2003 Tundra New Car Test Drive
The Toyota Tundra is a full-size pickup, but it's more agile and more refined than the domestic trucks. The Tundra is not as big and brawny as the Ford F-150, Dodge Ram, Chevrolet Silverado, or GMC Sierra, but it's easier to drive, lighter on its feet, and brilliantly quick and responsive. It's also built to Toyota's high standard of quality. So you get unsurpassed durability and reliability.
The Tundra is one of the smoothest, quietest, and most refined pickups we've ever driven. Its 4.7-liter V8 engine is truly exceptional, with more than enough power to run with the big dogs. The V8 Tundra can tow a 7,100-pound trailer or haul 1,800 pounds in its eight-foot bed.
For 2003, a new step-side model joins the lineup. Combine its sporty look with the new Sport Suspension Package, and you have a full-size truck that even a driving enthusiast could (almost) love. Toyota launched the Tundra as a 2000 model and there have been only minor changes since.
Toyota Tundra is available as a two-door regular cab or four-door Access Cab. Two- and four-wheel drive versions are offered, employing similar suspensions and bed heights. Three trim levels are available: base, SR5, and Limited. New for 2003 is the choice of a full-width or step-side box.
Two engines are available: a sophisticated double-overhead-cam, 32-valve 4.7-liter V8, and a 3.4-liter double-overhead-cam V6. The V8 produces 240 horsepower and 315 foot-pounds of torque. All V8 models come with a four-speed automatic transmission. The V6 is rated 190 horsepower and 220 foot-pounds of torque. It comes with a choice of four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission.
Prices vary widely, starting at $15,605 for a regular-cab base model with rear-wheel drive, a V6 engine and five-speed manual transmission. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a V8-powered Limited four-wheel drive Access Cab lists for $30,060.
Base models are pretty plain, and come only with the regular cab and two-wheel drive. Bumpers are painted, and even air conditioning is a $985 option.
Access Cabs and 4x4s start at the SR5 level, which comes with air conditioning, cruise control, AM/FM/cassette stereo, tilt steering, tachometer, chrome bumpers, styled wheels, and other trim upgrades.
Limited models are available only with the V8, and only with the Access Cab. The Limited's long list of standard equipment includes ABS, daytime running lights, an in-dash CD changer, keyless entry, and an anti-theft system. New for 2003 are steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a power sliding rear window.
A new Sport Suspension Package for 2WD V8 models features Tokico shocks, springs tuned for handling, a rear stabilizer bar, and a limited-slip differential. Graphite-tone 17-inch alloy wheels wear P265/65R17 tires.
The step-side box adds style, but in traditional Toyota fashion it's more svelte and subtle than overtly macho. The step-side is available only on V8-powered Access Cabs, in two or four-wheel drive and with SR5 or Limited trim.