Even though it hasn’t had a major overhaul since 2007, the Toyota Tundra still brings an attitude to the segment. But it deals in a very competitive environment with the top-selling Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Nissan Titan, and Ram 1500. Introduced for 2007, the current generation Tundra was revised for 2014, but needs a more than a refresh to keep up.
This week, we drove the top trim Toyota Tundra Limited CrewMax.
The 2017 Tundra adds a few new colors along with a power passenger seat, otherwise it carries over from 2016. In 2016, there were some minor updates.
The 2017 Toyota Tundra Limited CrewMax ($44,195) comes standard with perforated leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, 20-inch alloy wheels, 10-way power driver’s seat with memory, heated front seats, power vertical rear window, and fold-up rear seats.
Our Tundra Limited tester came with the optional 12-speaker Entune Premium JBL Audio system with navigation ($785), a power/tilt sliding moonroof ($850), and the Limited Premium package ($1,065). The Limited Premium package added extra interior lighting, anti-theft alarm features, front and rear parking sensors, a blind-spot monitoring system, and rear cross-traffic alert. The TRD Off-Road package added 18-inch TRD wheels, off-road tires, trail-tuned shock absorbers, skid plates, and tow hooks. It also came with a performance dual exhaust system ($1,100) and TRD skid plate ($425). Total MSRP, including destination: $51,985.
Tundra’s seats are big and roomy, but we thought they could use a bit more cushioning. Controls are large, logically arranged, and easy to figure out. We could even change the radio station without the owner’s manual. The central console is huge and perfect for working in the field and can easily hold a laptop. We had an employee holiday lunch in the truck this week, and a full-size cafeteria tray fit perfectly on the console.
The big CrewMax offers seating for five with leg space for taller riders in every seat. The backseats fold up easily with one pull of the handle, opening up to a large cargo area that’s ready to carry those bigger work items. Toyota listened and opted for the folding seats over the tilt and recline feature. Now you can carry tools or other valuable items you’d prefer to have inside and not leave exposed in the open bed.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
A 5.7-liter V8 engine developing 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft. of torque is standard on the Limited, Platinum, 1794, and TRD Pro trims. All Tundras equipped with the 5.7-liter V8 come with a standard tow package. This tester came equipped with a 4:30 axle ratio, engine and transmission coolers, and an HD battery and alternator. It was more than ready to tow up to its rated 10,500 lbs.
EPA fuel economy estimates are 13/17 city/highway and 15 mpg combined with 4WD.
The first thing we noticed after getting behind the wheel was the throaty exhaust note. The optional TRD performance dual exhaust system brings the 5.7-liter V8 to life. We found ourselves jumping hard on the accelerator this week just to hear the sound inside the cabin. The 5.7-liter V8 impresses, thanks in large part to its generous torque output and smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission.
We had a snow storm hit the mountains this week and shifted from 2H to 4H with the knob on the Tundra’s dash. The 4W Demand 4WD system instantly shifted into action and we never lost traction as we moved from dry pavement to a snow-covered highway in less than a few miles. On the open road, Tundra gives the driver a feeling of confidence and security in the extreme elements with its size, commanding view of the road, and all-terrain winter tires.
We had no problem passing slower traffic that was having more difficulty with the slick roads. Ride quality is reasonably comfortable, though rough pavement and the dirt roads leading to our house produce impacts beyond the normal range. During our urban driving, the Tundra handled well in heavy city traffic. The rear backup camera came in handy as we parked the long CrewMax in a tight city parking space.
The 2017 Toyota Tundra Limited CrewMax is a capable full-size pickup, and when equipped with the TRD Off-Road package, can deliver in a big way for those using it for hunting, camping or as a serious construction work vehicle.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy