- toyota revealed the hardcore trd desert racer tundra at the sema show in november 2021.
- we are wondering, could the concept truck be toyota's plan to take on the ford f-150 raptor?
- then again, the trd desert racer may simply be a concept designed to inspire tundra buyers and aftermarket suppliers.
it seems just about every automotive brand with a full-size truck in its lineup wants a piece of the ford f-150 raptor's pie. ram has the mighty 1500 trx, chevy's expanding its off-road-oriented zr2 trim to the silverado 1500 for 2022, and gmc is adding an even harder-core at4x trim to the 2022 sierra 1500 model line.
only the nissan titan and the toyota tundra remain unrepresented in this segment. this may change soon, however, as toyota's trd desert racer tundra concept from last year's sema show potentially points to the fact the japanese brand plans to take on its american competition with an all-terrain truck of its own.
if toyota ultimately decides to enter the baja-truck-inspired rat race, then the brand is likely to use the trd desert racer concept as a template, according to a report from the drive. we wager this includes the likes of the show truck's trd-sourced suspension upgrades, widebody kit, and 37-inch all-terrain tires. whether the trd desert racer concept's general tire grabber x3 rubber and method race wheels–supplied 18-inch wheels get the green light is a different story. nevertheless, we're sure toyota plans to put proper tires and a special set of wheels on any potential trd desert racer–inspired tundra it produces.
while we doubt toyota plans to fit such a tundra with a powertrain that pumps out anywhere close to what the trx's 702-hp supercharged v-8 makes, we think it's likely the automaker will manage to squeeze a few extra ponies from the tundra's available 437-hp gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain called iforce max. whether this occurs by way of tweaks to the setup's electric motor, twin-turbocharged 3.4-liter v-6 engine, or some combination of both is anyone's guess. we certainly won't be surprised if such a tundra model makes an even 450 horsepower, a figure that matches the output of the ford f-150 raptor's forced-induction v-6.
likewise, expect such a tundra model to maintain the trd desert racer's grille-mounted amber lights that the government requires for vehicles of a certain width (this also means that the future tundra would sport a similar set of red lights on its rear end). the plethora of driving lights fitted to the trd desert racer, however, likely would fall to the cutting room floor. still, we hope toyota offers the show truck's light bar with power-raising driving lights as an option throughout the tundra line, and not just as one for its possible hardcore off-road model.
toyota continues to keep quiet on the production prospects of the trd desert racer concept truck, and only time will tell if this sema vehicle ultimately serves as a template for an upcoming f-150 raptor–fighting tundra model. it could just turn out to be little more than a cool custom truck designed to stoke a fire in consumers and aftermarket suppliers. after all, they'll always be looking to build upon stock versions of toyota's redesigned full-size pickup truck.