In 2007, the Toyota Tundra was one of the most advanced pickups on the market, and put trucks like the Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-150 on notice. It delivered some of the latest tech and comfort features, and did so in a contemporary design. But ten years on, and the Tundra is the oldest pickup on the market. It is still a competitive truck, but shows its age in various ways. It has also carved out a niche as being a weekend warrior truck more than anything else. Sure, there are are worksite-ready versions of this truck, but the Tundra is a commuter truck above all else– and for some buyers, that’s just what they need from their pickup.
2017 Toyota Tundra Fast Facts
Seating: 3-Passenger (Single Cab), 5-6 (Double Cab, CrewMax)
• Spacious Cabin, Rear Seats
• Easy-to-Use Infotainment
• Entune Apps
• Strong Reliability Ratings
• Standard Backup Camera
• Special Editions (Platinum and 1794)
• TRD Pro Capable Off-Roader
• Easy Lift and Lower Tailgate
• Oldest Truck in the Segment
• Chunky Interior Styling
• Poor Fuel Economy
• Underwhelming base V8
• No V6 Option
• Lacks the latest safety features
• No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
• CrewMax Not Offered in Base Trim
Dealmakers: Toyota Tundra’s Top Lifestyle Features
Comfort is the name of the game with the Tundra. It offers features and bed/cab configurations geared towards blending commuter attributes with a platform that is set up for weekend fun. That means comfortable cabins, the latest infotainment, and luxurious special editions.
Dealmaker: Spacious Cabins Offered
The Tundra is offered in three cabin configurations, Single Cab, Double Cab, and CrewMax. The Single Cab offers a front bench seat with seating for three, but moving up to the Double Cab and Crew Max models offers the real cabin space. “In the tested Double Cab version,” explains Consumer Reports, “The rear can fit three adults comfortably; the CrewMax model offers limolike rear-seat leg room.” The fact that the rear bench can comfortably accommodate adults will pay dividends for both work crews and families alike.
Dealmaker: Easy-to-Use Infotainment
The Tundra features Toyota’s very-good infotainment system. It’s not the most advanced system and doesn’t have the latest, high def graphics, but the icons are large and the fonts are easy to read. The large tiles and swipe gesture ability makes navigating through the menus incredibly easy. This is aided by the tactile hard buttons. Many new infotainment systems do away with those home buttons, but for trucks, having the redundant hard buttons is a must.
Dealmaker: Entune Apps
In addition to providing large icons for the radio, phone controls, and settings, the Tundra is available with a suite of Apps under what Toyota calls Entune. This includes Facebook places, streaming online radio, and even Yelp. Once your phone is properly connected to the Tundra, finding a desired restaurant or other business while driving is as easy as pressing the voice control button.
Dealmaker: Special Editions (Platinum and 1794)
The Tundra is available in some pretty luxurious trims, including the Platinum and 1794 Editions that both share the top tier of the Tundra totem pole. We’ll break into the pricing and details of each individual trim later in this buying guide, but what you need to know about these two trims are that they are downright luxurious. The Platinum is bathed in chrome on the outside, and fitted with massive 20-inch wheels. Inside, these trims have plenty of leather and soft-touch surfaces, as well as attractive woodgrain accents.
If your wondering where Toyota got 1794 from, it is in reference to the land on which Toyota’s truck plant, purchased from the oldest working cattle ranch in Texas. The cattle ranch was started in–you guessed it– 1794.
Dealmaker: Easy Lift and Lower Tailgate
The Tundra comes standard with an Easy Lift and Lower Tailgate. As shown in the video above in use on a Toyota Tacoma, the tailgate comes down easy, and you can raise it with less effort. This has the dual effect of making it easier on you every time you lift the tailgate (or have to lift it with your arms full of groceries), and reduces the impact that lowering the tailgate has on the hinges. That will make the tailgate last much longer before it eventually has to be replaced (if it ever does).
Dealbreakers: Toyota Tundra’s Worst Lifestyle Features
The Tundra’s biggest shortcomings derive from its age. From dated engines to an aging interior aesthetic, the Tundra might be comfortable, but the looks are from a decade ago. There are also limitations in features availability, including the absence of particular smartphone support and bed/cab offerings.
