Spy Shots: 2020 Toyota Tundra Pickup to Get Major Upgrade

January 24, 2019 by Jerry Hirsch, @Jerryhirsch

Trucks.com’s spy photographer caught up with a test model of what we believe will be the 2020 Toyota Tundra pickup truck.

These shots were taken while the 2020 Toyota Tundra was undergoing testing in Ann Arbor, Mich., alongside the current Ford F-150 pickup, the dominant player in the full-size truck market.

Toyota is trying to keep the Tundra, based on a design that dates back to 2008, current in the hotly competitive pickup market. Rival trucks including the Ram 1500, the Chevrolet Silverado, the GMC Sierra and the Nissan Titan all have undergone major redesigns in recent years. The Tundra is the oldest truck on the market.

The photos show that Toyota is giving the Tundra a major refresh. The pickup gets new looks from the A-pillar forward, an all-new interior, an updated bed and a new tailgate. Improvements to beds, such as built-in steps, power tailgates and other features, have become a hot source of competition among pickup makers.

  • 2020 tundra 2

It looks like these changes are intended to keep the Tundra competitive for several years until Toyota releases a ground-up redesign.

Toyota is also expected to make some changes under the hood for the next model year. Look for the truck to get the new 10-speed automatic transmission that debuted in Toyota’s Lexus luxury division and is slated for most of the automaker’s rear-wheel-drive vehicles.

One curiosity of the photos is the unusual brushing hanging off the rear that disguises the rear axle and rear suspension. Could this be an air suspension option like buyers can get with a Ram truck? Is Toyota testing an independent rear suspension? We don’t have the answers. We just know that Toyota’s engineers became concerned when our photographer tried to get a shot down low, near the rear of the bed.

Unusual brushing hanging off the rear disguises the Tundra’s rear axle and rear suspension. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)

Toyota gave the Tundra a smaller refresh for the 2018 model year. That included a minor face lift and updated standard safety features. It jumped ahead of its rivals at the time by adding the Toyota Safety Sense package to all trim levels at no added cost. The safety features include lane-departure alert, auto high beams, a radar cruise control that maintains a safe distance from the car ahead by speeding up or slowing down, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection that activates audio and visual alerts to warn the driver of a possible crash, and automatic emergency braking to reduce the severity of or avoid a collision.

Automakers sold 2.4 million full size pickups in the U.S. last year. Ford was the leader, selling 909,330 F-Series trucks for almost a 38 percent share of the market. Toyota’s Tundra was a distant fourth, selling 118,258 units for just under 5 percent of the market.

Ryan ZumMallen January 24, 2019
Toyota trucks will continue to have big sales as Tacoma and Tundra continue to sell well, Vice President of Sales Bob Carter says.

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6 Responses

  1. Tory

    Also of note are the six lug wheels. Tundras are only equipped with 5 lug wheels currently, indicating that there may be further driveline changes. The second gen Tacoma differentiated street trucks from 4×4/Prerunner axles by the numbers of lugs.

  2. Nelson

    Looking at the side mirrors, are they returning to the previous model’s mirrors, or could that truck actually not be a new truck at all? It appears that its an older truck. The mirrors are the same as those of a 2010 model tundra. Also, the curve of the hood of the instrument panel is curved like that of the 2010 model. Not boxy like the current model.

    • Ric

      Those mirrors are tow mirrors, has been available on the tundra fro 2007-current.

  3. Aaron

    I bought my 2007 Tundra new in April of 2007. I guess I’ll hang onto it until the ground-up redesign comes along…

  4. Mike S.

    I hope they add the 6.5′ bed to the Crew Max or I’m not interested.

  5. Jim Osekowsky

    Anyone ever try climbing into the bed of their Tundra? Pretty bad, wish I had kept my 2000 Tundra. It was perfect for me, not too Tacoma small, not too Tundra fat. Bench seat with fold down compartment freed up space. A little beefing up would help but big deal, at least for me. Guess some guys have to have oversize trucks in order to make up for other undersized things.


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