2015 Toyota Tundra Platinum CrewMax

2015 Toyota Tundra Platinum CrewMax Review

Making a case for a Japanese full-size pickup.

By: Andrew Krok

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: February 27th, 2015

Full-size pickup trucks are about as American as it gets. If there's one thing we need, and one thing we know how to produce, it's a truck. That's why it's hard to justify buying an imported truck, and sales numbers clearly show that it's a feeling that permeates throughout the American truck-buying market. That's why Toyota pulled out all the stops for the 2014 Tundra refresh, and the result was a big, burly truck that - upon first glance, at least - looked like it could go head to head with the best from the Big Three. As we move into the truck's second year of existence, its sales numbers are still well behind the industry stalwarts, but after spending a week with a 2015 Tundra Platinum CrewMax, we don't think that buyers should immediately count the Toyota out - even if it is the underdog by a large margin.

  • Interior

    The Platinum model is Tundra's second fanciest trim level, below only the southwestern-themed 1794 Edition. Even then, the Platinum is plenty fancy in its own right, but its diamond-stitch patterns and use of darker material gives it more of an urban-upscale theme. It's probably as close to a Lexus truck as you're going to get; much of the fit and finish feels Lexus-like. There is still plenty of hard plastic around the cabin, but it's in places where you'd very easily ruin a suppler textile. Don't forget, trucks are still about work.

    The rear seat once again feels very Lexus-like, in that there is an unbelievable amount of space back there. Our tester came in the CrewMax configuration, which grants rear-seat occupants so much space that it could very well do double duty as a limousine. The rear seats even come with fore-aft adjustment; there's just that much space available.

  • Exterior

    The Tundra's exterior remains as chiseled and attractive as we said it was when it was released. Since there are no changes for 2015, our opinion stands; it's just as proper as any other truck on the market. Strong fender lines on the side, along with the double-grille up front, give the truck an illusion of size that makes you feel like you're walking up to a battleship every time you set foot on the driveway.

  • On the Road

    This is where Toyota's equation starts to falter. While the 5.7-liter V-8 is most definitely strong off the line, there's a dearth of available oomph at highway speeds. The transmission is compliant and stays out of the driver's way most of the time. That said, observed fuel economy was lower than what we've seen with similarly equipped competitors, which could be remedied by one or two extra cogs in the ol' tranny housing.

    Trouble also appears in the form of noise, vibration, and harshness. It comports itself just fine on roads both smooth and bumpy, but a generous amount of noise manages to make its way to the interior. Even though the truck is decidedly premium, the Tundra's inherent truckiness pulls the driver out of the illusion of luxury relatively easily. For example, our tester came with a premium audio system; no matter what volume the bass was individually programmed to, any deep tone created a harsh, plastic-on-plastic rattle. Why even bother spending the money on the audio system if it won't ever sound good? Thus, the tradeoffs in creating a one-size-fits-all luxury truck begin to show.

  • Final Thoughts

    It's an interesting thing, a luxury-oriented pickup truck. Thanks to the efforts of whatever Chrysler called itself in the mid-1990s, the pickup truck went from a single-duty workhorse to a jack-of-all-trades, equally suitable for play as well as work. Ever since then, the race has been on to find that sweet spot that lets a truck feel as carlike as possible without giving up its original purpose.

    Buyers these days want their trucks to be comfortable, yet they still need them to tow, haul, and occasionally go off-road. People spend time in their trucks, and that time shouldn't be wasted on feeling uncomfortable. In that sense, the Toyota Tundra is an excellent 21st-century truck; it has solid ride quality, great reliability, and it has plenty of both luxury and utility. It's just a matter of changing public opinion away from the idea that domestic trucks are the only pickups out there; while the Tundra might do a good job pulling a few folks out of the crowd, its faults prevent it from getting everybody's attention.

  • Specs & Price

    Engine: 5.7-liter naturally-aspirated V-8

    Transmission: Six-speed automatic

    Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, part-time four-wheel drive

    Power Output: 381 horsepower / 401 lb-ft

    Fuel Economy (mpg): 13 city / 17 highway

    Base Price: $47,875

    As Tested: $50,250 (incl. $1,100 destination)

    Available Features: Blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert

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