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 – 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?