Toyota Tundra Performance
Reviewers say that the Toyota Tundra is a strong overall performer. It doesn’t have the most power or torque or the best fuel economy in the class, nor does it have the highest towing or hauling capacity. However, they say it has ample power for any situation, and remark that its largest V8 option is a good engine for tough towing jobs.
- "Toyota is proud that its full-size pickup is capable of towing the substantial loads of a three-quarter-ton in half-ton guise. A remarkable feat indeed, but the beefed-up rear suspension that permits this impressive capability produces a bouncy ride when unloaded. Furthermore, full-size truck shoppers who consider fuel economy a top priority will find plenty to like in the new Ram 1500 V6." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Once it found its groove and hooked up, the Tundra felt very confident down the track with the heavy cargo, finishing the eighth-of-a-mile run in third gear." -- PickupTrucks.com (2010)
Acceleration and Power
The Tundra is available with three engines. The base engine is a 4.0-liter V6 that puts out 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. The first optional V8 is a 4.6-liter unit that produces 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque. The most powerful option is the 5.7-liter V8, which produces 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. The V6 comes with a five-speed automatic transmission, while the V8s get six-speed automatics. EPA fuel economy ratings range from 16/20 mpg city/highway for a two-wheel drive Tundra with the V6 to 13/17 for a 4x4 model with the 5.7-liter V8. These ratings are about average for the class, but are by no means class-leading.
Reviewers are generally happy with the Tundra’s powertrain options, saying each engine offers ample power for most daily driving. For heavy towing and hauling, though, most critics prefer the 5.7-liter V8 for its ample torque and horsepower output. Reviewers who comment on the six-speed automatic that comes with the V8 options say that it shifts smoothly and promptly.
- "Of the two V8 engine choices, we prefer the more powerful 5.7-liter V8 for its rich baritone and high level of torque." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Tundra's 4.6-liter V8 gives smooth, linear acceleration from a stop. It's a good choice for most light- and medium-load haulers. The 5.7 is strong and responsive at all speeds. It's the obvious choice for heavy-duty hauling and trailering." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
- "Shifts from the six-speed automatic transmission are prompt, and the console shifter's precise action makes it easy to use the manual mode while tackling steep highway grades or off-road challenges." -- Edmunds (2010)
Handling and Braking
The Tundra is available with rear and four-wheel drive. Reviewers give the Tundra’s handling mixed reviews. Some say that ride quality is fairly good, while others note excessive body lean through turns. One notes that some rivals offer a more refined ride and handling. The Tundra’s steering also gets mixed reviews. According to one reviewer the Tundra feels fairly large from behind the wheel, but its light steering effort combats this somewhat, making it feel easy to maneuver.
- "As for how the 2013 Tundra drives, we found the big Toyota offers excellent steering feel and better ride quality than most three-quarter-ton pickups." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "For daily use, the 2013 Toyota Tundra's light steering makes it very easy to drive, though it feels bigger than competing trucks. We were satisfied with the Tundra's ride quality a few years ago, but the Ford and Ram trucks have been improved to the point that the Tundra's ride now seems stiff-legged by comparison." -- Edmunds
- "Disappoints with slow, numb steering feel, lazy reactions, and some noseplow in quick changes of direction. These deficits are minimized with the 18-inch wheels vs the 20s." -- Consumer Guide (2010)
Towing and Hauling
The Tundra can haul up to 2,090 pounds and tow up to 10,400 pounds. Maximum towing and payload capacities are class-competitive, but those looking for the greatest towing ability may prefer the Ford F-150, which can tow more than 11,000 pounds. One reviewer mentions that the Tundra easily pulls 10,000 pounds with the 5.7-liter V8. Another critic notes that the ride quality is actually worse when there is no cargo in the bed.
- "A Double Cab with the 5.7 pulled a 10,000-pound test trailer with no inordinate strain." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
- "Towing a sizable trailer is similarly no problem, as the truck can maintain its speed up steep grades without having to resort to full-throttle applications." -- Edmunds (2010)
- "Ride quality still suffers greatly when the truck is unloaded, making it very uncomfortable at times on some of L.A.'s notorious freeways. We like the Tundra when there's payload in the bed or a trailer hanging off the back. In those cases, it's a completely different pickup suitable to just about any task the other half-tons can do, if not more." -- PickupTrucks.com (2010)
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