2023 Toyota Tundra TRD Desert Truck Unofficially Stands Up to Raptor and TRX

At the dune-bashing top level of the full-size pickup truck segment, the Ram TRX has finally convinced Ford to revive the Raptor’s V8 for the 2023 Raptor R. And while the all-new Tundra Toyota introduced for 2022 steers clear of such rivals, even in its top TRD Pro trim, that might change. Well, this digital proposal allows us to further travel down the path Toyota has opened with last year’s SEMA-debuting TRD Desert Chase Tundra concept.

Introduced by Toyota Racing Development—the carmaker’s go-fast arm—the said concept delivered no indication of a production follow-up. However, back in January this year, The Drive ran a story about a showroom iteration of the trophy truck-impersonating Tundra.

Citing “a tipster with inside knowledge of the truck’s development”, the source mentioned that the reported production truck will closely resemble the TRD Desert Chase Tundra concept (you’ll find this in the TFL Now video below), which uses the TRD Pro trim as a base. We were also told that the vehicle would engage a certain form of desert racing to showcase its abilities from the get-go.

Speaking of which, we’ll remind you that the Gen III Tundra has left its predecessor’s V8 (381 hp and 401 lb-ft) behind. Nevertheless, the TRD Pro top dog and the Desert Runner concept based on it feature a hybrid 3.5L twin-turbo V6 making 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque, which is already plenty of grunt.

Toyota replied by stating it wouldn’t comment on new product developments, a couple of months passed and we’re still waiting for fresh details on the matter. Meanwhile, this rendering, which is quite close to the SEMA car, portrays the kind of third-generation Tundra that’s currently populating our dreams.

This is the kind of beast that would do 80 mph anywhere

You see, while the Tundra TRD Pro is the kind of rugged terrain-ready factory truck that rivals models such as the Chevy Silverado ZR2, this CGI model packs the kind of hardware that would allow it to do, say, 80 mph anywhere.

As with any such out-of-the-box Baja runner, the trick is in the suspension. Remember, TRD’s concept involved a long-travel setup that would be compatible with the factory Tundra mounting points. And while its beefed-up fenders cater to our eyes, while also providing suitable company for the concept’s General Tire 37-inch Grabber X3 rubber, which is wrapped around 18-inch forged wheels.

This rendering? It adds beadlock wheels that keep the meaty rubber in place in the most difficult of scenarios.

The show car’s nose-mounted light bar isn’t your average effort of the sort, as this offers vertical travel (high is for improved visibility and low sits for drag and wind noise reduction). And this CGI model, which comes from a label known as Innov8 Design Lab, skips that in favor of a more conventional setup (we’ll get back to this).

Another area where this rendering and the TRD concept differ is the bed. The back of both machines holds a pair of spare wheels. However, while the show car kept its goodies behind the tailgate, the CGI truck places the pair of wheels where the tailgate used to be.

Couple that with the said light bar arrangement and you end up with the kind of flavor emanating from an aftermarket specialist building this sort of Tundra TRD Pro desert runner for you (hey, they’ve done a 6×6 2022 Tundra, so why not?)—and that’s the kind of thought you want when heading into the weekend, although we have a hunch it works for the rest of the week too.

Official TRD Desert Chase Tundra concept



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