EXPERT REVIEW

KansasCity.com's view


Toyota’s full-size 2007 Tundra is an imposing truck, one engineered to tow 10,800 pounds, haul 2,065 pounds or, in the case of the CrewMax, carry five people comfortably.

But make no mistake, as tough as the Tundra is, it is also civilized and comfortable, and that’s particularly true with the CrewMax Limited. I spent a week driving this top-of-the-line truck with a $47,230 sticker price. The CrewMax sacrifices a foot of bed length for a huge cabin whose rearseat legroom would make many a limousine blush.

I’m tempted to call the Tundra CrewMax Limited the Lexus of trucks because it was quiet, smooth and plush. Lexus is Toyota’s luxury division.

Competition is intense in the full-size truck segment, and it’s not easy for imports to crack the code of true truck buyers. The 2007 Tundra is the first Toyota truck to equal the domestic brands in terms of size and capability.

It goes about its tasks with a sense of refinement that is unusual for this category, but refinement has become a Toyota trademark.

The Tundra is available in 31 models, with regular, extended and CrewMax cabs. Prices start at $22,290 for a regular-cab, two-wheel-drive V-6. The regular and extended-cab trucks can be equipped with a 6.5-foot or 8-foot bed. The CrewMax has a 5.5-foot bed.

The Tundra’s bed can be equipped with a deck rail system for securing cargo, and hidden struts make opening and closing the tailgate a one-hand operation.

Engine choices include a 4.0-liter, 236-horsepower V-6; a 4.7-liter, 271-horsepower V-8; and a 5.7-liter, 381-horsepower V-8.

The V-6 is rated at 17 miles per gallon in the city and 20 on the highway. The 4.7 rating is 15 city, 18 highway, and the 5.7 rating is 14 city and 18 highway for four-wheel drive and 16 and 20 for two-wheel drive.

I averaged 15.5 mpg in a four-wheel-drive CrewMax in driving that was split evenly between freeway and city streets.

The 5.7-liter V-8 is tremendously robust. The 381-horsepower engine and six-speed automatic transmission deliver acceleration that feels more like that of a sports car than a truck. This engine has independently variable valve timing, which means the intake and exhaust cams can be adjusted separately for optimum power and economy.

The 5.7’s horsepower is useful for towing, and the Tundra comes ready for heavy work. The hitch receiver is attached to the frame, and both seven-pin and four-pin connectors are standard. The tow package also includes a 4.30 rear axle and wiring for a trailer-brake controller.

I did not sample the truck’s towing capacity.

The Tundra’s cabin is tall and wide with seats made to accommodate full-size drivers. The instrument panel on the CrewMax Limited was a mixture of piano-black trim on the center stack and flat silver on the panel in front of the driver. The gauges are set in deep tunnels.

The center console is a no-nonsense design that has a large gearshift handle and two cup holders. Lift the top of the wide center armrest and you will find a space deep enough for a laptop computer. Removable trays can hold notebooks, cell phones or PDAs. The inside of the console is configured so that it can hold hanging files.

The Tundra is the first full-size truck to have standard front-seat side airbags and front and rear roll-sensing side-curtain airbags. Anti-lock brakes, brake assist, vehicle stability control and traction control are also standard.

The Tundra has 13.9-inch front brake discs, and 18-inch wheels are standard. Twenty-inch wheels are optional.

All Tundras also come with a dual-zone climate control system, AM/FM CD with a plug for an MP3 player, tilt wheel, two power outlets, tachometer, digital clock, coolant temperature gauge and dual glove box.

Price The base price of the test truck was $41,850. Options included a cold-weather package, 20-inch wheels, power sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, remote engine start, satellite radio, rear-seat storage net, bed liner with side cargo rails and a bed extender. The sticker price was $47,230.

Warranty Three years or 36,000 miles, with a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

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