Introduced for 2000, the Tundra was the first full-size Japanese-brand pickup and the first with a V-8 engine option. A limited-slip differential is newly available for V-8 models, and the SR5 can have new optional chrome-style wheels. Limited models now come with several new standard features, which include a premium cassette/in-dash CD changer audio system, antilock brakes, daytime running lights, keyless entry and an anti-theft system.
The Tundra comes as a regular-cab model with an 8-foot cargo bed or as an Access Cab (extended-cab) with rear-hinged back doors and a 6.5-foot bed. A 3.4-liter V-6 engine mates with either a manual or automatic transmission, while the 4.7-liter V-8 comes with the automatic gearbox only. The Tundra serves as the basis for the Sequoia sport utility vehicle and is built at the same Indiana plant. Rivals include the full crop of domestic full-size pickups: Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Ram, Ford F-150 and GMC Sierra.
Regular-cab Tundras have an 8-foot cargo bed, while the four-door extended Access Cab version gets a 6.25-foot bed. The Access Cab has two rear-hinged back doors that cant be opened until the front doors are open. Unlike some examples of the extended-cab design, the narrow rear doors have exterior handles. Three trim levels are available: base, SR5 and Limited V8.
Both body styles ride a 128.3-inch wheelbase and stretch to 217.5 inches long overall. By comparison, a regular-cab Ford F-150 with an 8-foot cargo bed and an F-150 SuperCab with a 6.5-foot bed are both 225.5 inches long. The Tundras maximum payload is an even 2,000 pounds, while the F-150 has a maximum payload of 3,150 pounds. A TRD (Toyota Racing Development) Off-Road Package is available, which comes with progressive rate springs, Bilstein gas shocks, all-terrain tires, aluminum-alloy wheels, overfenders, fog lamps and contoured mudguards.
Regular cabs and Access Cabs can have either a pair of contoured captains chairs or a 60/40-split front bench that holds three occupants. A power drivers seat and two-level console is included with the captains chairs. Access Cabs add a three-place, 60/40-split backseat with a fold-down center armrest. Both halves of the rear cushion fold easily to create additional storage space, or valuables can be hidden in a storage compartment under the cushion. Leather upholstery is optional on the top-of-the-line Limited model. Sun visors have pullout extensions.
Under the Hood
A standard, 190-horsepower, 3.4-liter V-6 engine mates with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed-automatic transmission. The optional 245-hp, 4.7-liter, i-Force V-8 teams with the automatic unit only.
The Tundras Touch-Select four-wheel-drive system can be moved in or out of 4WD High on the move by using dashboard controls. Towing capacity is as high as 7,200 pounds with the V-8 engine.
Four-wheel antilock brakes are standard on the Tundra Limited and optional on other models. Dual front airbags include a passenger-side cutoff switch.