melton Toyota, where the vehicle handover took place, and in particular dealer principal Grant Harrison, who made sure all parties were kept informed and up to date.
“The handling dealer, Melton Toyota, did an excellent job of keeping us up to date with information, the handover and even now, the follow-up,” he said.
“Grant Harrison, the dealer principal, handled us directly and kept us engaged, and the handover was excellent.”
Both new Tundra insiders have taken ownership of their vehicle via the Full-Service Lease (FSL) arrangement, administered through Toyota Finance Australia2.
The FSL covers all six-monthly/10,000km scheduled servicing and maintenance, mechanical repairs, tyre replacements, roadside assist, insurance and registration for a simple $2,500 monthly payment, which Mr Smith said was a great alternative to outright ownership for businesses.
“A fully maintained lease is a great offering if you own a company and it’s going to be used for business purposes; I think it’s a great program,” he said.
The 300 right-hand-drive Tundras comprising the Insider Program are expected to be delivered to customers by April 2024.
The Tundra Limited offers a high level of performance and specification, including a 14-inch touchscreen display paired with a 12-speaker JBL®3 premium audio system and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, heated and ventilated front power seats, dual-zone climate control, wireless charger4 and a full suite of Toyota Safety Sense active safety features5.
1 Towing capacity subject to regulatory requirements, and vehicle & equipment design limitations. Ask your dealer for more information, including Toyota Genuine Towbar capacity and availability.
2 Approved applicants only. Terms and conditions apply. Toyota Finance is a division of Toyota Finance Australia Limited ABN 48 002 435 181, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 392536.
3 Product & company names are trademarks of their respective owners.
4 Only Qi-supported devices compatible. Refer to device manufacturer. May require additional purchase of accessory to support wireless charging.
5 Driver assist feature. Only operates under certain conditions. Check your Owner’s Manual for explanation of limitations. Please drive safely.