News Column

Toyota Tundra

November 1, 2007

Ralph Gray

Toyota Tundra

If there is any knock on the new Toyota Tundra, it's that it's a little too nice for a pickup truck.

That may be true for some of the fancier, larger Tundras, but not for the blue-collar Tundra regular cab.

The two-door cab is equipped to tow a galaxy (10,400 pounds) thanks to a 381 horsepower V-8. So, it's not only a work truck, it's a fast work truck.

The no-frills Tundra cranks to 60 mph in a car-like performance of 5.9 seconds. The ride and handling are surprises as well.

Tundra is a comfortable truck despite a suspension that raises it up to accommodate deflections from loads. There's more road sense going into curves than some cars.

On hard sweepers the Tundra digs in like a sport truck, adhering nicely to the surface. It also lets the driver know when things get too enthusiastic when the handling edge is being approached. Cruising at 70 mph is composed.

Aiding the cause is vehicle stability control, traction control, and four-wheel disc brakes with anti-locking. The stability control can be switched off for the really adventuresome.

Thanks to the six-speed automatic transmission, the big V-8 delivers 16 mpg in the city and 20 on the highway. That's almost the same as the base engine. The 4L V-6 gets 17 city and 20 highway. It develops 236 horsepower.

Toyota Tundra interior Toyota Tundra Regular Cab

•Engines: 4L V-6, 4.7L V-8, 5.7 L V-8

•Dimensions: 126.8" wheelbase; 209.8" length

•Base price: $24,380; As tested $25,465

•Fuel economy: 16/20 mpg

The seats, while comfortable, aren't heavily bolstered so there's some driver slide on curves.

Interior amenities are sparse. There's a bare-bones audio, a tilt steering wheel and two (count 'em) two speeds for the windshield wipers.

The gray and black interior is relieved by a chrome Toyota symbol on the steering wheel. You know it's a work truck because the shifter for the automatic transmission is on the steering wheel so that three adults can sit abreast. On tonier models, it's in a fancy floor console.

There's lots of room behind the front bench seat. A flat plastic tray aids storage.

The Toyota logo is repeated on the grille where it's the only chrome in a black front end that includes the grille, bumpers, door handles and outside mirrors.

The tailgate gas strut eases the tailgate down, takes a lot of the weight when closing, and helps hold the tailgate flat in the open position.

There are also roll-sensing curtain airbags. Just as important: there are four cupholders and two power points.

The controls use large knobs and the assist handles are oversized all designed to be used while wearing gloves. That's thoughtful.

Sure, the Tundra regular cab is a work truck but who says work can't be fun?

Source: Hispanic (c) 2007. All rights reserved.

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