Dealbreaker: Oldest Truck in the Segment
For many years, the truck market moved along with only incremental updates and chances. But the last decade has seen some of the biggest innovations in the pickup truck segment. From fuel efficient turbocharged engines, to innovative tailgate steps, bedside storage lockers, and even the latest infotainment and safety technologies, pickups are evolving at an incredible rate. But the current generation of the Tundra entered the market in 2007. In the decade since it’s been around, rival automakers have rolled out trucks with many of the new innovations that we just mentioned. If you’re looking for the most advanced truck on the market, you may do well to look elsewhere.
Dealbreaker: Dated Interior Styling
Part of the Tundra showing its age is some dated interior styling. Ten years ago, the trend was to have big, Tonka-like interior styling. But the last round of interior design updates from Ford, Chevy, Ram and even Nissan have shown that while truck buyers want big styling on the outside, they want something sensible and easy to navigate on the inside. The big blocky styling with large swaths of plastic chunks just isn’t easy on the eyes.
Dealbreaker: No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
Despite the age of this design, Toyota has managed to keep the infotainment touch screen system fresh. But even with a comprehensive system of connected apps, Toyota’s Entune does not support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. While Toyota was one of the first automakers to support Apple getting into the infotainment business, reports from early 2016 confirm that Toyota is preferring to stick with its in-house infotainment system. Toyota claims this system is just as capable, and in a lot of ways, it is. But in the year 2017, consumers are far more loyal to their brand of smartphone than they are brand of car. If CarPlay or Android Auto support is a dealmaker for you, the Tundra will be off your list.
Dealbreaker: CrewMax Not Offered in Base Trim
As stated before, the CrewMax has an impressively spacious cabin, but if you are a work crew that needs that kind of space in a base trim, look elsewhere. The CrewMax is only available on SR5-and-up trims. Ford offers the F-150 in many configurations in its base trim, because some work crews need as much cabin space as they do bed space.
Dealbreaker: Limited Bed/Cab Setups, Limited Trim Options
The Tundra offers a range of trims that span the gamut from work truck to luxury pickup. Our pricing comes directly from Toyota’s press page. If your pricing varies, definitely ask for an explanation from your local dealer.
Cab/Bed Configurations Offered
Though there are three cab and three bed types offered, they only come in five configurations. Since the Tundra isn’t as popular as the Chevy Silverado or Ford F-150, there’s less of a business case for Toyota to offer more variants, but that means for you there are less options. Still there are more options than offered by the Nissan Titan, which only offers single cab/long bed, and crew cab/short bed configurations.
Regular Cab, 8.1-Foot Bed: (MSRP: $30,500)
This is your standard “work truck” configurations, and as such, it is only offered in the base SR trim. The bed is over 8 feet long, and the cab has room for three adults, featuring a fold-down center console.
Double Cab, 6.5-Foot Bed: (MSRP: $30,120)
The Double Cab is the Tundra’s extended cab offering. This extended cab model has conventional style doors, with the handle blended up into the aft door pillar. This leaves the Double Cab models with a clean design, compared to other conventional-door extended-cab models, which have obvious door handles that underscore how the second row doors are smaller. This is a generally clean design.
Double Cab, 8.1-Foot Bed: (MSRP: $31,720)
This is the only configuration that has two rows and the 8.1-foot bed. The only other truck to offer this configuration is the Ford F-150. If you need the long bed, but also need room for up to 6 occupants, this truck is the only way to go. Subjectively, the far-back placement of the wheels leaves this configuration looking awkward– but if you are using for work, who cares what it looks like, right?
CrewMax, 5.5-Foot Bed: (MSRP: $34,250)
The CrewMax is the full four-door model, and features a very large cabin with plenty of front and rear head-and-legroom. This is definitely the ideal configuration for commuters or if you plan on using the truck for family duties more than the worksite, as it is only available with the short bed. But for that type of duty, the Tundra is up to the task, and has arguably some of the most comfortable rear seats in the segment.
