Toyota Tundra Forums banner
1 - 1 of 1 Posts

1,580 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Behind the Wheel | 2007 Toyota TundraGoing Where Toyota’s Never Gone Before

LAST year, when Nathalie Guiraudet heard that Toyota was making the next-generation Tundra much bigger, she began to fret about her vehicular future.
She thought the size of her 2002 Tundra was perfect for her needs. She could haul plenty of hay for her horse, Kismet. It was easy to back up (the truck, not Kismet) and the fuel economy was acceptable (both the Tundra and Kismet).
But Toyota has its own needs, and these include growth. By finally offering a pickup big and powerful enough to compete with the Ford F-150 and the Chevrolet Silverado, Toyota says it might double Tundra sales, which totaled an unimpressive 124,500 in 2006, just a fraction of what Chevrolet or Ford sold.
While Ms. Guiraudet, who lives in Bethlehem, N.H., a town of 2,300 about 150 miles north of Boston, did not wish to interfere with Toyota’s apparent plan for galactic domination, she was dismayed.
“It is like every good television show I ever liked,” she said. “It gets taken off the air.”
So she responded to Toyota’s plan with a pre-emptive purchase: she bought a 2006 Tundra Access Cab.
Now the 2007 Tundra is on sale, assembled at plants in Indiana and Texas. The new model is about 5 inches taller, 4 inches wider and 10 inches longer than its equivalent predecessors. Gone is the front-end styling so reserved it suggested a meek effort to assimilate, not cause trouble. The 2007 design could not be more confrontational if it had revolvers mounted on the fenders like one of Roy Rogers’s cars.
For Tundra, three is a recurring theme. There are three bed sizes, three cabs and three engines.
The standard bed is 6-foot-7; the long bed is 8-foot-2; and the short bed is 5-foot-7.
There is a Regular Cab with comfortable seating for two and a surprising amount of cargo space behind the seats. The Double Cab has just enough room for four six-foot adults to be comfortable; access to the rear is through short forward-hinged doors.
Last is the four-door CrewMax, imposing because the cab is so large it suggests an auditorium on wheels. Inside there is so much room it feels more like a large sport utility than a pickup. Its amazing 44.5 inches of rear legroom is almost 10 inches more than the Double Cab’s, making it entirely suitable for family transportation.
A 236-horsepower 4-liter V-6 is available, but only on two-wheel drive Regular Cab and Double Cab models. With a five-speed automatic, it is rated at 17 m.p.g. in town and 20 on the highway, which is less than last year. A 4.7-liter V-8 is rated at 271 horsepower at 5,400 r.p.m. and 313 pound-feet of torque at 3,400 r.p.m. It comes with a five-speed automatic. Despite the increase in the Tundra’s size, the fuel economy estimate is unchanged from last year: 15 m.p.g. city and 18 highway for a four-wheel drive.
New this year is a 5.7-liter V-8 rated at 381 horsepower at 5,600 r.p.m. and 401 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 r.p.m. It comes with a six-speed automatic. Demand for this engine — more than 70 percent of new Tundras have it — has been greater than expected.
With four-wheel drive, this engine is rated at 14 m.p.g. city and 18 highway. I averaged 18 m.p.g. on a 239-mile Interstate cruise at 65 m.p.h.
Prices on the Tundra start at $22,935 for a two-wheel drive Regular Cab. The least expensive four-wheel-drive model is a Regular Cab, at $27,125. The most expensive Tundra is $42,495: that’s the CrewMax with four-wheel drive and the 5.7-liter V-8.
The Tundra’s base prices are high compared with the new Chevrolet Silverado’s. But the Tundra offers more standard equipment on base models, including life savers like an electronic stability control to deal with skids and side curtains to provide head protection in a side-impact crash.
My test truck was a Double Cab in the midlevel SR5 trim. It had the standard bed, four-wheel drive and the 5.7-liter V-8. The base price was $31,805. Options included an upgraded stereo and power front seats, bringing the total to $34,648.
Toyota says the design and engineering were done in the United States, so it is not surprising that the front seats are wide American-size berths.
The basic controls are large and easy to use, and there are plenty of storage areas. But there are hints of cheapness, like the balky mechanism on the lid of the huge storage compartment between the front seats. Another goof: On a CrewMax that I examined, the gap between the hood and fender was far bigger on one side than the other, a surprising flaw given Toyota’s reputation for precision manufacturing.
At highway speeds the Tundra is quiet unless it has the winglike tow mirrors (an option that lets a driver see around a trailer), which generate a huge amount of wind noise.
When it comes to working for a living, Toyota says the new Tundra can tow 10,800 pounds with the 5.7-liter V-8 and rear-drive, up from 7,100 pounds last year. The payload — the combined weight of cargo and passengers — ranges from 1,335 to 2,065 pounds.
The front suspension is independent and the rear has a solid axle. Even on a bad road the standard suspension provides a comfortable ride, although it can be a bit bouncy when there is no weight in the cargo bed.
I also tried a Tundra Double Cab with the optional off-road suspension. The ride was stiff — almost harsh on anything but smooth pavement — but the body motions were tightly controlled.
The 5.7-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic are terrific, providing such vigorous acceleration it is easy to forget that Double Cab or CrewMax Tundras can weigh 5,700 pounds.
The rack-and-pinion steering makes a good connection with the driver, and with either suspension the Tundra handles well. No pickup truck is a charmer when it comes to a challenging road. These are work trucks, after all. But the Tundra is surprisingly responsive, taking on turns far more quickly than I expected in a vehicle that is so heavy.
Though the brake pedal feels soft, all Tundras are well equipped for stopping, with ventilated disc brakes in the rear; the Silverado 1500 still uses drums. Four-wheel discs should provide better stopping in repeated use.
The part-time four-wheel-drive system splits the power evenly between the front and rear wheels. Unfortunately, engaging the four-wheel drive disables the electronic stability control precisely when you might want it the most — on a slick surface.
It is very positive that Toyota has made electronic stability control standard on the Tundra, but not having it when four-wheel drive is engaged is “a major flaw,” said David Champion, the auto testing director for Consumer Reports.
Toyota says stability control cannot work with its four-wheel-drive system, whose design was chosen because it is particularly rugged. But the electronic stability control of the new Silverado works with a part-time system that also splits the power evenly front and rear, and G.M. claims that it, too, is rugged.
In 35 m.p.h. frontal crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Tundra Regular Cab did not fare as well as the new Silverado, Dodge Ram or F-150 regular cabs. The Tundra got four out of five stars, while the Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford each got the highest five-star rating.
In a more demanding 40 m.p.h. offset crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a Tundra Double Cab got a “good” rating, the same as the F-150 Super Cab, the Nissan Titan King Cab and Dodge Ram Quad Cab. The institute has not yet tested the new Silverado.
So will the Tundra hurt the domestic pickups? Sure it will. Maybe not instantly, but Toyota’s success has been based on persistence and patience. The new Tundra is vastly more competitive than the previous model, and its ride and handling are superior to the aging Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram. But without a back-to-back drive, the Tundra is not spectacular enough to be declared a victor over the impressive Silverado.
On a micro level, where does all that leave Ms. Guiraudet? After a two-hour drive she was impressed with the 2007 Tundra’s handling and power and said that one day she might, indeed, buy the bigger model.
“I like being a little person in a big truck,” she confided.
But, since Ms. Guiraudet’s primary requirement involves hauling hay for Kismet, perhaps the final decision will depend on fate: whether the horse or the 2006 Tundra lasts longer.

INSIDE TRACK Toyota takes off the gloves.
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.