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Avg. Price Paid:$11,611 - $26,175
Original MSRP: $22,390 - $42,170
MPG: 14 City / 17 Hwy
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2008 Toyota Tundra Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Toyota Tundra was new.

With one of the most powerful V8 engines in the class, the Tundra is ensured a high performance rating. Automobile Magazine says, "The big V-8 purrs silently in cruise mode. When tasked to move a hefty load, the samurai warrior buried in its soul lets out a fierce yowl."

Praise for the 5.7-liter V8 continues. Edmunds notes its "class-leading output." Car and Driver says, "In the world of half-ton pickups, the Tundra's new 5.7 V-8 rules, and that rule is absolute." But the Tundra still provides a truckier ride than some expected. "The Tundra has decent handling if not pushed too hard and is fairly easy to maneuver," says the Chicago Sun-Times. "But it's no sport truck with either the 18- or 20-inch wheels -- not even with the TRD [suspension] off-road package which my test Tundra had."

Acceleration and Power

Previous models of the Tundra came with a choice of a 4.0-liter V6 or a 4.7-liter V8, both of which the Chicago Tribune says are "anemic choices for hauling or towing." These engines are still available, but most favor the new 5.7-liter iForce V8. "My test Tundra with the 5.7 V8 was the fastest full-size stock half-ton pickup I've driven," says MSN, "doing 0-60 mph in 6 seconds flat with its considerable torque and quick-thinking automatic transmission." Motor Trend says the V8 is "as smooth and powerful as the best of its competitors."

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the two-wheel drive Tundra with the 4.0-liter engine at 15 miles per gallon in the city and 19 on the highway, while the 4.7-liter model scores 14 mpg in the city and 17 on the highway and the 5.7-liter V8 is rated at 14 in the city and 18 on the highway. The four-wheel drive Tundra rates at 13/16 mpg city/highway with the 4.7-liter engine, and at 13/17 with the 5.7 V8. Some reviewers aren't thrilled. The Sacramento Bee notes, "Wow, I'd sure hate to buy gas for this thing." But MSN reports the engines "all use 87-octane fuel, which is a plus with prices for even regular grade gasoline topping $3 per gallon in many areas of the country as of this writing."

The Tundra has a standard five-speed automatic transmission and an optional six-speed automatic that particularly garners praise. "All that horsepower," says the Boston Globe, "is shipped through a six-speed automatic transmission that turns what could be a herky-jerky amalgam into a smooth ride up and down the gears." PickupTruck.com says, "We also like the shifting of the six-speed tranny. It was smooth and quiet, and perfectly matched to the 5.7 V8."

Handling and Braking

The 2008 Toyota Tundra is a large, heavy vehicle that's not expected to have snappy handling. "This is a big pickup," says Car and Driver, "and it responds like a big pickup, which is to say deliberately. No one will confuse it with a sports car." 4-Wheel & Off-Road  calls the Tundra's road manners "first-rate. Only when traffic lanes (or brushy trails) got narrow did we feel its bulk."

The Tundra's trucky handling mainly becomes a problem when the driver attempts to park it. The Chicago Tribune says "those in a Tundra have to attempt slipping into a parking space when any vehicle is parked on either side. Not quick and easy to do when maneuvering a land yacht." Fortunately, the Tundra comes with a backup camera.

The Tundra's independent double wishbone front suspension and rear leaf springs produce an acceptable ride. "We found the ride over uneven surfaces to be composed and controlled," says Kelley Blue Book. But Newsday says, "The ride is choppy and bouncy," before adding "the Tundra's suspension does a good job - as do those of competitors - in keeping the tires in contact with the pavement." Cars.com says both the Double Cab and Crew Max rid well with an empty bed. "There's some shudder in the structure when rolling over bumps," they note, "but this is common among body-on-frame pickups, and it's not excessive here." The Orlando Sentinel reports the ride is "not particularly smooth, but not punishing." And the Sacramento Bee says the Tundra's "nearly 5,300 pounds rolled with silky smoothness... The Tundra's suspension swallowed the jolt of potholes, with only the sound reaching the interior cabin."

But several find the Tundra's power rack-and-pinion steering is numb. Consumer Guide reports the Tundra "disappoints with slow, numb steering feel, lazy reactions and some noseplow in quick changes of direction." MSN writes that "steering is quick enough, but also somewhat heavy and numb." But Edmunds says "we have nothing but praise for the steering, which has precise feel and direct response." Similarly, Truck Trend writes "the light steering that turns tighter is welcome in urban and backing situations."

When it comes to the Tundra's braking, Car and Driver says "for all the system power, brake pedal feel is as numb as your tongue in the aftermath of a root canal." Cars.com says, "In normal driving, the brakes did their job, but the numb pedal feel left plenty to be desired. The Silverado has a real edge here." Otherwise the brakes are well reviewed. "As stunning as it was to feel this big truck moving so fast," says the Sacramento Bee, "it was equally stunning to feel how quickly the big, four-wheel, ventilated disc brakes slowed it down or brought it to an abrupt stop." Antilock braking is standard on the Tundra.

Towing

The Tundra's towing capabilities are commendable. Edmunds says "this configuration achieves another best-in-class: a tow rating of 10,800 pounds." To AutoWeek "the Tundra tows well, returns a respectable 11.4 mpg while doing so and has plenty of power in reserve."

Review Last Updated: 3/10/09

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