Unfortunately for Toyota, the competition in the full-size truck market is stiff. Best-selling automakers like Ford, Ram, and Chevrolet are continuously making the most reliable, capable trucks on the market. Can Toyota, known for its advancements in technology and economy, keep up with the truck-making giants? Its current full-size pickup, the Tundra, seems to fade into the background behind America’s best-selling trucks. But how does the Tundra really stack up among the best? Here’s what three experts had to say about the latest Toyota Tundras.
The people at Autotrader took out Toyota’s current 2019 Tundra, pointing out Toyota’s excellent reliability, as well as the truck’s unique styling and options between cab sizes. While other automakers have kept up with continuous updates, the Tundra has focused more on styling and its standard accident avoidance tech. You’ll get the option between a variety of trims, bed lengths, and two engine choices: a standard 4.6-liter, eight-cylinder engine that creates 310 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque and an optional 5.7-liter, eight-cylinder engine that creates 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque.
When it comes to fuel economy, Toyota may top the charts in cars, but the Tundra is a step behind the competition. Either engine option gets a combined fuel economy rating of 16 mpg or 15 mpg. With a starting price of just over $30,000, the 2019 Tundra is affordable. And unlike other trucks, the Tundra comes with a long list of standard features, like Toyota’s suite of safety tech, a split front bench, and a 6.1-inch touchscreen with connectivity.
On the road, the 2019 Tundra is “firm and jittery.” Autotrader’s driving experience was found to be under-refined and lacking when it comes to off-roading and towing capabilities. When stacked up against America’s best-selling trucks, the Tundra may just not be worth its affordable sticker tag.
While the RoadShow by CNET was excited to get behind the new and improved 2020 Tundra, the experts found improvements have not been enough to earn Toyota a spot on the list of best-selling trucks. RoadShow gave the 2020 Tundra an overall score of 6.8 (out of ten), which is pretty average. But while it may not speed ahead of the competition in sales, the experts do say that the new Tundra is a “solid, no-frills work truck.” While its drivability isn’t as comfortable or smooth as the competition, Toyota does offer a slew of standard features, like safety and driver-assistance tech, as well as a strong, eight-cylinder engine.
You’ll get tons a variety with the 2020 Tundra, with the same multitude of trim, cab, bed-length, and drivetrain options. But unlike other automakers, Toyota only offers the same two powertrains as offered in the 2019 Tundra. But RoadShow experts found the eight-cylinder option to be strong from the start, and paired along with the smooth automatic transmission, performed impressively. Fuel economy hasn’t improved any, with an average combined 14 mpg. Though you do get an infotainment system, RoadShow found the standard Tundra to be lacking in its interior features, as well as its average tow-capacity.
The experts at MotorTrend found the new, upgraded 2020 Tundra TRD Pro CrewMax to be a capable and fun truck. The TRD Pro is one of the highest trim levels available for the new Tundra, oriented towards the off-road adventurer. It’s available in both Double Cab and CrewMax styles and stands out among other Tundras with its uniquely designed exterior. The TRD Pro gets you improved shocks and suspension that help the truck become an off-roading master. In fact, MotorTrend found that there wasn’t much on the off-roading course that the Tundra TRD Pro couldn’t handle.
But not everything is perfect with the TRD Pro, especially for the increased price tag. MotorTrend found the TRD Pro’s interior to be lacking still, and in need of an update. And while the powertrain is suitable, MotorTrend believes there should be more, improved choices available, especially on higher trims. The Toyota Tundra is still a capable and fun truck, but still has a ways to go to reach its competition.