2019 Toyota Tundra Review

2019 Toyota Tundra - Tundra faces tough competition in full-size pickup truck market


Toyota's Tundra is somewhat long in the tooth when it comes to the latest in interior design.  A tested 2019 TRD Pro model, for example, lacked a grab handle for the driver and it is tall step from the ground into the cab. Competitors offer easier to reach controls and placements for auxiliary devices.

Nor did the tested Tundra have pushbutton dashboard start, which almost is a given on new vehicles these days. It took a key in the ignition to start and stop this truck.

On the other hand, Toyota continues to offer a long, short and medium bed, V8 power across the lineup and the company's Safety Sense system as standard equipment in addition to the usual safety fare of airbags, antilock brakes, traction-stability control, seatbelts with headrests and trailer brake and sway controls.  Safety Sense includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure and forward collision warnings and automatic high beam controls.

Sheets of plywood fit between wheel wells (50-inch width).

The cab is extremely spacious with as much leg room in the rear as in front.

The rear multi-leaf spring suspension balanced several heavy loads well during the test week.

Tundra is a player in the full-size light duty pickup truck market. Ford's F-Series, Chevrolet's Silverado, GMC's Sierra and the Ram 1500 are the big players. Tundra and Nissan's Titan are trying to make sales inroads.

Tundra's are priced from $31,420 to $49,645,which was the price of the tested TRD Pro. Tundras come as double cab or crew cab models. Engines are 5.7- or 4.6-liter V8s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The transmission is incomparably smooth.

The tested Tundra was at the highest end of the price spectrum as it was a TRD Pro crew cab model with all-wheel-drive, Bilstein shocks, off-road tuned front springs, a transfer case (high and low), underbody protection, active traction control and limited-slip differential. A double wishbone coil-spring front suspension shared duties with the trapezoidal multi-leaf rear suspension with the Bilstein shock absorbers.

The two engines are called iForce V8s. The iForce appellation refers to an engine that has "intelligent" variable valve timing. There is a time overlap between when the exhaust valve closes and the intake valve opens. This improves fuel economy in a V8 engine, otherwise gas usage would be even worse than it is. A Tundra truck is big and heavy so do not expect economy with fuel usage. During the test week, fuel consumption averaged 14.8 miles per gallon in combined interstate, city and suburban driving with two adults (340 pounds total) aboard most of the time.

There is a huge storage compartment in the center console. It measures 10 inches deep, 14 inches long and 12 inches wide. A thermos and a brown bag lunch would be lost in it.

Cubbies are plentiful for personal or business items including a tray centered on top of the dashboard..

Both splits in the rear bench seat fold against the seatbacks to create a storage space, big enough, perhaps, even for a generator of modest proportions.

Entune is standard.  Entune includes a navigation system with up-to-date traffic and weather and a multimedia bundle. That bundle includes various apps, USB and several auxiliary ports, Bluetooth and high definition AM-FM-satellite radio, plus voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, backup camera, seven-inch color touchscreen and nine-speakers.

The tested Tundra had power windows (express), heated exterior mirrors, driver's seat and door locks, cruise control, air conditioning and remote keyless entry, but it did not have pushbutton dashboard start. It took a key in the ignition to start and stop this truck.
TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development.

Vehicle: TRD Pro crew cab model of 2019 Toyota Tundra

Type: four-wheel-drive, full-size, four-door five-passenger pickup truck

Price: $49,645

Engine: 5.7-liter, 381-horsepower V8

Transmission: six-speed automatic

Fuel: regular

Fuel tank: 38 gallons

Towing: 9,200 pounds

Payload: 1,560 pounds

Ground clearance: 10.6 inches

Turning circle: 44 feet

Tires (P275), wheels (TRD black alloy): 18-inch including spare

Brakes: ventilated discs, 13.9-inch front with four calipers, 13.6-inch rear

Wheelbase, length, width, height in inches: 145.7, 228.9, 79.9, 77.2

Bed length: five feet, five inches

Bed width and between wheel wells, 66.4 inches and 50 inches

Leg room: 42.5 inches front, 42.3 inches rear

Warranty: : three years or 36,000 miles, five years or 60,000 miles powertrain, two years or 25,000 miles free scheduled maintenance

Assembly: San Antonio

Information:  www.Toyota.com/2017/Tundra/TRDPro


Jerry Kuyper

Born on a southwestern Minnesota farm, Jerrold E. Kuyper quickly became familiar with tractors, pickup trucks and related agricultural equipment. He left that behind to graduate from Augsburg College in Minneapolis and attend graduate schools in Evanston and Chicago. He was hired as a reporter for the Kenosha News, a daily newspaper in Kenosha, WI. After a stint of a dozen years at the Kenosha News, he became a columnist, layout, page and sections editor at the Northwest Herald, a daily newspaper based in Crystal Lake, IL serving northwest Chicago suburban communities.

While with the Northwest Herald he helped create, write reviews and opinion columns as well as edit the newspaper's Wheels section, a 16- to 40-page broadsheet that appeared weekly in the newspaper's Friday edition. Wheels was devoted to reviews of new vehicles, looks at automotive history, current trends in the automobile world and columns by automotive enthusiasts. Midwest Automotive Media Association members who contributed to reviews and columns included Mitch Frumkin, Phil Arendt, Matt Joseph and James Flammang as well as photo journalist Doug Begley and dragster specialist Fred Blumenthal.

Kuyper, who lives in Salem Lakes, WI, is a founding member of MAMA, is married, has three children and six grandchildren.