2010 Toyota Tundra
Base price: $23,155 – $28,465
As tested: $43,405
MPG: 14 city/19 highway
- Praise for interior room, tilt-slide rear seat
- Exceptional people comfort
- Class best safety features
- "Never tow, never haul" means no need
- Insatiable thirst for petrol
- Original style showing its age
By Jim Prueter
Tough-looking 4Runner not the best choice in its class
(Since little of substance has changed this review has been updated to include model years 2007-2010)
When Toyota reintroduced the Tundra for 2007, it unleashed a vehicle the likes of which had Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford shaking in their work boots.
A dominant force in the sedan and crossover categories, Toyota took dead aim at the one segment still dominated by Detroit — pickup trucks. Engineered in Michigan, designed in California and built in Indiana and Texas, the new Tundra was an all-American truck aimed at all-American truck owners — dubbed “true truckers” by Toyota — like construction workers, farmers and ranchers.
Through common sense and research, Toyota determined that for this segment of buyers, a truck must be, above all, functional. For many owners, the truck is a mobile office, worksite and, often, a family car. Tundra addresses all of those needs in ways both big (huge brakes, massive towing capacity, available four-wheel drive on all models) and small (bigger door handles for easier opening with work gloves, a center console that can store a laptop or accommodate hanging files, 12 inches of storage behind the Regular Cab seatback for tool boxes or a five-gallon bucket, a built-in toolbox on Regular and CrewMax models, telescoping side mirrors). The CrewMax model features the segment’s only sliding and reclining rear seat, plus under-seat storage.
Other segment firsts include standard front seat side and roll-sensing airbags, standard vehicle stability control with integrated active traction control, and standard manual tilt and telescoping steering wheel on all models.
With wheelbases ranging from 126.8 to 164.6 inches, the new Tundra is the biggest truck Toyota has ever built. As a result, dealerships widened showroom doors, expanded service bays and increased lift capacity. Buyers have a total of 44 configurations to choose from. Engine choices include a 4.0-liter V-6, a 4.7-liter V-8 and a massive 5.7-liter 381-horsepower iForce V-8 with 401 pound-feet of torque and a maximum towing capacity of 10,800 pounds.
The bigger V-8 comes paired with an excellent six-speed automatic transmission. Others are equipped with a five-speed automatic. On steep downgrades, I barely had to touch the brakes as the transmission smoothly downshifted and held to the lower gears. The Tundra performs well, with very little adverse road feel for a truck. With the 5.7-liter iForce V-8 on the regular cab, standard-bed model, the Tundra just flew during my road test. While this is probably the most unnecessary and unlikely configuration, it’s definitely the most fun.
Other options include three cab sizes (Regular, Double Cab with forward-hinged rear doors and the cavernous CrewMax, which makes the Dodge Ram’s MegaCab seem almost small) and three trim levels (Tundra Grade, SR5 and Limited). There are also three bed lengths and three wheelbases.
For 2007, the base Tundra Grade trim level (known as the DX) was available only on the Regular Cab, and includes a 40/20/40 split bench seat with the passenger side folding flat, dual-zone climate control and two 12-volt power outlets. For 2008, Tundra Grade trim is available with all cab sizes.
Upgrade to the SR5 and you get chrome bumpers and grille, eight-way adjustable driver’s seat, cruise control, power accessories, upgraded upholstery, intermittent wipers and remote keyless entry. In 2008 models, SR5 and Limited Double Cab and Crew Max models get previously optional equipment — like power bucket front seats, AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer, cold kit, heated mirrors and mud guards — standard.
In 2008, Tundra Limited Double Cab and Crew Max models added the formerly optional front and rear parking sonar, cold kit, and mudguards to the standard equipment list.
For 2010 the SR5 grade is discontinued, and replaced by an SR5 option package that retains many of the same popular features found on the old SR5 grade. In fact, for simplicity, the 2010 Tundra has been reduced to just Tundra or Limited grade models.
The Limited gets you power-retractable heated side mirrors, an upgraded JBL audio system, Bluetooth compatibility, heated leather seats, trip computer and more. A navigation system with a wide-angle rearview backup camera is optional on all models.
For 2010 all Tundra models receive a redesigned front grille and tail lamps. Tundra grade models sport a new two-bar grille design and the Limited grade features a unique billet-style grille.
There’s also a new Work Truck Package for 2010 aimed at commercial truck buyers or for those who otherwise require a tough no-frills truck with a large cargo and towing capacity. These are basic trucks with vinyl seats and rubber flooring rather than carpeting.
For buyers looking for a high level of refinement, Toyota introduces the all-new Platinum Package available on 2010 Tundra CrewMax Limited models equipped with the 5.7-liter V8 and Flex Fuel powertrains. The package includes heated and ventilated seats, sunroof, and wood grain trim.
A new 4.6-liter, 310 horsepower V8 engine is available on all 2010 model year Tundras. Both 5.7-liter and the new 4.6-liter V8s are teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission.
A quick word about the CrewMax: it is impressive. The rear seat offers 44.5 inches of legroom (12 more than the Double Cab), 38.7 inches of headroom and 65 inches of shoulder room, the seats recline and slide and there’s still room to store stuff behind the seats. It’s huge, and truly functional as both a work truck and a people-hauler. The trade-off is that it’s only available with the five-and-a-half-foot short bed. But, those who regularly alternate between the worksite and familial duties will appreciate its versatility. The availability of the rear seat entertainment system on CrewMax styles only solidifies its place as the family vehicle of the lineup.
Stylistically, Toyota aimed to “go beyond the stereotypical work truck,” and I think they succeeded. Attractive and sporty, the Tundra has a unified body shape, with the hood, cab and bed smoothly integrated into one another. A forward-slanting C-pillar was designed to accentuate the sporty feel.
Standard safety gear includes four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes with brake-force distribution and brake assist. Dual front, front seat side and roll-sensing side curtain airbags are standard in all models.
Tundra is a workhorse, and was our choice for best full-sized pickup truck for 2008. Despite initial misgivings about Toyota’s ability to draw Dodge Ram, F-150 and Silverado loyalists into the Tundra fold, judging by positive reviews and sales figures, it didn’t take more than a test drive to accomplish that feat.