2006 Tundra New Car Test Drive
The Toyota Tundra gets a significant increase in power for 2005, and fuel economy has been improved. A new 4.0-liter V6 delivers 245 horsepower, matching the output of last year's V8 and representing an increase in power of nearly 30 percent over last year's V6. Meanwhile, the 4.7-liter double overhead-cam V8 has been refined with Toyota's VVT-i technology, bringing it up to 282 horsepower, an increase of 42 horsepower over last year's V8. Both engines are now available with responsive five-speed automatics; and the V6 is available with a new six-speed manual transmission. There are other refinements as well.
The Tundra is one of the smoothest, quietest, and most refined pickups we've driven. It's more agile than other full-size pickups, at least partly because it's slightly smaller. The Tundra feels quick and responsive, lighter on its feet and more refined than the domestic trucks. Buyer's appreciate that it's built to Toyota's high standards of quality, durability and reliability.
However, the Tundra isn't quite as full-sized as the new Nissan Titan nor is it as big as the domestic pickups, namely the Ford F-150, Dodge Ram, Chevrolet Silverado, and GMC Sierra. Critics call it a 7/8ths truck. It isn't quite as good at being a truck as the other trucks when hauling or towing, but it's capable of hauling up to 2025 pounds or towing up to 7100, if equipped to do so. Not everyone needs the ultimate in truck capability, though. For them, the Tundra offers plenty of capability to perform the work they ask of it, and its refinement and handling makes it a good alternative to a car.
Like the domestic trucks, Tundra is available with regular cab, extended cab, and crew cab (Double Cab) bodies. The Double Cab is more than three inches taller, and is built on a longer chassis than the other Tundra models; so it comes a little closer to being a true full-size pickup. It features a deep, six-foot bed and an adult-friendly back seat.
In addition to more horsepower, some Tundra models have acquired more standard equipment for 2005, including a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Toyota Tundra is available as a two-door Regular Cab, an extended Access Cab with auxiliary rear doors, and as a true four-door Double Cab. Two- and four-wheel-drive versions are offered, employing similar suspensions and bed heights. Three trim levels are available: base, SR5, and Limited. Access Cab V8 models are available with a full-width or stepside bed.
Two engines are available, and both are more potent for 2005. The base V6 has grown from 3.4 to 4.0 liters. It still breathes through dual-overhead-cam (DOHC) heads, and now uses Toyota's computer-controlled variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) to produce 245 horsepower, 5 more than last year's V8, and 55 more than the 190-horsepower rating of the 2004 V6. Torque is up significantly as well, from 220 to 282 pound-feet. The optional i-Force DOHC V8 sticks with its previous 4.7-liter displacement, but acquires VVT-i to boost horsepower from 240 to 282, and torque from 315 pound-feet to 325. Transmissions are new, too. The V6 now comes with a new six-speed manual. A new five-speed automatic is optional ($770-$840) with the V6, standard with the V8.
Base models are pretty plain, starting with the V6 Regular Cab 2WD with six-speed manual ($15,955). Bumpers are painted, but anti-lock brakes (ABS) are standard. Air conditioning is optional, either as a stand-alone ($985) or as part of a package ($1620) that includes wheel covers, mud guards, intermittent wipers, tilt steering, and a sliding rear window.
SR5 models offer the option of an Access Cab ($22,410) or Double Cab ($26,120); and two or four-wheel drive. SR5 models come standard with air conditioning; cruise control; tilt steering; power windows, locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; sliding rear window; AM/FM/cassette stereo; tachometer; color-keyed front and chromed rear bumper; styled steel wheels; and other trim upgrades. The V6 and six-speed manual are standard in SR5 Access Cabs, but the five-speed automatic is available, as is the V8 engine. The V8 is standard in SR5 Double Cabs.
Limited models come standard with the V8, and are available in Access Cab ($27,075) or Double Cab ($29,745). The Limited's long list of standard equipment includes an in-dash CD changer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, and an anti-theft system. Limited models also get a power rear window.
Four-wheel drive 4WD adds about $3300 to the SR5 and Limited prices above. A Sport Suspension Package for 2WD V8 models features Tokico shocks, springs tuned for handling, a 3.91:1 limited-slip rear differential, and Graphite-tone 17-inch alloy wheels wearing P265/65R17 tires.
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