Monday, August 18, 2008

Toyota Tundra is All Business

Now that Toyota is fully involved in NASCAR and the Tundra is entering its second year since a major redesign in 2007, you could say that the Asian automaker is "pot committed" in this segment. Of course, a marginal economy and escalating gas prices haven't exactly helped matters for the Japanese juggernaut. This was most clearly demonstrated by recently released July sales figures that revealed a 29.5 percent drop in truck sales, compared to last year. Of course, this is all relative when you look at GM's 36.4 percent drop in its truck sales. Be that as it may, Toyota is serious about trucks and the Tundra is all the evidence you need.
Among the many positive attributes the Tundra presents, the most obvious upon first drive has to be its beefy 5.7-liter V8. Not only does this monster offer plenty of horsepower and torque, but the available TRD exhaust sounds so aggressive, it makes you want to either run over the person in front of you, or start a fight. Of course, having spent a portion of my formative years in Oklahoma, also known as the official home of the glass-pack, or cherry bomb, I may be a bit biased. During my week with the Tundra, I found myself needing to haul several loads of landscaping dirt. Filled completely to the top of the bed, it still pulled like a Budweiser Clydesdale on steroids.
My tester came outfitted in the SR5 trim and some of the aforementioned TRD goodies, which meant it included the works in terms of off-road equipment. All of this comes at some price in terms of ride quality. Even with its firm ride, though, the Tundra remains acceptably comfortable in town or out in the pasture.
The exterior styling of the Tundra is typically Toyota. While it is attractive and modern, its lines are understated to be sure. Climb inside the Tundra for the first time, and you may be fooled into thinking you’ve inadvertently stumbled into someone’s office. Toyota’s engineers clearly designed the interior with dual purposes in mind. While you’ll find knobs big enough to operate wearing gloves, there is also room to store a laptop and hanging files.
If you are in the market for a full size pickup truck, the Tundra has to be on your list. Not only does it feature superb power and off-road prowess, it offers the kind of fit and finish inside to keep an executive happy.

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