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We drove the 2005 Tundra Double Cab with the new transmission and extra horsepower during a brief run over the coastline roads of Alaska. The Double Cab weighs about 200 pounds more than an Access Cab, so the extra horsepower was welcomed in passing situations. Toyota picked up the extra ponies through a number of improvements, including variable valve timing and a new intake manifold that alters the length of the intake runners in two stages with a set of butterfly valves. At low rpm, the runners are long for more torque but at higher rpm the runners are short for extra horsepower. Even with the extra horsepower, Toyota says the Tundra will have improved fuel economy but didn’t release EPA estimates during briefings with the media. The engine also carries a ULEV-II California emissions rating.

Most impressive is the new 5-speed automatic transmission, which is also available in the new Sequoia. The torque converter control and gear selection were seamless while on twisty canyon roads. Our time was limited in the 2005 Tundra, so we didn’t tow or drive the V6 engine. We can tell you that the V6 is an all-new engine available only in the Tundra, 4Runner and 2005 Tacoma—it is not a converted car engine although it is derived from the 3.0-liter Camry engine architecture. This 60-degree, 24-valve engine gets a new 6-speed manual as its standard running mate. This tranny has a 4.17:1 First gear and 0.85:1 6th gear overdrive.

For 2005, Toyota will offer the V6 Access Cab only in 2-wheel-drive. Those who want 4x4 capabilities prefer the V8 by an overwhelming margin, so Toyota dropped the 4-wheel-drive model. But Toyota has added a V8-powered regular cab work truck model. It comes with a bench seat, color-keyed grille, chrome bumper and CD player.

In other 2005 Tundra news, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution will be standard on all models. Toyota’s Vehicle Stability Control plus Traction Control (VSC + TRAC) will be available as an option. The optional side-curtain air bags in the Double Cab get a roll-sensing feature that deploys the air bags should the vehicle tip over. Another safety feature is direct tire-pressure monitoring system. On the inside, the Double Cab can be ordered with a front bench seat if a customer needs 6-passenger seating, and there’s a new instrument panel on the dash. Also, a navigation system is available on some dome models. Finally, the Tundra receives minor exterior freshening with new headlamps, taillamps and 16-inch wheel designs.

We’ll have more on the 2005 Tundra, including a drive in the V6 model, as soon as production models become available.

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