2007 Toyota Tundra Review / Road Test

Perfect for rutted terrain on Signal Hill

Flat-out most exciting release this year in the truck and SUV segment, and the one most likely to have the longest impact, is Toyota's Tundra supertruck.

Hang on, supertruck?  Too strong? Nope, and if you drive one, you'll see why.

Qualifier here: In the last year I've ridden around in uber-trucks Ford's F150 King Ranch, Lincoln's LT, GMC Sierra, Honda Ridgeline, RAM 3500 MegaCab and the Tundra's younger sister, the Tacoma TRD.

So I like trucks.  Usually, I take them to LA Port and rip them around on rutted loam and sand. I took the Tundra instead to Signal Hill, and a crazy trail up the side of an oil installation that tested its low-down power, steering and weight distribution. 

Step up into the Tundra's cab and instantly you'll be impressed.  The cavernous space in the test Crew Max variant isn't a shock  after the RAM 3500, but the quality of the fittings and finish are immediately remarkable, like those on the LT, definitely higher end. By this I mean the wife commented on how much she liked it. As the did the favorite aunt in the back seat. They both said it felt like a limo, which was kind of how I felt driving the 19-foot Crew Max.

Strengthened body and shell

Turn the key  and you feel a  surge beneath the hood as the test vehicle's 5.7-liter V8 - 4 liter V6 in the basic - cranks into life. First thing you'll notice is the lightness of the steering and its maneuverability. You could swing one of these in a Famima aisle (maybe).

18-inch rims

On roughish roads getting to the freeway, you'll notice its ride courtesy of its  independent coil-spring high-mounted double-wishbone suspension at the front, alongside a stabilizer bar and low-pressure nitrogen gas shocks; at the real you'll find  trapezoidal – mmm, yes -  multi-leaf rear suspension and staggered low-pressure nitrogen gas shocks. Just enjoy it, it means nothing.

I'm just kidding!  The trapezoidal  suspension is when the wheel is fixed by an upper lateral control arm and a trapezoidal lower link with a tie rod behind it. If you must ask.

Somewhere along the freeway, you will probably realize that it packs six gears.

Off-road the truck is as competent as expected and real fun to whirl around.  It was  perky on rutted ground and stiff, too, as a result of a 30% tensile strengthening in its all-new platform.

It's part of a massive step up from the previous Tundra, which never really challenged domestic supremacy in the truck sector, selling just over a hundred thousand a year, or about a 20th of U.S.-built trucks. The new model has already surpassed the Sierra 1500  in sales to take the No. 4 spot (behind Ford, Chevy and Dodge) and has sold 115,185 through Aug. 2nd, though don't ever write-off the Sierra, a class vehicle with one of the most loyal bases out there.

Also the Tundra is part of Toyota's ultra-secret, covert, conspiratorial attempt to brand itself as American. Not really. Toyota's been making models in the U.S. for years, employing hundreds of thousands of Americans across the nation (the Tundra is rolling out of San Antonio, Texas and Princeton, Indiana). Keep that under your hat, you never know who's listening.

Redesigned from the ground up

So the Tundra is probably earth-shaking for domestic companies but what they're really worried about is the strength of Toyota's product.

Even Edmonds.com - though I'm loathe to refer to another car site - says: "If you're shopping for a pickup this year, this is one you won't want to miss." Yowzer.

It's four inches longer than the previous model, which translated into bigger cab and longer bed - up to 8ft in the Crew Max model - while its load-bearing and towing is massively improved.  The base model can easily tow 10,000 pounds while the biggest beast will tow more than 16,000.  Without hauling anything, the top Tundra will rocket to a mile a minute in 6.3 seconds.  You can also wring 20 mpg out of it at the top end.

Options include front skid plate, 18-inch rims, power windows and doors, keyless entry and sliding windows. These come as part of the $1980 options package on top of the invoice recommendations of $20,281 to $37,873 for the range. You'll also get a dapper reversing camera, which should come standard on all vehicles this size.

Supertruck? Indeed.

Cavernous, well-equipped interior even in the small-cab variant

 

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