SEE ALSO: Toyota Buyer's Guide
SPECIFICATIONS Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price $ 28,430 Price As Tested $ 28,910 Engine Type DOHC 32-valve 4.7 Liter V8 w/SMFI* Engine Size 285 cid/4664 cc Horsepower 245 @ 4800 RPM Torque (lb-ft) 315 @ 3400 RPM Wheelbase/Width/Length 128.3"/79.3"/217.5" Transmission Four-speed automatic Curb Weight 4819 pounds Fuel Capacity 26.4 gallons Tires (F/R) P245/70R16 mud-and-snow Brakes (F/R) Disc /drum Drive Train Front-engine/four-wheel-drive Vehicle Type Five-passenger/four-door Domestic Content N/A Coefficient of Drag (Cd.) N/A PERFORMANCE EPA Economy, miles per gallon city/highway/average 14/17/16 0-60 MPH 8.0 seconds Maximum payload capacity 1900 pounds Maximum towing capacity 7100 pounds * Sequential multi-port fuel injection
(Toyota brought its first truck, the Stout, to the U.S. in '66. Bob Hagin says they were spartan but tough. Matt Hagin says its progeny, the new Tundra, is also tough but far from spartan.)
MATT - No foreign vehicle manufacturer has stepped up to the plate and produced a pickup to challenge the domestics builders. The first and second best-selling vehicles in the U.S. are American-branded full-size pickups and its a lucrative market. Toyota has wanted to get in on that action for a long time and its big Tundra is its interpretation of that theme. It's right in there with a 4.7-liter V8 engine that puts out 245 horses and 315 pound/feet of torque. It's an adaption of a Lexus engine and sports twin cams on each aluminum head, along with four valves per cylinder. It only comes with a four-speed automatic transmission, but our four-by-four carried a 2.5-to-one transfer case so it's designed to do rough off-roading if the need arises.
BOB - The Tundra comes in a couple of different cab styles including the Access long-cab version that has a couple of back doors which officially make it a four-door. The rear bench seat is really more suited for a couple of kids, although two adults can ride back there in a pinch. The back doors swing out from the back of the cab and carry the inelegant name of "suicide doors," a hold-over from the '30s. They can't be opened until the front doors are opened first, which makes the back much safer for the little ones. It's by far the most popular Tundra body style in spite of the fact that the bed of the truck is only six-feet long as opposed to the eight-foot bed on the other models. It's obvious that Tundra Access is bought as a second family "car" and most of them will never see duty as an on-site construction truck.
MATT - But lots of them will be used to do recreational towing. With that much torque and a total towing capacity of 7000 pounds, the four- door Tundra is perfect for pulling fairly large power boatsa and sometimes the extra traction of the 4x4 makes getting a boat trailer up a slippery launching ramp lots easier. The four-wheel-drive system on the V8 can be engaged on the fly by pushing a dash-mounted button, but it's not intended to be used for all wheel-drive on pavement. On the road, the Tundra is as quiet as any of the Toyota passenger cars but the ride lets it be known that the Tundra is a truck. The separate ladder frame mounts hefty upper-and-lower A-frames up front with a solid axle in back that's carried on leaf springs. The brakes in back are drum units and the anti-skid brake system is an almost mandatory option.
BOB - All the Tundra body styles can also be had in two-wheel drive, but they're in the minority. The Tundra also has an optional V6 engine in its lineup but, like domestic full-sized pickups, less than 10-percent of the buyers will select V6 power. It's a 3.4-liter unit that uses the same twin-cam/four-valve design as the V8, but at 190 horses, it's a little weak for the 4000-pound Tundra. Both the V8 and the V6 are designed to run on 87-octane fuel which saves a few bucks in the long run, and for a truck the size of the Tundra, fuel mileage of 14 around town and 16 on the highway is about on a par with its domestic V8-powered competition.
MATT - The tailgate on the Tundra is lockable and the most popular aftermarket item is a color-matching camper shell. Most of the Tundras I see around town have shells and to tell the truth, they make the Access look for all the world like a sport/utility vehicle. The interior has all the appointments of a Toyota SUV too, with an AM/FM cassette player with a CD player.
BOB - At this point, the big Toyota Tundra can't pose much of a threat to sales of the three domestic pickups since Toyota has only planned to sell 100,000 of them each year for a while. The quality of the new Tundra is a match for any luxury car on the market.
MATT - If the new Toyota pickups are so nice, Dad, why are you still driving one that's 15 years old?
BOB - The best reason I can give you, Matt, is that it's been paid off for a long time.