Full review: Toyota Tundra 4×4 Double Cab SR5 TRD

Tested:

Model: 2016 4×4 Tundra Double Cab SR 5.7L TRD Package.

Drivetrain: 5.7L iForce V8 with 381 HO @ 5,600 rpm and 401 lb.-ft @ 3,600 rpm.

Price as tested: $40,090 USD – $36,895 USD base Tundra SR5 5.7L Double Cab.

Infotainment: 6.1” touchscreen with voice recognition, Bluetooth audio, Bongiovi acoustics digital power station.

Comfort: 8 way power adjustable driver and 4 way manual adjustable passenger seats. Heated driver and passenger seats.

Overview:

There are a few different kinds of pickup trucks: There are ones that work hard, nothing fancy, bare bones function. There is high class, extremely luxurious cruisers. But then, finally, there are capable trucks that just want to have fun. The Toyota Tundra TRD, first introduced in 2014, is exactly that. Just looking at the bright, Inferno coloring brings a smile to your face. It’s easy to tell this truck just wants to have fun, and it wants you to have fun with it.

TRD adds a host of off road capabilities, protection, and some interior features. At $3500 USD, it’s an option package that almost stands alone as a unique model type. Only the TRD Pro trim surpasses it for pure off-road beastliness. A big, muscular 381hp 5.7L V8 powers the fun, emitting a smile inducing exhaust note. Nearly everything about this truck has been intentionally placed and well throughout. Interior space is functional, comfortable and practical. Dashboard design is simple, but not basic. Even the engine bay is organized so well, you can tell it’s designed to be serviced roadside. With a hammer. Fuel consumption is higher than most, and a massive tank may give your wallet a shock at the pumps. But, on the whole, the drawbacks are so few, and so much is done so well, it’s hard to stay focused on them.

Scores:

Performance/Mileage: 8/10

Comfort/Ride: 9/10

Practicality: 4/5

Entertainment/Infotainment: 8/10

Reliability: Insufficient data*

Total: 29/35 – 4.5/5 stars

Performance/Mileage

Firstly, it must be said the Tundra did not perform admirably in overall fuel mileage. Official ratings put city at 15MPG(16L/100KM) and 19MPG (12.4L/100km), just below most half ton pickup trucks on the market today. During the test, mileage averaged at about 15.2MPG (15.5l/100km) with about 65% highway and 35% city driving. Mileage aside, however, the Tundra’s drivetrain is mechanically rock solid. A throaty, peppy 5.7L iForce V8 produces 381 HP @5,600rpm and 401 lb. ft @ 3,600 rpm. Its smooth, well geared six speed automatic transmission never hesitated or searched for gears.

Acceleration in the Tundra TRD happens fast, and with a healthy rumble from in front. Engine noise, even at speed, was a bit on the loud side. This was in keeping with the truck’s overall personality, however, something this truck has an abundance of. People seeking quieter, more subdued rides should look for the Lexus inspired interior of the Tundra 1974 Edition. Ride suited road conditions well, with the upgraded Bilstein shocks modifying their dampening based on speed and road conditions. The Tundra TRD nearly completely lacks the body roll that plagues most pickups in high-speed cornering. Wide tires, boosted suspension and driving dynamics give this truck as much poise as a smaller vehicle. While certainly not sophisticated, it was never a bore behind the wheel.

Comfort/Ride

With a focus on outdoor, active lifestyles, the interior of the Tundra TRD is a lesson in comfortable simplicity. Seats are made in easy clean fabrics, and trims outfit in sturdy, solid plastics. Seating for driver and passenger are heated, and TRD provides an eight way power adjustment. Both seats provide excellent support and comfort. A rear bench in the Double Cab has less leg room than the CrewMax, but still adequately fits adults. The rear bench is comfortable, with good seating for three adults. Because it lacks the in-seat cup holders, center back support is quite nice. Taking a group of friends on day trips canoeing or fishing would be a pleasure in the Tundra TRD. Immense disc brakes bite fast, and bring the Tundra TRD to a halt quickly.

Ride for the Tundra TRD was impacted by the performance off-road TRD package. That said, it handled daily city driving as well, if not better, than many other comparable trucks. It certainly felt under-utilized on city streets, though, longing for back country forestry trails, or rocky mountain passes. Self-dampening suspension smoothed ride at various speeds, translating into a comfortable ride in a variety of conditions. There was some frame jiggle on rough freeway roads at speed, a result of the C-frame construction. Road noise was acceptable at speed. Passengers, particularly kids, seemed to be lulled to sleep in the Tundra TRD, something that hasn’t happened in past trips.

Practicality

The Tundra TRD Double Cab feels like a truck built from the ground up to have fun. While still a very capable pickup truck in its own right, there are many little added accessories in the TRD package that remind you this Tundra just wants to have fun. With an impressive 9,800lb towing capacity, it can handle most personal water craft. 200lb capacity sliding brackets are included with TRD package; four slide along a rail in the bed. Hydraulic dampeners mean the tailgate doesn’t slam down when lowered. The double cab allows for an increase in bed length, adding more capacity. Missing, however, were any entry aids into the bed. It was quite high to enter, even on level ground.

The interior space has been very well used. There are plenty of little storage nooks for cups, bottles and cell phones. Tough, hard, high quality plastics are easy to wipe clean. It looks to be able to withstand quite a beating. Entry height is standard for trucks, though lower than expected for an off-road centric vehicle like the Tundra TRD. Sensors at front and rear provide audio warnings in tight spaces. A rear view camera does a good job of aiding with backup visibility. Storage cubbies can be found under the split bench, with locking lids. They are sufficiently roomy for day bags, or small equipment.

Entertainment/Technology

As a truck priced around the mid-range, the Tundra TRD offers a capable, if not excellent package for infotainment. A well designed, touch sensitive 6.1” LCD screen offers good audio and phone applications. Notably missing from the Tundra TRD option pack is built in navigation, but the TRD seems like the kind of truck in which directions are optional. Voice to text, as with most new Toyotas, is excellent. Even with windows full down, at speed, the system was able to navigate text messaging without missing a beat. Tuning was quick, and sound from the Bongiovi audio system more than adequate for this level of truck. Audio equalizer balancing was difficult, and required frequent modification based on input source or radio station.

Standard front and read audio sensors are active at all times, even while in drive. They provide audio feedback when the truck is getting too close. A driver information cluster is straddled by the speed and revolution dials. It provides basic mileage, trip and towing information. An auto-dimming rear view mirror is a great feature at this trim level. There are no tech frills on the Tundra TRD, but it doesn’t feel like they’re missing, either.

Reliability

Toyota introduced the the current generation of Tundra for the 2014 model year. This is the second year for this generation of Tundra, including the TRD package. Reliability data comes from truedelta.com, a collection of owner surveys for thousands of vehicles. Scores are based on repair trips per 100 vehicles, with small sample size data omitted.

Tundra TRD, and other models, don’t have sufficient data at TrueDelta to provide good reliability data for the current generation. However, Toyota Tundra has an excellent reliability rating for older models, and Toyota is renowned for building vehicles that last. Toyota’s 4×4 frame trucks are the backbone on which many aid agencies in Africa operate. You can expect excellent reliability from the 2016 Tundra TRD.

Conclusion

Few trucks tested have made so many of those who’ve seen them more than the 2016 Toyota Tundra TRD. This is a truck with personality. A very specific personality, one that won’t fit into everybody’s ideal. Tundra TRD is a capable, fun to drive truck that always makes you smile. Those looking for a mid-priced toy hauler, or your next ride to a mountain river, the 2016 Toyota Tundra TRD is more than willing to oblige.

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