We Design Our Perfect Toyota Truck: 2021 Toyota Tundra Rock Warrior

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YotaTech creates our own concept truck, a Tundra that is capable of dominating off-road, and giving the Ford Raptor a run for its money. 

The Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is a great pickup capable of tearing up the desert at high speeds and doing some light rock crawling. However, the lack of a variety of several off-road pieces of equipment hold it back as being a true rock-crawling beast. Were Toyota to address these shortcomings in its lineup, and tap into its history of building legendary off-road, never-say-die machines, well, they could rule the trucking world.

And I’m going to tell you exactly what my dream Yota truck should be.

You may recall the Toyota Tundra Rock Warrior, pictured below. It was introduced in the 2009 model year as an off-road appearance package with 17” TRD forged aluminum wheels, 285/70R-17 BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A tires, Bilstein shocks, color matched front bumper grille, matte-black bumper and fog lights. Inside the cabin, it had black cloth seats, sport shift knob and pedal covers. Toyota offered it in only double cab and crew cab models in black, red, gray and white.

This appearance package was really ahead of its time. The popularity of such appearance packages is sky-high right now compared to what it was in 2008.


Capable Off-Road Pickup Demand Is Skyrocketing

While the entire pickup market has exploded, there has been significant growth in factory-customized models. Ram has seemingly about 30 different half-ton pickup packages, the Ford Raptor continues to be a huge draw, and Chevrolet/GMC have finally gotten on board with the AT4 lineup with lift kits, wheels and tires along with other things.

Toyota has cashed in on this trend with their TRD Pro series of vehicles and has received a huge response from Yota truck fans. They can’t seem to build enough of them. The Tundra TRD Pro version specifically is a hot pickup with dealers clamoring for more.


With demand on these desert runner type pickups skyrocketing, there still remains a hole for rock crawling versions. Even though, the Tundra TRD Pro and now the Ford Raptor try to play double duty combining desert speed with rock crawling ability, they are nowhere near the capability offered in say a Ram Power Wagon.


Toyota Tundra Rock Crawler = Ram Power Wagon Competitor

One of the more interesting topics to discuss in the truck world is not why no one has built a true Raptor competitor, but rather why has no one built a Ram Power Wagon fighter. The truth is, building a Power Wagon fighter is cheaper, easier, and arguably more profitable than building a Raptor-esque rig. Here is what Toyota could do to build one.


First, Toyota doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel here. They have already had a lot of success with the TRD Pro and they could literally take many of these same items and transfer them to the Rock Crawler. For example, the skid plate, bed stamping and interior could all be redesign with the Rock Warrior name instead.

Then, they would take the 18” aluminum wheels and add a true off-road tire along the lines of a Toyo Open Country 315/70R18. The additional width would allow it to grab more terrain and the larger sidewalls (70 vs 65 on a TRD PRO) would also allow people to air the tire down more. There are also aftermarket dual-purpose wheels Toyota could use with a street wheel and beadlock wheel options.

In order to fit those tires for all the different driving scenarios, the Rock Warrior would need a factory 1” lift like the Ram Rebel comes with.

Next, an electronically disconnecting front sway bar to allow for additional wheel articulation when going over boulders is a must as well as an electronically activated rear locker, a big missing piece on the current TRD Pro. This would bring it up to the same idea as a Ram Power Wagon.

Then, adding Crawl Control and the A-TRAC from the Land Cruiser or Tacoma TRD PRO is a no-brainer.

Finally, a factory installed winch with a modified bumper is a must. Fortunately, Toyota just needs to walk around the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) show and cherry pick the right one. I’d recommend one from Fab Fours with a tall grab bar and a built in winch on the front. There is going to be an issue on passing crash tests, yet I’m sure Toyota can find an option like Ram has with the Power Wagon to pass the tests.

They could also shop for a new rear bumper adding additional departure angle improvements. Like the front bumper, there are about a hundred different options.

We Design Our Perfect Toyota Truck: 2021 Toyota Tundra Rock Warrior, continued…

Tim Esterdahl is a regular contributor to YotaTech and Ford Truck Enthusiasts. He produces the weekly podcast Pickup Truck Talk.

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