It’s obvious that the Tundra is well-built, both from outward appearances (precise exterior panel fits and finishes) and from the way it feels once you’re inside (the rigid body structure is transmitted through the steering wheel). And the mechanical specs are impressive. That said, taken as a whole, it’s not as satisfying as the Dodge Ram. It doesn’t ride nearly as well as the Ram, it has more body roll, and the 4.6-liter engine revs too much in everyday driving. Plenty of power here for a 2000-pound loaded trailer, though.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
During normal driving situations, the Tundra isn’t nearly as smooth-driving as the half-ton Dodge Ram, as Joe mentioned, but the Toyota seems to compare favorably with the rest of the usual pickup suspects. Like most of its rivals, the big Toyota provides the driver with a comfortable perch and a commanding view of the road (not surprising, given the truck’s massive size).
The Double Cab’s rear doors are short but didn’t hinder my loading of groceries or baby. I overfilled the bed with lots of cardboard to take to the recycle center. The damped tailgate was nice, too, since I completed that errand late at night but didn’t have to worry about waking the neighbors.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
Lots of people have compared this Tundra unfavorably to our Four Seasons Ram, but the first thing I noticed was the Tundra’s running boards, which was one feature our $52,000 Ram lacked. Let me tell you, when you’re barely 5’3″, running boards are practically a necessity for stepping up into the cabin of a full-size pickup.
I think that one of the reasons this Tundra suffers in comparison to the Ram is that it is equipped with the 4.6-liter V-8, rather than the more powerful 5.7-liter unit. That means it puts out only 310 hp, as opposed to 381 with the larger V-8. It also has 18-inch wheels, which seem to perform fine but don’t fill out the wheel wells as well as the 20-inch wheels on the Ram. On the plus side, the Tundra costs $10,500 less than our Ram. Even with the larger V-8, the price differential would be about $9000.
I do agree that the quality of the materials in the Tundra are more of the workaday variety, with more plastic and less wood-grain, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing if you’re going to use this truck as a utility vehicle. There’s lots of storage in the center console, with room for hanging folders. Plus there’s a backup camera, another item our much more expensive Ram lacked.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
I drove the Tundra after having the Ram for a weekend, and as everyone else mentioned, it suffered in the comparison. It might perform the same tasks, and have the same specs, but it just doesn’t feel right. I can’t imagine any blue-collar, Big Three truck owner feeling comfortable driving one onto the jobsite.
The cabin of the Ram seemed to have twice the space, and felt much more durable and higher quality. Again, it may all be optics, but the Tundra looked like a Lil Tikes truck inside by comparison — everything screamed “Plastic!” It also wins the award for the fakest-looking fake wood ever.
Matt Tierney, Art Director
Like my colleagues, I’m not blown away by the look and feel and of the Tundra’s interior, especially given that this is the high-content, Limited-trim model. I am, however, impressed with virtually everything else within.
Toyota designers packed the Tundra’s cabin with a plethora of storage cubbies, including latching boxes in both front doors, along with a pair of glove boxes and a center console big enough to swallow the Graf Zeppelin. I also dig the ability hold hanging folders in the center console, although I’m a little puzzled by the deep storage trench that’s hidden between the shift gate and the cupholders — if nothing else, it was a great way to tuck my iPod out of sight while leaving it plugged into the dash-mounted USB input.
For everyday use, I still like the Tundra’s quick steering and usable cabin more than other quarter-ton pickups, although the Ram has certainly set a new benchmark for both ride quality and interior décor. Here’s hoping Toyota’s product planners are staring hard at that Dodge while crafting the next-generation Tundra.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer
2010 Toyota Tundra Limited 4×4 Double Cab
Base price (with destination): $39,270
Price as tested: $41,780
4.6-liter V-8 engine
6-speed automatic transmission
Tow hitch receiver
Trailer brake controller prewire
Automatic limited slip differential
Front and rear sonar
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
Vehicle stability control
Active traction control
Tire pressure monitoring system
Leather-trimmed power heated front seats
Automatic dual-zone climate control
JBL audio system with 8 speakers
Remote keyless entry
Options on this vehicle:
DVD navigation system — $1690
JBL audio with 10 speakers
Steering wheel audio controls
Bedliner — $365
Running boards — $345
TRD off-road package — $70
Off-road tuned suspension
Daytime running lights — $40
Key options not on vehicle:
5.7-liter V-8 engine –$1245
14 / 19 / 16 mpg
Size: 4.6L V-8
Horsepower: 310 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque: 327 lb-ft @ 3400 rpm
Curb weight: 5385 lb
Wheels/tires: 18-inch aluminum wheels
275/65R18 BFGoodrich all-terrain tires