Until a few years ago, the full-size pickup truck market was largely the domain of domestic automakers Dodge, Ford and GM. That stranglehold began to erode when Toyota introduced the Tundra for the 2000 model year and Nissan debuted its Titan for 2004.
The Tundra has been criticized by some as a not-quite-full-size pickup truck, but it has grown in size during its lifecycle, with the launch of new versions like the Double Cab model. For 2008, Toyota is offering the Double Cab and CrewMax body styles in cheaper trim levels.
The 2008 Tundra is offered in Tundra Grade, SR5 and Limited trim levels, and can have one of three cab styles, one of three bed lengths and either rear- or four-wheel drive. New for 2008, Tundra Grade is a lower trim level for the Double Cab and CrewMax lineups; before, buyers had to choose either the intermediate SR5 or top-of-the-line Limited trim to get four doors.
The Tundra's front end is dominated by a large chrome grille reminiscent of the automaker's FTX concept from a few years ago, and it's flanked by rectangular wraparound headlamps. The slightly stepped front fenders recall the design of Dodge's Ram, and the Tundra's flanks are smooth and free of adornment.
The large rear taillamps wrap into the sides of the cargo bed, and the rear bumper is chrome. Toyota paid extra attention to the design of the tailgate, which the company says can be opened with two fingers and has a damper system that prevents it from bouncing when driving with the tailgate lowered.
Tundra Grade regular cab models get a chrome bumper and matte-black grille surround rather than a shiny black bumper and surround.
The Tundra features recessed gauges and large climate-control knobs that, like the exterior door handles, are designed to be easy to operate with gloved hands. A large center console can swallow a laptop computer, and the glove box is large enough to hold a normal-sized thermos. Available options include a JBL premium audio system and Bluetooth technology for interfacing with cellular phones.
SR5 Double Cab and CrewMax models get power bucket front seats, an AM/FM stereo with a six-disc CD changer, heated mirrors and mud guards standard. All were optional for that trim level in 2007. Limited Double Cab and CrewMax models get newly standard front and rear parking sonar and mudguards for 2008.
Under the Hood
Three engines are available. The 4.0-liter V-6 produces 236 horsepower and 266 pounds-feet of torque, and the 4.7-liter V-8 generates 271 hp and 313 pounds-feet of torque. Topping the range is the 5.7-liter V-8, which makes 381 hp and 401 pounds-feet of torque.
The two smaller engines drive a five-speed automatic transmission, while the 5.7-liter V-8 works with a six-speed automatic. A trailer hitch is integrated into the frame, and Toyota says the Tundra, when properly equipped, can tow up to 10,800 pounds.
All-disc antilock brakes, an electronic stability system, side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags are standard. The Tundra can have an optional camera in the tailgate to improve visibility when backing up or hitching a trailer.