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