What's New for 2006
The Tundra continues into 2006 without major changes, though an adoption of new and more accurate SAE engine measuring procedures by Toyota has resulted in a slight drop in the amount of stated power for the V6 and V8 engines.
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. 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 truck: excellent build quality, class-leading reliability and well-designed interiors.
The 2006 Toyota Tundra largely meets those requirements, especially when ordered in the Double Cab version. At the end of the day, the Tundra still isn't as big and strong 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. However, the company is well aware that there are plenty of people who would buy a bigger, more powerful Tundra, and you can expect the second-generation Toyota truck, due for 2007, to be a true full-size in dimensions and strength.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2006 Toyota Tundra is available in regular, extended- (Access Cab) and crew-cab (Double Cab) versions. Regular cabs come only as long beds, while Access and Double Cabs come only as short beds. Access Cabs have reverse-opening 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 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; many of these features are optional on the SR5. On the options list, there's a towing package, a cold-weather package, an off-road package and a sport suspension package. On Limited trucks, there are optional leather captain's chairs with a power driver seat. A DVD entertainment system is available for Double Cab models.
Powertrains and Performance
Two dual-overhead-cam engines are available on the Toyota Tundra: a 4.0-liter V6 and a 4.7-liter V8. The V6 makes 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, while the V8 musters 271 hp and 313 lb-ft of torque. The V6 comes with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. 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.
ABS is standard. Side-impact airbags for front occupants and full-length side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor are optional on Double Cabs. In government frontal-impact crash tests, the 2006 Toyota Tundra received a four-star rating (out of five) for driver protection and five stars for front-passenger protection. The Toyota truck 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
Although bland in appearance, the aging interior remains functional thanks to its simple control layout. Materials quality is solid but unimpressive for a Toyota. The Access Cab's rear-seat area is 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. Unfortunately, the narrow cab makes for tight shoulder room.
The V6 has adequate power for light-duty use, while the V8 can certainly handle everyday driving and basic towing and hauling jobs. However, when asked to pull heavier loads, the V8 tires more quickly than the larger engines in the Tundra's competitors. Smaller than other full-size trucks, the 2006 Toyota Tundra is more maneuverable in crowded areas. The standard suspension is softly tuned. It makes the Tundra more comfortable for commuting than most peers, but less suitable for serious hauling.