Completely redesigned for 2007, the Toyota Tundra is now just as big and burly as the perennial class best-sellers, the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado.
The 2009 Toyota Tundra continues with its especially imposing outward appearance, with a prominent, upright grille, detailed headlamps, flared wheel wells, and just a few equipment changes for this year.
The interior of all 2009 Toyota Tundra models feature a tilt/telescope steering wheel, big, supportive seats, controls designed to be used with gloves, and a huge center console capable of holding a laptop.
Although the Tundra isn't available in quite as many models as its full-size competitors from Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, and Dodge, the Tundra still bewilders with sheer equipment possibilities; whatever the purpose, there's a Tundra for it. To better compete with Detroit, the Tundra is available in a wide range of body configurations: Regular, Double Cab, and CrewMax cabs with three different bed lengths. The Double Cab has small rear doors and enough seating space for children, with a folding seat bottom when it's not in use, but the CrewMax has full-size back doors and enough space in the backseat to compare with the second row of full-size SUVs.
Engine configurations vary from a 4.0-liter V-6 with 236 horsepower up to the 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter iForce V-8. In between is a 4.7-liter V-8 making 271 horsepower. The iForce comes with a six-speed automatic transmission, but other engines get a five-speed auto. When properly equipped, the Tundra can tow up to 10,800 pounds. In select regions, 2009 Tundra 5.7-liter 4x4 models carry flex-fuel capability at no extra charge.
In driving Double Cab and CrewMax models--both with V-8s--TheCarConnection.com finds plenty of power and torque in either the 4.7- or 5.7-liter engines. With the 5.7-liter and six-speed automatic (the 4.7 comes with a five-speed auto), the powertrain is especially responsive and smooth, with the combination offering both the mammoth torque off the line good for towing and the higher-rev pep that's necessary for quick passes on the highway. Fuel economy is a low point for the Tundra, even when compared to its full-size peers; the EPA estimates with the 5.7-liter and 4WD stand at just 13 mpg city, 17 mpg highway, ranging up to 15 mpg city, 19 mpg highway with the base V-6 and 2WD.
A new TRD Sport Package, available on the 2009 Toyota Tundra 4x2 Regular Cab and Double Cab standard bed models, is optimized for an aggressive street appearance, while a new TRD Rock Warrior Package is specially tuned and ready (in appearance as well) for hard-core off-roading.
The 2009 Toyota Tundra certainly has more standard safety features than most of its competitors. Front-seat side airbags and roll-sensing side-curtain airbags are standard across the line, along with anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes and electronic stability control. The Tundra garners four stars in federal government frontal and side-impact crash tests, but it earns the top "good" rating in all of the insurance industry tests and a 2009 Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.
The Bottom Line:
The 2009 Tundra beats the Big Three in safety and matches them in capability.