The Bottom Line
- 5.7-liter V8 with 6-speed automatic is a strong performer
- CrewMax has plenty of room in the back seat for tall adults, plus storage behind the rear seat
- Offers typical Toyota quality
- Tailgate has strut for easy opening and to assist closing
- Rear of truck is not as stable as some competitors on rough/washboard roads
- 4WD Limited should have an automatic 4WD setup like that offered in the Sequoia
- The Tundra is available in three cab configurations, three bed sizes and with three engine choices.
- Tundra's body lines and door gaps are as good and tight as they are on Toyota cars.
- Tundra prices range from $22,490 to $41,605 (link below to full pricing).
Guide Review - 2009 Toyota Tundra Review
A Glance at the Tundra's ExteriorI like the looks of the Tundra as much today as when I first saw it. I've heard some people remark that the truck looks too massive, but in my opinion the word powerful offers a better description. (Tundra Photos)
One design change would be a plus -- making the fake opening at the leading edge of the hood functional. Left as-is, it at least creates a transition between the grille and hood.
A tailgate assist helps lower the tailgate, and is especially helpful when your hands are full. The feature comes in just as handy when it's time to close the tailgate.
Inside the Toyota TundraThe SR5 truck's cloth-covered bucket seats are comfortable, and the driver's seat is power adjustable. Tundra's console box is large enough to store your laptop and your files, and additional changeable compartments are arranged around the shifter.
Double Cab's rear passenger legroom is sufficient and seating is comfortable, even when riding long distances.
Tundra's instrument layout is good, but a little hard to see in bright sunlight. Radio and heat/AC controls are easy to reach, although the radio display would be easier to see if angled a little toward the driver.
On the Road in the Toyota TundraTundra's 5.7L V-8 engine produces 381 hp and 401 lb/ft of torque, and if you think the numbers are hype, just put the accelerator to the floor. Regardless of whether the truck is empty or loaded, pulling a trailer or not, going up hill, down hill or on level ground, the truck goes.
Toyota offers a 4.0L V-6 in the base 2WD Tundra and a 4.7L V-8 as standard equipment in the other models. These engines are linked to a 5-speed automatic transmission. I don't quite understand why Toyota offers these two setups -- or why people buy them. Don't get me wrong, both are solid engines, but fuel mileage ratings are nearly the same (4.0: 15 city/19 highway, 4.7: 14 city/17 highway. 5.7: 14 city/18 highway for 2WD trucks). Opting for the larger engine gets you a huge increase in horsepower/torque and a six-speed automatic transmission.
Tundra's 4WD transfer case works easily with a turn of the dash knob. Like most, you can shift between 2 HI and 4 HI at speed -- you need to (almost) stop to go into 2 LO. I think Tundra could be improved by equipping the Limited model with the automatic 4WD transfer case that's available in the Sequoia.
End of the Tundra JourneyThe quality and competition in the full-size truck market is the best it has been in years. Any manufacturer in this group must offer an exceptional product (at the right price) or they won't be around very long. When Toyota jumped into the full-size segment, it didn't just get by, it excelled. Tundra's success says a lot about the research Toyota did and their commitment to quality. If you want a new truck, do not overlook the Tundra.
I'm looking forward to seeing the revamps Toyota comes up with when the next Tundra generation is released.