Toyota Tundra – First Drive: It seemed like a great idea: Dress up in a rubber sumo suit and try to knock a bigger guy down three times. The bar was even chanting “GO, little man” as he chased, and fell, twice. But then he stopped. And it became clear that he would not fall again. Sadly, it turns out a small guy in a big rubber suit is still no match for a big guy in the same suit. The same goes for trucks, too, which is why Toyota turned its smallish Tundra into a big truck for ‘07, with loads of power and innovation. Like a big man in a rubber sumo suit, the Tundra may want for more subtlety, true, but it's definitely the new Mr. T among trucks.
You've come a long way since the T100, Toyota, and it only took only 10 years or so. Indeed, what's amazing about Toyota's methodical progression has been the last six of those years: starting with the debut of the Tundra, they won an award from Motor Trend, added a double cab, entered and won the Craftsman Truck Series and reached their goal this year, with an American-made beast that matches anything the Detroit Three can build. Frankly, right now only GM can really match Toyota in the full-size truck game, which leaves one gaping question for Ford and Chrysler shareholders: What were your execs doing while Toyota methodically stole a march on your biggest source of sales?
You can buy the 2007 Toyota Tundra in more than 31 different styles. There are five basic configurations and three body styles: Regular cab with two doors, Double Cab with rear-hinged rear doors, and the massive four-door CrewMax. Of these three, the Regular Cab and Double Cab come with your choice of a 6.5 or an 8-foot bed; CrewMax models get only a 5.5-foot bed. There are three trim levels: DX, SR5 and Limited. The DX is your two-door work truck, and the Double Cab and CrewMax are available only in SR5 or Limited trims. Power wise, there's a V6 (DX only) or two V8 engines from which to choose, and either a five-speed or six-speed automatic. Four-wheel-drive is optional on all body styles.
Toyota offers three engines across the Tundra model line: the base 4.0-liter V6 makes 236 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 266 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm; the 4.7-liter V8 generates 271 horsepower at 5,400 rpm and 313 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,400 rpm, and the all-new 5.7-liter aluminum block V8 rated at 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 401 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,600 rpm. Compared to GM's powertrains, you'd have to buy the $39,000 GMC Sierra Denali to get more power and grunt. Transmissions include a five-speed automatic for the V6 and 4.7-liter V8, while the 5.7-liter engine gets a six-speed automatic. Back at GM, you can only get a six-speed with your Denali; otherwise GM offers four-speed automatics.