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2008 Toyota Tundra - First Look

A Bit Of Love/Hate Relationship

Dan Ward
Oct 1, 2008
Contributors: Brandan Gillogly
Photographers: Dan Ward, Bob Ryder
Photo 2/6   |   2008 Toyota Tundra left Side Angle
Miles To Date: 7,000
Average Fuel Economy: 13.7mpg
Towing Fuel Economy: You don't want to know.
What's Hot: 5.7L V-8 pulls hard, plenty of interior space for both passengers and gear. The thing's huge!
What's Not: Dash ergonomics, odd window lock switch, fuel mileage, towing feedback, and the thing's ginormous!
Long-Term Update:
Toyota Tundra CrewMax SR5 4x4
Driver: Brandan Gillogly
After spending a couple of months behind the wheel of our Tundra test vehicle, the strengths and weaknesses of the truck have really become apparent. We can't imagine driving this truck with the 4.7L V-8, and neither can Toyota, as a 4x4 CrewMax is only available with the 5.7L. We have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the big V-8. We love that it explodes from a stop with surprising ease, thanks to its 4.30 rear axle. The hate resides mostly with gas pumps, as the behemoth rarely cracks 14 mpg with our mix of commuting and highway driving. And let's not even mention the single-digit mileage we recorded when a trailer entered the equation. When we towed with the Tundra, both with a relatively light load (less than 2,000 pounds) and with our SSR project (around 7,000 pounds including trailer), the suspension responded with a porpoise-like ride, despite loading the trailer correctly. Capable? Yes. Comfy? No.
Inside the Tundra, the jumble of interior colors and textures still looks a bit off. We enjoy the huge center console and its ability to swallow tons of gear, and the rear seat video is one of the best you can get from the factory. Another plus is the quality of the Bluetooth cell phone integration. Calls come through the speaker with great clarity, and everyone we spoke to on the other end of the call was surprised to know we were using a hands-free device. One gripe we do have with the Bluetooth: calls are automatically transferred to Bluetooth when you approach the vehicle, without any prompt on the touch screen. Not a big deal, unless your passengers happen to be loudly singing along to the stereo, or your once-private conversation gets broadcast through the vehicle. One more complaint about the interior: locking the windows via the switch on the driver door also stops the driver from being able to lower any of the windows save their own. Weird.
Photo 3/6   |   Editor's Note: Aftermarket support is already alive and well for the Teryx, as companies like aFe, Gibson, and Maxxis all have accessories to make this Kawasaki even more potent.
In the world of side-by-side Recreation Utility Vehicles (RUV), it seems brand loyalty is just as fierce as the fullsize truck market. To each his own; but on a recent road test with our '08 Truck of the Year winner Toyota Tundra, we had the opportunity to test an '08 Kawasaki Teryx 4x4. Once the Teryx had been strapped down to a dual-axle trailer, we drove our Tundra to a remote off-road park with high-speed trails, whoops, and large rocks. After unloading the RUV, we put on our helmets and began a day of off-roading. We started out the day wondering what it could do. Not long into our excursion we realized, wow, this little thing is cool!
Marketed as the only RUV with a V-Twin, the 749cc Kawasaki didn't disappoint us. The water-cooled, mid-chassis mounted V-Twin is strong and rushes to speed seamlessly, thanks to a continuously variable transmission. Torque from the 90-degree V-Twin was appreciated when modulating dirt-covered turns, creating a powerful drift, and helping the 4x4 climb over rocky terrain. Switching from 2WD to 4WD was as easy as pushing the electronic switch on the dash. With the Teryx in 2WD High, we saw speeds reaching 50 mph.


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