Here’s a look at the 2021 Toyota Tundra and why experts think it’s the worst full-size pickup of the model year.
The new Toyota Tundra is actually old
The 2021 Toyota Tundra’s main problem is that it’s actually not much different from the first model, released in 2000, MotorTrend reports. Well, let’s be fair: The automaker refreshed the Tundra in 2008. Still, that means the truck is only in its second generation 13 years later.
And due to its age, the Tundra lags behind its peers in many if not all areas. Some of these factors aren’t necessarily relevant to many truck fans. For instance, the Tundra doesn’t have great fuel economy, MotorTrend reports, but few truck lovers expect their pickups to offer fuel efficiency.
But the Tundra also falls short in areas that truck fans care about. Those include payload and towing capacity.
Where the 2021 Toyota Tundra falls short
According to Toyota, every Tundra comes with a 5.7-liter V8 engine producing about 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. The motor is technically “class-competitive,” MotorTrend says, but not by much. This standard engine, which is also the only option available for the Tundra, can tow only about 10,000 pounds, and it also allows the Tundra to carry about 1,700 pounds of payload.
Those numbers are good enough for some people, but practically every one of the Tundra’s competitors can tow more, especially if they’re equipped with an optional engine. For example, MotorTrend says the Ford F-150, which the publication ranks as the second-best full-size pickup truck of 2021, can tow up to 14,000 pounds when properly equipped.
While towing and payload capacity are some of the most important considerations for truck lovers, the Tundra falls short elsewhere, too. For example, the Tundra had outdated interior electronics due to its age, even though it does come standard with a seven-inch touchscreen display. Additionally, the Tundra had “old-school driving dynamics,” MotorTrend reports, which may be an issue for some drivers.
The Tundra also falls short in terms of price. Despite being a pretty old truck, a 2021 Tundra starts at over $33,000. For comparison, MotorTrend said the F-150 starts at just under $29,000.
But the 2021 model is reliable
Even though there are many reasons why the Tundra is the worst full-size pickup of 2021, consumers know Toyota’s reputation for reliable vehicles. Like its siblings, the Tundra is a reliable truck. And for folks who want to keep their truck for a long time, the Tundra isn’t a bad option.
Plus, though this Tundra generation is getting old, some of the smart tech that Toyota has added is actually pretty good. One of the best recent additions to the Tundra has been its standard smart safety features, and MotorTrend reports the Tundra has boasted them since the 2018 model year. These standard smart safety features include automatic emergency braking, active cruise control, and a pedestrian detection system.
But if you really want a Toyota Tundra, it might be best to wait till the 2022 model comes out. According to MotorTrend, the new model will boast a complete redesign that should make it more competitive with the F-150 and Chevy Silverado.