2009 Toyota Tundra


Review: 2007 Toyota Tundra

This 2007 review is representative of model years 2007 to 2013.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Rating: 9

Bottom Line:

Toyota finally succeeds with a large pickup the third time around.
  • Brawny
  • Comfortable
  • Very fast with top V8
  • Rather heavy, numb steering
  • Entry/exit a chore
  • No major knockout features

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
Toyota must fight fierce brand loyalty to domestic full-size pickups, but hopes to increase its full-size pickup's annual sales in this country to 200,000 units from 124,508 Tundras sold last year. And, being Toyota, it won't stop at 200,000 units.

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.

Many Configurations
The Tundra comes in 31 configurations. It offers three wheelbases (126.8, 145.7 and 164.6 inches), three bed lengths (66.7, 78.7 and 97.6 inches—all 22 inches deep) and three trim levels (Regular, SR5 and Limited.)

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
There are three engines: a 4.0-liter V6 with 236 horsepower, a 4.7-liter V8 with 271 horsepower and a 5.7-liter V8 producing 381 horsepower.

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.

No Diesel
It's too bad that a modern, more fuel-thrifty diesel engine isn't offered.

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
List prices go from $22,290 for a base rear-wheel-drive Regular Cab DX version with a short bed to a $41,850 4-wheel-drive Limited CrewMax crew cab with a short bed and the 5.7 V8—along with upscale items such as leather upholstery.

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
My test Tundra with the 5.7 V8 was the fastest full-size stock half-ton pickup I've driven, doing 0-60 mph in 6 seconds flat with its considerable torque and quick-thinking automatic transmission.

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.

Good Roadability
The steering is quick enough, but also somewhat heavy and numb. Helped by long wheelbases, the ride is comfortable, even for a big, unloaded pickup. The brake pedal has a nice feel, and stopping power is strong. Brakes have electronic brake force distribution and a brake assist feature for surer emergency stops.

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.

Functional Interior
Large outside mirrors help a driver navigate this big truck. Gauges can be quickly read, and the large controls are easy to use. The glovebox is roomy, and the Tundra is filled with decent-sized storage areas.

The tailgate's assisted hinge system allows easy opening and closing. And the tailgate can be locked or removed fairly quickly without tools.

Desirable Options
Desirable options include a $695 backup camera with a monitor and a $500 front/rear obstacle detection system. Other extras include an $810 power sunroof and $1,610 DVD entertainment system for the CrewMax. Then there's a $1,650-$2,890 (depending on trim level) navigation system with the rearview camera for the SR5 Double Cab, SR5 CrewMax and Limited.

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.


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BB02 - 9/19/2014 3:00:16 AM