Today we are driving the Toyota Tundra, Toyota’s full-size pick-up truck. The one we’re driving is the 1794 Special Edition Crewmax 4×4. In total, there are 18 configurations of 6 different trim levels… so to keep it simple, we’re just going to talk about this model.
You can build and price for your needs on Toyota’s website. But just know that this one has essentially the fully-loaded version.
This is named the 1794 Edition because that’s the year the ranch in San Antonio, where the Tundra plant now sits, was founded. The interior is beautiful with a saddle leather interior (think Western themed), has unique Ultrasuede inserts, contrast stitching, soft touch materials, and a wood trimmed steering wheel and gear shift. It has a lot going on, but to me, it works. It looks like the interior of a luxury sedan.
This Tundra has all bells and whistles: dual-zone climate control, heated and cooled, power front seats, the Entune premium JBL Audio system with App Suite, Navigation, with turn-by-turn directions, hands-free cell phone use, HD Radio Traffic and Weather, back-up camera with parking sensors/auditory alert, a USB port, auxiliary jack, 3 12V, chargers. One note on that: it’s a bit curious that this size vehicle doesn’t offer more than one USB, given that that set-up up front is basically like having a mobile office.
There is a huge center console where you can stash your laptop, briefcase, file folders, you name it. There are even designated slots for business cards and tissues. So it could use another USB port, and it could perhaps be in a slightly less awkward position. It’s down low here, and can be a bit tricky to see.
The dash is large. Obviously. So there is quite a reach to some of the controls. And it’s a truck. What do you expect? Toyota moved the dash out a touch from previous models, so it’s a bit better than in the past. And, the voice commands and steering wheel mounted controls will help compensate in most situations. This version has the bucket seats, which are extremely comfortable, the driver’s seat providing 12-way power with lumbar and an adjustable thigh support, which is great for long trips or if you have long legs like me. The passenger seat is 6-way power with lumbar, but it does not have a height adjustment, which can be problematic for taller passengers. The seating position does not allow for a lot of headroom. There is also two-position driver memory seating, with a power tilt and telescope wheel.
With all the power options, the vehicle “magically” moves everything out of the way when you power down the car, making it easy to get in and out of the driver’s seat, no matter who’s driving.
A couple features that this Tundra is missing are push-button start and the quick- touch turn signal, both features that most manufacturers now offer. Certainly not a deal breaker for me (I don’t mind turning a key!), but for some people those omissions are going to be puzzling.
Under the hood is a monster 5.7L i-Force V8 engine that delivers 381 hp and a whopping 401 lb-ft of torque. The ride is solid and the cabin is very quiet, the suspension feels firm yet compliant, it’s not harsh in any way. Vibrations are kept to a minimum. The engine feels strong and capable, sounds tough, and can tow about 5 tons. There are trucks out there that can tow more, of course, and certainly would be considered more of the “workhorses” in the industry, but this Tundra will easily pull your boat, your trailer, your camper… I mean, it pulled the space shuttle into Los Angeles. I think that says it all.
And there are safety features that provide additional stability when towing, such as Trailer Sway Control, which monitors for sway and will provide brake pressure at individual wheels when needed, and a TOW/HAUL mode, which works to prevent gear hunting and will increase throttle response, pulling power and engine braking. Plus, the Tundra has some of the best front brakes in its class: 13.9 in rotors with 4 piston calipers. Because let’s face it, once you get started hauling, it’s just as important to be able to stop.
There is a ton to talk about on this half ton truck, but we only have a few minutes. I’ll just say it’s a fantastic combination of luxury vehicle meets mobile office meets solid pick-up`. At just under $50,000 it’s no bargain, but that’s what you’ll pay for most of the top competitors. There may be other trucks out there for bigger loads or heavy-duty work, but this Tundra certainly provides the best of both worlds: durable performance with plenty of comfort. All in all, for what it is, I give the Tundra a 5 out of 5 stars.