If you’re looking for information on a newer Toyota Tundra, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Toyota Tundra Review
Things aren’t easy for the 2018 Toyota Tundra, a full-size pickup that was already facing newer, more capable and innovative trucks before it was announced that three key competitors would be completely redesigned for next year. After that, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Tundra has faded so far into the background at the pickup party, that it’ll get buried under coats and befriend the host’s cat.
Really, the Tundra’s problem is that its own update a few years ago just wasn’t enough to keep it relevant. Sure, Toyota’s full-size pickup still offers brawny styling, excellent reliability, the uniquely spacious CrewMax cab and — new for 2018 — standard accident avoidance tech. However, there’s also its subpar fuel economy, jittery ride, dated interior and general lack of innovation. Even its off-roading TRD Pro model was discontinued for 2018, removing one of its previous stand-out elements.
So, sure, the Tundra will certainly get the job done, but these days, pickups are expected to do so much more than that.
What’s New for 2018?
The Tundra gets revised front end styling for 2018 along with standard accident avoidance tech. A new TRD Sport package has been added. The regular cab and TRD Pro trim have been discontinued. See the 2018 Toyota Tundra models for sale near you
What We Like
Exceptional back seat room; excellent reliability; accident avoidance tech is standard on every model
What We Don’t
Aging mechanicals and interior design; subpar fuel economy; transmission has only six gears; some controls require an uncomfortable reach
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. All are lower than V8s offered by its main rivals.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 Toyota Tundra comes in a wide range of trim levels, including basic SR and SR5, mid-level Limited and upscale Platinum and 1794 Edition. The Tundra is offered with an array of bed lengths and two body styles: the 4-door double cab and a larger 4-door CrewMax.
The base-level Tundra SR ($31,100) 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, forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, trailer sway warning, automatic highbeams, adaptive cruise control, 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 ($32,800), 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 ($40,400), 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 5-passenger seating, a leather-wrapped tilt-telescopic 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.
Available on all but the base SR and Platinum, the TRD Off-Road package adds all-terrain tires on 18-inch wheels, trail-tuned Bilstein shocks, skid plates, tow hooks, LED headlights and foglights, off-road floor mats and special styling elements. The TRD Sport package, available only on the SR5, goes a different way with 20-inch wheels, sport-tuned Bilstein shocks, front and rear anti-sway bars and sporty styling elements.
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, blind spot monitoring and a rear cross-traffic warning system 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, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Unique to full-size pickups, accident avoidance tech is standard, including forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and automatic highbeams. Blind spot monitoring and a rear cross-traffic warning system are both 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. Both got the best possible score of Superior for their forward-crash prevention systems.
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. Even then, it has one of the firmest rides of 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. 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 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-inch (CrewMax only), 78.7-in (standard on double cab) or 97.6-in (optional on 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
2018 Ford F-150 — The F-150 offers strong fuel economy, an excellent array of engines and added refinement. It’s worth a spot on your shopping list.
2018 Chevrolet Silverado and 2018 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.
2018 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.
2019 Ram 1500 — If we wait just long enough, you’ll be able to consider the all-new RAM. Take everything we said up above, improve upon it, then add a thick layer of innovation.
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. The Tundra’s strong reliability may also give it a leg-up on other used trucks.
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’ll ever need. Find a Toyota Tundra for sale