On the Road – Toyota Tundra [VIDEO]
Well, it took Toyota three tries to build a full-sized pickup truck. The first two were too small. But this one…I think it’s big enough.
This is the second generation Toyota Tundra, but counting the late, unlamented T-100 model, their third whack at a big truck. And it is big, with an imposing grill reminiscent of the Dodge Ram, and the trucks we drove were equally cavernous inside.
It is a very nice, very truck-like interior with lots of storage. But a warning to smaller drivers, the front pillars and giant side mirrors are so big, your vision is sometimes completely blocked when making a turn.
Toyota has done something very smart, considering the low sales numbers compared to the domestic big three and their multitude of models and engines.
The Tundra comes with only 3 body configurations, and two engines.
The engines are excellent. A 4.6-liter V8 cranks out 310 horsepower, and a 5.7-liter V8 has 381 eager ponies under the hood.
The body comes in standard, stretch or a full double cab.
Trim runs from the mundane, work truck scenario to a full zoot model called the 1794.
The name comes from the ranch Toyota bought for their factory outside San Antonio which dates back to the days when all Texans spoke Spanish. Well, OK, they still pretty much do.
The 1794 is designed to compete with the Ford King Ranch, Chevy High Country and Ram Big Horn with all the leather and ostentatious chrome you could want.
Then there is the TRD Pro model designed for off-roading fun. Now, Toyota. I know the TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development. But when I look at it, it forms a word, and it’s not one I’d want associated with my trucks. Maybe Toyota Racing Connection so you’d think of the word “track” and not…uh, well, you know.
The bed is roomy and plastic lined. The tailgate has one of those slow dropping features so even a 90-pound-weakling won’t have the thing drop into their lap.
But the real beauty of this truck is under the massive hood. The larger V8 in the line, a 5.7-liter, 381-horsepower monster resides there and it just flat hauls the groceries. Mileage is 14-city/18-highway and handling is, well, handling is like a truck. The TRD Pro starts at $42,900 and the chi-chi 1794 model begins in the nosebleed section at $49,500.
All in all, the Toyota Tundra isn’t really better than its domestic competition. But at last it is truly competitive. That’s our road test we’ll see you On the Road.