The ultra-competitive full-size truck segment has long been dominated by American-made powerhouses Ford, Chevrolet, and Ram. When the Toyota Tundra got a complete redesign in 2014, though, things changed. Toyota enlisted the help of engineering and design specialists from — where else — the U.S. and moved all Tundra manufacturing and production facilities to the States. The efforts were effective, and the Tundra became a true full-size pickup contender among its American counterparts.
If you’re in the market for a Toyota Tundra, you may be wondering if you should buy a new or used model. Perhaps you’ve heard that Toyota trucks hold resale value incredibly well or you want to compare the features of two model years. A strong case can certainly be made for either a new or used Tundra, but the 2015 model year, in particular, deserves serious consideration.
Lots to love about the 2015 Toyota Tundra
According to Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Surveys, 2015 Toyota Tundra owners are overwhelmingly satisfied with their trucks. That’s not hard to imagine when you consider the robust V8 engine, generous 10,500-pound maximum towing capacity, and the standard safety features Toyota has become so well-known for. The Tundra also regularly tops Consumer Reports’ full-size truck reliability ratings, with 2010-2016 models being the most consistently dependable. In 2015, the Tundra didn’t score lower than four out of five in a single category.
Unlike many of its class rivals, even the base-model Tundra SR isn’t a bare-bones truck. Standard features include power locks and windows, an infotainment system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, and a lengthy list of safety equipment and technology. In spite of that, the 2015 Toyota Tundra was one of the least expensive full-size trucks you could buy new with both a V8 and an extended cab.
Technologically advanced for 2020
The 2020 Toyota Tundra got some notable improvements all around. All trim levels now have Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa integration, a long-awaited technology upgrade. The infotainment screen also got bigger, increasing from 6.1 to 7 inches. Whereas there were two V8 engines to choose from previously, the 2020 Tundra only comes with a 5.7-liter V8.
There were also some changes made to the popular and truly off-road-capable Tundra TRD Pro trim package. For starters, it’s now available on both Double Cabs and CrewMax Cabs instead of just the CrewMax. It also comes with a larger touchscreen and integrated navigation, a larger-capacity fuel tank, underbody skid plates, Fox Racing off-road shock absorbers, and more rugged 18-inch tires.
Toyota is perpetually improving its Safety Sense package and the 2020 Tundra includes automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning as standard features.
2015 or 2020? A tough call
Whether you ultimately choose a new or used Toyota Tundra, rest assured that you’ll be getting a super solid, reliable truck. After all, it was a stock Tundra chosen to tow the enormous Space Shuttle Endeavour over a major Los Angeles freeway in 2012. That’s saying something.
Not all model years are created equal, but 2015 was especially strong for the Tundra. With so many similarities between it and a new 2020 model, you really can’t go wrong with either. Both trucks share a strong history of reliability and excellent resale value, the available TRD Pro Off-Road package, strong safety ratings, and an incredibly spacious interior. In fact, according to Car and Driver, the Tundra’s rear-seat legroom and cargo space are consistently among the best in its class.
Serious off-road enthusiasts will appreciate the 2020 Toyota Tundra more with its amped-up capabilities. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration were also introduced for 2020, so techies may want to opt for a new model. Drivers looking for a regular cab or the smaller 4.6-liter V8 engine will need to focus their search on pre-owned 2015 Tundras as both were eliminated in the lineup prior to 2020.