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2018 Ford F-150 vs. 2018 Toyota Tundra: Which Is Better?

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Chris O'Neill July 2018

The 2018 Ford F-150 and the 2018 Toyota Tundra are two of the leading midsize pickups on the market. While the F-150 is a long-standing American icon, the Tundra offers excellent quality and resale value, but on a platform that isn't quite as modern as that of its domestic counterparts. So which one should you choose? We're here to help, and below we've compared the two in a number of major categories pickup buyers are likely to consider.

Basic Specs

The 2018 Ford F-150 is assembled in both Dearborn, Michigan, and Kansas City, Missouri, and is the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. The F-150 last received a full redesign for the 2015 model year. In addition to all-new exterior and interior designs, perhaps the F-150's biggest change was the move to an all-aluminum body, leading to a 700-lb weight reduction and allowing for better fuel economy. The decision wasn't without controversy, though, with many questioning whether the unique aluminum design was as practical as the old steel construction. Overall, the aluminum body hasn't had an adverse effect on the utility of the twelfth-generation F-150, and it probably shouldn't have a heavy influence on your purchase decision. Ford offers a diverse lineup of engines and configurations to meet any need, from the new-for-2019 diesel-powered F-150, to the high-performance Raptor.

F-150 engines:

3.3-liter V6 making 290 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque

  • Rear-wheel drive: 19 miles per gallon city/25 mpg highway/22 mpg combined
  • 4-wheel drive: 18 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined

2.7-liter turbo V6 making 325 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque

  • RWD: 20 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined
  • 4WD: 19 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined

5.0-liter V8 making 395 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque

  • RWD: 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined
  • 4WD: 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined

3.5-liter turbo V6 making 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque

  • RWD: 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined
  • 4WD: 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined

3.5-liter high-output turbo V6 making 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque

  • 4WD: 15 mpg city/18 mpg hwy/16 mpg combined

3.0-liter turbodiesel making 250 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque

  • RWD: 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined
  • 4WD: 20 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined

The Tundra is built in San Antonio, Texas, and offers a far more conservative design than does the F-150. On the market in its current form since the 2007 model year, the Tundra has received a number of small upgrades over the years to help it remain competitive, although many would welcome a full redesign. Only two basic V8 engines are offered, both of which are gas-powered and capable of everything one could ask for from a full-size pickup, but lacking of the modern, fuel-efficient technology of the F-150's lineup, leaving buyers with less configurability overall.

Tundra engines:

4.6-liter V8 making 310 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque

  • RWD: 15 mpg city/19 mpg hwy/16 mpg combined
  • 4WD: 14 mpg city/18 mpg hwy/16 mpg combined

5.7-liter V8 making 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque

  • RWD: 13 mpg city/18 mpg hwy/15 mpg combined
  • 4WD: 13 mpg city/17 mpg hwy/14 mpg combined

Both trucks are available in extended and full 4-door cab configurations, although only the F-150 offers a basic single-cab option; Toyota dropped the single-cab Tundra after the 2017 model year. Both trucks are available configured with 5.5-, 6.5- and 8-foot bed lengths.

The F-150 is available in the high-performance, off-road-ready Raptor, which comes with a high-tech, heavy-duty off-road suspension, a unique 450-hp turbocharged V6 engine and a re-styled body. Toyota has offered a Tundra TRD Pro model in the past, and they will do so again starting with the 2019 model year, but for whatever reason, they opted to skip a 2018 iteration. The Tundra TRD Pro doesn't offer nearly the performance upgrades of the Raptor, sticking with the Tundra's traditional 5.7-liter V8 and regular body design, save for unique wheels, grille and other accents. What it does offer is a 2-inch lift, a competent, heavy-duty off-road-ready suspension and a front skid plate, although none of this hardware is quite as hardcore as the underpinnings of the Raptor.

Capability

With the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, its most powerful available engine, the 2018 F-150 can tow up to 13,200 pounds and offers a payload capacity of 3,230 pounds. Equipped with the entry-level 3.3-liter V6, the F-150 can tow up to 7,700 pounds and haul up to 1,990 pounds.

