Sunday, October 23, 2016

Toyota Tundra Review 2016

The full-size pickup truck is an unabashedly and proudly American creation. Baseball, apple pie, pickup trucks, etc. So it is perhaps understandable, then, that the 2016 Toyota Tundra finds itself at a disadvantage compared to the full-size trucks from Ford, GM and Ram. But it's actually not because the Tundra is from a Japanese company (though it's built in Texas).

Age has a lot to do with it. The Tundra underwent a thorough update two years ago that brought revised styling, an improved cabin and updated features, but it was largely akin to a kitchen remodel as compared to breaking out the wrecking ball and fully rebuilding up from the foundation. The revisions just weren't enough to fix flaws or make notable advances. In contrast, the Ford F-150 now has a lightweight aluminum body and turbocharged engines, and the Ram 1500 has a smooth-riding coil spring suspension and efficient turbodiesel V6. The recently redesigned Chevrolet Silverado wasn't especially innovative, but its incremental improvements in just about every vehicular facet have allowed it to soundly keep up with the Joneses.

The Tundra does not. Its V8 engines definitely get the job done, but they trail their competitors, especially in terms of fuel economy. There also isn't a V6 option, nor a fuel-efficient alternative such as the aforementioned Ford EcoBoost V6 or Ram EcoDiesel. Then there's the driving experience. The Tundra feels more like a classic, stiff-riding truck of the past while traversing broken pavement, with bumps big and small easily being felt by all in the cabin. This is the result of a stiff rear suspension admittedly up to the task of stout hauling duties, but if it's just the family making its way across town, the jostling will get old.

In all fairness, the Tundra does indeed offer truck buyers an awful lot to value. Its double cab is one of the more spacious extended cabs on the market, while the CrewMax is legitimately sprawl-out comfortable, with not only copious legroom but also the added comfort of a reclining seatback. Those interested in venturing off road would also be wise to consider the capable TRD Pro trim level.

Yet, for the most part, the Edmunds "B"-rated 2016 Toyota Tundra quite simply falls short of the current crop of top-notch pickups: the "A"-rated Ram 1500 and Ford F-150, as well as the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. The2016 Nissan Titan XD, with its diesel-powered engine, also promises a degree of innovation the Tundra lacks and may stand a better chance of countering the argument that only American companies can build such a quintessentially American vehicle.

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