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2010 Toyota Tundra Pickup Truck Review

Toyota Tundra, a No Frills Work Truck

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating


2010 Toyota Tundra Pickup Truck

2010 Toyota Tundra Pickup Truck with Work Truck Package

Photo © Jason Fogelson
There are still people out there for whom a pickup truck is a tool, not a fashion accessory. Contractors, builders, landscapers, repair people -- you know who you are. Toyota has put together a version of their full-size pickup truck just for you. The 2010 Toyota Tundra carries a base price of $24,355 ($25,770 as tested), and the Work Truck Package subtracts $195 from the already low base price. You get fewer amenities, but you still get a 3-year, 36,000-mile basic warranty, a 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty and an EPA estimate of 15 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. Let's drive.

First Glance at the Toyota Tundra Work Truck

Trucks have been getting fancier and fancier over the years. Tundra is no exception. Which is all well and good, unless you're running a business and you need every dollar to go toward function. Toyota has taken this concern to heart with the Work Truck Package, and you can see the results on Tundra's exterior.

Instead of a big, flashy chrome grille, the Work Truck Package dresses the front of Tundra in a flat black plastic grille. The front and rear bumpers get the same flat black treatment. And you know what? It looks good, especially contrasting with my test vehicle's Super White paint job.

Instead of cool alloy wheels, the truck gets 18" steel wheels with simple Toyota logo center hub caps that bolt on under the lug nuts. Basic, functional, low maintenance wheels, with nothing to fuss over after a hard day at work.

Tundra's basic proportions remain unchanged, with a generous regular cab and a 78.7" long bed. A long bed option is available as well, with a 97.6" inside bed length, but not with the V8 option. The bed is 50" wide between the wheel wells, 66.4" wide at the tailgate, and 22.2" deep.

My test vehicle was equipped with a factory-installed bedliner ($345), which I would forgo for an aftermarket spray-in bedliner system for about the same price. I don't want to get any surprises from moisture under the bedliner causing rust later in the life of my work truck.

Inside the Toyota Tundra

2010 Toyota Tundra Pickup Truck

2010 Toyota Tundra Pickup Truck with Work Truck Package

Photo © Jason Fogelson
Inside the Tundra, the Work Truck Package really rears its head. I've grown so complacent about power door locks, power windows and power outside mirrors that I expect to see them on a motorcycle, never mind on a $25,000 truck. But the Tundra Work Truck Package doesn't include any of those options. An old-fashioned crank operates each side window, and old-fashioned hand power does everything else. I didn't miss the power windows, but I quickly realized that adjusting the passenger side mirror manually was a royal pain. If your truck is part of a pool of vehicles with multiple drivers, this feature alone should make you think twice about stepping up to the SR5 level of trim.

Other Work Truck Package features were welcome in the Tundra interior. Heavy-duty rubber floor coverings in place of carpeting, heavy duty vinyl seating surfaces, and blacked-out plastic interior trim had a similar effect on Tundra's inside as the blacked-out pieces did on the outside -- they transformed a slightly fussy, overly dressy interior into a no-nonsense work truck, without compromising comfort or function. My test vehicle added one very useful electronic option, Bluetooth Handsfree ($299). It worked seamlessly with the simple AM/FM/CD stereo in the dash, without adding extra, fragile, expensive features that I didn't need.

On the Road in the Tundra Work Truck

Tundra is available with three powertrains: a 4.0 liter V6 that produces 236 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque; a 5.7 liter V8 that cranks out 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque; and my test vehicle's 4.6 liter V8 that's tuned to deliver 310 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque. The V6 gets hooked up to a 5-speed automatic transmission, while the V8s get a 6-speed automatic with Tow/Haul mode. My test vehicle was rated with a GVWR of 6,600 lbs, a maximum payload of 1,870 lbs and the ability to tow 9,000 lbs. Some quick math will show that my Tundra's curb weight was 4,730 lbs. I didn't carry any significant loads or tow with Tundra during my week with the vehicle, but I was very pleased with the 4.6 V8's ability to propel the pickup promptly. Having driven the supercharged version of the 5.7 liter V8 Tundra a few years ago (Yee Ha!), I actually think that 310 hp is plenty for driving around with medium-sized loads, and the 4.6 is probably the right engine for balancing work and fuel efficiency. My test Tundra was a 4x2 (rear-wheel drive), but there are 4x4 versions available as well.

The Tundra driving experience is very pleasant. Body roll is well-controlled, and suspension settings are compliant enough that even an empty truck on the freeway rides beautifully. The regular bed Tundra is easy to park and maneuver in traffic. Some drivers may miss the cruise control (deleted as part of the Work Truck Package), and curse the two-speed windshield wipers (also a Work Truck Package feature), but I wasn't bothered.

Tundra Bottom Line

2010 Toyota Tundra Pickup Truck

2010 Toyota Tundra Pickup Truck with Work Truck Package

Photo © Jason Fogelson
Tundra is a really good pickup truck. I like the way it's designed, and the way it's put together. I'm all for saving every penny possible, and for an à la carte approach to options, but I think that the Work Truck Package may go a little far for me. If you're buying fifty trucks, saving $195 per vehicle is significant; if you're just buying one truck, it's just cheap. Spring for the power windows, keyless remote entry, power outside mirrors and cruise control. You'll get your money's worth, really.

Tundra matches up well with the competition, but buying a pickup truck nowadays seems to be more of a matter of taste than quality or ability. Be sure to drive a Ford F-150, a Chevy Silverado, a Nissan Titan and a Dodge Ram 1500 before you buy a Tundra. You might find one or the other a better fit for your frame.

If you've got to get a fleet of work trucks together, though, and you want to squeeze every penny out of your purchase, Toyota makes a good case for Tundra with the Work Truck Package. It's a no-nonsense truck for serious business. But just remember -- all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. My advice: lighten up, and spring for some accessories. Your crew will thank you.

Disclosure: A review truck was provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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