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Toyota once had big plans to conquer the big truck market, just as it had done in sedans and economy cars. Now, the Toyota Tundra is clearly a glass half full for Japan's biggest automaker. Years later, it sells far fewer than Chrysler does its Ram 1500, as well as the big sellers from Ford and GM.
It's not that the Tundra is feeling outdated, but that it suffers from some of the same problems as that other Japanese pickups. In a market where image is everything, the Tundra has always looked a little overwrought--almost cartoonishly brawny--on the outside. Meanwhile, the interior grasps for carlike cues, misfiring on both the look and finish.
The Tundra's base V-6 is neither as strong nor as efficient as the latest base engines from Ford and Ram, but its big V-8 powertrains have more than a little Lexus in them, in terms of smoothness and power delivery. Towing capacity has stayed the same over the years, with some of the domestics now outclass it by a thousand pounds or more. Ride quality can be somewhat choppy, but CrewMax models have a very well-designed interior, with plenty of legroom plus real back-seat space that makes it a viable family-vehicle option.
The 2013 Toyota Tundra is big and brawny, no doubt. And it offers impressive occupant protection. It meets the competition head-on for the most part, with a solid array of active and passive safety features. Though there aren't advanced options for technology like blind-spot monitors, the Tundra does comes with standard dual front, side, curtain and knee airbags, as well as stability control and anti-lock brakes.The pinnacle of the Tundra lineup is the Platinum, which is the one for drivers who want all the luxury features from a Lexus; and while last year it was only offered in CrewMax guise, for 2013 it's a full-fledged model grade--with the three grades for the Tundra now base, Limited, and Platinum. Like last year, the Platinum gets the biggest V-8 and the four-door CrewMax body, adding on premium audio, a navigation system, a sunroof, wood trim, and ventilated front seats. And this year, a new Display Navigation with Entune system is optional on the Tundra, adding things such as Bluetooth music streaming, a backup camera, and voice controls. .
- Smooth, strong V-8 engines
- Good standard-feature list
- Focused off-road edition
- Exceptionally good legroom (CrewMax)
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- Thirsty compared to rival models (V-6 especially)
- Gimmicky, un-truck-like styling details
- Tough to park or maneuver