When it comes to pickup trucks, bigger is better. At least that's what it seems like. Trucks are big because truck buyers like them that way, but there's a reason behind it. With its capable 5.7-liter V8 engine, the new Toyota Tundra can tow up to 10,500 pounds, and offers a payload of 2,080 pounds in its 5-foot, 6-inch bed. That's good news to people towing boats or utility trailers alike, and those who need to haul a lot of stuff.
The engine offers 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque, but as with any truck, those numbers don't tell the whole story. You also have to take into account the available towing package, which includes a heavy duty class 3 receiver for the trailer hitch, a special 3.40 rear axle ratio, engine and transmission oil coolers, and a Tow/Haul mode for the drivetrain that sets the truck up to perform under load. The transmission is a tough 6-speed automatic, and you get Toyota's well-developed shift-on-the-fly 4WD system with settings for rear-wheel-drive as well as high and low range 4WD.
You also get a full crew cab if you want it, and most truck buyers insist on four doors and seating for five passengers. Inside, the Tundra offers an interior that is both functional and luxurious. The seats are firm and offer good back support, which is critical if you spend a lot of time in your truck. A crew cab truck is often a mobile office, and the Tundra offers two 12-volt power outlets for the front seats as well as a full audio and infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen.
On the road, the Tundra is definitely a big truck. You'd never call it nimble, but it's as solid as a mountain, and you always know what it's going to do. Acceleration capability is considerable when the truck is unloaded, and the Tundra has plenty of braking ability. Driving it is generally pleasant, but you'll be the person parking at the far end of the parking lot if you want to get in and out easily.
Depending on the model you want, the Tundra starts at a very affordable $34,090 for a two-wheel-drive extended cab 2WD model with a 6.5-foot bed. Moving up to the 5.7-liter engine raises the base price to $35,360. As tested, this truck came with the crew cab, four-wheel-drive, Limited trim, and several option packages including Limited Premium with a long list of added safety features and the TRD Pro package with off-road equipment like skid plates, Bilstein shock absorbers, special wheels, and tow hooks. All in, this Tundra will cost you $51,516.
2017 Toyota Tundra Limited 4X4 Crewmax
Base price: $45,930
Price as tested: $51,516
Type: Full size pickup
Engine: 5.7-liter V8 (381 hp, 401 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 13/17
Overall length: 248 inches
Curb weight: 5,670 pounds
Final assembly: San Antonio, Texas