Full 2011 Toyota Tundra Review
What's New for 2011
The lineup of Toyota Tundra pickups has been streamlined to include fewer configurations for 2011, while the base V6 gains variable valve timing and some 34 horsepower to go with it. Trailer sway control is now standard on all Tundras.
The 2011 Toyota Tundra practically screams "one tough truck." After all, it's built in Texas, named after an Arctic biome where only moss can grow, and sold by a company renowned for dependable vehicles. This perception isn't merely lip service, as this full-size pickup has proven it has the guts to stand up to the established American players in the pickup segment in many of the tests Edmunds has conducted over the years.
Last year the Tundra got even tougher when its midgrade V8 was replaced with a more robust 4.6-liter mill that offered not only substantially more horsepower but also better fuel economy. With this addition, getting the top-shelf 5.7-liter V8 is no longer a must for a prospective Tundra buyer -- though it's certainly a nice luxury to have, especially if heavy towing is frequently in order. On the opposite end of the powertrain lineup, Toyota has upgraded the base V6 engine for 2011 with variable valve timing and an additional 34 horses. The resulting 270 hp still isn't enough to outdo the base engines in the Chevy Silverado and Ford F-150, though fuel economy is pretty good.
Beyond its powertrains, the Toyota Tundra stands out thanks to its passenger-friendly cabins. The extended Double Cab features traditional front-hinged doors, making day-to-day usability easier than Chevy and Ford trucks with the more traditional reverse-opening access doors. The Tundra CrewMax, meanwhile, is truly enormous, featuring class-leading legroom and a rear seat that not only slides but reclines as well. Apart from the Tundra's sometimes jiggly, over-sprung ride quality, the CrewMax could easily pull double-duty as a ranch limo.
The Tundra is getting on in years now, and the newer Dodge Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 have surpassed it in a number of areas. In particular, the Ram's coil-spring rear suspension gives it a relatively luxurious ride, while the Ford's new engine lineup and many innovative features make it the cutting-edge choice among pickup trucks. But the 2011 Toyota Tundra continues to be one tough truck -- especially for towing -- and it has set the standard that Detroit's offerings are hoping to meet.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Toyota Tundra is a full-size pickup available in two trims (Tundra and Tundra Limited), three cab styles (regular, extended Double Cab and crew-cab CrewMax), three wheelbases and three bed lengths. Not all attributes are available together, and the availability of options often depends on the region in which you live.
Standard equipment on the base Tundra includes 18-inch steel wheels, a damped tailgate, dual-zone air-conditioning, 40/20/40 split bench seat, a tilt steering wheel and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The Double Cab adds keyless entry, full power accessories, intermittent windshield wipers, cruise control, an eight-way adjustable driver seat and six speakers. All but the speakers are optional on the regular cab as part of the SR5 package. The CrewMax gains a vertical sliding rear window and a sliding/reclining rear seat.
Options on the base Tundras include 18-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, heated mirrors, a bed tie-down system and front bucket seats with a center console and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Also available is an upgraded stereo with satellite radio, an iPod/USB audio interface and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, while a JBL version of that stereo is also available with 12 speakers in the CrewMax and 10 speakers in the Double Cab.
These items are all included on the Tundra Limited, which is offered as a Double Cab or CrewMax only. The Limited also gets auto-dimming and power-folding exterior mirrors, upgraded gauges, automatic dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery and front seat adjustable lumbar.
Tow mirrors, a navigation system and a rearview camera are optional on all trims. The CrewMax can be equipped with a rear seat entertainment system, a sunroof and on the Limited, a Platinum package that adds driver memory functions (optional separately), heated and ventilated front seats, wood trim, auto up/down front windows and the navigation system. The TRD Sport package available on base Double Cab models includes 20-inch wheels, color-keyed bumpers, black cloth interior and special badging. The TRD Rock Warrior package available on base Double Cab and CrewMax models includes 17-inch alloy wheels, off-road tires, Bilstein shocks and the Sport package's styling flourishes. The TRD Off-Road package goes one step further with skid plates and front tow hooks.
Finally, a Work Truck package strips the base regular and double cabs of much of their accoutrements and substitutes black bumpers, vinyl upholstery and rubber flooring.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2011 Toyota Tundra is available with rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. The rear-drive regular and double cabs come standard with a 4.0-liter V6 that produces 270 hp and 278 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 18 mpg in highway driving.
Optional on rear-drive regular and double cabs, and standard on long-bed, CrewMax or 4WD models is a 4.6-liter V8 that produces 310 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard. In Edmunds testing, a base 4WD Tundra with this engine went from zero to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 14/19/16 with 4WD.
Standard on the Limited and optional on all other Tundras is a 5.7-liter V8 that produces 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard. A 4WD Tundra CrewMax with this engine went from zero to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds in Edmunds testing. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 14/18/16 with 4x2 and 13/17/14 with 4x4. The Tundra's maximum tow rating with the 5.7-liter V8 and the optional tow package is 10,400 pounds.
Every Toyota Tundra comes standard with antilock brakes (with brake assist), stability and traction control, trailer sway control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, a Double Cab 4.6 came to a stop from 60 mph in 134 feet -- a good distance for a full-size truck.
The Tundra has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash testing procedure. Its 2010 rating (which isn't comparable to the new 2011 tests) of the regular cab was four out of five stars for driver protection and five stars for the front passenger. The driver rating went up to five stars with the Double Cab and CrewMax. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Tundra its highest rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side impact tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2011 Toyota Tundra's interior has not seen a refresh since this current generation debuted in 2007. In the face of redesigned Dodge and Ford trucks, it just isn't as appealing as it once was. Specific complaints include audio controls that are out of comfortable reach for the driver, gauges that are hard to read and interior materials that now trail the competition in terms of quality. The new Platinum package addresses some of these deficiencies, but for most drivers, the regular interior treatment should suffice.
The regular cab offers comfortable seats as well as a generous amount of interior cargo space. In Double Cabs, the backseat is fully usable for adults and its traditional front-hinged doors are much easier to live with than the rear-hinged clamshell doors of its competitors. The CrewMax, meanwhile, offers the roomiest rear seat of any pickup truck with a limolike 44.5 inches of rear legroom and a reclining seatback.
When the Tundra was first introduced, any model that carried an engine other than the 5.7-liter V8 was a letdown. However, last year's introduction of the 310-hp 4.6-liter V8 means playing second fiddle isn't necessarily a bad thing. This engine provides all the muscle most truck buyers need, with better fuel economy to boot. This year's horsepower bump for the base V6 is certainly welcome, but V8 grunt seems like a must in this class. And if getting the most V8 grunt is important, the 5.7 isn't the class leader it once was in terms of horsepower, but it remains a champ for towing thanks to its axle ratio and a well-sorted six-speed automatic.
For daily use, the 2011 Toyota Tundra's light steering makes the truck very easy to drive, though at times it feels bigger than competing trucks. We were satisfied with the Tundra's ride quality a few years ago, but the new Dodge Ram's rear coil spring suspension and the Ford F-150's sturdier frame make the Tundra's ride seem stiff-legged by comparison.