Base Price (MSRP) - $15,955
As Tested (MSRP) - $33,549

Introduction

The Toyota Tundra is available in a new four-door crew cab model for 2004 called the Double Cab. The Double Cab features a deep, six-foot bed and brings Toyota closer to having a true full-size pickup: The Double Cab is three inches taller, four inches wider, and is built on a longer chassis than the other Tundra pickups. With the addition of the Double Cab, the Tundra is now available in regular cab, extended cab, and crew cab bodies.

Though classified as full-size, the Tundra models are not as big as the Nissan Titan, Ford F-150, Dodge Ram, Chevrolet Silverado, and GMC Sierra models. Toyota makes up for this in other ways. The Tundra feels lighter on its feet, more agile and more refined than the domestic trucks. The Tundra is quick and responsive. And it's built to Toyota's high standard of quality, durability and reliability.

The Tundra is one of the smoothest, quietest, and most refined pickups we've driven. Its 4.7-liter V8 engine is exceptional, with enough power to run with the big dogs. A properly equipped Tundra can tow up to 7,100 pounds or haul up to 1,800 pounds. A V6 engine is available, and there's a bare-bones work truck that starts at $15,955.

 

Model Lineup

Toyota Tundra is available as a two-door Regular Cab, an extended Access Cab with auxiliary rear doors, and the new Double Cab. Two- and four-wheel-drive versions are offered, employing similar suspensions and bed heights. Three trim levels are available: base, SR5, and Limited. Access Cab buyers can choose a full-width or stepside bed.

Two engines are available: The double-overhead-cam, 32-valve 4.7-liter V8 produces 240 horsepower and 315 foot-pounds of torque and comes with a four-speed automatic transmission. The double-overhead-cam 3.4-liter V6 is rated at 190 horsepower and 220 foot-pounds of torque; it comes with a choice of four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission.

Base models are pretty plain, and come only with the Regular Cab, V6, and two-wheel drive ($15,955). A five-speed manual is standard, but it's also available with an automatic ($16,795). Bumpers are painted. Air conditioning ($985) is optional. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) are standard.

SR5 models offer the option of an Access Cab ($21,365), a Double Cab ($25,645), and four-wheel drive. SR5 models come standard with air conditioning, cruise control, AM/FM/cassette stereo, tilt steering, tachometer, color-keyed front and chromed rear bumper, styled steel wheels, and other trim upgrades. The V6 and five-speed manual are standard, but an automatic is available. SR5s are also available with the V8 and automatic.

Limited models come standard with the V8, and are available in Access Cab ($27,075) or Double Cab ($29,270). The Limited's long list of standard equipment includes an in-dash CD changer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, keyless entry, and an anti-theft system. Limited models also get a power rear window.

The step-side is available only on V8 Access Cabs in SR5 ($24,295) or Limited ($27,825) trim. A Sport Suspension Package for 2WD V8 models features Tokico shocks, springs tuned for handling, and a 3.916:1 limited-slip differential. Graphite-tone 17-inch alloy wheels wear P265/65R17 tires.

 

Walkaround

The Toyota Tundra is an attractive pickup, with a bold grille opening that extends down into the bumper. The heavy-looking chrome grille bars faintly suggest the 1947 GMC design, a model now popular with collectors. However, the Tundra's styling is bland compared to the Nissan Titan, Dodge Ram, or the new Ford F-150. The Tundra shares a family resemblance with the compact Toyota Tacoma. Curving lines give both Toyota trucks a sporty appearance, while bulging fenders make them look ready to go off road. The StepSide body is more svelte than macho.

The Tundra Double Cab looks bigger and brawnier than the Regular Cab and Access Cab models. That's because it is bigger, not only longer in wheelbase, but over three inches taller and four inches wider as well. Around back, Double Cab models sport unique taillights. At 74.3 inches, the Double Cab's bed is less than a half-inch shorter than the Access Cab's.

Access Cab models have four doors. The short rear doors are hinged at the rear and open opposite the front doors. As with other extended cabs, the doors on the Access Cab will bang into one another if you close the front door before closing the rear door. Fortunately, the inside of the rear door is padded, so this isn't a big problem. Handles for the rear doors are conveniently located on the outside, whereas most domestic pickups with extended cabs hide the handles inside the door jams. Still, the Tundra's handle design isn't the most comfortable to use.

Regular cab beds measure 8 feet, but only 6-feet, 3-inches with the Access Cab. That's a few inches inches shorter than the short bed of a Ford F-150 or Chevrolet Silverado. Toyota's bed is also a little shallower than Ford's. The Double Cab's bed is about a half-inch shorter still, but at 20.7 inches it's 3.5 inches deeper than the beds of the Regular Cab and Access Cab. That makes it slightly deeper than the Nissan Titan Crew Cab or Ford F-150 Super Crew beds as well.

