Reviews

2011 Toyota Tundra Introduction

The Toyota Tundra is a serious full-size pickup, whether measured by dimensions, hauling capacity or towing capacity. Since this iteration was introduced as a 2007 model it's been refined, and for 2011, Tundra's base V6 engine gets an overhaul. Also, all 2011 Toyota Tundra models come standard with trailer sway control. The 2011 Tundra lineup has been simplified, as well.

We've found the Tundra to be a stable, comfortable truck for towing a 20-foot enclosed car trailer over long distances. Towing capacities top 10,000 pounds on some models, and maximum payload ratings just clear 2,000 pounds.

Tundra comes in three body styles: Regular Cab with two doors; Double Cab with conventional front-hinged, secondary rear side doors; and CrewMax with four full-size doors. Seating is available for three, five or six. Three bed lengths and three wheelbases are available.

Trim levels range from basic Tundra Grade to luxurious Limited models with leather upholstery, and from the lowest end to the highest is a price differential of around 2:1. But even the base models are loaded with useful features, including tons of interior storage options, an easy-lift assisted tailgate and four-wheel disc brakes. High-end models are available with GPS navigation and a rearview camera, or a rear-seat entertainment system with a 9-inch LCD screen. An available deck rail system in the bed anchors moveable tie-down cleats rated at 220 pounds each.

The new 4.0-liter V6 engine for 2011 nets 270 horsepower, 278 pound-feet of torque and EPA ratings of 16/20 mpg City/Highway (representing increases of 34, 12, and 1/1 respectively over 2010). The V6 is available only with two-wheel-drive versions of the Regular or Double Cab; the V6 weighs at least 300 pounds less than the V8s for better mileage and longer component life. It can't tow as much as the V8s but its 1620-pound payload is more than many Tundra V8s can carry. The V6 comes with a 5-speed automatic. We think the V6 is a good choice for work trucks.

Both V8 engines and their 6-speed transmission remain unchanged for 2011. The 4.6-liter dohc V8 engine is rated at 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque, with EPA fuel-economy ratings of 15/20 mpg City/Highway (14/19 with 4WD). As with the 5.7-liter engine, the 4.6-liter has dual Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVT-i), which optimizes valve timing for the best combination of performance, economy and emissions.

The 5.7-liter V8 engine is rated at 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque and a 6-speed automatic transmission. The dohc 5.7-liter is an excellent choice for towing trailers, which explains why it is standard on more models for 2011. The 5.7-liter has typical EPA fuel-economy ratings of 14/18 mpg City/Highway (13/17 4WD).

The 2011 Tundra lineup has been winnowed, which should make choosing and fact finding easier while potentially making it more difficult to get exactly what you want. Trailer ratings appear lower on most models because they are now rated according to a recently adopted standard developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

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