Our test vehicle’s sticker wasn’t a shock; a four-wheel-drive Double Cab V-8 pickup, reasonably equipped, seems like it should cost about $30K. Our tester had the new-for-2010 entry-level V-8 engine, a 4.6-liter unit that replaces the previous 4.7-liter but offers 34 additional horsepower and 14 additional lb-ft of torque. It also teams up with the six-speed automatic transmission that previously was offered only with the optional 5.7-liter V-8.
The smaller V-8 seems like a smart choice for the Tundra; it costs roughly $1300 less than the bigger V-8, depending on which of the myriad Tundra models you’re talking about. It accelerates well, although not as effortlessly or as quietly as the bigger V-8; when you push the 4.6, you know you’re pushing it. Yet the engine never seems unwilling or unreasonably taxed, and I had no problem piloting the Tundra at 70 to 80 mph on two-lane country roads.
The Double Cab’s rear doors are a bit truncated, but they still provide decent access to the rear seats, which fold up nicely out of the way. Note: Toyota also offers a Crewmax model with a full-size rear door.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor
Looking back on the rash of luxury pickup trucks we’ve sampled this year, it’s easy to see that, for the right price tag, it is possible to add creature comforts and style to a full-size truck. What’s difficult is adding them in moderation. In some instances, primo features like Bluetooth phone connections and iPod connections come only in models wearing plush leather interiors, giant chrome wheels, and price tags pushing close to $50,000.
A predicament? It is, if your ideal pickup is simple, honest, and sprinkled with just a few extra goodies. Such was the case with this Tundra. Yes, those are painted steel wheels — eighteen-inchers, in fact. And yes, that’s a cloth bench seat up front. But that doesn’t stop Toyota from fitting the cabin with a great sound system, a USB audio input, heated mirrors, and a Bluetooth hands-free system.
In fact, I think ordering a Tundra in moderation — taking the 4.6-liter V-8 instead of the 5.7; opting for the double cab instead of the CrewMax — gives buyers the best bang for the money. As Joe DeMatio noted, the 4.6 is far from wanting for power, and there’s still a fair amount of room in the second row, even for larger adults like me. Better yet, there’s a 78.7-inch bed out back, which is much more usable than the 66.7-inch box on CrewMax models.
And it’s not like there isn’t anything to love on something less than a Tundra Limited. Controls are oversized, making them easy to read and even easier to grip — especially when wearing gloves. Designers packed the cabin with an infinite number of storage cubbies and no less than four (four!) 12-volt outlets are accessible from the front seat.
One mystery — our test vehicle had a sticker in the driver’s door jamb that claimed the payload dropped by nearly 300 pounds due to “modifications” — but apart from a bedliner and some all-weather floormats, I’m having difficulty finding exactly how this Tundra was tweaked.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer
The cabin in this Tundra certainly looks a bit bare and cheap, especially with the front cloth bench seat, but I agree that this is a very practical and reasonable truck. It seems to have everything you need, with nothing you don’t.
The Double Cab is the perfect size. It offers plenty of room for weather-protected, secure storage with the rear seat bottoms flipped up, and it has enough passenger space for weekend trips when you’re hauling a boat and the whole family.
The driving experience lives up to expectations without surpassing them. The engine is plenty powerful, but it’s definitely no Dodge Ram Hemi. The ride is acceptable, the seats are suitable, and the cabin is fairly quiet. The steering, though, is very vague. I can imagine that with a heavy load or a trailer, pointing the truck in the right direction could be difficult.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
I honestly can’t remember that last time I drove a new vehicle with a front bench seat. The cloth-covered, manually adjustable, comfortable perch in the Tundra is quite refreshing in this basic-spec truck, which also includes a simple plastic steering wheel and the steel 18-inch wheels that were previously mentioned.
Conveniently, the middle seat of the front bench flips forward to reveal a version of the ubiquitous center console that we’ve come to expect in all new vehicles, not just pickups. The Tundra’s versatile cabin includes plenty of other handy storage areas and bins, too. Another detail that I like is the Tundra’s damped tailgate, which nicely avoids the giant, truck-shaking crash that can occur when an undamped gate is dropped.
Not only does the Tundra not ride quite as comfortably as the Dodge Ram, it’s also harder to climb up into. I didn’t park it next to our Four Seasons Ram, but the Tundra’s driver’s seat seems even taller than the Dodge’s. Without the beefy A-pillar grab handle, I’d have an extremely difficult time entering the monstrous Toyota.
I agree with Eric Tingwall when he says that the Tundra’s engine is no Dodge Hemi, but I was nonetheless surprised to discover its relatively small 4.6-liter displacement. The engine clearly has a lot of accelerative power, which should nicely apply toward this vehicle’s 8300-pound towing capacity. The six-speed manu-matic transmission will let you hold the engine at its redline, which tech editor Don Sherman should love, but the engine sounds pretty coarse above revs of about 5000 rpm.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
2010 Toyota Tundra Double Cab
Base price (with destination): $29,490
Price as tested: $30,934
Four-wheel drive with 2-speed transfer case
3.90 rear axle
Front side and knee airbags
Side curtain airbags
Tire pressure monitoring system
Traction and stability control
Dual zone climate control
Power windows, mirrors, and locks
Remote keyless entry
Options on this vehicle:
Cold weather package – $160
-Heavy-duty battery and starter
-Windshield wiper de-icer
Power heated sideview mirrors – $30
Daytime running lights – $40
18-inch steel wheels – $110
Tow package – $660
-Increase maximum towing capacity to 8300 lb
-1515 lb payload capacity
-Auxiliary transmission cooler with temperature gauge
-4.10 rear axle
-Trailer brake prewiring
All weather mats – $99
Bedliner without deck rail system – $345
Key options not on vehicle:
TRD Off-road package – $3,110
DVD Navigation system with backup monitor – $1,650
18-inch aluminum wheels – $1,020
Running boards – $345
Deck rail system w/ 4 adjustable tie downs – $135
14 / 19 / 16 mpg
Size: 4.6L DOHC V-8
Horsepower: 310 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque: 327 lb-ft @ 3400 rpm
Weight: 5385 lb
18 in. steel wheels
255/70 all-season tires