SR: (MSRP: $30,500)
• 18-inch steel wheels
• Heated power side mirrors
• Heated windshield de-icer
• 6.1-inch touch screen with Entune apps
• Backup camera
• Bluetooth hands-free calling
SR5: (MSRP $31,930, includes everything from SR, plus)
• Fog lights
• Chrome bumpers and “Tundra” badging
• 60/40 split-fold rear seats
• Sliding rear window w/ privacy glass
Limited: (MSRP $41,245, includes everything from SR5, plus)
• 20-inch wheels
• Automatic dual-zone climate control
• Leather seating
• Heated front seats
• Power sliding rear window
• Chrome heated power outside mirrors
Platinum: (MSRP $47,080, includes everything from Limited, plus)
• 20-inch Premium 6-spoke wheels
• LED daytime running lights
• Power moonroof
• Blind spot warning system
• JBL Premium audio system
• Color-keyed rear bumper
1794 Edition: (MSRP $47,080, includes everything from Platinum, plus)
• Unique saddle-style leather seating
• Unique woodgrain interior trim
• 1794 Badging
TRD PRO: (MSRP $43,495)
• 2-inch front suspension lift (1.25-inch rear lift)
• TRD shift knob
• TRD Bilstein shocks
• Added skid plates
• Performance exhaust
• All-terrain tires
Dealmaker: Competent, but with Limitations
The Tundra has standard V8 power and the larger V8 offers solid acceleration, but there are some shortcomings when it comes to ride quality, handling, and braking. Considering how other weekend warrior pickups like the Ram 1500 offer an incredibly smooth ride, this is a big shortcoming for the Tundra’s commuter-truck image.
Handling: Fun on Trail, Rough on Roads
The Tundra has tight steering that makes it feel responsive, but that also makes it a chore to handle at times. According to U.S. News & World Report, “It’s a large truck, and it can be cumbersome around corners or at higher speeds. Some test drivers note that the brakes are on the sensitive side as well.” As the video above points out, the Tundra has a “sport truck” feel, indicating its taut handling, but also means the ride is a little firm for a pickup truck.
Drivetrain: Go 5.7-Liter or Go Home
The base V8 has decent power, but the larger 5.7-liter V8 is the one to go for if you need to tow or just want the truck to leap off the line. If you are opting for the smaller V8 for fuel economy, you’re better off going with the V6 engines offered by rivals like Ram and Ford. Basically, neither engine here offers fuel economy, and the power you lose by going to the smaller V8 just isn’t worth it. But as The Car Connection points out, “The V-8s deliver a similar feel around town. They’re reasonably quick when not laden to their payload and towing limits, and they deliver good low-end acceleration. They both tend to run out of steam as speeds rise and at higher elevations.”
• Engine #1: 4.6-liter V8
• Output: 310 horsepower / 327 lb.-ft. of torque
• Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
• Drivetrain: 4X2, 4X4
• 0-60 MPH: TBD sec
• Towing: 6,400-6,800 lbs.
• Fuel economy (4×2): 15/19/16 (city/highway/combined)
• Fuel economy (4×4): 14/18/16 (city/highway/combined)
• Engine #2: 5.7-liter V8
• Output: 381 horsepower / 401 lb.-ft. of torque
• Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
• Drivetrain: 4X2, 4X4
• 0-60 MPH: TBD sec
• Towing: 9,100-10,500 lbs.
• Fuel economy (4×2): 13/18/15 (city/highway/combined)
• Fuel economy (4×4): 13/17/15 (city/highway/combined)
Towing/Hauling: Far from the Best
If you plan on doing any real towing, you’ll need to opt for the larger 5.7-liter V8. When properly equipped, it can pull up to 10,500 pounds. Even if you don’t get it optioned right for towing, the 5.7-liter model can tow at least 9,100 pounds, which will be more than enough for many owners. If you need greater towing capacity, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is capable of 12,500 pounds of towing, when properly equipped.
Off-Road Performance: TRD Pro is the Way to Go
The TRD Pro is the trail-ready version of the big Tundra. Though not as capable as the insane Ford F-150 Raptor, the TRD Pro has some serious off-road gear, including added skid plates, special wheels and tires, and a Bilstein suspension system that adds 2 inches to the front and 1.25 inches to the rear, and is a unique design specifically for the Tundra.
