Built in Toyota’s San Antonio plant this 5.7 L I-Force V8 E85 Flex Fuel 381 hp is a 6 spd automatic 4WD. In essence, the Tundra is not just redesigned, it’s a completely new truck!
From the wider more prominent front grill to the embossed logo stamp on the tailgate, Toyota brings both brawn and beauty to this redesigned, (and well equipped) model. Now-a-days the Tundra is available in multiple models, not just one standard. There are also now five different versions of Tundra which one may easily customize to their specific desires. The model choices are the SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, and 1794 (Texas ranch edition)
The tested Platinum version includes a 10-way power driver seat with a 60/40 split rear which folds up for extra cargo. The front seats are not only highly supportive but fold around the passengers to provide a level of luxurious comfort with a hint of racing seat design.
The model also included TRD 4WD capability and a double wishbone front suspension with stabilizer bar. The trapezoidal multi-leaf rear suspension includes staggered outboard mounted shocks and provides an extremely comfortable and smooth ride.
On the safety front, Tundra includes Stability and Traction Control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, and Brake Assist with Smart Stop technology. During my time in the Tundra I encountered an unexpected ‘testing opportunity’.. While driving onto a bridge (I did not realize was iced-over), I soon became aware of my predicament when I felt the beginning of possible traction loss. However, before a second could pass, the vehicle’s Traction and Stability control kicked in and continued to provide the additional level of traction needed to keep the truck within the lines of the lane I was traveling.
Besides traction and stability control, other safety features are included such as blind spot monitor, parking assist, brake assist, LATCH anchors, rear window defrost, and knee airbags. There is also a rear back up camera with guidance (line) assist which provides a very clear picture. The camera and infotainment systems LED screen allows touch control for XM, Bluetooth, and a navigation that I had difficulty navigating (it required too much button pushing in order to set destination). Voice control with Toyos Entune telematic system is also included.
As mentioned, the tested model featured the TRD off road package and is equipped with running boards, heated power outside tow mirrors, and turn signal indicators located on the mirrors. The Tundra also has a very easy to steer and reliable wheel/column so that over-steer or having a sensitive wheel is not an issue. Although the truck is tall, it is not too tall to enter. The trucks step boards provide additional ease of truck entry and is included in the TRD package. Also, there was not any top-heaviness noticed during the testing of the brand new Tundra. The TRD package also includes towing and hauling features such as; extended tow mirrors which manually retract, 4x4 tow hooks, 4 and 7 pin connector, and trailer sway control.
Features to work on:
The Tundras horn sounds about as powerful as a Honda Civic so my note to engineers: Beef it up otherwise the horn does not do this powerful vehicle any justice.
Work on a higher watt, more-speakered, and louder audio system. Also, move the radio console closer to the driver. Plus, make the navigation easier to program (in much fewer steps).
The garage door opener compartment is awkward and is not easy to depress. The truck also needs an interior overhead handle (more-so placed toward the windshield) on the driver side.
Two times in a one week period the seat belt warning alarm and light kept self-activating even when the seat belt was engaged… Even after multiple times of locking and unlocking the seat belt, the alarm would not reset the warning system. Only turning the truck on/off would reset the seat belt system. This only happened on two separate occasions but worth the mention none-the-less.
My favorite new features:
The new more defined hood demands respect especially with the extra vent above the grill which provides additional engine air flow (call it a narrow vented scoop if you will).
The new tailgate is lightweight with a hydraulic-like feature which provides a smooth ride as it goes down.
And an adjustable deck/rail bed cargo system similar to the system started by Nissan (Utilitrak®) a few years back. This feature is ideal for separating and blocking off sections to keep cargo from sliding around the bed.
In the end:
The Tundra achieves 13 City/17 Hwy and an overall 15 mpg.
Final cost is $44,335 and includes TRD Off-road package and vehicle delivery.
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