2023 Toyota Tundra HV 4x4 Capstone Crewmax – Review by David Colman +VIDEO
Pickup truck luxury at its finest
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
Lexus doesn't make a pickup truck. Or do they? If you overlook the Toyota branding on the grill, tail, and steering wheel hub of the 2023 Capstone Tundra, it takes no leap of faith to convince yourself that this ultra-luxurious machine is really a Lexus masquerading as a Toyota. The Capstone represents the seventh and top level of distinction in the Tundra truck line. The SR Tundra starts the ball rolling at $38,965, followed by the SR5 ($44,470), the Limited ($50.565), the Platinum ($60,775), the 1794 Edition ($61,460), the TRD Pro ($70,920) and finally the model we drove, the Capstone Crewmax, with a base price of $77,645. Add $1,045 for Advanced Variable Suspension (AVS), and the all-in tag for our test truck came to $78,460.
Why would anyone pay exactly twice as much for the Capstone as the SR? Because the Capstone is an absolutely beautiful piece of equipment, that’s why. If you need a truck to beat around construction sites and haul cement blocks, then by all means go for the SR. If your travel requirements tilt off-road, then select the TRD Pro model. But if you cherish Lexus-style luxury but still demand the ultimate in load capacity and off-road prowess, then the Capstone is the model you want. This eighty grand truck is worth every bit of its lofty price.
Here's a brief outline of the Capstone features that distinguish it from lesser Tundra models. You get to plop your butt into super-soft, semi-aniline, black leather front seats which complement the simplified black and white interior motif. The front seats are 10-way adjustable, with power lumbar, and both front and rear seats are heated and ventilated. Real walnut wood grain trim adds a classic note of distinction to the dash, door and center console surfaces. The center console is a brilliantly conceived Rubik's Cube for storage.
Power-operated running boards are standard on the Capstone to facilitate entry and exit. An override switch allows you to turn them off if required. A folding step to facilitate access to the Capstone's 5.5 foot bed is standard, as is a 10-inch color head-up display. But note that Polarized sunglasses render the heads up graphics invisible. Finally, a set of spectacular looking 22 inches "dark chrome and machine finished" alloy rims provide just the right note of flash to complement our test truck's rather sober exterior shade of blue called Blueprint. These wheels mount Bridgestone Dueller H/T radials (265/50R22) carrying a durable TW 520 rating.
Despite all these interior enticements, the Capstone's big news lies under the hood and behind the fenders. The optional AVS suspension offers 6 levels of ride choice, starting with Eco, and progressing through Soft, Normal, Sport, Sport+, and finally, Custom. If you can't find a happy spot in that lineup, then you need counseling. So click your way to ride happiness with the big chrome ride mode dial on the center console. The entire dash remains a tribute to true pickup truck simplicity, with every switch and knob very clearly labeled, and easy to manipulate, even when wearing gloves. In particular, we loved the huge dash-face mounted 14-inch multimedia screen. It was large enough and bright enough to permit close perusal of the record album covers Pat Boone plays on his weekly "Fifties" platter spin on SiriusXM.
The other big news flash on the Capstone story is the rocket hybrid motor beneath the "I-FORCE MAX" emblazoned hood. Toyota has eliminated all V8 power from its truck line, the only major pickup manufacturer to do so currently. Instead of gas-swilling eights, the Tundra line depends on a variety of more efficient 6-cylinder power options. The Capstone's Twin Turbocharged, 24-valve, DOHC, Dual VVT-I, V6 stands at the pinnacle of the power train parade. Its output of 437hp and 583lb.-ft. of torque will make slower traffic disappear like it evaporated. That's because the internal combustion engine is augmented by an electric motor generator that provides a surge of instant electric boost when you floor the throttle.
In addition, that monstrous torque output, which peaks at just 2400 rpm, ensures that this top Tundra qualifies as your perfect tow vehicle. It's fitted with all manner of back-up bells and whistles, including hitch location monitoring and "Trailer Backup Guide with Straight Path." In case you should waver, there's an overhead camera that shows your Tundra's position from above as well as from the side. Although the Capstone may seem unduly expensive for a pickup truck, this vehicle offers so many possibilities for travel and adventure that Marco Polo would have bought one in a New York minute.
2023 TOYOTA TUNDRA HV 4X4 CAPSTONE CREWMAX
Engine: 3.4 liter V6, Twin Turbocharged, 24 valve, DOHC, Dual VVT-I + Motor Generator
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 19MPG City/22MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $78,460
HYPES: Massive Tow Capability, Lexus-Like Craftsmanship
GRIPES: Uncomfortable Back Seats
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10
©2023 David E Colman