 

2004 Toyota Tundra
2004 Toyota Tundra

Interior Features

The Tundra is a comfortable truck with a friendly interior. The Double Cab offers an inch more front headroom than the other models and slightly more hip room, but otherwise offers similar roominess to Regular Cab and Access Cab models.

The Tundra's front-seat roominess is competitive with other full-size pickups. Toyota claims the Tundra provides more front legroom than any of the domestic pickups, though it's only about a half inch, and the Nissan Titan has a slight edge over all of them. The others, especially the F-150, offer more hip room than the Tundra.

The 60/40 split-bench cloth seats that come in most models are welcoming and supportive. Double Cabs come with bucket seats up front, rather than the split bench. Climbing in is easy, though the two-wheel-drive model seems to sit higher off the ground than other two-wheel-drive pickups. The Tundra feels tall in the saddle, giving the driver a commanding view over shorter vehicles.

Accessory switches are concentrated in the center cluster for easy operation. The instruments are straightforward, with a big tachometer on all but base models. A new center console with four cup holders, dual map pockets and covered storage is shared with the Toyota Sequoia SUV. Double sun visors with extenders are useful at sunrise and sunset.

Access Cab models add interior storage space and the ability to carry two more passengers. If those passengers are adults, however, the rear seat is mostly a short-term affair. The Tundra does not have nearly as much space in the rear compartment of its extended cab as the other full-size pickups. And the rear seatback is vertical, forcing the occupants to sit bolt upright, uncomfortable for traveling any farther than the neighborhood restaurant. A far better use for the extended cab is carrying dry cleaning, groceries, briefcases, outdoor gear, or anything else that should be shielded from the elements. Unfortunately, the rear seat takes up a fair amount of room. The seat bottom on the split bench can be flipped up, but the seat doesn't fold completely out of the way nor can it be easily removed. Some of the domestic pickups are set up better for this.

The Double Cab provides genuinely useful space for adult passengers. Its 37.5 inches of rear-seat legroom makes for comfortable accommodations for back-seat passengers, though it doesn't have as much space as the new Ford F-150 or Nissan Titan. Tundra's rear seatback reclines at an angle of 24 degrees, adding to comfort. Each rear seating position has a headrest and three-point safety belt. Rear-seat passengers also enjoy their own heating and air conditioning outlets, and optional audio and DVD entertainment systems. Tundra Double Cab also offers the segment's first vertical power-sliding rear window. At 750 square inches, the Double Cab's rear window offers more than four times the open area as the manual sliding rear windows in the Regular Cab and Access Cab models. When the Double Cab's 60/40 split rear seat isn't occupied, it folds and tumbles to provide lockable, weather-tight storage space inside the cab.

Safety features for all Tundra models include seatbelt pre-tensioners and force limiters, along with the required dual front airbags. The passenger-side airbag can be switched off with the key when babies or children occupy the front passenger seat.

 

2004 Toyota Tundra

Driving Impressions

The Toyota Tundra rides almost as quietly as a luxury sedan, whether it's a four-wheel-drive or two-wheel-drive model. This is the quietest pickup we've driven. There's very little wind or road noise in the cabin. And the ride quality is extremely smooth.

The V8 engine provides excellent acceleration. It's very responsive in the 45-mph range, so passing on two-lane roads is easier. Toyota's V8 is silky smooth, quick, and extremely responsive. At the same time, it isn't overly sensitive to the throttle at tip-in, so it doesn't lurch off the line. And it sounds great. Stand behind the Tundra when it is started, revved, or even idling, and you're treated to a classic V8 burble that's pleasant to American ears. Yet, it's super-quiet when sitting inside the truck or standing in front of it.

V8 engines with twin cams and four valves per cylinder are usually associated with imported luxury sports sedans. Toyota perfected this design in its Land Cruiser and Lexus luxury vehicles. With distributorless ignition and other state-of-the-art features, the Tundra's 4.7-liter V8 produces nearly 200 pounds-feet of torque at just 2000 rpm and develops 315 pounds-feet at 3400 rpm. This gives it quick response around town and strong power for towing and hauling. It's also efficient, and qualifies as an ultra low-emission vehicle, or ULEV, by U.S. government standards.

The automatic transmission is smooth and responsive, communicating well with the engine, and always choosing the appropriate gear.

Starting from a dead stop, a two-wheel-drive Tundra Limited easily accelerated up a long steep grade while pulling a 3,000-pound trailer. This rig was stable going around sweeping turns, and when braking from high speeds on steep downhill sections. There were none of the up and down motions when bouncing at low speed over a rough, lava-covered dirt road that some trucks exhibit when their front suspensions aren't up to balancing weight on the rear tongue. Transmission and engine oil coolers are standard.

