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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
buyers won't feel as if they've compromised when they 'settle' for this 4.6-liter
a firm, progressive pedal feel and respectable stopping distances
velvety smooth when passing on the highway
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.
Regarding the new 4.6-liter engine, Popular Mechanics says that it "neatly mixes more-than-sufficient power with the promise of better-than-expected fuel economy," latter asserting that "Tundra buyers won't feel as if they've compromised when they 'settle' for this 4.6-liter." Motor Trend remarks, "Around town, throttle response is strong off the line, even a bit touchy until you get used to it, but the Tundra gets going with ease and seems nimble."
The 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter iForce V-8 engine at the top of the line receives good reviews for its strong pulling power and great all-around responsiveness, but fuel economy takes a hit. It's 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. ConsumerGuide testers find that "the 5.7 feels stronger at all speeds." Car and Driver says that the 5.7 provides "exhilarating" acceleration, moving from "0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds." The Detroit News adds that it is "velvety smooth when passing on the highway" and "provides excellent acceleration off the line." In terms of workplace practicality, Cars.com notes that "Toyota says the Tundra, when properly equipped, can tow up to 10,800 pounds."
Both V-8s now get a responsive, smooth six-speed automatic while the V-6 comes with a five-speed auto. Car and Driver testers rave about the "quick-thinking six-speed" on the iForce engine, which offers "right-now response when you push go." The five-speed provides similarly quick shifts, though the lack of an additional top-end gear hurts the Tundra's fuel economy numbers, which are already painful.
Motor Trend explains that with the new six-speed on the 4.6-liter model "has all the same gears as the old five-speed, but also adds one more ratio, a very tall sixth gear." The reviewer really likes the combination, saying, "Like just about every modern Toyota transmission we've tested, the new six-speed downshifts readily when called upon, so much so that we can practically select ratios with our throttle foot." Popular Mechanics also appreciates the new transmission, explaining, "This new transmission shouldn't be confused with the six-speed that comes lashed behind the 5.7—that's a heavier-duty gearbox."
Edmunds reports that "all versions of the Tundra can be equipped with two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive," with the benefits of the 2WD being slightly better fuel economy and greater towing capacity, although it does sacrifice some off-road capability.
When taken off-road, the 2010 Tundra, as Car and Driver reviewers observe, "dances over the chucks and humps with excellent control and no sense that it's being abused." Furthermore, reviewers rave about the stopping ability of the Toyota Tundra, an impressive trait given the truck's hefty size.
The 2010 Toyota Tundra is rated quite well for handling and braking. Edmunds raves about the "light, precise steering" that "makes for easy maneuvering in parking lots," along with the Toyota Tundra's "minimal body roll," and the Detroit News adds that driving the Toyota Tundra is "much more fun than anticipated," thanks in large part to the "crisp and clean" steering. The Detroit News finds that the Tundra boasts "bigger brakes" that help it offer what Edmunds describes as "a firm, progressive pedal feel and respectable stopping distances, with minimal fade under heavy use."
The 2010 Toyota Tundra performs well overall, and a new smaller V-8 is a little easier on gas.