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2017 Toyota Tundra 4WD Limited Review By John Heilig

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2017 Toyota Tundra 4X4 Limited
ENGINE: 5.7-liter V8
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with sequential shift
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 381 hp @ 5,600 rpm/401 lb.-ft. @ 3,600 rpm
WHEELBASE: 164.6 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 247.8 x 79.9 x 76.4 in.
TIRES: P275/55R20
CARGO CAPACITY: 1,490-1,600 lbs., 8.5-inch double walled bed
ECONOMY: 13 mpg city/17 mpg highway/16.4 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 38.0 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 5,470 lbs.  #/HP: 14.4
TOWING CAPACITY: 10,500 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Ram, NissanTitan
STICKER: $47,068 (includes $1,195 delivery, $3,543 options)
BOTTOM LINE: The Toyota Tundra is a fully capable full-size pickup with everything you would expect from it.

Do you remember “back in the day,” when Japanese cars were mostly tiny little things on 12-inch wheels with barely enough power to get out of their own way? Well things have changed.

The Tundra is Toyota’s full-size pickup, and as such it competes with all the American full size trucks. In this case, the Tundra is close to being the biggest vehicle I have driven, at more than 20 feet long. And just because it says “Toyota” on the tailgate, this is a full ‘Murican truck, built in San Antonio, Texas, by real ‘Muricans.

Oddly, despite the size, the Tundra was reasonably easy to handle in tight situations. On the road, where we spent a good portion of our miles, it was a pleasure, with a comfortable ride thanks to the long wheelbase and heavy weight. The Tundra still calculated out at a 14.4 pounds per horsepower, which is respectable, and accounts for the decent acceleration at all speeds. The Tundra is all truck. Standard equipment includes: on demand 4WD with an electronically controlled transfer case; a larger fuel tank (ugh!); a tow package with a receiver hitch, seven-pin connector,and heavy duty battery. 4.20 axle ratio, engine and transmission coolers, 

Yes, the Tundra is big. But it is listed as a Double Cab, meaning there is a good back seat, but one of those pseudo doors to gain entry. It seems to me that when you’re dealing with 20 feet of vehicle, you can put in real rear doors. Front seats are spacious. While our tester was equipped with bucket, or individual, seats, bench seats are available. I am a fan of bench seats, and I can see the practicality in a pickup truck, almost more than in a sedan. Between the front seats is a huge center console/arm rest whose top proved to be a perfect location for holding a cell phone. Entering the Tundra is eased by a tubular step up and assist handle on the passenger’s A-pillar. 

Rear seats seem cramped, especially if one of the front seats is pushed back. Rear seat entry is aided by assist handles on the B-pillars. Both front and rear seats offer excellent headroom for Texas-sized Stetsons. Tundra has all the amenities you’d expect in a modern sedan - blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert are especially important in a vehicle of this size. 

Where the rubber (P275/55R20 tires) meets the road there is an issue. A considerable amount of tire/road noise enters the cabin, such that conversation can build to a shouting match and the audio system has to work overtime.  The cargo bed is huge, as you would expect. In our tester, it had a “hard trifold tonneau cover” ($1,295 option) that did a great job of protecting anything that was underneath. This was lockable, so that anything there was safe. Sadly, with the tonneau in place, anything you wanted to carry under it was restricted to 22 inches in height. You guessed it, what we wanted to carry was 24 inches in height, and with the threat of rain, we didn’t want to carry it uncovered. 

Also, the bed is double walled and has a bedliner sprayed on it for added protection. There are multiple tie-downs in the bed to keep objects secure. Additionally, the bed is lighted at night, although the light is kind of useless with the tonneau cover in place.

Except for the tire noise, we enjoyed the Tundra. It was easily recognizable in a crowd, thanks to the Inferno orange paint, yet it wasn’t unmanageable in maneuvering.

(c) 2017 The Auto Page Syndicate

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