History of the Toyota Tundra

Toyota's first full sized pickup.  While it started as a slow bulky truck in the T100, the Tundra has grown to be a true competitor to the full sized domestic trucks.


Toyota responds to requests from its customers to build a larger pickup truck.  Toyota truck buyers are fiercely loyal to their trucks, but for those who needed something larger than the compact trucks that Toyota made, the only choice was to purchase a domestic product.  Toyota listened, and introduced the T100.

The T100 incorporated all the things that loyal Toyota buyers loved about their trucks -- reliability, styling, practicality, dependability, ease-of-operation, low maintenance costs -- with what they needed in a larger truck.  It offered three-across seating (with enough headroom to keep your cowboy hat on without banging the ceiling), a bed large enough to hold a four-foot by eight-foot sheet of plywood flat on the floor (with the tailgate up) and the ability to handle two-tier loading.

T100 was an immediate success with the media, garnering J.D. Power and Associates' Initial Quality Survey "Best Full-Size Pickup" award and the "Best of What's New" award by Popular Science magazine.  T100 was the first vehicle - car or truck - ever to receive an IQS award in its first year of production.  


Toyota introduced T100 with a four-cylinder engine.  The engine was only available in the standard (entry-level) model, and only with a five-speed manual transmission.  To further improve its marketability, Toyota gave T100 an optionally available four-speed automatic transmission on 4WD models (the 1993 model was available only as a five-speed manual) , a standard driver side airbag and side door impact protection beams.

Awarded "Best Full-Size Pickup in Initial Quality" by J.D. Power.


To address the highest reasons that customers gave for not purchasing the T100 - insufficient power and lack of an extended cab - Toyota endowed the T100 with a 3.4-liter V6 engine and an Xtracab option.  The 3.4-liter engine produces 190 horsepower and 220 lb.-ft. of torque, giving the T100 better acceleration performance than the small-block V8 equipped Ford F-150 and Chevrolet C1500.  The 3.4L engine incorporates a host of technology, including distributorless ignition, twin-firing spark plugs, sequential multipoint fuel-injection and a water-cooled oil cooler.

The Xtracab provides expanded comfort and convenience with the addition of a cab that is 21.7 inches longer, and provides and additional 21.4 cubic feet of storage or passenger space.  It offers a 60/40 split bench front seat, forward-facing 50/50 split rear jump seats for three with shoulder belts for the outer seats and a lap belt for the center rear seat.  For easy entry to the rear seats, the passenger-side seatback features a "walk-in" mechanism that automatically slides the seat cushion forward when the seatback is released.  Amenities such as dual cup holders, change compartments, coat hooks, and integrated storage areas are standard.

For rear passenger comfort, T100 offers 29.6 inches of legroom, and even more hip room in the rear than in the front (60.4 inches versus 59.4 inches).  Unlike the upright rear seats in some trucks, T100's rear seats are reclined 15 degrees.

With these changes, T100 stepped into the mainstream of "big" trucks.  Now able to tow up to 5,200 pounds, with some models offering up to 2,450 pounds of payload, T100 is a viable alternative to domestic competitors from Ford and Chevrolet.  And the best thing about buying a T100 is Toyota's legendary, proven reliability and customer satisfaction.

Named "Best Full-Sized Pickup in Initial Quality" by J.D. Power.


The T100 received only minor changes to improve the product.  Aluminum wheels and a power package were available on mid-line models, as were the Tire Upgrade package, tachometer, chrome wheel arch molding, radio prep package and SR%-grade door trim.  A larger wheel and tire package with 16" wheels was also available.  Awarded "Top Three Vehicles in Initial Quality - Full-Size Segment" by J.D. Power.


The world premier of the all new Toyota Tundra full-size pickup truck, which is scheduled to replace the T100 when it goes on sale in mid 1999.  the Tundra will be built exclusively at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (TMMI) and will be the first Toyota vehicle launched in model-year 2000.


The V8 powered 2000 Tundra went on sale in June of 1999 and had the best sales debut ever of any Toyota or Lexus product.  It sold 8,011 units in its first full month of sales, 3,339 more than Tercel in October of 1979, the previous record holder.

Awards in 2000:  "Best of the Year" by MotorWeek, a PBS automotive show.  "Best Buy" by Consumers Digest.  "Driver's Choice Award - Best Pickup Truck" by MotorWeek magazine.  "Truck of the Year" by Motor Trend.  "4x4 of the Year" by Four Wheel and Off-Road Magazine.  "Best Full-Size Pickup" by Consumer Reports magazine.


Minor changes were made, such as two new exterior colors and upgrades including a three-in-one AM/FM/cassette/CD with six-disc changer as an option on all SR5 and Limited models.  In addition, a TRD Off Road package is now available on all 4x2 and 4x4 V8 models.


Tundra is a term that conveys strength and ruggedness.

The Tundra is built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (TMMI) in Princeton Indiana.  The T100 was built by Hino Motors, Ltd. in Tokyo, Japan.

All of the above information was provided by Toyota Motor Company, Inc.