Reviews

2015 Toyota Tundra Walk Around


The Tundra is full size and looks it. It’s sharp and angular like a heavyweight boxer’s jaw, with squared-off wheel openings. It’s visually imposing. The SR/SR5, Limited, Platinum and 1794 have different grille arrangements, all large. The Tundra’s nose looks like if it hit a wall, the wall might lose, although the plastic chrome would smash to bits.

The TRD Pro solves that. It’s way better looking, with a strong black grille and air intake below the body-colored bumper, and a cool thin horizontal air intake over the bumper.

The bumpers at both ends are sectional, so if you bump into something and bend a corner, you don’t have to replace the whole bumper. Fog lights are recessed for protection and headlights are single-bulb units; every example we drove from SR5 to TRD Pro had a manual in-cab adjustment for vertical aim, handy for keeping light on the road when it rises with a load or trailer.

The horizontal lines at the rear are framed by chiseled vertical lights, with the name Tundra embossed in the lower right tailgate, which is damped to avoid a big thunk when it’s dropped. A rearview camera is standard, located near the tailgate latch. Trailer plugs are in the bumper, and license plate lights illuminate the area.

In the bed, a deck rail system along all sides except the tailgate offers tie-down cleats to secure loads.

Four-door Tundras have running boards that take a couple of inches off the step-up height. Shorter drivers or those with creaky knees will appreciate them, while others might think they’re just in the way, there to get your pants dirty or hit rocks off the road.

The TRD Pro stands out from the rest of the Tundra line. It’s got a beefy all-black grille and fascia below the bumper, which rides 2 inches higher on account of the springs, an aluminum front skid plate, black badging on the door and tailgate, two-inch lift in the front springs, and 18-inch 5-spoke black alloy wheels with the TRD logo. It’s also one inch taller at the roof. Inside there are TRD floor mats and a shift knob, red stitching on uniquely colored seats, and touch-ups to the instrument panel. It’s available in Attitude Black, Super White, and a new copperish color called Inferno.

Interior

Any Tundra cab is big. A Regular Cab will hold a 5-gallon paint bucket flat on the floor in back. Only an F-150 SuperCrew has more rear seat room than a CrewMax, and the Tundra Double Cab matches the new Silverado Double Cab for space.

Base models can have rubber flooring instead of standard carpet. The lower door panels, where your boots scuff, are made to be easy to clean.

Visibility from the driver’s seat is very good. You can see the top corners of the front fenders, and the pillars aren’t too big. Rear-seat headrests, tall enough to protect a 6-foot, 3-inch passenger, drop forward allowing a good view through the rear window. A rearview camera is standard on all models. Park sensors for both ends are available on upper trims.

The large standard mirrors can be adjusted for a panoramic view. The optional tow mirrors have a small convex mirror at the bottom that’s manually adjustable, so there are no blind spots. The power mirrors can be manually extended outward to help the driver see around trailers, and they can be folded inward when parked to reduce the chance of damage in tight quarters.

Front seats are comfortably cushioned but not too soft, with modest side bolsters to hold you in place without making entry/exit a chore. Deep seat bottoms provide ample thigh support, adjustable on some. We found the seats very comfortable while towing thousands of miles. The fabric upholstery definitely feels durable, as it should; and the leather is nice but if it’s the Platinum model’s diamond-quilted cowhide, be careful with the rivets on your jeans.

The TRD Pro seats are standard, but with unique upholstery and stitching. The backrest on Tundra Double Cab rear seats is generously reclined and cozy. The cushions fold up in a 60/40 split for tossing large cargo in back. CrewMax is the adult rear seat arrangement, with recline and as much room and comfort as the front. Like the Double Cab, the seats fold to lower the loading height and vastly increase storage space.

The Tundra has many interior storage spots and conveniences, with cupholders bloating up to 22 ounces. The degree of storage varies by cab and trim level.. The passenger seatback in the Regular Cab folds forward to make a flat area for a laptop, and the center console folds forward to open a concealed storage compartment. The padded armrest is wide for the driver.

The gated floor shift can get you in any gear without pushing buttons with your thumb on the lever. The column shifter with manual +/- toggle is big, and might block view of the instrument panel for shorter drivers unless they like the steering wheel low. The main controls are in the center of the dashboard, not to the right like they used to be. The top right rotary knob is still a mild reach, but no longer feels like you’re searching the glovebox for something.

The ergonomics in the cabin are good. The omni-directional air vents get what you need where you need it, and the climate controls are easy to use. Only some ancillary dash switches adjacent the steering column may be difficult to see.

Gauges are white-on-black, the graphics easy to read, with a warning light for transmission fluid temperature (there used to be a gauge). the base models lack a rev counter, oil pressure and voltage gauges. The 3.5-inch information display is easy to read and use, because it doesn’t offer too much info.

All Tundras have iPod/USB integration, Bluetooth and a touchscreen display, with radio sources and voice recognition expanding by model. You can get navigation on an SR5 and the JBL sound system on a Limited, while Platinum and 1794 come with everything. However, even on a Platinum CrewMax with three power points there is only one USB port.

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