The heavy duty pickup trucks represent a very special niche of vehicles. These trucks are usually bigger than you’ll need, stronger than you’ll need and they surely drive worse than expected, as their gargantuan dimensions aren’t exactly suited for speedy driving. Not to mention about the high center of gravity and the bone breaking suspensions.
Yet models like the Toyota Tundra had always managed to attract a lot of attention and most of them are equipped with monstrous engines which are capable of towing massive loads without breaking a sweat.
The Toyota Tundra made its big entrance in 2007, but it was met by a pretty unenthusiastic response from the market. Despite the fact that it was the biggest pickup ever build by Toyota, the Tundra never managed to attract the same interest as its American counterparts.
The Toyota Tundra is priced quite competitively with the regular cab model starting at $25,155 and it’s offered in both 2WD and 4WD configurations.
The pickup trucks are usually as aggressive as they can be, with muscular lines, tall ground clearances and mean looking grilles. Toyota has tried to respect all these attributes, but the overall design of the Tundra just didn’t cut the mustard. Its bulky shape doesn’t inspire the same air of toughness as Ford’s pickups. Yet the front trapezoidal grille makes the Tundra’s face look like a strong bulldog, while the sharp headlights add a touch of sportiness to and otherwise pretty conventional appearance.
The hood has an aggressive design being slightly raised to give the vehicle a more purposeful look. The front bumper continues the same design language initiated by the hood and looks fairly imposing, being also fitted with a set of circular fog lamps.
Along the sides, the lower part of the body received a sporty crease which underlines the athletic stance of the Tundra. To offer easy access into the cab, Toyota has equipped its tall pickup with convenient footsteps and grab handles.
The load bed is fairly generous being between 66.7 - 78.7 inch long and 66.4 inch wide (50.0 between wheel arches).
Access inside is made pretty easy and you’ll get used to it fairly fast. The cabin is better build than the Tacoma and many details found inside inspire solidity and quality. The plastics are decent, while the fittings seem ready to endure the punishment of arduous jobs without breaking down. Yet, the Toyota Tundra still remains a half step behind its rivals from Ford or Dodge, when it comes to interior refinement and quality.
Inside there is a huge amount of space, especially on the first row of seats were there are acres of leg and head room. The rear passengers are also treated with sufficient head and leg-room and the seats are pretty comfortable too, offering adequate back support.
Luckily, you won’t have any complains about the front seats either, as they came with a wide range of adjustments and manage to keep your back safe and comfortable.
The center console is a bit cluttered, but you won’t need much time to learn how to leave with it. Toyota never failed in the ergonomy department and the Tundra makes no exception, as every control is placed within easy reach and the instrument cluster comes with an intuitive and modern layout for the main gauges. On the other hand the auxiliary gauges seem to be placed pretty chaotic which makes them quite confusing to figure out.
There are offered both column and floor gear shifters which are easy to operate and are also available with a manual mode for more versatility.
Engines and performance
The Toyota Tundra is offered with three engines. The weakest unit is a 4.0 liter v6 which develops 270 hp, followed by a 4.6 liter V8 that churns out 210 hp, while the top of the range is represented by the 5.7 liter V8 which comes with 381 hp on tap.
The 270 hp 4.0 liter V6 isn’t impressive, as it has to deal with a pretty big weight and its 278 lb-ft of torque isn’t strong enough to keep you out of trouble at any time. The fuel consumption isn’t impressive either, as it’s rated at 15 mph in the city and 19 mpg on the highway.
The 4.6 liter V8 engine sounds like a better deal, as it comes with variable valve timing on both the intake and camshafts offering 310 hp achieved at 5600 rpm with a peak torque of 327 lb. ft at 3400 rpm. Moreover, the fuel consumption is comparable with the one of the 4.0 liter unit, being rated at 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. This engine comes with a standard six-speed automatic transmission which is pretty smooth but acts a bit lazy when it needs to downshift.
Fortunately, the 5.7 iForce V8 has managed to rise up to our expectations. The engine feels strong and it’s willing to move mountains out of their place if needed. It offers a ballistic low end torque of 401 lb’ft at 3600 rpm. Every time you touch the go pedal, you’ll be instantly teleported into the middle of a drag race, and you’ll shortly forget about the true heft and size of your full sized pickup.
Sadly, your racer instinct will be halted by Tundra’s basic tires which seem only suitable for on road driving and for dry road conditions, thus failing to offer a proper grip. If you want to solve this problem, we’ll advise you to invest some money in proper rims and tires.
Toyota Tundra Engines Specifications
|Engine||hp@rpm||lb-ft @ rpm|
|4.0 V6 DOHC||270 @ 5600||278 @ 4400|
|4.6 iForce V8||310 @ 5600||327 @ 3400|
|5.7 iForce V8||381 @ 5600||401 @ 3600|
Ride and handling
The Tundra weight and size work in its disadvantage as on harsh surfaces, the ride is more on the bumpy side, with a heavy rear end tremble. Though, if you’ll want a better ride quality , you can put some load at the back and everything will instantly improve.
The handling is pretty predictable, but the steering could’ve been better, as the truck’s heavy front can be felt in every corner.
On road, the overall feel of the truck isn’t as refined and solid as its rivals from Ford or even Dodge, the Tundra lacking their agility.
To bring this monster to halt Toyota has equipped it with four-wheel disc brakes and standard ABS.
The Toyota Tundra may have its faults, but it also comes with a lot of positive attributes which work in its favor. The interior is fairly comfortable and the ergonomy is part of the first class. The V8 engines are also fairly strong and deal great with anything you’ll ask of them rewarding you with crisp acceleration and capable towing abilities. On the other hand, the ride and handling abilities are behind of what you’d expect to find into a modern truck and there are better products in the segment which should be considered.