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With the 2011 model year just around the corner, Toyota has announced changes to its full-size Tundra pickup including a more powerful engine and new safety equipment. The Tundra will also be easier to order for 2011, thanks to a reshuffling of trim levels intended to help buyers find the most popular configurations.

The biggest news for the 2011 Tundra is a more powerful base engine. Thanks to the adoption of intelligent variable valve timing – engine technology which varies fuel intake based on engine speed, boosting efficiency and power – horsepower has risen to 270 versus last year's 236. The same technology has helped boost torque a few pounds for 2011. Despite the V6's gain in power, the Tundra's V8 engines – which already use intelligent variable valve timing – stand pat for 2011, putting the Tundra's base V8 within 40 horsepower of the upgraded V6.  

Anyone towing with the Toyota Tundra will appreciate another 2011 upgrade: standard Trailer Sway Control. The system uses Toyota's Vehicle Stability Control to measure roll rates and yaw, which help it detect a swaying trailer. The system will then automatically apply brakes at individual wheels, helping the driver regain control of the truck and counteract the out-of-control trailer. Ford pioneered a similar system several years ago in its F-series pickups, with other automakers soon following suit.

Toyota also announced a reshuffling of trim levels to make the Tundra easier to order. According to the Japanese automaker, Tundra configurations have been pared down to the 28 highest-demand setups. This includes base and Limited models as well as SR5, Work Truck, and Platinum packages. Toyota hasn't announced what trims would be cut with the changes, but the uncommon Rock Warrior package is probably a likely candidate.

Other changes to the 2011 Tundra were minor, and included the deletion of the cigarette lighter and ashtray (replaced instead by a 12-volt power outlet) and redesigned headrests. Pricing for the 2011 Toyota Tundra, which should hit dealers imminently, has seen slight but not unusual increases.

author photo

Doug DeMuro is a Denver native who now resides in Atlanta. He was featured in Automobile Magazine for his "car spotting" hobby – hunting and photographing exotic cars in the wild. DeMuro is an Emory University alumni with wide-ranging industry experience including Porsche Cars North America, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and a Ferrari dealership.

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