- Toyota's Entune with App Suite system
- Good legroom (CrewMax)
- New safety technology
- Smooth V-8 engines
- Improved crash-test scores
- Gimmicky styling
- V-6 still uses five-speed transmission
- Poor gas mileage
The 2015 Toyota Tundra looks interesting enough, but lacks the sophisticated drivetrains that you'll find in its competitors.
The 2015 Toyota Tundra is hardly winning away many buyers from Ford, GM, or Ram trucks. It's more of a loyalty play to Toyota fans, and a secondary entry in the ultra-competitive pickup world, if you go by sales numbers.
Although the Tundra doesn’t stand out in any of the categories that pickup buyers are keen on, a range of updates to last year’s model help it compete on the upscale end of things.
For 2015, the 4.0-liter V-6 has been removed from the lineup. That leaves a 4.6-liter V-8 rated at 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque, and the top-line 5.7-liter V-8, good for 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque.
Gas mileage isn't a strong suit of the Tundra. It earns below-average ratings across the engine range. Toyota says real-world gas mileage is on par with GM and Ford trucks, despite the EPA ratings. In our time behind the wheel of the Tundra in both 4.6-liter and 5.7-liter V-8 forms, the vehicle-reported mileage rarely rose above 15 mpg in unloaded, rural driving. Our real-world experience has seen better gas mileage in other full-size trucks with similar capabilities.
Unloaded on city streets, both V-8 models feel about the same—fairly quick with decent low-end acceleration, but they run out of steam as the speed rises. Laden with an 8,000-plus-pound trailer, the 5.7-liter V-8 is the one to choose; even then, it's challenged to reach freeway speeds in the length of a typical on-ramp, despite a max tow rating of up to 10,400 pounds--and close to 10,000 pounds on most models. In our experience, the Tundra, despite its J2807 rating and big spec-sheet figures, doesn't feel as confident or as quick as the GM and Ford alternatives when towing larger loads, particularly when the larger V-8s from each brand are in the picture.
Ride quality is fairly good across all Tundra models, though pavement seams and surface bumps translate into larger-than-normal impacts in the cabin. The plush seats do a good job of keeping things comfortable, and the Tundra does handle well for a pickup driving around town, but it's not the smoothest-riding truck in the segment. This year, a new TRD Pro Series version of the Tundra upgrades the suspension, exhaust, wheels and tires–along with some of the styling bits–to create the most off-roadable Tundra to date.
Much-needed upgrades to the interior and equipment levels arrived on last year's Tundra, including a new luxurious 1794 Edition. Trim levels include SR, SR5, Limited, and Platinum, each step up the ladder bringing with it more creature comforts and technology. Materials have been upgraded across the board, though it's less readily noticeable in the lower-tier SR and SR5 models. Double cab (standard on SR5) and CrewMax models both offer four-door access and seating for five, but the CrewMax is the definite choice if you want to seat six-footers in the second row--and fortunately is standard on all Platinum and 1794 Edition Tundras. A regular cab is also available, but only on SR models.
The Tundra includes a very good set of standard safety equipment, and crash-test scores have improved greatly for the 2015 model year. Active safety features like stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, trailer sway control, and more are all standard, as are passive safety features like eight standard airbags, pre-tensioning seat belts, side-impact door beams, and more.
The entry-level SR model is the work truck spec, and it comes standard with the 4.6-liter V-8; a choice of regular or extended cab (no crew cab option); and a long or standard bet. Standard equipment includes daytime running lights, 18-inch steel wheels, Entune Audio, 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat, power windows, and all of the standard safety equipment. Step up to the SR5, and you add fog lights, variable intermittent windshield wipers, Entune Audio Plus, and optional 18-inch alloy wheels.
The Limited kicks up the luxury and opens up tech upgrade paths, with standard 20-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and Apps, leather seating, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and more. The top-tier Platinum trim adds to the Limited's spec with chrome-clad 20-inch alloy wheels, power moonroof, perforated and ventilated leather seating, and front/rear parking assist sonar. The 1794 Edition matches the Platinum trim spec, but with its own interior color theme and ultra-suede upholstery inserts as well as 1794 Edition badging.