2011 Tundra New Car Test Drive
The Toyota Tundra is a serious full-size pickup, whether measured by dimensions, hauling capacity or towing capacity. Since this iteration was introduced as a 2007 model it's been refined, and for 2011, Tundra's base V6 engine gets an overhaul. Also, all 2011 Toyota Tundra models come standard with trailer sway control. The 2011 Tundra lineup has been simplified, as well.
We've found the Tundra to be a stable, comfortable truck for towing a 20-foot enclosed car trailer over long distances. Towing capacities top 10,000 pounds on some models, and maximum payload ratings just clear 2,000 pounds.
Tundra comes in three body styles: Regular Cab with two doors; Double Cab with conventional front-hinged, secondary rear side doors; and CrewMax with four full-size doors. Seating is available for three, five or six. Three bed lengths and three wheelbases are available.
Trim levels range from basic Tundra Grade to luxurious Limited models with leather upholstery, and from the lowest end to the highest is a price differential of around 2:1. But even the base models are loaded with useful features, including tons of interior storage options, an easy-lift assisted tailgate and four-wheel disc brakes. High-end models are available with GPS navigation and a rearview camera, or a rear-seat entertainment system with a 9-inch LCD screen. An available deck rail system in the bed anchors moveable tie-down cleats rated at 220 pounds each.
The new 4.0-liter V6 engine for 2011 nets 270 horsepower, 278 pound-feet of torque and EPA ratings of 16/20 mpg City/Highway (representing increases of 34, 12, and 1/1 respectively over 2010). The V6 is available only with two-wheel-drive versions of the Regular or Double Cab; the V6 weighs at least 300 pounds less than the V8s for better mileage and longer component life. It can't tow as much as the V8s but its 1620-pound payload is more than many Tundra V8s can carry. The V6 comes with a 5-speed automatic. We think the V6 is a good choice for work trucks.
Both V8 engines and their 6-speed transmission remain unchanged for 2011. The 4.6-liter dohc V8 engine is rated at 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque, with EPA fuel-economy ratings of 15/20 mpg City/Highway (14/19 with 4WD). As with the 5.7-liter engine, the 4.6-liter has dual Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVT-i), which optimizes valve timing for the best combination of performance, economy and emissions.
The 5.7-liter V8 engine is rated at 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque and a 6-speed automatic transmission. The dohc 5.7-liter is an excellent choice for towing trailers, which explains why it is standard on more models for 2011. The 5.7-liter has typical EPA fuel-economy ratings of 14/18 mpg City/Highway (13/17 4WD).
The 2011 Tundra lineup has been winnowed, which should make choosing and fact finding easier while potentially making it more difficult to get exactly what you want. Trailer ratings appear lower on most models because they are now rated according to a recently adopted standard developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers.
The 2011 Toyota Tundra comes in three body configurations, three wheelbase lengths, three cargo box lengths, with three engine choices, with two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, in various trim levels and option groups, offering a multitude of available features, convenience items and other accessories, so there is no way to cover every possible combination of Tundra or all the prices. Here's an outline:
The base Tundra Regular Cab 4x2 ($23,935) is powered by the 4.0-liter V6 with a 5-speed automatic transmission and the 6 1/2-foot standard-length bed. The eight-foot bed is available, as are the 4.6-liter and 5.7-liter V8s.
Tundra Regular Cab 4x4 is offered with the 4.6 and 5.7-liter ($29,130) V8s and an electronically controlled, part-time four-wheel-drive system with a two-speed transfer case. The Regular Cab is the workhorse edition Tundra, with a fabric-upholstered, 40/20/40-split bench seat, vinyl floor covering, column shift and manual-crank windows. Standard equipment includes a four-speaker, AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary audio input, manual dual-zone air conditioning, tilt steering and Toyota's gas-boosted, tailgate-assist system. The standard wheels are 18-inch steel. Regular Cab options include a low-cost Work Truck package with non-chrome outside trim; a sliding rear window; daytime running and fog lamps; power heated and/or towing mirrors; towing package; backup monitor in mirror; bucket seats anmd cruise control.
The Double Cab Tundra Grade 4x2 ($26,275) comes with the 4.0-liter V6 and standard bed. The Tundra Double Cab features rear side doors like on an SUV, and seats for as many as six. The 4.6-liter V8, 5.7-liter V8, and long bed are optional on Double Cab 4x2 models. The Tundra Grade equipment basically matches the Regular Cab, adding carpet in place of the vinyl flooring, a tachometer and outside temperature indicator. The Double Cab Tundra Grade 4x4 ($29,470) adds four-wheel-drive and the 4.6-liter V8.
Double Cab also adds to Regular cab standards with the obvious rear seat, variable intermittent wipers, cruise control, power windows and door locks, map light, and options of power driver seat, power sliding window and running boards.
The Double Cab Limited ($36,860) and 4x4 ($39,920) feature the most luxurious trim package and come only with the 5.7-liter V8 and a standard bed. Standard equipment includes heated, leather-trimmed front buckets, climate control, JBL audio with 12 speakers, power sliding rear glass, tilt/telescoping streering wheel, electroluminescent gauges, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and programmable garage-door opener and front and rear park-assist.
The CrewMax Tundra Grade ($29,245) and 4x4 ($32,295) feature full-size rear side doors and more rear-cab space, with a sliding, fold-flat rear bench seat. They come standard with the 4.6-liter V8, but are offered only with a 5.5-foot short bed. The 5.7-liter V8 is optional. A CrewMax Limited 4x2 ($39,395) and 4x4 ($42,455) are also available; the 5.7 V-8 is standard. Standard equipment on each trim level basically matches that on the Double Cab models, though the CrewMax adds a vertical sliding power rear window.
Options include navigation system with back-up camera, rear-seat DVD player, cold-weather features, off-road packages, and 20-inch aluminum wheels. There are few factory-installed stand-alone options, but dozens of dealer-installed accessories, such as bed liners.
TRD's Rock Warrior package ($4,560 on Double Cab) adds color-keyed body trim on the front and a flat-black bumper on the back, fog lamps, black cloth manual seats, Bilstein shock absorbers, and 17-inch forged aluminum wheels with BFGoodrich All-Terrains for traction, ride and rim protection. It's available with four-wheel drive only, and in Black or Super White. The TRD OffRoad package for a Double Cab is $6,265; on a Limited it could be less than $100.
The TRD Sport package adds color-coordinated trim including bumpers, grille, mirrors and door handles, fog lamps, manual cloth bucket seats, and 20-inch five-spoke machined-face alloy wheels. It's available with two-wheel drive only, and in Black or Radiant Red.
Safety features that come standard on every model include front- and side-impact airbags for driver and front passenger (the latter with an off switch in Regular Cab models), side-curtain airbags with rollover sensor, driver and passenger knee airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, and electronic stability control with traction control.