When it emerged for the 2000 model year, Toyota’s Tundra was the first full-size Japanese-brand pickup truck. It was also the first pickup from a Japanese automaker with a V-8 engine option. A new V-8 StepSide Access Cab model joined the lineup for 2003; it is offered in either SR5 or Limited trim.
Toyota has made a major addition to the Tundra lineup for 2004. A larger Double Cab model with a cargo bed as long as the one in the Access Cab is now offered. Available in SR5 or Limited trim, the new truck stretches 13 inches longer overall than other Tundras. According to Don Esmond, Toyota Division senior vice president and general manager, it’s “the longest, widest, deepest and roomiest Tundra we have ever built.”Tundras come in three trim levels: base, SR5 and Limited. Regular-cab models have a 98.2-inch cargo bed, while the new Double Cab and extended-cab trucks with rear-hinged back doors (called Access Cabs) carry a 76.5-inch bed. Both a V-6 and V-8 engine are available. Tundra pickups serve as the basis for the company’s Sequoia sport utility vehicle and are built at the same plant in Indiana.
Toyota’s new Double Cab truck has four, conventional, front-hinged doors. The Access Cab has two rear-hinged back doors that can’t be opened until the front doors are open. Unlike some extended-cab models, the narrow rear doors have exterior handles.
Regular-cab and Access Cab body styles ride a 128.3-inch wheelbase and stretch to 217.5 inches long overall. A regular-cab Ford F-150 with an 8-foot cargo bed is almost 13 inches longer. The Tundra’s maximum payload is 1,800 pounds, while the F-150 has a 3,000-pound maximum. Double Cab models ride a 140.5-inch wheelbase and measure 230.1 inches long overall.An optional TRD (Toyota Racing Development) Off-Road Package features progressive-rate springs, Bilstein gas shocks, all-terrain tires on 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, fender flares, fog lamps and mudguards. The TRD Sport Package includes Tokico shocks, tuned springs, a rear stabilizer bar, a limited-slip differential and graphite-toned 17-inch wheels.
Regular-cab and Access Cab Tundras may be equipped with either a pair of captain’s chairs or a 60/40-split front bench seat that holds up to three occupants. Access Cabs add a three-place 60/40-split backseat with a fold-down center armrest. Double Cab trucks have captain’s chairs and a split, folding rear bench. The sun visors have pullout extensions.
Under the Hood
A standard 190-horsepower, 3.4-liter V-6 engine mates with either a four-speed-automatic or five-speed-manual transmission. The optional 240-hp, 4.7-liter i-Force V-8 teams only with the automatic; this power plant is standard in Double Cab models. The V-8 Tundra’s Touch Select four-wheel-drive system can be shifted into or out of 4WD-High on the move using dashboard buttons. Towing capacity is as high as 7,200 pounds.
Four-wheel antilock brakes are standard. Dual front airbags include a passenger-side cutoff switch.
The Tundra is more refined than typical domestic pickups, and it produces a satisfying ride without much excess bouncing or harshness. Except for a little engine drone, it’s also quiet for a pickup. The seats are comfortable in the roomy cab, and the StepSide cargo box adds extra flair.