What's New for 2005
The base engine is now a 245-hp, 4.0-liter V6 that uses either a six-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic. The optional 4.7-liter V8 now makes 282 hp and is coupled with a standard five-speed automatic transmission. Two-wheel-drive regular cabs are now available with a V8 engine, while four-wheel-drive Access Cabs can no longer be equipped with a V6. Regular cabs equipped with the V8 get a color-keyed grille and chrome front bumper, as well as vinyl flooring and a cloth bench seat. Two new alloy wheel designs are available on Access Cab and Double Cab models, and all Tundras get new headlamps and rear combination lamps. Inside, new gauges and an available navigation system with JBL audio spruce things up a bit. In addition, Double Cabs can now get a 60/40-split bench front seat for true six-passenger seating. Front side-impact airbags and full-length head curtain airbags are now available on Double Cabs.
The Tundra, Toyota's full-size truck, has been on sale since 2000. The Tundra competes against the Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra twins, the Dodge Ram, the Ford F-150 and the Nissan Titan. The Tundra has been a successful vehicle for Toyota. But it hasn't always been this way. Toyota's first attempt at a full-size truck -- the T100 -- wasn't well received by the American public when it debuted in 1993. Upon introduction, the T100 was offered only as a regular cab without different bed lengths. It also lacked a V8, a serious shortcoming in the eyes of power-hungry, load-towing truck buyers. While the T100 continued to tank, Toyota engineers and designers began working on a better, more powerful truck that they thought would be more appealing to U.S. buyers.
Early on, Toyota figured out that a V8 engine was vital to any full-size truck's sales success in this country. They also discovered that many pickup trucks are actually used for serious work and play, meaning that payload and towing capacities had to be increased. Lastly, Toyota realized that consumers expect certain things when they buy a Toyota: excellent build quality, class-leading reliability and well-designed interiors. The 2005 Toyota Tundra meets those requirements, especially with last year's introduction of a roomy Double Cab version. Larger dimensions all around allow this four-door Tundra to compete favorably with the domestic competition. Its length of over 230 inches makes it six inches longer than Ford's SuperCrew. The Double Cab is also three inches wider and three inches taller than its regular cab and extended cab stablemates. The cargo bed remains the same size in length and width but Toyota made it 3.5 inches deeper for added capacity.
Inside, the rear bench is split 60/40 and there's 24 degrees of seat back angle for a more carlike feel. A unique feature on the Double Cab is a roll-down rear window at the back of the cab that further enhances the truck's spacious feel. At the end of the day, the 2005 Toyota Tundra still isn't as big as the domestic trucks or the Titan, nor does it have the usual mind-numbing array of features and options. But for many people, those extras could be superfluous. Toyota's first full-size truck is a very good one, especially for the general consumer rather than the contractor or construction worker.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2005 Toyota Tundra is available in regular, extended (Access Cab) and crew cab (Double Cab) versions. Regular cabs come only in long bed form, while Access and Double Cabs come only as short beds. Access Cabs have two "suicide" rear doors for easier rear-seat access, while Double Cabs feature four full-size doors and, thanks to their longer wheelbase, equal bed length. There are also three trim levels: base, SR5 and Limited. Available only on regular cabs, the base trim's amenities are limited to antilock brakes, 16-inch steel wheels, a cloth bench seat and a CD player. The SR5 adds body-color bumpers, a chrome grille and air conditioning; V8-equipped models also get cruise control. Available with a V8 only, the Limited offers alloy wheels, an in-dash CD changer and power windows, mirrors and locks. Compared to domestic full-size trucks, the Tundra's options list is short. The convenience package for SR5 models includes full power accessories, cruise, a sliding rear window and keyless entry. You can also get a towing package, a cold-weather package, an off-road package and a sport suspension package. On Limited trucks, there are optional leather-upholstered captain's chairs with a power driver seat. A DVD entertainment system is available for Double Cab models. For added style, Toyota also offers a stepside bed on V8-powered Access Cabs.
Powertrains and Performance
Two dual-overhead-cam engines are available: a 4.0-liter V6 and a 4.7-liter V8. The V6 makes 245 horsepower and 282 pound-feet of torque, while the V8 musters 282 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. The V6 comes with either a six-speed manual or an optional five-speed automatic. The V8 is offered with the five-speed automatic only. Either engine can be had with four-wheel drive. Maximum towing capacity is 7,100 pounds.
The brakes -- discs up front and drums in the rear -- are equipped with standard ABS. Side-impact airbags for front occupants and full-length side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor are optional on Double Cabs. In government crash tests, the 2005 Toyota Tundra received a four-star rating (out of five) for driver and front-passenger protection in frontal impacts. The Toyota earned a perfect five stars for front-occupant protection in side impacts. The IIHS gave the truck a "Good" rating (its best) for frontal offset crashes.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Access Cab's rear-seat area is useful, but it's smaller than the quarters in other full-size extended cabs. The Double Cab's 60/40-split rear seat boasts legroom on par with its domestic competitors and a reclined seat back for better comfort. Up front, the Tundra offers a typical blend of solid-feeling switchgear, though the materials used are often of mediocre quality, and overall style is bland.
The V6 is powerful enough for light-duty use, and the V8 certainly has enough oats for everyday driving and typical towing and hauling. Slightly smaller than other full-size trucks, the Tundra is more maneuverable in crowded areas. The standard suspension is softly tuned -- it's comfortable for commuting, but less suitable for hauling heavy loads.