Dealbreaker: Sub-Par Safety Scores
There are two major safety organizations that test road cars and publish scores. They are the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). NHTSA scores vehicles out of five stars, while the IIHS scores on a scale of Poor, Marginal, Acceptable, and Good. Additionally, the IIHS offers “Top Safety Pick” recommendations, as well as “Top Safety Pick +” for vehicles with advanced crash avoidance and mitigation features.
NHTSA Crash Test Data
|Truck||NHTSA Overall Crash Results|
|Chevrolet Silverado 1500||5/5|
|GMC Sierra 1500||5/5|
The Tundra earns 4 of 5 stars in NHTSA crash testing. This score is respectable, but falls short of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, and Ford F-150– all of which earning a 5-Star rating. If crash safety is a priority, any of the aforementioned trucks are better performers in this respect.
IIHS Testing Results
|Ford F-150||Top Safety Pick|
Though the Tundra is not a Top Safety Pick, it scores the best score of Good in IIHS Moderate Overlap Front, Side, and Head Restraint crash testing. It’s Marginal score for Small Front Overlap, Acceptable score for Roof Strength, and Poor score for Headlight testing all contribute to its lack of a “Top Safety Pick” Accolade.”
The Tundra comes with Toyota’s Star Safety System, which is just a fancy name for features that most new cars offer, including antilock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, traction control, and vehicle stability control. One highlight of this system is the automatic Limited Slip Differential and Active Traction Control on four-wheel drive models.
Other standard safety features include 8 airbags, LATCH child safety seat anchoring system, trailer sway control, and tire pressure monitoring system.
Safety Tech: Some Features, but Lacks the Best
The Tundra is available with a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-path detection. The blind spot monitors will illuminate in your side mirrors if there is a car in your blind spot, and will flash and alert you if you try to merge into that lane. Rear cross-path comes into play when you are baking out of a driveway or a parking spot. It tells the driver if a car is approaching from either direction when backing out. You can also get the Tundra with front and rear parking sensors.
All of these are very useful on a big truck like the Tundra, but this truck falls short when it comes to features like forward collision alert and avoidance. The Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra have these features, but you won’t find them on the Tundra.
Reliability: Among the Best
Toyota has a reputation for reliability, and you can bet that extends to the Tundra. J.D. Power has given the Tundra a score of 5 out of 5 for predicted reliability. Its scores for Overall Quality (3) and Overall Performance and Design (2) are not nearly as good, but when it comes to trucks, knowing it will start up and keep running for a long time is one of the most valuable aspects to ownership.
Tiebreakers: Comparing the Toyota Tundra to the Competition
The truck market is one of the most hotly contested markets in the automotive work. The one-upsmanship that goes on is seldom found anywhere else in the industry, with automakers routinely updating pickups for marginal power and towing gains so they can claim “Best-in-class,” even for a year. No matter which truck you select, it will be large, spacious, and supremely capable. What sets them apart are the styling, packaging and features unique to each entry in the market.
Ford F-150 (MSRP $26,540-$63,025)
The F-150 is something of a magic bullet in the truck market. For the causal truck user, it offers consumer-friendly features like SYNC infotainment and even available massaging seats. For the work truck buyer, the F-150 has power and efficiency as well as a clever step-up in the bed. The F-150 is one of the newest trucks in the segment. The Tundra is the exact opposite.
Tundra vs F-150:
• Efficient and powerful EcoBoost V6 engines (Tundra only thirsty V8s)
• F-150 has CarPlay and Android Auto support (not available on Tundra)
• Integrated tailgate step (No such step offered on Tundra)
Learn more about the F-150 here.
Chevrolet Silverado (MSRP $27,585-$54,925)
The Silverado is the F-150’s biggest rival. These two trucks are far and away the two top-selling pickups in the market. The Silverado has iconic styling, as defined by the split-chrome grille. The extended cab version of the Silverado has conventional second-row doors, unlike the F-150’s clamshell doors, which need the front doors to be opened first. The Silverado has similar available tech, but Chevy’s Safety Alert and MyLink give it the edge in the tech department. But the F-150’s EcoBoost fuel economy can;t be beat.
