New Car Review Video
2017 Toyota Tundra: New Car Review
The 2017 Toyota Tundra is facing stiff competition from every direction, and it's starting to fade into the background. All of its competitors have been completely redesigned since it last received a complete overhaul -- in fact, some have been redesigned and then significantly updated -- and despite some key updates over the years, the Tundra just doesn't have the chops to keep up.
Don't get us wrong, Toyota's full-size pickup still offers brawny styling, powerful engines, excellent reliability and a wide array of trims, plus a uniquely spacious CrewMax trim that could probably double as a limo. There's also its TRD Pro trim level, which can take to off-road trails as well as anything not named Power Wagon or Raptor. But then there's its subpar fuel economy, jittery ride and the general fact that it's quite stale compared to newer competition. The Tundra absolutely gets the job done, but rival trucks will probably do it better.
What's New for 2017?
The Tundra is essentially unchanged for 2017.
What We Like
Exceptional back seat room in double cab and CrewMax; excellent reliability; a V8 is standard on every model
What We Don't
Aging mechanicals and interior design; subpar fuel economy; some controls require an uncomfortable reach; no diesel option
The Tundra's standard engine is a 4.6-liter V8 cranking out 310 horsepower and 327 lb-ft of torque. Meanwhile, the optional 5.7-liter V8 boasts a muscular 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. Both work with a 6-speed automatic. The Tundra comes standard with rear-wheel drive. The optional part-time 4-wheel-drive (4WD) system has an electronically controlled transfer case with a low range.
With the 4.6-liter and RWD, the Tundra returns 15 miles per gallon city, 19 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined. The 5.7-liter returns 13 mpg city, 18 mpg highway and 15 mpg combined. Opting for 4WD yields a negligible difference.
Standard Features & Options
The 2017 Toyota Tundra comes in a wide range of trim levels, including basic SR and SR5, mid-level Limited and upscale Platinum and 1794 Edition. There's also an off-road-oriented TRD Pro model. It's offered with an array of bed lengths and body styles, including 2-door regular cab, 4-door double cab and a larger 4-door CrewMax.
The base-level Tundra SR ($30,100) includes a surprisingly long list of standard equipment. In addition to the truck's 4.6-liter V8, it includes 18-in steel wheels, an integrated trailer brake controller, a windshield wiper de-icer, a damped tailgate, keyless entry, cloth upholstery, air conditioning, a backup camera, a USB port, Bluetooth and a 6.1-in touchscreen. A 40/20/40-split front bench is standard that allows for six passenger seating. The regular cab is also SR only.
Next up is the SR5 ($31,900), which adds chrome accents, variable intermittent wipers, fog lights, a 7-in touchscreen, HD and satellite radios and a sliding rear window on the CrewMax.
The middle range is the Limited ($39,400), which adds 20-in alloy wheels, heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated power front seats with a center console and thus five-passenger seating, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a navigation system, additional speakers (seven double cab, nine CrewMax) and Toyota's Entune app suite, allowing drivers to select and use various apps in conjunction with the infotainment system.
From here, the lineup takes a detour. Shoppers who want an off-road-oriented truck can choose the TRD Pro ($43,500), which adds off-road suspension, wheels, tires and skid plates plus special styling to the SR5 equipment along with leather upholstery, the power front seats, navigation system and additional speakers.
Above the Limited is the high-end Platinum ($47,100), which boasts extra chrome touches, LED running/accent lights, a sunroof, upgraded leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, driver memory functions and a 12-speaker JBL sound system (optional on Limited CrewMax). A Safety & Convenience package consisting of parking sensors and blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems comes standard on the Platinum, but is optional on all but the base SR.
Topping the range is the CrewMax-only 1794 Edition ($47,100), which celebrates the Texas cattle ranch that previously occupied the land now home to the Tundra factory. It's really just a Platinum with unique interior and exterior trim to give it a Southwestern flair.
Some equipment on the upper trim levels is available on lower ones.
The Tundra comes standard with antilock brakes, stability control, trailer sway control, a rearview camera and eight airbags, including front knee airbags. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems are optional.
In government crash tests, the Tundra received four out of five stars for overall and frontal crash protection as well as five stars for side protection. The regular and double cab scored three stars for rollover versus the CrewMax's four-star score. The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Tundra double cab the best-possible rating of Good in all crash tests but the new small overlap front test, where it received a second-best Acceptable score. Interestingly, the CrewMax received a second-worst Marginal score in that test along with an Acceptable score in the roof strength test.
Behind the Wheel
Like every big truck except for the RAM 1500, with its coil-spring rear suspension, the Tundra's ride is a bit firm and jittery when the bed is empty. Recent updates help the truck's case, but it's still a full-size pickup truck and even then, it has one of the firmest rides of them all.
We like the Tundra's relatively compact steering wheel and car-like cockpit, which help give the truck a maneuverable feel. We also appreciate that the cabin remains fairly quiet at highway speeds. Off-road, the Tundra is a formidable performer, especially in the TRD Pro guise.
The Tundra's standard front seat configuration is a 3-person bench, but fancier Tundras have front bucket seats with escalating levels of luxury and power adjustability. The regular cab doesn't have a back seat, but those seated in the 60/40-split folding rear bench of the 4-door double cab will find it to be one of most spacious extended cabs on the market. There is no such qualifier needed for the CrewMax, which would make 7-footers feel at home with its extended legroom and reclining seatback. Note that every CrewMax's back seat uniquely slides fore and aft, but the double cab's is fixed by default with an optional sliding function.
The Tundra comes with one of three bed lengths: 66.7-in (CrewMax only), 78.7-in (standard on regular cab and double cab) or 97.6-in (optional on regular cab and double cab). If you want the CrewMax's extra passenger space, you'll have to live with the shortest bed of the bunch.
Other Cars to Consider
2017 Ford F-150 -- The F-150 offers strong fuel economy, an excellent array of engines and added refinement. Using aluminum construction, it's also a lot lighter and more capable than its preceding truck. It's worth a spot on your shopping list.
2017 Chevrolet Silverado and 2017 GMC Sierra -- The GM twins are a little older in their design, but they're still fresher than the Tundra. They offer impressive refinement and capable, efficient V8 engines.
2017 RAM 1500 -- RAM's full-size truck is getting on in years too, but its unique benefits, like diesel power and coil spring suspension give it a leg up on the Tundra.
Used Toyota Tundra -- If you're intimidated by the pricing of a new Tundra, you might want to consider a used one. Given that this design has been around largely unchanged since 2007, you don't necessarily need the latest and greatest to look and feel like you have a new pickup.
Since the point of these full-size beasts is to be able to handle just about any job, we'd take a Tundra double cab with the long bed and the 5.7-liter V8. It's the closest thing Toyota has to a heavy-duty truck, and it's all the truck we'd ever need.