There’s something about seeing an old pickup still on the road that captures your imagination. What if the truck you buy today was still cruising along in 10 or 20 years? If that scenario makes you smile, the Toyota Tundra might be the full-sized pickup truck for you. The Tundra isn’t as fancy or high-performing as other full-sized pickups, which have become increasingly luxurious. However, the Tundra is a solid, practical truck with outstanding reliability. If you are looking for a truck that you can use long-term, the Tundra is a great bet.
The Toyota Tundra hasn’t been redesigned since 2007, which is great news for shoppers who want a used Tundra. Even slightly older trucks have the most recent body shape, which helps them hide their age. If you’re buying used, you should be aware of a few changes throughout the generation. Tundras manufactured in 2014 or earlier were available with a V6 engine option, but model years 2015 and later offer only V8s. In 2018, the Toyota Safety Sense package became standard, equipping each Tundra with lane departure warning, a pre-collision system, and adaptive cruise control.
The Tundra’s stand-out quality is its reliability, but it has other perks as well. Drivers who are into off-roading will love the available Tundra TRD Off-Road Package, which includes tires, shocks, and a limited-slip differential to maximize off-road performance. While its 10,000-pound towing capacity is smaller than some competitors, it’s still sufficient for most drivers. In the cab, upscale touches like a rear power window and integrated audio system make the Tundra feel modern and upscale.
Considering purchasing a used Toyota Tundra? Here’s everything you should know:
Price and value: A new 2019 Toyota Tundra has a starting price of $31,670. A top-of-the-line Tundra will cost about $50,000 new. However, you can save significant money by buying a used Tundra. Opt for a 2018 model or later if you want to have the driver-assist features that come in the Toyota Safety Sense package (although this was available as an option on earlier model years). A new infotainment system was added to the Tundra for the 2016 model year, but other than that there have been few large changes since this generation of the Tundra launched in 2007.
Size and Capacities: The Toyota Tundra can sit three to six people, depending on the cab configuration. The Toyota Tundra is available in three cab configurations: Regular Cab, Double Cab, and CrewMax.
- Regular Cab: One bench seat, with seating for three.
- Double Cab: Two bench seats, with seating for six. Half doors in the rear, and 34.7 inches of rear legroom.
- CrewMax: Front bucket seats and rear bench. Seats five, with full-sized rear doors and 42.3 inches of rear legroom.
The Tundra also comes with three bed options. All of them are 50 inches wide at the tailgate.
- Standard bed: 6.5 feet long
- Long bed: 8 feet long
- Short Bed: 5.5 feet long. Can only be paired with CrewMax cab.
The Tundra has a max payload of 7,200 pounds, and a maximum towing capacity of 10,100 pounds, when properly equipped in select trim levels.
Trims and Features: The Toyota Tundra is available in six trims. Here’s what you can expect from each (using specs from the 2019 model year)
- SR: 310-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 engine or optional 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V8; rear-wheel or optional four-wheel drive; 6.1-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth and USB connectivity; Toyota Safety Sense package with lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and pre-collision system; power locks and windows
- SR5: Adds 7-inch high-resolution touch-screen, with high-definition radio and satellite radio; CrewMax cab becomes available.
- Limited: Standard 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V8; leather-trimmed seats; navigation; 20-inch wheels; heated front bucket seats (reducing seating capacity to five); power rear window; premium audio system with Entune® App Suite.
- Platinum: Premium leather bucket seats that are heated and ventilated; memory system for mirror and seat settings; blind-spot monitoring; rear traffic alert; upgraded 12-speaker audio system.
- 1794 Edition: Chrome grille; brown premium leather trimmed seats with Ultrasuede® inserts; wood-style trim inside;
- TRD Pro: Standard four-wheel drive; Heritage Toyota Grille; black chrome tip exhaust; upgraded shocks; leather-trimmed seats with accent red stitching
Fuel Economy: Since 2015, the Toyota Tundra has only been available with V8 engine options. Drivers can choose from a 4.6-liter V8 engine that gets an EPA-estimated 16 mpg combined fuel economy, or a 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 that gets 15 mpg combined fuel economy. Overall, the Tundra is less fuel-efficient than other large pickups. For example, the 2019 Ford F-150 gets 19 mpg combined fuel economy with a V8 engine, and up to 25 mpg combined fuel economy with a V6. Unlike other trucks, there is no diesel engine option for the Toyota Tundra.
Safety: Although the Toyota Tundra has decent safety ratings, they lag behind the safety ratings of other large pickups. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2019 Toyota Tundra an overall crash test rating of four out of five, in part due to low roll-over crash test ratings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Tundra the top rating of “good” for most crash test ratings. However, the truck did have some “acceptable” and “marginal” ratings. Again, the roof strength in roll-over accidents was an issue.
Still, it’s worth noting that the Toyota Tundra comes with many standard safety features. Model years 2018 and later come standard with the Toyota Safety Sense package, which includes lane departure warning, pre-collision system and adaptive cruise control. High-end trims also come with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts. Some drivers might feel that these standard safety features help make up for the Tundra’s lower-than-average crash-test ratings.
Reliability: If you’re looking for a reliable truck, the Toyota Tundra cannot be beat. The 2018 and 2019 Toyota Tundra received a reliability rating of 4.5 from J.D. Power and associates, which is well above average.
There are currently four recalls out on the 2019 Toyota Tundra. Three of them relate to the text on capacity labels, which could potentially lead to drivers over-loading their vehicles. One recall relates to airbags not deploying. If you’re shopping for a used Tundra, check your truck’s VIN to find out whether it is subject to these recalls.
The Takeaway: In recent years, pick-up trucks have become ultra-desirable vehicles, and the features in the class have exploded. The Toyota Tundra may not be able to tow or carry as much as competitors, and you won’t have access to luxury perks like massaging front seats. Still, those features only matter to a small portion of truck buyers. If you’re more concerned with having a practical and reliable pickup truck, with the option for some high-end features and off-road performance, the Toyota Tundra is a great choice.