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Toyota's All-New Full-size 1/2 Ton Truck For Heavy-Duty Towing

It is simple: You want to know whether Tundra has the guts-the size, strength, stamina and sheer capability-to do the work you need done. Offered with the 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 engine and also with the new 4.6-liter V6 we just tested 310-hp V8, the new Tundra is no ordinary half-ton and we test them BOTH in this exclusive video!


Big Mover

 A lot of trash cans are filling up with useless video tapes and ad copy is being hastily re-written inside the inner marketing sanctums of the full-size pickup manufacturers. Many of their well-deserved “best in class” milestones in the ½-ton pickup arena have been felled by a new full-size contender—the Toyota Tundra.
      The all-new, American-designed, American-built Toyota Tundra has more towing capacity than the Ford F-150, offers the most powerful 6.0-liter-and-under V8 than offered in any of its competitors1, and has more legroom than found in any regular cab or four-door pickup. 
      With 31 configurations, a maximum towing capacity of 10,800 pounds, a 381hp 5.7L V8, six-speed automatic, and enough interior room to offer reclining and sliding rear seats in one model, the  Tundras have solidly set a new standard for competitors to follow.
      "We learned from the (Nissan) Titan launch that you can't just out-spec the
competition," says Jim Farley, group vice president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. "Our national [advertising] campaign likely will be more focused, maybe something like, 'We listened to (the customer), and you got what you wanted."
      That’s not pure hype, either. 
      The new Tundra is the real deal as I found out while driving a number of the different models hundreds of miles over the interstates and backroads of rural Kentucky.
      Seeing the new pickup for the first time leaves little doubt Toyota enters the full-size pickup market with the working men and women of America as the primary focus of attention.
      The new pickup is big—a full 10 inches longer overall length, nearly five inches taller, and four full inches wider than the Tundra it replaces. Such exterior dimensions place the  Tundra squarely among the biggest of ½-ton pickups on the market.
      Toyota has brought what they call the “power of the fist” design them from the concept Toyota FTX Concept Truck show a couple years ago into the new Tundra. From the side the pronounced wheel arches give the Tundra a distinct barbell-look, and the tall bed sides, big tires and wide stance add to truck’s overall muscular look.
      That look isn’t just cosmetic; it’s stout underneath, too.
      With development and engineering support from Hino motors, Toyota’s heavy-truck affiliate, U.S. engineers and designers at the Toyota Engineering & Manufacturing center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, worked from the ground up to make the new Tundra ideally suited for enduring the rigorous demands placed on a pickups by those who work and recreate outdoors in America’s heartland.
      The reinforced, high-tensile steel chassis, which is a full six-inches wider than the ’06 Tundra and considerably stronger, sets the stage for the entire truck. The frame is tough, being built with a heavy gauge steel in a composite design comprised of a fully-boxed front half, open “C”-channel under the bed, and special rolled ”C”-channel under the cab.
      Engineers also took special interest in making sure the suspension mounts were rigid enough to maximize every centimeter of performance from an all-new suspension, be it heavily laden or running empty.
      In fact, the design of the rear leaf springs and independent coil-over-shock front suspension on the new Tundra allow it to remain at a level ride height even while carrying or towing the maximum load for that particular model.
      That balanced vehicle attitude means the truck’s driving characteristics remain constant, giving the driver a strong sense of confidence while driving. That was demonstrated as I sat behind the wheel of a new Double Cab 4x4 while towing 9,800-pounds of building materials on a flatbed trailer.
      Despite nearly 1,000 pounds of tongue weight on the weight-distribution hitch, the Tundra sat perfectly level. The same was true when the deep, wide cargo bed of a two-wheel-drive Regular Cab Tundra I drove was loaded with nearly a ton of bricks.
      By the way, those working in construction, ranch, farming, or landscaping business, will appreciate the new long bed because it’s the deepest2 in the ½-ton pickup class. At the same time, the tailgate on all Tundras is one of the easiest to open and close thanks to a built-in gas-charged assist strut located inside the left rear pillar that greatly reduces such efforts.
      Driving the new Tundra pickups, regardless of model, brings more than a few pleasant surprises, too.
      First of all, Tundras have one of the highest payload capacities in the market and the highest towing ratings in the ½-ton pickup class3. But they don’t ride rough when empty or mushy when loaded. 
      Toyota engineers accomplished this feat by mounting the staggered shocks outboard of the rear springs, increasing the stroke of the rear shocks by 5-percent, utilizing soft-rate bump stops, longer-taper and redesigned leaf springs, and positioned them in a splayed “toe-out” configuration.
      This rear suspension design is accompanied by a very precise-feeling rack-and-pinion steering system and a new front suspension that keeps all models of the new Tundra running smoothly down the highways and byways of America.
      I noted in my logbook, “Road feel very similar to the Dodge Ram 1500; firm and stable. Precise on-center feel; no wander even on heavily-crowned country roads; steering effort is light; interior road/wind noise much lower than previous Tundra. Engine power remarkable.”
