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2015 Toyota Tundra: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader October 2014

Although it received a few major changes last year, the Toyota Tundra is still largely the same truck that debuted back in 2007. That's a good thing. Despite sporting a design that should be getting old, the 2015 Toyota Tundra still feels like one of the freshest members of the full-size pickup segment.

We're not quite sure how the Tundra does it. Maybe it's the stylish interior, which seemed over-the-top 7 years ago but remains the most avant-garde option in this segment. It could be the take-no-prisoners 5.7-liter V8, which masterfully combines real-world responsiveness with enormous towing and hauling capability. The styling, too, has aged well, with recent updates only enhancing the Tundra's good looks. Whatever it is, we're still impressed with the Tundra -- a fact that's even clearer after the pickup's latest facelift.

What's New for 2015?

After major updates last year, the Tundra receives only minor changes for 2015. The biggest change is the deletion of last year's base-level V6, leaving the truck's two V8s as its only available engines. Other revisions include an available rear-seat storage system and an integrated trailer brake for Tundra models equipped with the 5.7-liter V8.

What We Like

Stellar 5.7-liter V8; various body styles to suit different needs; pleasant driving experience by truck standards; updated looks are well done

What We Don't

Some controls require an uncomfortable reach; no diesel option; can't get Entune mobile app system on Platinum model

How Much?

$29,400-$48,900

Fuel Economy

As of 2015, the Tundra's standard V8 is a 4.6-liter unit that cranks 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. Both work with a 6-speed automatic.

The Tundra comes standard with rear-wheel drive. The optional part-time 4-wheel-drive system -- available on V8-powered models only -- has an electronically controlled transfer case with a low range. Fuel economy is 15 mpg city/20 mpg hwy with the 4.6-liter V8 (14 mpg city/19 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive) and 14 mpg city/18 mpg hwy with the 5.7-liter V8 (13 mpg city/17 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive).

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 Toyota Tundra comes in a wide range of trim levels, including the basic SR and SR5, the midlevel Limited, and the upscale Platinum and 1794 Edition trims. There's also an off-road-oriented TRD Pro model. The truck is offered with an array of bed lengths and body styles, including the 2-door Regular Cab, the 4-door Double Cab, and the larger 4-door CrewMax.

The base-level Tundra SR ($29,400) includes a surprisingly long list of standard equipment. In addition to the truck's 4.6-liter V8, it features a 6.1-inch touchscreen with a basic version of Toyota's Entune infotainment system, a backup camera, cruise control, air conditioning and Bluetooth. Shoppers who want to downgrade to vinyl seats and floors for easier cleanup can do so with the available Work Truck package.

Next up is the SR5 ($31,100), which adds chrome accents, variable intermittent wipers, a 7-in touchscreen, satellite radio and a sliding rear window.

In the middle of the range is the Limited ($38,500), which adds 20-in alloy wheels, heated mirrors, dual zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery with heated front seats, dual power front seats, a navigation system and Toyota's Entune app suite, which allows drivers to select and use various apps available in conjunction with the infotainment system.

From here, the lineup takes a little detour: Shoppers who want an off-road-oriented truck can go for the TRD Pro ($42,200), which adds off-road items such as improved suspension, unique wheels and tires, and other accessories.

Above the Limited is the high-end Platinum ($45,800), which boasts extra chrome touches, a power sunroof, upgraded leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats with driver seat memory and a 12-speaker JBL sound system.

Topping the range is the CrewMax-only 1794 Edition ($45,900), which celebrates the Texas cattle ranch where the Tundra was built. It offers a unique interior and exterior that gives it almost a Southwestern flair.

The Tundra also offers an array of options and equipment, ranging from 4-wheel drive and the pickup's larger V8 to a long list of features that come standard on higher-end Tundra trims.

Safety

The Tundra comes standard with stability control and eight airbags, including knee airbags for front occupants. A blind spot monitoring system is optional.

In government crash tests, the Tundra received an overall score of four out of five stars, but performance varied slightly between the CrewMax, which received three stars in both frontal-impact and rollover testing, and the other Tundra body styles, which received four stars in those categories. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) was more impressed, awarding the Tundra its highest score of Good in all crash-test categories -- though the agency has not yet submitted the truck to its challenging small front-overlap test.

Behind the Wheel

Like every big truck, except the RAM 1500 (with its controversial 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, after all.

We like the Tundra's relatively compact steering wheel and carlike 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 with the TRD Rock Warrior package.

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 top-of-the-line Limited's power leather seats might be the best in the business; it's not every day you find a truck with perforated-leather upholstery and power thigh support for the driver.

The Regular Cab doesn't have a back seat, of course, but the 4-door Double Cab provides decent room for adults in its 60/40-split folding rear bench. The CrewMax would make any tall person feel at home with its extended legroom. Note that every CrewMax's back seat 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 the 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

Ford F-150 -- The all-new F-150 offers improved fuel economy, an excellent array of engines, and added refinement. Using aluminum construction, it's also a lot lighter and more capable than last year's truck. It's worth a spot on your shopping list.

Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra -- The GM twins are all-new for the 2014 model year, placing them a step ahead of the Tundra's mere facelift. Offering impressive refinement and new engines, these are the new trucks to beat.

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've got a new pickup.

AutoTrader's Advice

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 to a heavy-duty truck that Toyota offers, and it's all the truck we'd ever need.

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Used 2015 Toyota Tundra 4x4 CrewMax
Used 2015 Toyota Tundra
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Certified 2015 Toyota Tundra Limited
Certified 2015 Toyota Tundra
$34,891
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Used 2015 Toyota Tundra SR5
Used 2015 Toyota Tundra
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Certified 2015 Toyota Tundra SR5
Certified 2015 Toyota Tundra
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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.
2015 Toyota Tundra: New Car Review - Autotrader