2012 Tundra New Car Test Drive
The Toyota Tundra is a full-size pickup offering value and dependability. Tundra offers strong V8 engines and comfortable cabins. 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 reach 2,000 pounds.
There are no major changes for the 2012 Toyota Tundra, though there have been some packaging changes. The current generation was introduced as a 2008 model.
The 2012 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. As with the other full-size pickups, trim levels cover a wide range to luxurious Limited models with leather upholstery. 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.
For 2012, more standard equipment has been added: All 2012 Tundra V8s come with a heavy-duty battery and starter. All 2012 Tundra models get a windshield wiper de-icer, daytime running lights, front and rear mudguards, and heated power outside mirrors. 2012 Tundra Limited and 2012 Tundra TRD Rock Warrior now come standard with rearview cameras. High-end models are available with GPS navigation 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.
Tundra's double overhead-cam 5.7-liter V8 engine is rated at 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. We've found the 5.7-liter an excellent choice for towing trailers. The 5.7-liter has EPA fuel-economy ratings of 14/18 mpg City/Highway, or 13/17 mpg with 4WD. Trailer ratings may appear low on some models because they are now rated according to a recently adopted standard developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers.
The smaller 4.6-liter dohc V8 engine is rated at 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque, with slightly better EPA fuel-economy ratings of 15/20 mpg City/Highway, 14/19 mpg with 4WD. As with the 5.7-liter engine, the 4.6-liter has Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVT-i), which optimizes valve timing for the best combination of performance, economy and emissions. Both V8 engines come with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The 4.6-liter V8 is a good choice for owners who don't plan to do much towing.
The base 4.0-liter V6, introduced on the 2011 models, nets 270 horsepower, 278 pound-feet of torque and EPA ratings of 16/20 mpg City/Highway. The V6 is available only with two-wheel-drive Regular Cab and Double Cab models. The V6 weighs 300 pounds less than do the V8s resulting in better fuel economy. V6 models can't tow as much as the V8s but easily match the V8s for payload. The V6 comes with a 5-speed automatic. We think the V6 is a good choice for work trucks.
The 2012 Toyota Tundra comes in three body styles: Regular Cab with 6 1/2-foot standard bed or 8-foot long bed, Double Cab with 6 1/2-foot standard bed or 8-foot long bed, and Crew Max with a 5 1/2-foot short bed. Choosing among them affects the wheelbase and overall length.
The base Tundra Regular Cab 4x2 ($25,155) is powered by the 4.0-liter V6 with a 5-speed automatic transmission and comes with the 6 1/2-foot standard-length bed. The 8-foot long bed is available with the Tundra Regular Cab ($25,485). The 4.6-liter V8 ($26,355) and 5.7-liter V8 ($27,630) are available. Tundra Regular Cab 4x4 is offered only with the V8s, and features an electronically controlled, part-time four-wheel-drive system with a two-speed transfer case. (All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices, do not include destination charge, and may change at any time.)
The Regular Cab is the workhorse edition Tundra, with a fabric-upholstered 40/20/40-split bench seat, vinyl floor covering, and column shifter. Standard equipment includes an AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary audio input; manual dual-zone air conditioning; power windows, locks and mirrors; tilt steering; and gas-boosted tailgate-assist system. The standard wheels are 18-inch steel. Options include a sliding rear window ($265), power heated towing mirrors ($60), park assist sonar ($500), and the previously described deck rail system ($135). V8 models come with a tow package. SR5 ($1,360) and SR5 Upgrade ($1,685) packages add more convenience features. The TRD Off-Road Package ($2,690) essentially combines the SR5 Upgrade with off-road wheels, tires, suspension and special appearance pieces. A Work Truck package ($195 credit) comes with a blacked-out grille and bumpers and heavy-duty vinyl seats. The Work Truck also deletes the power windows, locks, and mirrors, and other features.
Tundra Double Cab 4x2 ($27,365) comes with the 4.0-liter V6 and standard bed. The Double Cab features rear side doors like on an SUV, and seats for as many as six. The 4.6-liter V8 ($27,510), 5.7-liter V8 ($28,755), and long bed ($29,745) are optional on Double Cab 4x2 models. Tundra Double Cab equipment basically matches the Regular Cab, but adds cruise control, variable intermittent wipers, remote keyless entry, a map light, additional speakers and cupholders, and a 60/40 folding back seat. More options are available as well. Tundra Double Cab 4x4 ($30,560) adds four-wheel-drive and the 4.6-liter V8.
Tundra Double Cab Limited ($38,000) and Limited 4x4 ($41,060) feature the most luxurious trim 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 steering wheel; electroluminescent gauges; an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and programmable garage-door opener; and front and rear park-assist. A rearview camera comes standard.
Tundra CrewMax ($30,355) feature full-size rear side doors and more rear-cab space, with a sliding, fold-flat rear bench seat. It's available with four-wheel drive ($33,385). All CrewMax models come with a 5.5-foot short bed. CrewMax comes standard with the 4.6-liter V8; the 5.7-liter V8 is optional ($1,245).
Tundra CrewMax Limited 4x2 ($40,535) and CrewMax Limited 4x4 ($41,060) are available and come standard with the 5.7 V8. 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 exclusive to Limited include navigation system with rearview camera ($1,340). A rear-seat DVD player ($1,670) is available on CrewMax Limited.
The Tundra TRD Rock Warrior Double Cab ($4,537) and CrewMax ($4,192) 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. The package also includes an auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated backup camera display, compass, and HomeLink universal transceiver. The Rock Warrior Package is available with four-wheel drive only.
The TRD Sport package for 2WD Double Cabs ($2,982) 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, electronic stability control with traction control, and trailer sway control. The available rearview cameras can enhance safety by helping the driver spot children behind the truck when backing up.