      A short foray along the fencelines of some Kentucky farmlands elicited these thoughts: “Ride over off-pavement is akin to a stout half-ton; you know this pickup is built for work/towing/hauling and not just a big sedan with a bed.”
      When it comes to maneuverability in tight turns and close quarters, such as one finds in many home-improvement center parking lots, around the ranch and on busy job sites, the Tundra handles like a much smaller pickup.
      The redesigned front suspension and steering incorporates increased tire turning angle that gives the standard-bed Double Cab a remarkably short 44-foot turning diameter, which is the best in the class4.
      Occupant safety is also a Tundra strong point. It should rank among the very best in all areas. For example, while other pickup manufacturers seem to be cutting costs by putting drum brakes on the rear, Toyota chose to fit the new Tundra with huge disc brakes at all four corners.
      The 13.9”x1.26” vented front rotors, stopped by opposed four-piston calipers, are a full 1.5-inches bigger in diameter than the old Tundra—and are the biggest an thickest front disc brakes on any ½-ton pickup5. The rear discs are no slouches, either, at 13.6”x.71”. Combined they provide the Tundra with tremendous braking power.
      That stopping power is further enhanced by the most advanced, state-of-the-art brake control system found on any full-size pickup. The computer-controlled system, like that found in Toyota and Lexus SUVs, affords the driver the best vehicle stability, traction, and braking to maximize occupant safety.
      Another benefit of Toyota’s advanced computer braking system is four-wheel-drive model Tundra pickups equipped with the new A-TRAC (active traction control) get enhanced traction capability.
      Special sensing and software in the A-TRAC system provide brake- and throttle-enhanced traction control even when the truck is in 4x4 mode with the front and rear axles locked. The system also allows independent wheelpsin sensing at each wheel so power can be managed across each axle to maximize traction under adverse conditions.
      Outdoorsmen and off-road adventurers will find this very helpful when it comes time to hit that four-wheel-drive button.
      They will also find the TRD Off-Road Package, with its specially tuned springs, 18-inch wheels, B.F. Goodrich A/T off-road tires, and Bilstein gas-charged shocks, and fog lamps, a great upgrade.   
      Another striking element of the  Toyota Tundra, in addition to its rugged underpinnings and overall size, is the body itself.
       The new Tundra is available in three cab configurations each with three levels of trim: Base, SR5 and well-appointed Limited. The “Access Cab” has been dropped because the new Regular Cab provides nearly the same interior room, and Toyota adds a brand new model to the line called the CrewMax—a four-door-and-a-half.
      The latter competes directly with the Dodge MegaCab, which was the biggest ½-ton pickup on the market until now.
      But, as I found out riding in the backseat for a short trip, the CrewMax does its competitor one better by offering second-row seats with enough legroom that you can actually slide and tilt the split bench—another first in full-size pickups.
      “During early development, our [design and engineering] team spent months interviewing owners of full-size pickups on farms, construction sites, and logging camps to find unmet needs—and features, “ says Yuichiro Oto, Chief Engineer of the new Tundra and two previous North American vehicles.
      “The decision to build a truck for this customer—rather than a truck that benchmarked the competition—was aggressively pushed by our American engineers. And it paid huge dividends,” Oto beams.
      “What we got was a Regular Cab designed for realistic work-truck applications; the replacement of the Access Cab in favor of the Double Cab—with a more accessible front-hinged rear door; and the huge CrewMax cab with enough room for the only sliding-and-reclining rear seat in the business.”
      All three cab configurations (31 configurations) of the new Tundra—Regular Cab, Double Cab , and CrewMax—have strikingly spacious interiors with workman-like styling and features. You feel instantly at home behind the wheel.
      The driver’s view around the outside of the truck is excellent with no inherently big “blind spots. The view of the instrumentation and location of all the console controls is also well thought out.
      All of the Tundra’s knobs, switches and buttons are within close reach of the driver—and all can be easily operated with gloved-hands.
      “On the inside, our goal was to provide the driver a feeling of ‘command and control,’ and xpression we felt was approporaite for the new Tundra design,” says Erwin Lui, the Studio Design Manger at Calty Design Research in Newport, Beach, California. “We wanted to capture the feeling of power…like stepping inot a Mack Truck.”
      Toyota’s designers did their job. All three new cabs provide front passengers with four inches more shoulder room than the old Tundra, and the second row seats in the Double Cab and CrewMax give rear passengers nearly three inches more shoulder room6.
      That extra spacious afforded by the wider body extends to hip room as well. Front passengers now have nearly four more inches of seat width to enjoy while rear passengers have six more inches to spread out.
      Interior storage capacity increases in a similar manner. In fact, the new Tundra is probably the most stuff-friendly pickup on the market. A look around the cabin and you find hidden storage compartments, second-row seats that double as work surfaces, storage under and behind the rear seats, and a huge center console that holds a laptop—or hanging file folders (a world first7).
      I especially liked the large pockets under the arm rests, the huge upper glovebox that stores a standard Thermos bottle and the lower glovebox to keep registration papers, and the front doors that each has holders for two 22-ounce bottles.
