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2017 Toyota Tundra Overview
In the full-size truck playground, the Toyota Tundra has always played second fiddle to the likes of the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500, and Ram 1500, It isn’t that Toyota hasn’t been trying to make some inroads into this very lucrative marketplace: the automaker made a concerted effort with the second-generation Tundra it introduced back in 2008 and the huge refresh it gave the pickup in 2014. But despite these efforts, Toyota still trails the competition. For 2017, the Tundra sees only minor changes to its color choices and standard equipment.
The Tundra is one of the toughest-looking trucks on sale today. Up front is a massive grille and a set of rectangular headlights. Depending on the trim, the grille insert will either be all black, feature chrome accents, or have an old-school Toyota grille design. Around back, the Tundra name is embossed on the tailgate. Toyota offers the Tundra in a Double Cab or CrewMax (crew cab) configuration, and bed sizes range from 5.5 to 8.1 feet. The new color choices include Barcelona Red Metallic, Super White, and Black on the base SR trim, while SR5 and Limited trims now feature the option of Inferno. The Tundra TRD Pro is available with Barcelona Red Metallic and Cement.
The Tundra’s interior won't be taking home any awards for style, but it scores very well when it comes to overall usability. There's a simple dash layout with large controls for the radio and climate system and an easy-to-read instrument cluster. Depending on the trim, the front seats will either be offered as a bench or buckets. No matter the configuration, the front seat provides excellent comfort for long trips. The back seat in the Tundra Double Cab provides a surprising amount of head- and legroom for an average-size adult. The CrewMax takes that a step further with the largest amount of back seat space in the class: just about anyone should be able to stretch out their legs with no issue. Plus, the CrewMax’s back seat offers the ability to recline.
The Tundra is available in six different trims: SR, SR5, TRD Pro, Limited, Platinum, and the 1794 Edition. The SR trim gets 18-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, a windshield wiper de-icer, air conditioning, cruise control, a 6.1-inch screen with Toyota’s Entune infotainment system, Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary inputs, and a backup camera. The SR5 adds fog lights, chrome trim, variable windshield wipers, and an upgraded Entune system with a 7-inch screen. The TRD Pro is for those who want to explore the great outdoors while retaining the capability of a full-size truck. It features an off-road suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels finished in black, off-road tires, leather upholstery, an 8-way power seat for the driver, and a 4-way power seat for the passenger. Limited trims come equipped with 20-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, navigation, and an upgraded sound system. The Platinum features LED running lights, power-folding mirrors, a memory function for the driver’s power seat, heated and ventilated front seats, and a 12-speaker JBL Audio system. The 1794 Edition offers the same equipment as the Platinum but differs in styling both inside and out.
One area in which the Tundra trails competitors is with its engines. The Tundra is only available with V8 engines, while competitors offer both V6s and V8s. The SR and SR5 get a 4.6-liter V8 with 310 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque. The rest of the Tundra lineup features a 5.7-liter V8 producing 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque; this engine is also optional on the SR5. Either engine can be equipped to run both gasoline and E85 ethanol blend. Both engines come paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and the choice of either 2- or 4-wheel drive (2WD or 4WD). Tow ratings range from 6,400 to 6,800 pounds for the 4.6L V8 and 9,800 to 10,500 pounds for the 5.7L V8. For 2017, trims equipped with the 4.6L will get a tow hitch as standard equipment.
Fuel economy is another sore spot for the Tundra. While numbers for the 2017 Tundra are not out at the time of this writing, expect them to be similar to those of the 2016 model. The 4.6L V8 is rated at 15 mpg city/18 highway/19 combined with 2WD and 14/18/16 with 4WD. The 5.7L V8 achieves 13/18/15 with 2WD and 13/17/15 with 4WD. These fuel-economy figures are some of the lowest in the class.
Standard safety equipment for the 2017 Tundra includes a full complement of airbags, antilock brakes, stability and traction control, a backup camera, and trailer sway control. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking sensors come standard on the Platinum and 1794 Edition; you can get these features on the SR5 and Limited by opting for the Safety & Convenience package. The Tundra received a 4-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and it should be noted the Tundra only earned 3 stars on NHTSA's rollover test. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Tundra earned the top rating of Good on the moderate-overlap front, side, and roof-strength tests. On IIHS’ new small-overlap front test, however, the Tundra earned the second-lowest rating of Marginal.
Pricing for the 2017 Toyota Tundra starts at $30,020 for the SR Extended Cab with 2WD and climbs to $50,030 for Platinum and 1794 CrewMax trims with 4WD.
The 2017 Toyota Tundra does offer the truck buyer a surprising amount of features and one of largest back seats in its class. But it trails the competition in terms of engine offerings, fuel economy, and overall safety scores. If you want to carry passengers in your pickup or take it off road, the Tundra is worth a closer look. Otherwise, be sure to check out the competition before making a decision.
Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.
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