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Tundra Stepside Concept at 2002 Chicago Auto Show

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

CHICAGO, Feb. 6 -- The world debut of the all-new Toyota Stepside was staged today at a press conference at the Chicago Auto Show. The Stepside is a show truck version of a new addition to the Tundra lineup that will arrive at Toyota dealers this fall. It is a collaborative effort between Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan and Toyota Racing Development (TRD).

``The Tundra Stepside concept explores the possibilities of broadening the Tundra product line and will show consumers that ruggedness and utility can go hand-in-hand with style and image,'' said Don Esmond, Toyota Division senior vice president and general manager.

The Stepside show truck was designed to reach out to full-size pickup buyers who want to add a little flair to their trucks. It houses the sophisticated 4.7-liter i-Force V8 engine that delivers 240 horsepower and 315 lbs.-ft. of torque. The concept is based on the Tundra Limited Access Cab and is dressed in a brilliant blue exterior paint.

What sets this Tundra apart from the rest is the addition of a stepside bed with distinctive tail lamps. The tail lamps pull back over the rear wheel arches for a sleek appearance. The stepside interior bed width between wheelwells and the bed length remain the same as a regular Tundra bed, while bed depth has been increased from 17.2 inches to 19.0 inches. The stepside bed was built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Princeton, Indiana (TMMI).

The show truck also features a redesigned front fascia with a grille that extends down into the front bumper and round fog lamps for a bolder, more aggressive look. Color-keyed overfenders give the vehicle an eye-pleasing, monotone look from any angle.

The Stepside owes its powerful stance to a sport suspension package that lowers the vehicle from the stock Tundra by about four inches and includes unique shock absorbers, sport-tuned suspension and rear stabilizer bar. Road-gripping BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW tires are wrapped around brawny three-piece chromed alloy 20-inch HRE Performance wheels. The finishing touch is a TRD Tundra dual cat-back exhaust, which adds a distinctive tone upon acceleration as well as approximately six horsepower.

Inside the Tundra Stepside, style and image harmonize with comfort and convenience. Amenities include heated outside mirrors, power sliding rear window, steering wheel mounted audio controls, wood-grain-style interior trim, leather-trimmed captain's chairs and a Premium 3-in-1 AM/FM/Cassette/CD with four speakers. A multi-function center console provides 91.5 cubic inches of storage capacity and features dual front-and-rear cup holders and a double-door that includes a memo pad clip.