• Dec 30, 2008

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.


The Goods

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?





The Venue

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.


The Results

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.


Photos copyright ©2008 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 44 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I would to see this go head to head w/ a Ram SRT-10.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I couldn't stand a standard cab though, give it to me in an extended cab version.
      • 6 Years Ago
      People that buy Toyota trucks are the same people that use the head of a 1/4 inch ratchet for a hammer. Its a really nice car.
      And Toyota's green credentials. They never had any to start with, they are just better at PR than American companies. Things like "Service Campaigns" (recalls) "Guest Workers" (indentured servants from Burma). Change a couple of words and suddenly things don't look so bad. Oh... the truck. Why? That's all I have to ask.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I feel like i may be asking a stupid question but did you guys try taking off in 4 wheel drive? That'd certainly add to the traction, regardless of how horrible it is for the truck .
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't see a pulley on the front - how is the TRD supercharger driven?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Most automotive journalists can't drive....period. They all granny-shift the stick shift cars at the drags and don't even powerbrake the slushbox cars out of the hole.

      Anyone who knows anything about cars knows that the numbers you read in the mags are all slow. God only knows how MT got that time on the Toyota Tundra....you would have thought the truck came from Nissan.

      Great article though...I never knew this truck existed.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Here's the problem I see - you can't actually order this truck. It has nothing to do with the supercharger. If you try to use the build-your-own on Toyota's website, you find that you cannot get a regular cab Tundra with the 5.7L V8.

      Now, Toyota plays some games based on your zip code of hiding configurations from you that are "uncommon" in your area, so perhaps someone from a different part of the country, say, Texas, can check the BYO on Toyota's site and see if it lets them build one with the regular cab, standard bed, and 5.7L.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Digging further, it may just be the quirks of their site. You also can't build a Tacoma X-Runner from my Zip code, even though it is certainly still available.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Put the supercharger in a 4WD model.....traction problem solved.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Performance above 60mph gone too." Hello...this whole article was about 0-60 times. And 4x4 launch seems to work well for the diesel truck drag guys making way more torque and HP than this truck.
      • 6 Years Ago
      4.4 or 5.2, still a great looking truck.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Att Sean Eagen : I would have thought the Lexus IS250, IS350 and IS-F would have been the most exciting drives, especially the later !!

      In Australia, we have the Aurion which is a derivative of the regular 3.5 V6 Camry and both the sports model known as the Sportivo and the performance enhanced supercharged TRD model are both good drives ... especially the TRD !!

      I imagine the V6 Camry SE as it is known in the US wouldn't be such a bad drive either. I'm not suggesting it to be a performance car by any means but i'm sure it is not exactly a slouch either.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The lexus cars don't have any way to totally disable the traction control/stability control. I'm not sure if the Tundra does, but I was more making a joke about how boring Toyota's are more htan anything else. :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      This comment is my entry into the 2008 Autoblog Holiday Sweepstakes - Day 14 ;)
        • 6 Years Ago
        TROD? That makes no sense. :P
        • 6 Years Ago
        TRD.

        Fill in a vowel to make a word. I think that says it all.
        • 6 Years Ago
        WTH?

        Badass truck though. I'd take one in a heartbeat if I had the $$.
      • 6 Years Ago
      WELL DONE TRD / Toyota ... that is a great looking truck - LOVE IT !!

      Here in Australia, TRD developed the TRD Aurion (Supercharged 3.5 V6 FWD) and a TRD Hilux (supercharged 4.0 V6 4x4) and they are both great looking examples of what can be achieved by enhancing regular models.

      To have a look at the Australian examples, either google TRD Aurion / Hilux or log onto TRD.com.au ... have a look because i'm sure most readers will agree with me.
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