Toyota may have overestimated annual volumes when it launched the Tundra back in 2008, but that error wasn’t due to the product itself. Truth is, the truck is quite good, even if consumer demand for foreign full-size trucks isn’t.
The bulbous styling may not be for everyone, but I do like the obvious thought and attention to detail paid within the cabin. There’s a storage cubby in virtually every place and for every purpose (trucks with a center console even have provisions to hold hanging file folders), and most controls and switchgear are large enough to be used when wearing work gloves.
The 5.7-liter V-8 is quite an eager performer. The largest eight-cylinder available in the Tundra is happy to rev, although its throttle tip-in is slightly aggressive. Opting for the 5.7-liter engine over the 4.6-liter V-8 nets you an additional 71 horsepower and 74 pound-feet of torque, but also cuts fuel economy for a four-wheel-drive model from 14/19 mpg (city/highway) to 13/17 mpg.
If there’s one area where the Tundra truly lags, however, it’s in terms of ride quality. Shuddering over bumps may be a tradition in full-size pickups, but the Tundra seems more happy to shimmy and shake over broken pavement than its competition. One stretch of a local freeway sent the Tundra into a stomach-sickening resonance, although the same stretch of road posed no problems when I tackled it with an equivalent (crew-cab, 4WD) Ford F-150 the next day.
There’s still a lot to like in the current Tundra package, but if Toyota’s still intent on wrestling current GM, Ford, and Dodge—er, Ram—owners away from their beloved brands, it needs to step up the innovation, perhaps with regards to fuel economy or towing capacity, in order to expand its customer base.
Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor