Auto123 puts the 2023 Toyota Tundra Capstone to the test. This is the second chapter of our three-part long-term review.
For those who want to know more about the 2023 Toyota Tundra, you've come to the right place. The first of our three chapters devoted to the pickup introduced you to it in its entirety. In this second part, we pony up the answers to some of the main questions asked by potential buyers in Canada.
What engine options are available for the 2023 Toyota Tundra, and how powerful are they?
Toyota has wisely opted to drop the 5.7L V8 and slide a 3.5L twin-turbo V6 under the huge hood of its new Tundra. Available in three flavours.
For the base SR model, whether 2- or 4-wheel drive, the i-Force engine develops 348 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. Subsequent versions boast 389 hp and 479 lb-ft.
But add to the twin-turbo V6 an electric motor-generator and a battery tucked under the rear seat, and the output jumps to 437 hp at 5200 RPM and 583 lb-ft of torque at just 2400 RPM. This is the i-Force MAX engine, and its electrification has earned it the “hybrid” label. This machine is associated with the most expensive models in the range, topped by the Capstone variant that we tested.
All i-Force models are paired with a new 10-speed automatic transmission. And to give you an idea of the progress made with engines, the most muscular V8 offered 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque.
How fuel-efficient is the 2023 Toyota Tundra?
Let’s start by reminding you what that old V8 entailed. Namely, it forced Tundra owners to visit the pump at an alarming rate. Consumption north of 17L/100 km will do that. That engine was a voracious glutton!
The arrival of a more fuel-efficient engine was not a luxury, but an obligation to consumers.
Throughout my time at the Capstone, I tried again and again to lower my average fuel consumption. What's more, the hybrid nature of the vehicle encouraged me to do so.
So I was super gentle on the gas pedal, to the point of being called slowpoke old-timer by the kids. My only defence? Pointing at the Eco mode button, that being the drive mode I'd chosen instead of Normal or Sport.
At the moment of obtaining the keys to the Tundra, the on-board computer told me the journalist who had preceded me had maintained an average of 14.1L/100 km.
For my part, after five weeks in Eco mode, mostly on highways and very little in the city, and after driving very smoothly apart from a handful of pedal-to-the-floor accelerations (professional duties obliged!), I managed to bring the average down to 12.6L/100 km.
However, Natural Resources Canada's 2023 Fuel Consumption Guide gives a combined rating of 11.7L/100 km for the same Tundra Hybrid (12.3L when fitted with the TRD Pro kit).
Since we know that federal tests are carried out in the laboratory under ideal conditions, it's safe to say that my result and that of the government technicians are essentially the same.
But what about the least powerful i-Force, that of a basic 2WD Tundra SR? The table shows a combined fuel consumption of 11.8L/100 km (and 12.2L for 4WD models).
These figures are similar to those of the much more powerful hybrid powertrain. This proves that electrification does have its uses, but I confess I was expecting more from an i-Force MAX-labeled hybrid. But I've come to understand that its electric motor is there mainly to increase its power. Reducing fuel consumption is a secondary mission.
If the hybridity of a Prius or a RAV4 Prime is primarily aimed at lowering our gas bill, the Tundra's electric boost is mainly for acceleration, off-roading and towing.
What models and trim levels are available for the 2023 Tundra?
At the time of writing, there were 15 models available, i.e. 5 with Double Cab and 10 with CrewMax cab.
Both cabs have four doors, but the CrewMax offers almost 210 mm more legroom for the three rear-seat passengers. Put another way, the Double Cab is less spacious than the CrewMax.
The five models available with Double Cab are: SR 4x2, SR 4x2 L, SR 4x4, SR5 L and Limited.
What's the "L" got to do with it?
As it happens, a Tundra can be fitted with any of the three available beds: 5.5 ft, 6.5 ft or 8.1 ft. But don't match just any body with any model, no ma'am!
Tundras with a Double Cab can get either a medium or long bed, while CrewMaxes accept a small or medium bed.
So when you see an L, you know it's a version equipped with the longer of the two possible beds.
After the 5 Double Cab models, there are 6 more with CrewMax cab + i-Force engine, but take note, these are not hybrid: SR, SR5 L, Limited, Limited L, Platinum and Platinum L.
Finally, 4 latest models with CrewMax + hybrid technology: Limited, Limited L, Platinum and Capstone.
So far, then, we’ve covered model + cab + body. But we’re not done yet! There are still the options in the form of packages. Unless I missed some, I count four:
- TRD Pro: very robust off-road capabilities, including FOX shock absorbers and systems that allow the truck to "crawl" and modify its traction according to the type of terrain encountered, plus an exclusive grille (large TOYOTA underlined by a strip of light);
- TRD Off-Road: off-road equipment not dissimilar to the Pro, but less manicasl. There are Bilstein shock absorbers;
- TRD Sport: suspension calibrated for more aggressive driving, with specific ornamentation;
- 1794: Toyota's western version of a full-size truck, like the Ford F-150 King Ranch and RAM 1500 Longhorn;
Of course, these option packages are not available on all models - that would be too simple.
In short, when the time comes to configure your Tundra, you'll need to be patient enough to gather and digest all the information you need to make an informed purchasing decision.
Including the information I've reserved for you in the third and final column...