      The cabs of the new Tundras are truly setup to be a working office for the pickup owner who needs such a thing in an everyday work environment. 
      What is also nice about the new pickups is the Regular Cab feels like competitor’s “extended cab” models—and the Double Cab more spacious than their four-doors. Even cooler is if you really need a four-door with cab space to accommodate a work crew of six and all their gear, the CrewMax can’t be beat.
      Dodge touts their  Dodge Ram Mega Cab as “The largest pickup cab ever, with class-leading interior room and comfort for six adult passengers and their gear, the  Dodge Ram Mega Cab extends beyond the competition8.”
      True—until the Tundra CrewMax showed up. Toyota designers cut a foot off the Double Cab bed and used that extra space on the frame to super-size the four-door’s cab.
      The end result is the a super-sized four-door pickup that tows 1,700 pounds more than the Mega Cab9 and has most front and rear legroom of any full-size pickup10. The Tundra CrewMax also rivals every other interior dimension of its only competitor.
      What the Tundra CrewMax offers that the Mega Cab doesn’t are sliding rear seats, or reclining rear seats with as much range (9-41 degrees11).
      The sliding second row seats have a fore-aft range of 10-inches; the backs fold flat to double as storage platforms with four tie-down hook built into each seatback; and the center armrest folds down to double as a dual cup holder.
      Put those to good use on a long trip and the second row seating of CrewMax feels every bit as comfortable as First Class seating in the biggest airplanes. Or, put another way, your family, friends, and work crew will be scrambling for the rear doors instead of the front.
      What really stands out, though, when you drive the new Tundras is the sound and feel of what many in America’s heartland will equate to good old American V8 power.
      Toyota offers the new pickup with three different engine choices: The 236hp 4.0L V6 and 4.7L i-Force V8s that are carry-overs from the previous Tundra, 4Runner,Lnad Cruiser and Sequois models—and the all-new 381hp 5.7L i-Force V8.
      After spending several days driving the various pickups and engine options, my take is this: The smaller engine offerings provide adequate power when fuel economy is the main decision-making factor, but there’s only on real choice if you want to maximize the  Tundra’s overall performance and driving excitement--the 5.7L i-Force V8.
       This engine will wipe erase any doubts that Toyota can build an “American V8.” This state-of-the-art small-block is stout and sounds every bit as powerful as any V8 on the road.
      It’s built at the new Toyota Motor Manufacturing Huntsville, Alabama (TMMAL) plant where Toyota’s investment is almost half a billion dollars12 for a state-of-the-art operation that can crank out 400,000 V8 engines per year.
      Such advanced features as Electronic Throttle Control, Variable Valve Timing, Acoustic Control Induction, and dual cams are just a fraction of what’s inside the all-new “long-stroke” muscle-truck engine that makes the most horsepower-per-liter13 (66.8 HP/L) in the 6.0L-and-smaller V8 class.
      The 5.7L i-Force V8 is an aluminum block design with a 10.3:1 compression ratio, yet it is designed to run on Regular Unleaded. It makes 381hp @ 5600rpm and delivers an impressive 401 lbs/ft of torque at a low 3600rpm, which is ideal for a work truck environment.
      That type of power comes from the engine’s unique long-stroke configuration (3.70” bore x 4.02” stroke), state-of-the-art computer-controlled workings, and a performance-oriented exhaust system that utilizes stainless steel 4-into-2 headers and a tuned exhaust system
      “The engine is whisper quiet under light/normal driving conditions,” my logbook notes say. “But the moment you step hard into the throttle the Tundra demeanor changes from pussy cat to tiger with an exhaust that is right on the edge of becoming deep and throaty.”
      The new six-speed automatic that is designed specifically for the equally new 5.7L packages (the smaller engines get 5-speed automatics) is well-matched to the power curve, too. It has a very low 3.33 First gear with the remaining five gears nicely spaced up through double-overdrive.
      Toyota even gave the new Tundras two new rear differentials: the B24 (9.5” ring gear) for the 4.0L V6/4.7L V8, and the B26 (10.5-inch ring gear) for the 5.7L. Both are beefier than any ½-ton competitor14, and the B26 comes with 4.3:1 ratio when ordered with the towing package.
      Get the 5.7L with the towing package and no matter what speed you are driving, rapid acceleration is just a fraction of a second away. The down-shifts are crisp, the power exhilarating. The new Tundra is a true muscle truck, easily capable of out pacing any competitor whether loaded or empty.
      And those getting the new Tundra with the Towing package will find the “Tow/Haul” mode invaluable; it holds gears when accelerating or decelerating, which is great for trailering. It also has what Toyota calls “shift logic” where the on-board computer systems provide rapid accelerator release when it senses sudden hard braking.  
       Such an item is almost expected as the features and overall performance on the  Tundra pickups are just flat-out impressive.
      “From bumper-to-bumper, under the hood and from the inside out the new Tundra is a true American truck that will set a new benchmark in the full-size truck segment,” says Jim Lentz, TMS executive vice president.
      “It will be aimed at the ‘True Trucker,’ the true opinion leaders among full-size owners. True Truckers are highly credible because they use, punish, and demand the most out of the pickups they buy.”
      After spending a lot of seat time in both two- and four-wheel-drive  Tundras, I have to agree.—Bruce W. Smith



