The Toyota Tundra full-size pickup, available since model year 2000, is a capable replacement to the old Toyota T100, and is available with three engine choices. They are the 4 liter V-6 and two V-8s, with the largest one putting out 381 horsepower and 401 lb. ft. of torque. It’s what’s called the iForce 5.7 liter DOHC aluminum V-8 with (i)ntelligent variable valve timing and flex fuel capability. It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with console-mounted shifter, and such were the drive train specifications of my test vehicle this past week.
The Tundra that I drove was the Limited CrewMax with an M.S.R.P. of $46,518, including options and freight. Base price of this model is $43,895, and options on it were the TRD off-road package, running boards, bedliner, full width power sliding rear glass, and remote start. It was part-time four wheel drive with electric control and trailering equipment. The interior was leather and seated five, a JBL stereo with satellite radio was on hand, and Bluetooth connectivity was present. No touchscreen for the radio was in the pickup and a navigation system was not installed.
The “standard” bed that comes with this CrewMax is 78.7” long, wheelbase is 145.7”, length is 228.9”, width is 79.9”, height is 75.8”, and the truck weighs 5,375 lbs. Towing capacity is 10,200 lbs., but apparently that is a lowball figure because Toyota towed the space shuttle Endeavour across the #405 freeway in California last year with the Tundra – weight of the space orbiter, 292,000 lbs. My wife Ruth and I flew to Florida to watch that Endeavour launch from Cape Kennedy in February of 2010. The mission was STS-130 to the International Space Station and of course it was quite a thrill.
Styling of the Limited was upgraded to include chrome door handles, chrome outside mirrors, TRD and Limited badging, five-spoke brushed finish alloy wheels, BF Goodrich Rugged Trail T/A 275/65R18 white letter tires, and the running boards. All the full-size pickups from GM, Dodge, Nissan, and Ford are good-looking, as is the Tundra.
Ride, cab noise, guidance, and visibility were all acceptable in this vehicle. The gas tank holds 26.4 gallons, and the EPA ratings on the previously described engine was 13 city, 18 highway, and 15 overall. I observed 15 miles per gallons during my time with the Toyota.
Toyota sold over 100,000 Tundras last year, a 22% increase for them over 2011 sales. The big American manufacturers sold substantially more than that, with total pickup sales in the U.S. (all sizes) at 2 million. Nonetheless, when shopping for a full-sized pickup, I see no reason to rule out a Toyota Tundra.