What's New for 2000
The 2000 Toyota Tundra is an all-new, full-size pickup truck designed to compete with the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500 and Dodge Ram 1500. It features an optional V8 engine and can be ordered in a two- or four-door, regular- or extended-cab configuration.
As the maker of America's best-selling automobile (the Camry), it must have been frustrating for Toyota to learn that trucks are now outselling cars in this country. Especially since the closest thing to a full-size pickup truck previously offered by Toyota was the anemic and poorly received T100.
With the introduction of the Tundra in spring of 1999, as a 2000 model, Toyota has finally crafted a full-fledged, maximum-sized pickup, capable of running with the big dogs. Topping its pedigree is an optional 4.7-liter, I-Force V8 engine lifted directly from the Land Cruiser/LX 470 sport utility twins. This powerplant makes 245 horsepower and 315 foot-pounds of torque and is available only with a four-speed automatic transmission. Payload capacity is 2,000 pounds and towing capacities for the V8 start at 5,000 pounds (it goes up to 7,000 pounds with an optional tow package). A 3.4-liter V6, making 190 horsepower and 220 foot-pounds of torque is standard on base model Tundras, which may be mated to either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission.
Toyota has also met the demand of current truck buyers when it comes to configuration. The Tundra is available in regular and extended-cab versions, the latter with two rear-facing doors for easier rear-seat access (which, by the way, is what Toyota calls its four-door Tundra layout: Access Cab). Unfortunately, regular-cab versions come in longbed form only while Access Cab models come only as shortbeds.
Inside, the Tundra feels a bit more compact than its American counterparts, but not uncomfortably so for front-seat passengers. Rear seating is another matter, with legroom at a premium for anyone of average height. With the exception of rear seating, the Tundra cabin is an excellent place to spend the day. It offers a quiet ride that surpasses competing trucks, as well as many cars. Options like leather seating and a 10-disc CD changer further contribute to the Tundra's relaxing internal environment.
We wish Toyota offered more variety in areas like configuration and option packages, and an increase in rear-seat legroom would help the Tundra better compete with the extended cab models from GM, Ford and Dodge. Still, the very fact that a V8-powered, full-size pickup can now be had with a Toyota nameplate on it means that there's a whole new set of rules for America's truck buyer.