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Expert Reviews 1 of 2
By Jim Flammang
October 14, 2005
Vehicle Overview When it emerged for the 2000 model year, Toyota's Tundra was the first full-size Japanese-brand pickup truck, and it also offered a V-8 engine option. The Tundra is smaller than domestic full-size pickup offerings.
For 2005, an improved 4.7-liter V-8 produced 282 horsepower (up from 240 hp) and 325 pounds-feet of torque. A new 245-hp, 4.0-liter V-6 replaced the previous 3.4-liter V-6. A six-speed-manual gearbox replaced the five-speed unit, and a five-speed automatic edged aside the former four-speed. A new base V-8 model also joined the lineup. Aside from revised engine output ratings thanks to new Society of Automotive Engineers testing standards, little has changed for the 2006 model year.
Tundras come in three trim levels: base, SR5 and Limited. Tundra pickups serve as the basis for the company's Sequoia sport utility vehicle and are built at the same plant in Indiana.
Exterior Toyota's Double Cab truck has four conventional front-hinged doors. The (extended) 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 models have a 98.2-inch cargo bed, while Double Cab and Access Cab trucks carry a 76.5-inch bed. Regular-cab and Access Cab body styles ride a 128.3-inch wheelbase and stretch to 218.3 inches long overall. 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, overfenders and mudguards.
Interior Tundras can be equipped with either a pair of front captain's chairs or a front bench seat that holds three people. Access Cabs add a three-place 60/40-split backseat with a folding center armrest. Double Cab trucks have a split-folding rear bench. A navigation system is optional. Double Cab models can be equipped with a backseat DVD entertainment system.
Under the Hood Using the new SAE measuring system, the Tundra's standard 4.0-liter V-6 produces 236 hp. It works with either a five-speed-automatic or six-speed-manual transmission. The optional 4.7-liter i-Force V-8 is now rated at 271 hp and 313 pounds-feet of torque. The V-8 teams only with the automatic. The V-8 Tundra's Touch Select four-wheel-drive system can be shifted into or out of 4WD High on the move by using dashboard-located buttons. Towing capacity tops out at 7,100 pounds when properly equipped.
Safety Four-wheel antilock brakes are standard. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags, side curtain-type airbags and an electronic stability system are optional in Double Cab models.
Driving Impressions More refined than typical domestic pickups, the Tundra produces a satisfying ride without much excess bouncing or harshness. Other than a little engine drone, it's also reasonably quiet for a pickup. Energetic performance adds to the pleasure. The seats are comfortable in the roomy cabs, and the available StepSide cargo box adds extra flair.