Toyota Is Developing a Tundra Raptor Fighter

The Desert Chase Toyota Tundra concept at last year’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas met with a lot of interest. Enthusiasts loved its rugged stance and overtones of the TRD off-road Tundras from years past. Toyota emphasized it was just a concept, though it featured mostly TRD Pro origins. But now it looks like they were providing alternate facts. 

Toyota is testing a Desert Chase-like Tundra right now

2023 Toyota Tundra TRD
2023 Toyota Tundra TRD | Toyota

In fact, a production Tundra looking much like the concept has been seen being tested, according to the Drive. It is said to look much like the Desert Chase Tundra from the SEMA Show. Plans are for it to be revealed competing in a stock class at some future desert race. 

Of course, Toyota is being mum about its plans. “We cannot comment or speculate on new product,” says a Toyota spokesperson. But the Desert Chase Tundra looked quite production-oriented in many ways. So here’s a refresher on what it is and what we could see on a production model.

Will this Tundra beat the F-150 Raptor horsepower stats?

2023 Toyota Tundra
2023 Toyota Tundra twin-turbo V6 | Toyota

Toyota has a headstart beginning with the TRD Pro version of the Tundra. That starts with an iForce Max 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 hybrid powertrain with 437 hp and an impressive 583 lb-ft of torque. Might Toyota goose this Desert Chase version for a bit more power? 

Don’t forget, Ford’s V6 Raptor comes in at 450 hp. This might also be why Ford is working on its V8-powered Raptor R. Obviously, this segment is heating up rapidly.

All four wheels are spun by a 10-speed automatic suspension. You quickly hit peak torque around 2,400 rpm. Toyota updated both the Crawl Control and Downhill Assist Control from previous Tundras. Supposedly, Toyota engineers have made these features less crude, with smoother activation and no gear-grind noises when first engaging these great aids.

The Tundra TRD Pro is a good starting point

2022 Toyota Tundra Limited with TRD Off-Road package | Toyota
With the 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro still unavailable, the TRD Off-Road package is the next best thing | Toyota

On the suspension side, the concept used 37-inch General tires and stout long-travel suspension. There is also a beefier TRD Pro stabilizer bar. Around In the rear, the stock coil springs were replaced with stiffer versions. 

If there is any downside to the Tundra’s off-road aspirations, it is its sheer size. This is a big truck. It’s almost half a foot longer than the previous Tundra. If you would like another comparison, it is also 2.5-inches longer than Ford’s F-150 Tremor. Which makes a Tacoma version of the Desert Chase concept a tantalizing prospect. 

The Tundra TRD Pro should be headed to Toyota dealers soon, so to mark its arrival, something like the Desert Chase racing in the desert would be great optics. IF that happens, expect to see it before summer. We have no idea of when availability will happen or price estimates. The base price for a Tundra is just under $36,000, while the TRD Pro comes in at $51,000. So another six to eight grand seems a reasonable price for the top-of-the-line Tundra. We’ll know soon.

RELATED: The 2020 Toyota Tundra TRD Has the Ford Raptor Beat in a Few Key Metrics