Tundra vs Silverado:
• Best-in-Class Towing 12,500 lbs. (Tundra only 10,500)
• Second-Row Doors easy to use (Tundra Double Cab features similar door design)
• Better infotainment and safety tech (Tundra only basic safety tech)
Learn more about the Chevrolet Silverado here.
GMC Sierra (MSRP $27,815-$54,640)
The Sierra is the GMC equivalent of the Silverado. They are built on the same platform, offer much of the same mechanicals, and even have similar styling. You’d think it would be simply a matter of choice, but despite the Sierra being positioned as the luxury truck option, pricing is relatively the same.
Tundra vs Sierra:
• Sierra towing only 12,000 max (still better than Tundra)
• Second-Row Doors Easier to use (Tundra’s still awkward)
• Better infotainment and safety tech (Tundra has no CarPlay)
Learn more about the Sierra here.
Nissan Titan (MSRP $36,290-$61,960)
Up until last year, the Nissan Titan had become long in the tooth, and mostly and afterthought in the truck market, but Nissan reinvented its full-size pickup, positioning it as something between a 1500 level and 2500/3500-level vehicle. It’s starting out in upper level trims, and upper level engines, thus keeping the price high until lower-level trims are offered.
Tundra vs Titan:
• Only truck to offer a diesel V8 (No diesel offered on Tundra at all)
• More expensive than other trucks (Tundra has lower starting price)
• Tons of cool, useful features for truck bed (Tundra only offers basic features)
Learn more about the Titan here.
Ram 1500 (MSRP $26,395-$53,375)
The Ram 1500 is one of the first trucks a few years ago that sort of gave up on trying to win the work truck battle, and instead made its 1500-level truck a supremely capable vehicle for families and commuters. Its multi-link rear suspension makes it one of the smoothes trucks to drive, and its cabin is upscale and loaded with clever features.
Tundra vs Ram:
• Best infotainment in the class (Tundra also easy to use)
• Smoothest ride in the class (Tundra’s ride is rough)
• Only truck to offer a diesel V6 (Tundra doesn’t offer any diesel engine)
Learn more about the Ram 1500 here.
Should I Buy a Toyota Tundra?
The 2017 Toyota Tundra has its fair share of negative attributes, but it has a lot going for it as well. There’s no avoiding its age, but when it first debuted, it was incredibly advanced for the truck market, and that hasn’t left the Tundra. It still has a few tricks up its sleeve.
So Which to Buy?
• If you love comfortable interiors: Silverado, Titan, Ram, Tundra
• If you require a truck with good fuel economy: Ford F-150
• If you want the latest safety and infotainment tech: Silverado/Sierra, Ram
• If you must have the most towing capacity: Silverado
• If you’re on a tight budget: Ford F-150
Dealmakers vs. Dealbreakers Final Tally
Dealmaker: Spacious cabin and rear seats
Dealmaker: Easy-to-use infotainment
Dealmaker: Helpful Entune
Dealmaker: Standard V8 engine
Dealmaker: Standard backup camera
Dealmaker: Special Editions (1974 and Platinum)
Dealmaker: Strong reliability ratings
Dealmaker: Easy Lift and Lower Tailgate
Dealmaker: Capable TRD Pro
Dealbreaker: Oldest truck in the segment
Dealbreaker: Dated interior styling
Dealbreaker: Poor fuel economy
Dealbreaker: No V6 option
Dealbreaker: Lacks biggest and best safety features
Dealbreaker: No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
Dealbreaker: CrewMax not offered on base trim (half a dealbreaker)
Final Tally: +2.5
Market Average: +4.6
The Tundra’s age betrays it when it comes to the dated powertrain offerings and chunky interior design. Other omissions are purely by choice– Toyota has bet own its own infotainment over the need to include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and that could come back to bite Toyota. That said, if you don’t NEED CarPlay or Android Auto, it’s one of the best infotainment systems out there, rooted in ease-of-use and simplicity.
The Tundra still has a lot going for it. For all its downsides, it still has standard V8 power, a standard backup camera, standard touch screen, and is the only truck other than the Ford F-150 to offer the extended cab with a long bed. The TRD Pro is one of the more trail-ready full-size trucks on the market, and if you opt of the Limited, Platinum, or 1794 Edition, can expect one of the most luxurious pickups on the market.
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