One day we were giving Dan a hand moving his race car to an event and got to drive the Tundra towing his large enclosed trailer. Previously we had given him grief for towing this big trailer with a half-ton truck but he assured me that the Tundra handled it no problem, crossing the country several times to races around the USA. When towing, we were so amazed with the ease that the Tundra towed the big trailer that we knew what MotoIQ's official truck was going to be!
When we made our trip to the Toyota dealer, our attention was grabbed by a large Toyota point of purchase display that had many parts of competitor's trucks compared to the Tundra's. The display showed us that the Tundra had beefier parts than its competition–something we suspected anyway. When checking the Tundra on the lot, we crawled under it and were impressed with the legendary Toyota build quality. As automotive engineers, we could see the corrosion resisting E-Coat, electro zinc plating, logically routed plumbing, wiring with shields, higher grade than usual fasteners and larger, stronger suspension, drivetrain parts and brakes than what we were used to.
We test drove a 4×4 TRD Rock Warrior off road package and were immediately sold. We purchased a 5.7 liter 4X4 TRD Rock Warrior Double Cab with the heavy duty tow package. We were amazed at the powerful engine which delivered 381 hp and 401 lb/ft of torque, most of which was available over an amazingly wide rev range. Our truck had from the factory, all the goodies we normally have to add to our tow vehicles to prepare them for towing. The Tundra came with a tow hitch receiver, 4.30 final drive ratio with a huge 10.3″ ring gear, engine and transmission oil coolers, heavy duty alternator, starter and battery, pre-wiring for trailer lights and brakes and a tow/haul mode on the transmission. In addition, we also got the Heavy Duty cold weather package which included more powerful defrosters as well as the aforementioned battery and alternator. Our truck had a whopping 10,300 lb tow capacity which must be a record for a half-ton truck!
The Rock Warrior package has a TRD tuned off road suspension with 50mm Bilstein shocks, forged alloy wheels with big 285/70-17 BFG All Terrain Tires, a cool black interior and niceties like fog lights and billet interior bits. Our only disappointment is that we could not get this high performance heavy duty package optioned out with some of the nicer interior packages. We would have liked to have Navigation and some of the more pimped out electronic entertainment options with our truck but oh well. If you are listening Toyota, some of us performance enthusiasts also like a little luxury with our fun.
The 6-speed automatic transmission was a deal closing feature; a big overdrive ratio is important for getting good highway mileage with a low stump pulling 4.30 final drive ratio. What really impressed us was the Tundra's brakes. As nearly all of the trucks in our arsenal except the Ford F250 SD had brake issues when towing, we above all else wanted good brakes. The Tundra didn’t disappoint. The front brakes are huge 14″ discs with racecar like 4-piston calipers. The rear sported 13.8″ rotors with big calipers. We believe the Tundra's stock brakes are the largest in the segment by far. Their stopping power over the competition was apparent on our first test drive.
The Tundra had many other features that we like as well; the best crash rating in the segment with full coverage air bags, ABS, traction and stability control with an electronic LSD. The air bags and electronic drivers aids can all be overridden for off road driving, and certain low friction driving conditions where they don't work well. If you have ever hit a big bump while driving fast off road and have had all the airbags deploy like we have, gone hurtling down a slippery muddy hill because the ABS shut the brakes off or had a hard time stopping in the snow due the ABS not allowing controlled wheel lock, you know why its important to be able to turn this stuff off sometimes!