When it comes to trucks, the American made versions are hard to beat. Toyota’s Tundra pickup has an uphill battle to beat stiff competition from Ford, General Motors, and Ram. Each sell more than their Japanese counterpart but it hasn’t stopped Toyota from trying.
They get an “A” for effort but does the Tundra get it done on the road? We wanted to see so we drove the 2016 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro CrewMax this week.
For 2016, Tundra gets mild exterior tweaks, a larger fuel tank, and the infotainment system has been updated.
Features & Options
The 2016 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro ($45,060) features foglights, exterior chrome trim, an upgraded tech interface, 7-inch touchscreen, HD and satellite radio, traffic information, and a navigation app. The CrewMax adds a power opening rear window, an overhead console, and a larger gas tank on the 5.7-liter V8.
CrewMax models are fitted with a 66.7-inch bed, four full-size doors, and a rear bench seat.
The TRD Pro (Off-Road) includes unique styling elements, black 18-inch alloy wheels, off-road tires, and an off-road suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers. There are four movable bed tie-down cleats, an eight-way power driver’s seat, a four-way power passenger’s seat, leather upholstery with TRD logo, and red stitching.
If that’s not enough, a navigation system and additional speakers (nine on the CrewMax) should satisfy.
Total MSRP including destination: $47,180.
The cabin of the Tundra TRD Pro CrewMax is a strong point. The leather-trimmed bucket seats are roomy, plush, and comfortable. The cabin is on par with the Ford F-150 and Nissan Titan. It’s refined and quiet inside, and the material quality is close to the competition.
The central console is huge and can hold a laptop.
The interior of this full-size truck is spacious, both in the front and back. The CrewMax body style will easily accommodate five adults all day long. The CrewMax is the definitely the correct choice if you will be carrying six-footers in the second row. There’s sufficient leg room for every rider. Seats slide and recline, though the backrest reclining angle isn’t too comfortable and cushions are somewhat low.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
A 5.7-liter V8 is standard on the CrewMax TRD Pro. It produces 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 6-speed automatic with sequential shift. EPA fuel economy estimates are 13/17 city/highway and 15 combined with 4WD. The larger fuel tank (38 gallons) is useful for longer hauls.
The first thing you notice with the TRD Pro is the dual exhaust. The 5.7-liter engine makes a nice rumble during acceleration, and is especially quick due to the extra torque in the engine. We pulled up I-70 west of Denver and into the mountains without issue. The 6-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and the shift points are just about right for pulling steep mountain passes.
The truck had plenty of power when we were pushing hard, but we were also running empty. With a full load, it could be a different story. If you’re pulling a heavy trailer anywhere else, however, the 5.7-liter engine will likely get the job done.
On the open road, ride quality suffers because of the firmer suspension of the TRD Pro off-road package. In spite of its long length, the Tundra CrewMax lets you know almost every bump and rough spot in the pavement. It’s the price you pay for the ability to get away from civilization.
In urban settings, the Tundra handles well, and in a civilized manner. Around town it could be tricky, however, as the CrewMax is a bit long for most parking spots. If you need to get into smaller areas, this truck will leave you hanging out.
The Tundra offers full-size truck buyers an awful lot for their money. The CrewMax is legitimately sprawl-out comfortable, with legroom for six-foot (or taller) adults and the added comfort of a reclining seat. Those interested in venturing off-road or getting away from civilization would be wise to consider the capable TRD Pro.
Toyota is making strides, but they still have a ways to go in keeping up with their American counterparts.
*Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy