Click above for a high-res image gallery of the Toyota Tundra TRD
We don't do much performance testing of the vehicles we review here at Autoblog, partly because we don't have the resources and also because our seat-of-the-pants-meter usually gives us the pertinent information we need about how a car (or truck, in this case) performs. There are times, however, that we do get the urge to get real, actual numbers. Take, for instance, this 2008 Toyota Tundra TRD. Last month, Motor Trend
put it to the test and claimed it could muscle its way from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds
. While we have no doubt that this time could theoretically be achieved assuming unlimited amounts of traction, we called shenanigans and vowed to get our hands on the truck to record our own numbers. Fortunately, Toyota was game and provided the same exact Tundra TRD used in Motor Trend
's test with a fresh set of rear tires. We're not here to debate the point of a performance truck or argue with those who think vehicles like this are the cause of global warming. We just want to see what it'll really run. So along with our pal Mike Levine of PickupTrucks.com
, we set out to play drag racer for a day and find out. Read on to see the results.
Photos copyright ©2008 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.
First thing's first. What's the deal with the Tundra TRD? While you won't find one listed for sale on Toyota's website, you can actually order a Tundra with most of the TRD parts from the factory and have the remaining bits installed through a dealer. All TRD parts are covered by a factory warranty, meaning you can have your aftermarket fun and not have to worry about a dealership denying warranty claims.
Our tester came fully accessorized with the high performance brake kit, cat-back dual exhaust, 22-inch forged wheels wrapped with Toyo Proxes S/T tires, and a beefier rear anti-roll bar. Oh yeah, and a supercharger. The Eaton Roots-style blower pushes 8.5 pounds of boost into the 5.7L V8, yielding 504 horsepower and a tire-shredding 550 lb-ft torque. Along with the supercharger, the kit comes from TRD complete with a new intake with a reusable filter, high-flow fuel injectors and fuel pump, intercooler, Denso Iridium spark plugs, a retune of the ECU, and all necessary plumbing and hardware. Did we mention it comes with a factory warranty?
With keys in hand, we made a beeline for Irwindale Speedway, or "Toyota Speedway at Irwindale" to be more precise. Southern California's most popular 1/8th mile drag strip is coincidentally sponsored by Toyota, and some well-placed signs at the track made for some unexpectedly great photo opportunities.
Whether it was the name on the back of our truck or just the politeness of our phone call, we were allowed free reign at the strip a half hour before their Thursday evening test-and-tune opened to the public. The track was very well prepped and the sticky pavement was a better launching surface then we'd ever find on the street. Our thanks go out to Bob Klein, the track's director of operations who helped make things happen.
While the facilities at the track included timing equipment for the 1/8th mile, we were mostly interested in the 0-60 mph time. To record our data, we used a Passport G-Timer GT2 from Escort that provided us with consistent data over several runs. We made a total of eight passes with Levine behind the wheel, and as you might expect, we initially had trouble finding the best way to get the tires to hook up.
The first run involved plenty of rubbery smoke and hitting the rev limiter, as the tires feebly attempted to transmit torque to pavement. With 7.50 seconds showing on the display, we headed back to the starting line for another attempt using lower rpm's at launch. The second pass went much better, although still with plenty of spinning tires, yielding a time of 5.55 seconds. After letting some air out of the tires and fine tuning the launch to include a short rollout to maximize traction, we slowly worked the times down – 5.45, 5.32, and finally a 5.20. We believe the Tundra TRD had at least another tenth or two in it, but a line of 50 drag racers were anxiously waiting in line behind us and our time was up.
So can the Tundra TRD hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds like Motor Trend
says? Providing for altitude, temperature, and humidity adjustments and a John Force perfect launch... we doubt it. The supercharged V8 has sufficient horsepower and enough torque, but traction is most definitely the limiting factor. If we were to perform the test again we'd bring a tire pressure gauge and weights to stuff in the bed, but we still don't think we'd break into the fours. So yes, the Toyota Tundra TRD will lose a drag race to any of the world's modern day supercars, but our seat-of-the-pants-meter says it's still one hell of a fast truck.
If you liked this story, click over to PickupTrucks.com
for Mike Levine's account.