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