Reviews

2017 Toyota Tundra Driving Impressions


Tundra’s powertrain choices are more limited than what’s offered by Ford, GM, and Ram. At 10,400 pounds, maximum towing capacity trails the domestic models. Yet, the Tundra can be a tempting contender.

Toyota’s two V8 engines feel similar in city-street driving with an unladen truck. Both perform well, with good low-rpm acceleration, making the Tundra acceptably quick. Both V8s tend to lose oomph as speed rises or weight increases.

If you’re pulling a trailer, spring for the 5.7-liter engine. The 4.6-liter Tundra starts to feel anemic when carrying four tons or so. Even with the larger V8, the Tundra isn’t all that eager to attain freeway speed in the length of an on-ramp. Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, and Ram 1500 offer more power for accelerating with a substantial load.

Expect easygoing behavior when driving through traffic. Ride quality is reasonably comfortable, though pavement bumps and seams typically produce impacts beyond the normal range. Light steering isn’t as quick as it would be in an F-150 or Ram.

In urban use, the Tundra handles well. Choose a TRD model with its upgraded suspension and tires, however, and the ride won’t be quite so enticing.

Despite its 310-horsepower rating, the 4.6-liter V8 cannot quite compare with V6 engines from Ford and GM. Acceleration is hardier with the 5.7-liter engine, but even that V8 doesn’t really match a Silverado V8 or Hemi Ram.

Both V8s use 6-speed automatic transmissions, which shift smoothly and respond promptly enough.

Gas mileage is a sore point. With rear-drive, the 4.6-liter V8 is EPA-rated at 15/19 mpg City/Highway, or 16 mpg Combined. A rear-drive Tundra with the bigger V8 is EPA-rated at 14/18 mpg City/Highway, or 16 mpg Combined.

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