With the more powerful 5.7-liter V8, the Tundra can tow up to 10,200 pounds and has a payload of up to 1,730 pounds in the 2-wheel drive extended cab; this figure drops slightly to 9,800 pounds and 1,560 pounds with the 4WD crew cab model. Step down to the base engine, and the Tundra can tow up to 6,800 pounds and has a payload of up to 1,600 pounds.

Overall, the F-150 can tow and haul more than the Tundra, while also being considerably more fuel-efficient.

Reliability

Reliability shouldn't be a major concern when considering either the F-150 or the Tundra. In a 2017 JD Power Overall Dependability Study, the Ford F-150 came in first among full-size trucks, receiving five out of five stars, while the Tundra came in second with four out of five stars.

Both the Tundra and the F-150 come with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Interior Design & Quality

While the F-150 and the Tundra both offer entry-level, midtier and luxury trim levels, the F-150 offers more, plain and simple.

The Tundra's base SR trim level is more or less a work truck available only with a front bench seat, while the SR5 introduces available TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road packages. Step up to the Platinum and 1794 editions, and you're treated to high-end leather with cooled front seats, 20-in wheels and a number of other luxurious touches. The 1794 edition is a western-themed take on the Platinum and is named after the founding date of the ranch on which the Tundra plant is built.

The F-150 starts off in its entry-level work truck 'XL' trim level. Notable models include the Raptor, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited. Outside of the Raptor, perhaps the most intriguing among those trim levels is the high-end Limited model. Nothing short of a full-blown luxury truck, the Limited offers a full-length panoramic sunroof, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, real wood trim and 10-way-adjustable driver and passenger seats finished in high-end leather, along with other luxury appointments.

Overall, the interior of the F-150 is considerably more modern than that of the Tundra. Additionally, the F-150's high-end Limited trim level sets it well ahead of the pack.

Space

The F-150 offers slightly more front-seat passenger space than the Tundra. The F-150 offers just under 41 inches of front-seat headroom and 44 inches of front-seat legroom, compared to the 40 inches and 43 inches, respectively, offered by the Tundra.

The back seat of the F-150 is larger as well. The F-150 offers 40 inches of headroom to the Tundra's 39 inches, while close to 44 inches of legroom are offered by the F-150 compared to just over 42 inches offered in the Tundra; both are class-leading figures.

In short-bed configuration, the F-150 offers 53 cu ft. of cargo room, while its long-bed form offers 77 cu ft. The Tundra offers additional space in both configurations, with 55 cu ft. of space available with the short-bed form and 81 cu ft. of room in the long-bed form.

Tech

The F-150 offers an 8-in touchscreen with Ford's Sync infotainment system. This system has been much refined since its early versions and is now intuitive and simple to use. The F-150 also offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility in addition to in-car Wi-Fi supported by 4G LTE.

Additionally, the F-150 has an innovative trailer-assist system that will help a driver back up and maneuver in tight spaces with a trailer attached.

The ancient Tundra is sorely lacking when it comes to in-cabin technology. Base-model Tundras get a 6.1-in infotainment screen, while every other model receives a 7-in unit. Toyota has thus far refused to integrate Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into its infotainment systems, forcing users to instead tolerate is own dated and cumbersome proprietary Entune system. Wi-Fi connectivity is absent, and the Tundra lacks automated trailer-assist features.

Safety

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety third-party crash-testing, the F-150 earned a Top Safety Pick designation thanks to its scores of Good across the board. The F-150 also offers an array of driver-assistance features, including blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist and parking assist.

Due to its old design, the Tundra doesn't fair as well in crash-test ratings, earning a score of Marginal in the small front-overlap test. Despite it being low on cabin tech, the Tundra does offer as standard Toyota's suite of driver-assistance safety features, referred to as Toyota Safety Sense, which include forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning, automatic high beams and adaptive cruise control. While the Tundra offers lane-departure warning, it does not offer lane-keep assist.

The 2018 F-150 is far and above the safer vehicle.

Autotrader's Advice

We recommend the F-150 because it is a far more innovative, efficient and safer vehicle than the aging Tundra. With a wide variety of engines, great towing and payload capacity and a comfortable cabin filled with modern technology, the F-150 is the superior vehicle in this comparison. That said, the Tundra is still a highly competent midsize truck, and if you can find a good deal on one, it can be a great option for the right price.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Ford F-150 vs. 2018 Toyota Tundra: Which Is Better? - Autotrader