|Positives: Powerful V8 with a rumble to match, nice road feel, attractive exterior and plenty of interior room.|
|Negatives: Feels bigger than it is, ugly and outdated interior, hard plastics throughout the cabin, heavy steering at low speeds, thirsty engine and a significant amount of cabin noise.|
|Bottom Line: The Tundra TRD Pro does a lot of things right. It's powerful, fun to drive, spacious and sounds amazing, but as soon as you look around the cabin you can tell it's an aging model. The Tundra needs to go through a redesign, primarily on the inside. The exterior and mechanical components of this truck are great. If the Tundra wants to beat the Ram 1500 Rebel (its chief competitor) it has to up the ante with more amenities.|
We see the main competitor to the Tundra TRD Pro as the Ram 1500 Rebel. We loved the Rebel, but the Tundra has its own list of merits that canâ€™t be ignored. After spending a week with the Tundra TRD Pro, we learned what this truck was really all about. Here are our impressions.
We love the engine in this truck. The 5.7-liter V8 is plenty powerful enough, and the specially tuned TRD exhaust growls like a ferocious animal. We were surprised at how loud and how fast this truck is. The Tundra's been clocked in the low-to-mid six second range from 0-60, which is pretty fast for something this beefy. But when youâ€™re driving it, you donâ€™t really care if the truck is truly a rocket or not. Youâ€™re too caught up in the moment with a stupid grin on your face because of the imposing size, good steering, cushy ride and V8 burble.
Ride Quality: The truck is smoother than we thought it would be on the road. It soaks up the bumps well. A brief jaunt through an empty field showed the truck is also surprisingly smooth off-road.
Acceleration: Like we said above, the Tundra TRD Pro feels fast. Shooting off the line is easy and passing on the highway simple.
Braking: The brakes are strong and progressive with no issues slowing down and stopping the truck.
Steering: The steering felt heavier than the competition, especially at low speeds. It offers decent feedback from the road.
Handling: The Tundra handles as youâ€™d expect a full-sized pickup to. Thereâ€™s a bit of body roll in the corners and weight shifting under heavy acceleration or heavy braking. It also feels bigger than it is, especially at low speeds and when parking. This makes it hard to maneuver in tight spaces.
The Tundra TRD Pro certainly isnâ€™t a technophileâ€™s dream truck. Sure, itâ€™s got Toyotaâ€™s Entune audio system with apps, phone connectivity and whatnot, but it lacks heated seats, has controls that arenâ€™t as good as the competition and is missing features like suspension height control, which the RAM 1500 Rebel has. Overall, the technology in the Tundra feels a couple years behind the competition.
Infotainment System: The 7-inch high-resolution screen is large enough and the Entune system functions fine, though it is slower than some other systems out there.
Controls: Thereâ€™s a nice mix of buttons and touchscreen controls in the Tundra, but the layout could be better.
Bluetooth Pairing: Connecting a phone via Bluetooth is simple and takes seconds. Reconnecting upon re-entry is seamless.
Voice Call Quality: Call quality is good. Voices on either end of the call were clear and easily heard.
When it comes down to how the Tundra TRD Pro looks, itâ€™s all positives on the outside of the truck. Although the exterior hasnâ€™t undergone a redesign in a while, that doesnâ€™t change the fact that the Tundra is an attractive truck. All of the badges have been blacked out for the TRD Pro version and the black wheels match the rest of the truckâ€™s styling well. From a visual standpoint, some more aggressive all-terrain tires would look good on the Tundra, but overall this pickup is eye catching. The styling combined with the exhaust note make it impossible for pedestrians and other drivers not to notice it.
Front: The front of the truck is dominated by a black, old-school grille that proudly displays â€œToyotaâ€ across the front of the vehicle. The Toyota logo is missing from the exterior of the truck, which is preferable because every time we see it we just think of the Camry and this truck is as far from a Camry as you can get.
Rear: The rear isnâ€™t as boisterous as the front, featuring a few lines, a painted bumper and blacked out accents on the tailgate.
Profile: In profile, you can see thereâ€™s plenty of room for the wheels to travel within the wheel wells, and you can tell this is a pickup built with off-road driving in mind. The red coils up front add a nice bright accent to an otherwise dark and intimidating look.
