Toyota's not having an easy time with the Tundra so far. It's been criticized for lacking a fully-boxed frame, the internet is alight with Tundra-hate, and now along comes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Both Regular and Double Cab variants of Toyota's intended domestic-fighter were crashed by the agency, and both only managed four stars.
While a four star crash test rating isn't horrible, the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado / GMC Sierra and Dodge Ram all have the strength to ring the 5-star bell and win the stuffed bunny. The likelihood of injuries in a Tundra could be up to 10-percent greater than the domestic brands because of its one-star deficit. The difference could also be as small as one-percent, however, so this news may not be as significant as it sounds at first blush. All we can really say with certainty is that the Tundra performs worse when crashed into a concrete barrier at 35mph than its competition.
No doubt the Tundra's performance in this test will again focus scrutiny on the truck's frame, which is not fully boxed like its competition. According to Mike Levine from Pickuptruck.com, the Tundra's frame is split into three parts and the front piece actually is boxed. However, the frame under the cab and bed are C-channel, and they are also affected by a frontal crash. As Levine told us, the rest of the Tundra's competition now has some ammo to aim back at the Tundra in their marketing efforts.
We expect that acceptance of the brawny fullsizer from Toyota will take a little while, and it may not come until the current generation Tundra is dead and buried, but when Toyota wants something, they don't mess around. They were up front in expecting the Tundra to receive five stars and a Best Pick from the IIHS, so don't expect this 4-star rating to last long.