Toyota Tundra Double Cab - 2004 Truck Of The Year
Bigger Is Better
Through the years, Toyota has earned a loyal following of truck owners, beginning with the legendary reliability of the very first Toyota small truck. As consumers grew out of their little Toyotas, they moved up to domestic offerings until 1993, when Toyota offered the midsize T100. Subsequent redesigns added more size in the form of an extended cab and more powerful V-6 engine, eventually leading to the fullsize V-8-powered Tundra in 2000. Once again, the competition has grown, so Toyota has matched their moves by expanding its Tundra lineup, this time with the four-door Double Cab.
Built from the ground up on an entirely new frame and co-developed with Toyota's Hino subsidiary, the Tundra Double Cab adds much-needed size over the Tundra regular and extended cab trucks, while keeping the same bed length. The Double Cab is 4 inches wider and the bed is now 2-1/2 inches deeper. Our tester was blue with a gray cloth interior and came equipped as an SR5 with the TRD off-road suspension package. The top engine is the 4.7L DOHC I-Force V-8, which churns out 240 hp and 315 lb-ft of torque. The Tundra doesn't offer the low-end grunt of its rivals, but once above 3,000 rpm, the 4.7L loves to run. With the four-speed transmission and 4.10 rear gear ratio, Toyota has matched the driveline perfectly to the engine's powerband. Because of this, the Tundra feels much lighter on its feet and much quicker than the track times suggest. The smaller V-8 offers better fuel economy than the competition, but the Tundra Double Cab only offers a 6,800-pound tow rating. Even though the Double Cab is equipped with rear drum brakes, our judges liked the Tundra's excellent pedal feel and consistent stops.
For anyone who has ever owned a Toyota, the interior is very familiar. Typical Toyota quality is seen throughout the cab. We just wished that the look of the dashboard had been upgraded with the new Double Cab introduction. Other areas that our judges agreed on were the amount of 12-volt powerpoint locations for plugging things in, including a 115-volt outlet under the rear seat. The Toyota also offered near convertible freedom with its giant sunroof, which can be optioned with the rear entertainment system, and the completely roll-down rear window. The rear seat shares the same seat back angle as the front seats, making it one of the most comfortable lounges in the test.
Riding on P265/70R16s, the Double Cab offers a smooth ride and good handling. Some judges felt that the steering response was a bit slow and there was too much body roll, but overall it was one of the top picks in this test and one of the trucks voted best for road trips.
We have always been fans of Toyota's trucks, and the Double Cab doesn't disappoint with its many features and high build quality. With the Double Cab added to the lineup, Toyota's fullsize truck line becomes a serious consideration to any buyer in the market for a truck.