Tundra: The other full-size pickup
If actions speak louder than words, Toyota is shouting from the roof tops that they're part of the full-sized truck market. Tundra is now available in three two-wheel-drive versions, two in SR5 trim, and eight 4X4 versions, three in SR5 trim. The other models vary from basic to top-of-the-line Limited trim.
Toyota puts the Tundra 4x4 CrewMax SR5 right under the Limited in trim level, but I would be hard-pressed to see as significant the difference between a Limited and the SR5.
Before you can find out how comfortable the 2012 Tundra 4x4 CrewMax SR5 is, you need to be able to get in. That can be a bit of a problem depending on what you intend to do with the truck. At the construction site, a lack of running boards means just a slight reach up to the grab handle and you can pull yourself up and into a very comfortable driver's seat.
For those who want to use the Tundra as a day to day vehicle, running boards are a must-have item. They also make it easy for passengers to get in and out, and keep your pant legs and coat from getting filthy, an added bonus if you're on your way to the office.
The office chair and desk
As a portable office, the Tundra 4x4 CrewMax SR5 does pretty well for itself. The centre console will hold a laptop, important papers and change for the Tim's drive-thru. Further down, in the second layer, there is enough space to hold a large lunch bag or a few CDs and an assortment of office accessories like a stapler, hole-punch, small garbage bag or all the charge cords you need to keep your electronics operating.
As a CrewMax, the back seat has enough room that you could almost use the space as a boardroom. The seat is quite comfortable, and the seating position high enough that your legs are at a comfortable angle so you can sit comfortably for hours. If you need more cargo, the seats slide forward and the seat back will fold down.
Ride quality when empty seems harsh when compared with a car, but when compared with other trucks that have a 10,300-lb towing capacity, it is pretty smooth. Needless to say, a load in the back such as a snowmobile (yes, we will get snow) helps to smooth out the ride really well.
Suspension design on The Tundra 4x4 CrewMax SR5 is quite conventional up front with upper and lower A frames and coil springs, and gas shocks as well as a stabilizer bar. At the back, the design sounds conventional with leaf springs and gas shocks. Toyota does things a bit differently by using a frame that goes up and over the rear axle and tapers slightly, giving the rear springs a trapezoidal layout rather than the straight C channel or boxed in frame that is used in the Ford F150, Dodge Ram 1500 and in the Silverado/Sierra twins.
Toyota maintains that the frame is adequate for the job and in any loaded or pulling tests that I've been involved with I have to agree that the Tundra SR5 Crew Max 4X4 did as well as any other truck.
Moving all 10,300 lb of that trailer takes power and the 5.7L i-Force V8 produces 381 hp and 401 lb.-ft. of torque. Power gets to all four wheels via a 6-speed automatic with sequential shift and shift-on-the-fly capabilities that will get you from 4Hi to 2Hi with the touch of a button. In addition, there is a tow/haul mode that holds gears longer, both on acceleration and when going down hills.
Off-road with the roof open
The list of standard equipment on the Tundra SR5 Crew Max 4X4 is much longer than the options list. Items such as the Star Safety System, which includes 10 air bags, and a trailer towing package are standard; In fact, the only thing that seems out of place on the option list is that the SR5 Off Road Package includes a moonroof.
It's time for the other truck makers to start paying attention -- Toyota is ready to play in the big sandbox!!
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