Track Results
MPH 0 to 60 (sec) 7.25 Quarter Mile Time (sec) 15.6
MPH 50 to 70 (sec) 3.7 70 to 0 MPH Braking Time (sec) 4.7
Quarter Mile Top Speed (mph) 91.8 70 to 0 MPH Braking Distance (ft) 185

Highway Results
Actual MPG 17.7 Sound Level Hwy dB(A) 71 dB(A)
Estimated Hwy MPG 17 Turning Radius (ft)
Percent Change Actual vs. EPA +4.1%    

Performance Chart
Interior Photos
Exterior Photos
Mechanical Specifications
Standard Engine 4.0L DOHC 24-Valve V6 with Dual Independent Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), Transmission 6-speed Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i), sequential shift mode and
Displacement 4.0L; 4.6L or 5.7L optional Suspension Front Front independent coil-spring high-mounted double-wishbone with stabilizer bar and low-pressure nitr
Fuel System Gas Suspension Rear Rear live axle with trapezoidal multi-leaf rear suspension and staggered outboard-mounted low-pressu
Horse Power 270 hp @ 5600 rpm/ 310 hp @ 5600 rpm (4.6L)/ 381 hp @ 5600 rpm (5.7L) Steering Hydraulic power rack-and-pinion steering
Torque 278 lb.-ft. @ 4400 rpm/ 327 lb.-ft. @ 3400 rpm (4.6L)/ 401 lb.-ft. @ 3600 rpm (5.7L) Brakes Power-assisted 4-wheel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)

Overall Height (in) 75.6 Headroom 40.2/38.7
Overall Width (in) 79.9 Shoulder room 66.6/65.4
Overall Length (in) 228.7 Leg room 42.5/44.5
Wheelbase (in) 145.7 Seating Capacity 6
Bed Length (in) 66.7 Off-Highway
Bed Height (in) 22.2 Approach/Departure angle (degrees) 28/25
Interior front/second/third row seats Ground Clearance (in) 10

Weights and Capacities
Curb Weight (lbs) 5250 Cargo volume (cu ft) behind front/second-row/third-row seats
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) (lbs) 6800 Fuel tak (gal) 26.4

Tires and Mileage
Standard Tire 18-in. steel wheels with P255/70R18 tires Optional Tire Alloy wheels/20-in. TRD Sport Package alloy wheels with P275/55R20 tires
Spare Tire Fuel Economy EPA estimates (city/highway/combined) 15/20