2002 Toyota Tundra Review

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2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

You review the '02 Tundra

Toyota, like the other Japanese automakers, has always built trucks. But until the full-size Tundra hit the market last year, never a big lunker comparable to a Ford F-Series, Chevy Silverado or Dodge Ram. The compact sized-Tacoma and the former midsize T100 are perfectly decent trucks, but they can't compete with the domestic big guns, all of which offer mighty V-8 engines and thus towing/payload capability that a Tacoma or T100 can't match.

It's weird, when you think about it. After making their nut in the small-car market, Toyota (and Nissan, Honda, etc.) quickly expanded operations to challenge Ford, GM and Chrysler on all other fronts — even to the point of launching their own luxury car  divisions. But full-size trucks? The Big Three have had this market entirely (and quite profitably) to themselves.

The Tundra changed all that; it was the first full-sized Japanese truck to be offered in the U.S. market when it launched in 2000, and like its domestic-built competition, comes in short- and long-bed models, can be ordered with an extended cab, with or without four-wheel-drive and offers V-8 power as an option.

Stacking the odds

So how does it stack up against the best-selling Ford F-truck, the Ram 1500 and Chevy Silverado?

Let's begin with a comparison of price ranges. The Tundra starts out with a definite edge. Last year’s prices began at $15,605 for the base 2WD regular cab model with the V-6 engine and run to $29,065 for a loaded V-8 Access Cab with part-time 4x4.

Of the competing Big Three models, only the Dodge Ram 1500 undercuts the Tundra in price — and just barely ($15,555 for the base 2WD "work" model). Both the Ford F-series and the Chevy Silverado are noticeably more expensive in base configurations ($17,245 for the F-150 regular cab 2WD with the 4.2-liter V-6; $16,045 for the base 2WD Silverado with the 200-hp 4.3-liter "Vortec" V-6).

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