Stepside Promises Style and Substance
Tundra Stepside and its rakish lines take stepside styling and pickup
practicality to all new levels for a truck.
In its debut
in Chicago the Tundra Stepside drew audible gasps from from the audience
of journalists as the cover was pulled off on this very distinctively
notable and dramatic design elements are the wide rear shoulders that
flare out with retro style and feature prominent red tail lamps. The lamps
cut into the Stepside's wheel arches in a look that mimics the rear lights
and fenders found on Chrysler's PT Cruiser, but go a whole order of magnitude
further in form. It's also very similar to Rinspeed's
Tatooo, using much of the same rear form vocabulary.
fascia of the Tundra receives an update for 2003 to give it a more masculine
look. It sports a new grille that blends smoothly into the front bumper.
height and 20-inch HRE Performance wheels come from Toyota Racing Development's
(TRD) influence. A TRD cat back exhaust has also been added to provide
an extra 6hp and muscular growl during acceleration.
stepside pickup owners sacrificed bed space for style. Not with this truck.
The length and width of the Stepside's bed remain exactly the same as
the regular Tundra's 76.5 x 49.1 inch cargo box. Bed height is actually
increased by nearly two inches to a depth of 19 inches.
Senior Vice President and General Manager, Don Esmond, introduced the
2003 Tundra Stepside Concept at the Chicago Auto Show he made it clear
that Toyota is, "...aiming for the heart and soul of the US auto
industry - full size pickups" with this latest Tundra iteration.
wryly observed that the Tundra Stepside is Toyota's "step by step
by stepside" effort to steadily offer more and better features on
its pickups. A classic Toyota long-term strategy used to gain market share
when it enters new automotive segments.
PUTC that he expects the 2003 Tundra Stepside to sell in volumes of under
1000 units per month when it goes on sale this fall.
has been announced yet and the truck will only be available in an extended
cab configuration with the uplevel Limited Access Cab trim and options.
On a related
note, PUTC also asked Esmond about when a crew cab configured Tundra might
reach showrooms. While he declined to give a specific date for when this
truck might arrive he did cryptically comment that, "Toyota recognizes
crew cab pickups as a growing segment in the truck market."