Review: 2007 Toyota Tundra
This 2007 review is representative of model years 2007 to 2013.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
The full-size pickup truck market is the last one dominated by American automakers, but the redesigned Toyota Tundra pickup may put a major dent in it.
Toyota fumbled in its first two attempts to build a competitive full-size pickup, but not this time. Characteristically, it never stops trying. Toyota has even built a new plant in Texas—heart of the pickup truck market—to build the Tundra, which also is made in Indiana.
The large, brawny but refined 2007 Tundra is a solid rival to full-size (half-ton) pickups from Ford and Chevrolet, not to mention Dodge. The Tundra was designed and engineered in the United States after much study done by Toyota on the wants and needs of American pickup truck buyers.
Fighting Brand Loyalty
The Tundra is larger than the 2000-2006 Tundra and equals or tops rival domestic pickups in wheelbase and length. If you didn't give it a second glance, you might mistake it for a domestic pickup.
It's the first full-size pickup with standard front-seat side- and roll-sensing side-curtain airbags. Vehicle Stability Control also is standard for all versions, as are anti-lock all-disc brakes.
Variety of Engines
The smooth, quiet 5.7-liter V8 is the most powerful in Toyota's lineup, and the Tundra has an available 10,800-pound towing capacity.
The engines all use 87-octane fuel, which is a plus with prices for even regular grade gasoline toping $3 per gallon in many areas of the country as of this writing.
Estimated fuel economy depends on the engine, transmission and whether the Tundra has rear-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive. It's average for a big pickup, ranging from 14-17 mpg in the city to 18-20 on the highway.
The 4-wheel drive shouldn't be engaged on dry roads, but has low-range gearing for rugged off-road use.
The V6 and 4.7 V8 shoot power through a 5-speed automatic transmission, but the 5.7 V8 works with an all-new 6-speed automatic. The SR5 and Limited trim levels have a floor shifter with a sequential shift mode.
Wide Price Range
I spent the most time in the $38,550 4-wheel-drive Limited Double Cab extended cab with the 5.7 V8.
The Base 2-door Regular Cab seats three, while the Double Cab and longer CrewMax crew cab have four regular doors and seat six. The Double Cab and CrewMax are available in SR5 and Limited trim levels.
Fastest Large Pickup
The Tundra has good handling if not pushed too hard and is easy to maneuver. It seems to make no difference if it has the 18- or 20-inch wheels—not even the TRD off-road package which one of my test Tundras had.
Entering the attractive interior requires a tall climb, but running boards are available to help entry and exit. The test Tundra Double Cab extended cab had room for five tall adults, and rear doors opened wide to allow easier entry and exit.
The back seat was roomy, and the seat bottom folded up for more cargo space. The best back-seat room is provided by the CrewMax crew cab. Not incidentally, the CrewMax has the segment's only reclining and sliding rear seat, which will be appreciated on longer drives.
The tailgate's assisted hinge system allows easy opening and closing. And the tailgate can be locked or removed fairly quickly without tools.
At first, the Tundra probably won't grab a large number of Chevy, Ford or Dodge pickup truck buyers. But give it time because it's a tempting alternative.