Reviews

2018 Toyota Tundra Driving Impressions

Toyota’s two V8 engines feel similar in city-street driving with an unladen truck. Both are smooth and deliver good low-rpm acceleration, making the Tundra acceptably quick and easygoing in traffic. Both lose oomph as speed rises or weight increases. Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, and Ram offer more power for accelerating with a substantial load.

Toyota’s 4.6-liter V8 feels anemic when carrying four tons or so. Despite its 310-horsepower rating, the 4.6-liter V8 cannot quite compare with V6 engines from Ford and GM.

If you’re pulling a trailer, spring for the 5.7-liter engine. Tundras are rated to tow as much as 10,300 pounds. Higher-trim models have a 38-gallon fuel tank.

Acceleration is hardier with the 5.7-liter V8. Push the gas pedal to the floor, and a 5.7-liter Tundra accelerates smartly, with a sporty exhaust note, but it doesn’t match the Chevy or Ram V8s.

Toyota’s smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission smoothly handles its task and responds promptly enough.

On the road, Tundras feel suitably solid. Ride quality is reasonably comfortable, though pavement bumps and seams typically produce impacts beyond the normal range. In urban use, the Tundra handles well. Steering is on the light side, and not as quick as that of F-150 or Ram.

TRD models are the choice for enthusiasts. Offered only with four-wheel drive, the TRD Pro, in particular, targets off-road drivers, behaving with a high level of competence after the pavement ends, not stymied by rock-strewn roads or wilderness obstacles.

Toyota’s easy-to-use 4WD system operates via a dashboard-mounted knob. Because it’s a part-time system, it shouldn’t be used on dry pavement.

Fuel economy with the 4.6-liter V8 and rear-wheel drive is EPA-rated at 15/19 mpg City/Highway, or 16 mpg Combined. Four-wheel drive drops the estimate to 14/18/16 mpg.

The 5.7-liter V8 with rear-drive is EPA-rated at 13/18 mpg City/Highway, or 15 mpg Combined. Four-wheel drive brings the estimate to 13/17/15 mpg. Both V8s use Regular 87-octane gasoline.

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