Cabin: The cabin lacks the sophistication and high-quality look the exterior has. The dash and center console have a lot of cheap-looking plastics, interior space could be better utilized and overall it looks less well-thought out.
The Tundra TRD Pro is one of the most spacious interiors we think weâ€™ve seen. Thereâ€™s plenty of space to move around and stretch out. The spaciousness of the cabin is the interiorâ€™s high point. Toyota really seemed to think about how they could maximize space. Unfortunately, the rest of the interior is subpar. Materials, layout (from an ergonomics standpoint) and technology need to be better to compete in a segment as tough as this.
Front Seats: The seats are well padded but felt pretty flat and lacked adjustments that other trucks have, though there was lumbar adjustment. The leatherâ€™s quality was decent but not as good as competitors'.
Rear Seats: Thereâ€™s a lot of room in the rear seats. Even the largest of passengers will be happy to sit in the second row. The seats themselves feature similar padding and flatness and could be more comfortable.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The cabin of the Tundra TRD Pro is rather noisy. You get engine and exhaust noise, noise from the suspension as it flexes and operates and a fair amount of wind noise. Itâ€™s not so bad that you canâ€™t carry on a conversation at a comfortable volume, but it is noticeable.
Visibility: You can easily see the road out of the front, back and sides of the truck, but parking is rather difficult. The rear-view camera makes it easier, but it can be hard to see exactly where the truck is in relation to your surroundings. It feels bigger than it actually is.
Climate: Climate controls are easy to operate and work well, though heated seats should be on a truck at this price point.
The Tundra received an overall rating of four stars from the government. For the frontal crash test, it posted a four-star rating, for the side crash it managed to get five stars and on the rollover crash test it received four stars.
IIHS Rating: The Tundra is not a Top Safety Pick, according to the IIHS. The truck received a marginal rating for the small overlap front test and an acceptable rating for the roof strength test. Otherwise, it received good ratings.
Standard Tech: The Tundra TRD Pro we drove came equipped with a rear backup camera, manual headlamp level control, stability control, traction control, ABS with electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, smart stop technology, 8 airbags and a tire pressure monitoring system.
Optional Tech: There was no optional equipment on this vehicle.
In the Tundra, space abounds. Throughout the cabin, youâ€™ll find plenty of spots to stow away gear and other items. While we loved the many different areas designed to hold your things, we were surprised by the material choices made by Toyota. Almost all spaces were clad in hard, slippery plastic, meaning if you set your phone down in the little tray designed for it, it would slide around the entire drive. Some kind of rubberized material or mats in the bottom of the storage bins and trays would have solved this issue.
Storage Space: The center console has several trays and beneath the armrest is a huge space that will swallow up whatever you have with you. One of our passengers was able to fit a large purse beneath the center armrest with space to spare. Besides that, thereâ€™s generous door pockets, a spacious glovebox and a little bit of rear under-seat storage.
Cargo Room: The 5.5 ft bed of the Tundra TRD Pro is plenty spacious but didnâ€™t have a bed liner, which is something we thought was weird for a truck with an MSRP over $46K.
While the Tundra TRD Proâ€™s engine is impressive in terms of sound and power, fuel efficiency is another matter. The Tundra gets low marks for fuel economy and is rated lower than the competition at 13 mpg city and 17 mpg highway. Ford, Ram, Chevy, Nissan and GMC all feature better gas mileage than the Tundra TRD Pro (though some tie for the city rating), according to EPA estimates.
Observed: We saw a combined fuel economy of 14 mpg.
Driving Factors: We drove the Tundra TRD Pro in both urban and rural environments at a variety of speeds on many different roads, streets and highways. When on the highway we used cruise control to maximize efficiency.
The Entune audio system functioned seamlessly during the time that we had the truck. The speakers are loud and clear. Thereâ€™s good range between high notes and low and plenty of connectivity to different music players and media services, including AM/FM radio, Sirius XM radio, HD radio and more via the Entune app center.
The Tundra TRD Pro is a good choice for a full-size off-road style pickup. If you're looking for something with an attractive exterior, muscle car-like exhaust and overall badass aesthetic, the Tundra TRD Pro may be for you. If, however, you're looking for something a little more up to date with a better interior, something like the RAM 1500 Rebel is probably more in your wheelhouse.