Toyota will base the next-generation Tacoma and Tundra on the same platform, codenamed F1, and we could get our first taste of the modular pickup architecture as soon as next year.
According to internal sources speaking to Automotive News, the company is developing another modular architecture—joining the unibody Toyota New Global Architecture that underpins the Corolla, Prius, RAV4, and other vehicles—optimized this time for body-on-frame duty. The news outlet also reports that the first fruits of the new platform could arrive next year, we presume on an all-new 2021 Tundra. For its part, Toyota would not confirm either the development of the platform or the timing for the new Tundra.
The Tundra and Tacoma currently share a production line at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas, in San Antonio. Putting the two on a common platform would streamline production thanks to added parts commonality, defraying the cost of the trucks’ development and saving money on manufacturing. Automotive News reports that currently, Toyota suppresses Tundra production at the facility due to higher demand for the Tacoma.
Toyota wouldn’t be the first manufacturer to build its entry-level and fullsize trucks on the same platform. When the current Nissan Frontier hit the market for the 2005 model year, it rode on the F-Alpha platform found under the new-for-2004 Titan fullsize pickup. F-Alpha went on to underpin the previous-generation Pathfinder and Xterra midsize SUVs, as well as the first-generation Nissan Armada and Infiniti QX56, and elements of it are still found in the current Nissan Patrol, Armada, Titan, and Infiniti QX80.
However, Automotive News points out that the move could have unwanted negative effects on both the Tundra and Tacoma. Building a platform heavy enough to support the Tundra’s higher payload and towing expectations could make the Tacoma less efficient and maneuverable. Conversely, since the Tacoma sells in higher numbers, Toyota could optimize the platform for the smaller truck, causing problems for the Tundra in playing the capability numbers game with other 1/2-ton pickups on the market.
While we like the Tundra, it’s in need of a freshening, so if the new platform speeds the development and replacement of the truck, we’ll welcome it with open arms even if it comes with a few compromises. It’s currently the oldest fullsize pickup platform on the market (introduced for 2007), which shows through in its infotainment electronics, dated styling, lackluster efficiency, and middling payload and towing ratings. The Tacoma is a bit better off compared to its rivals (and it’s still the bestselling midsize truck on the market), but we wouldn’t turn down an all-new platform for that one either—it was extensively updated for 2016, but it still reuses plenty from the 2005-era truck.
Source: Automotive News