Ride quality is excellent. On rough pavement and bumpy dirt roads, the Tundra's suspension really shines. It damps out unwanted vibration and harshness and controls the movement of the wheels precisely, keeping the tires in contact with the road surface for excellent grip and handling. The 4WD suspension performed amazingly well and was easy to control when bouncing up a steep mountain trail. Bounding over harsh dips and humps, the suspension offered impressive travel and damping. It never hit the bump stops in spite of our efforts to beat it up. While bouncing over moguls, we noticed that neither the cowl nor the front hood shook. The Tundra's chassis is highly rigid with boxed front frame rails. Toyota also claims this truck offers class-leading ground clearance, and that everything underneath is tucked above the frame rails.

Both the two- and four-wheel-drive models offer exceptional handling, even with the standard suspension. The 2WD SR5 we drove was incredibly responsive. Everything about it felt exceptionally tight.

The Sport Suspension Package promises better handling on paved roads. And for those who prefer fast travel off-road, Toyota offers the TRD Off-Road Package, developed with Toyota off-road-racing legend Ivan "Ironman" Stewart. Using Bilstein shocks and special progressive-rate springs, this suspension is designed for performance in extreme off-road conditions; and it reportedly rides better on rough road surfaces than the standard suspension.

The brakes felt great even when pulling a trailer.

 

2004 Toyota Tundra

Summary

The Toyota Tundra may not boast the bragging rights found on the other full-size pickups, but it's smooth and quiet, light on its feet, and easy and enjoyable to drive. It offers lots of power for passing or towing. All of this, wrapped up with Toyota's renowned quality, durability and reliability, make the Tundra a good choice among full-size pickup trucks.


Model Line Overview

Base Price (MSRP) $15,955
As Tested (MSRP) $33,549

Model lineup: Toyota Tundra Regular Cab V6 4x2 ($15,955); Access Cab SR5 V6 4x2 ($21,365); Double Cab SR5 V8 4x2 ($25,645); Access Cab SR5 V8 4x4 ($26,775); Access Cab Limited V8 4x2 ($27,075); Double Cab Limited V8 4x2 ($29,270); Access Cab Limited V8 4x4 ($30,415); Double Cab Limited V8 4x4 ($32,600)
Engines: 4.7-liter dohc 32-valve V8
Transmissions: 4-speed automatic
Safety equipment (Standard): dual front airbags, front seatbelt pre-tensioners and force limiters, ABS
Safety equipment (Optional): N/A
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in: Princeton, Indiana

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Toyota Tundra Double Cab Limited 4x4 ($32,600)
Standard equipment: 4.7-liter i-Force V8; automatic transmission; anti-lock brakes (ABS); air conditioning; cruise control; fog lamps; six-speaker AM/FM/cassette/CD with six-disc in-dash changer and steering wheel controls; tilt steering wheel; variable-speed intermittent windshield wipers; power windows/locks/mirrors; vertically powered rear cab window; driver and passenger sun visors with extensions; P265/65R17 tires; 17-inch aluminum wheels; front and rear mudguards
Options as tested: All-Weather Guard Package ($100) includes heavy-duty battery, starter and heater; daytime running lights ($40); bed liner ($299)
Destination charge: 540
Gas Guzzler Tax: N/A
Layout: four-wheel drive
Engine (Optional): 190-hp 3.4-liter dohc 24-valve V6; 240-hp 4.7-liter dohc 32-valve V8
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 240 @ 4800
Torque(lb.-ft. @ rpm): 315 @ 3400
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 14/16 mpg
Transmission (Optional): 4-speed automatic; 5-speed manual
Wheelbase: 140.5 in.
Length/width/height: 230.1/79.7/75.0 in.
Track, f/r: 65.9/67.3 in.
Turning circle: 47.0 ft.
Seating capacity: 5
Head/hip/leg room, f: 41.2/59.7/41.6 in.
Head/hip/leg room, r: 40.2/58.3/37.5 in.
Cargo volume: N/A
Payload 1580 Lbs.
Suspension F: independent, upper and lower wishbones, coil springs, gas-charged shock absorbers
Suspension R: live axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs, staggered gas-charged shock absorbers
Ground Clearance: 12.3 in.
Curb weight: 5020 Lbs.
Towing capacity: 6500 Lbs.
Tires: P265/56R17
Brakes, f/r: disc/drum with ABS
Fuel capacity: 26.4 gal.

Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of 12/Nov/2003.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-468-6968 - www.toyota.com


Copyright © 1994-2003 New Car Test Drive

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Copyright © 1994-2009 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

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