we’ve gotten all the details down, let’s look at the bottom
line: how does it drive, and how does it compare to the new
GM products and Ford’s
far as styling, Tundra walked the line between making a presence up front
but not offending from the sides and rear. Previous Tundra owners will
be taken aback by the relatively large body gaps on the Tundra, since
all other Toyota vehicles have exceptionally tight fit and finish. No
worries; this was done on purpose, according to the Toyotans, who discovered
in focus groups that bigger gaps mean a beefier build to consumers only
when it comes to full-size pickups. We still think the F-150 has the most
modern exterior styling of all the full-size pickups.
feel as if you’re in a car more than a truck, especially on the
Limited CrewMax. The buttons are large, as are the knobs, and have an
industrial feel and look. If you’re going for class, take the Silverado
with the woodgrain trim, beautiful dash, and more sophisticated look.
If its pure practicality and manly knobs you want, the Tundra will suit
you just fine.
with the Tundra and hauled payload on the highway. The ride was smooth
and the power and torque impressive. We had to keep looking back to see
if we were really pulling the weight. The power rack-and-pinion steering
felt a tad soft in the center; more road feel would have been preferred,
but it didn’t wander, and the 3.71 turns lock to lock seemed to
take forever, especially compared to the Silverado’s 3.0.
was exceptional under tow and payload, but only one suspension setup might
deter those who aren’t just using the truck for work. The Silverado,
with its myriad ride choices, does allow for more specific tuning.
give Tundra points for the outstanding braking and safety features that
are standard on every model, as well as the ease in which the tailgate
lifts and lowers. We also like the shifting of the six-speed tranny. It
was smooth and quiet, and perfectly matched to the 5.7 V8.
we drove all Cab trim levels, and spent the majority of time in the 5.7-liter,
which impressed us by using all that 400 lb-ft of torque to easily accelerate
and pass other vehicles at speed on the highway.
Did we find
anything we didn’t like? The exterior pull-type door handles, certainly
big enough for gloved hands, felt a little plasticky, and the high location
of the recline function on the seats in the CrewMax was a bit awkward
to use. There was exceptional rear-seat leg room, and the recline position
was extremely comfortable as opposed to many competitors’ rear seats
that force you to sit up uncomfortably straight like a student in the
mean nun’s class.
did keep the Tundra from bending and moving under tow; we can’t
wait to see its reliability over time. Then we’ll know which design
a bit of a concern on the Tundra. Max rating is claimed at over 2,060
lb, which, compared to the Silverado’s 3,094, is about 1,000 lb
shy. Same goes for the F-150 at its 3,050-lb capacity.
to sell a fair amount of the new trucks to the 60,000 current Tundra owners,
with the overall goal of doubling last year’s 100,000-unit sales
it will get close to the 200,000 number, but won’t be able to touch
the bigger sales of the domestics until it produces a heavy-duty pickup.
We also will be watching to see where the new buyers will come from—the
domestics, or will Nissan suffer because of the new Tundra.
Toyota is here to do battle, and doesn’t plan to walk away from
this money-making segment, no matter how gas prices fluctuate. It will
also be interesting to see if this becomes a battle of patriotism and
owner loyalty versus customer wants and Toyota’s reputation for
This Story? Check out our interview
with Brian Smith, Toyota Corporate Truck Operations Manager.