2010 Toyota Tundra Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
February 8, 2010

The 2010 Toyota Tundra is every bit as big and tough as the full-size trucks—and perhaps safer and better equipped than them—though it might let you down on some of the interior's finer points.

To bring you a conclusive review that gives you an idea how the 2010 Toyota Tundra stacks up against other full-size pickups, TheCarConnection.com has perused a wide range of reviews for details, observations, and insights on what the Tundra does or doesn't do well. TheCarConnection.com's editors have driven the Toyota Tundra, too, and sum it all up along with their firsthand driving impressions here in this definitive Bottom Line.

The Toyota Tundra was last redesigned in 2007, when Toyota asserted itself by supersizing this full-size pickup—making the Tundra every bit as massive as the largest versions of the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado. It gets a very minor refresh for 2010, with a new grille design for some trims and a new taillight design for the entire lineup. Safety features are improved, new options are added, and others are grouped into a couple of large value packages.

"Imposing" is probably the best way to sum up the Tundra's appearance. From the front, the prominent, upright grille is flanked by nicely detailed headlamps, while alongside the Tundra gets bulging side sills that make it seem even taller, while it keeps a smooth appearance with flared wheel wells. And at the back, the taillights keep the same basic shape as before but gain a more detailed look. Inside, the 2010 Tundra has an interior that's a little too plasticky for some work-related tastes, with large swaths of matte-metallic plastic curving through the gauges and down the very wide center console at an angle.

The base engine on the 2010 Toyota Tundra is a 236-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-6; it provides plenty of might to move this big truck, but most buyers who plan to take advantage of its towing and hauling capability will want one of the V-8s. This year, a new 4.6-liter V-8 replaces last year's 4.7-liter; compared to the previous engine, it's both stronger and more fuel-efficient, with ratings of up to 15 mpg city, 20 highway and rear-wheel drive. At the top of the line is the 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter iForce V-8. This engine makes it an extreme gas guzzler—with fuel economy as low as 13 mpg city, 17 highway—but it has mammoth torque available just off idle and plenty of passing power on the highway, even when towing. Both V-8s now get a responsive, smooth six-speed automatic, while the V-6 comes with a five-speed auto. When properly equipped, the Tundra can tow up to 10,800 pounds.

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Competing head-on with the biggest pickups from Detroit, as well as the more personal-use-focused Nissan Titan, the 2010 Tundra is available in a wide range of body configurations: Regular, Double Cab, and CrewMax cabs, with three different bed lengths. The Double Cab is the choice for occasional backseat duty or kid-carrying, and when the Double Cab isn't in use, it has a folding seat bottom. The CrewMax is basically a roomy SUV with a pickup bed in back; two full-size back doors and enough sprawl-out space for adults make it a good choice for families hauling ATVs or work supplies. The interior is at once comfortable and high-utility, with a very wide center console that's deep enough for a laptop; wide, supportive seats; controls that are designed to be used with gloves; and a tilt/telescope steering wheel. Our only repeated complaint with the interior is that its plastics—particularly those used on the instrument panel—feel flimsier and more delicate than those used by other truck brands.

The 2010 Toyota Tundra is one of the safest pickups on the market, with almost perfect crash-test scores and more safety equipment than most rival models. It gets predominantly top five-star ratings in federal tests (except for four stars for the driver with the Regular Cab), along with three or four stars in rollover resistance. It also earns the top "good" rating in all of the IIHS tests for frontal, side, and rear impact. Front-seat side airbags, roll-sensing side airbags, and front knee bags are all standard, as are electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes.

To help compete with base work-oriented models from GM, Ford, and Dodge, there's a new Work Truck Package offered on base regular and Double Cab models, coming with vinyl seats, rubber floors, plus a lower level of standard equipment and black plastic trim in place of bright trim in many places. A TRD Sport Package, available on the 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. At the top of the line is a new Platinum Package, only offered with the 5.7-liter CrewMax versions, including all the features of a luxury SUV, such as a navigation system, JBL premium audio, ventilated perforated-leather seats, a sunroof, chrome and wood trim, and special badging.

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