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.
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.
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.