We knew our 2008 Motor Trend Truck of the Year was going to be special. Not only did we have a strong field of all-new, bigger, and more competitive full-size pickup trucks, but we also had the much-anticipated, full-size Toyota Tundra. And, as is our policy with all our Motor Trend trophy winners, we invited the Toyota to show us what it's made of over the long haul as one of our long-term-fleet participants.

We decided on a heart-of-the-market Tundra Double Cab 4x4 Limited with the 5.7-liter V-8 (rated at 381 horses and 401 pound-feet) and the 6.5-foot bed. This model starts at $39,235, but we added a few more options, not the least of which was the heavy-duty cold kit that features a larger cold-cranking-amp battery, H.D. starter, some extra anti-corrosion protection, and a smart windshield wiper de-icer with timer. This package is a steal at $100. Likewise, we opted for the front and rear mudguards behind each 275/65R18 Bridgestone Dueler H/T for $60, and the heavy-duty interior floormats to deal with all the mud and gunk. However, our most expensive add-on is the DVD/nav system, which includes a backup camera and 440-watt eight-channel stereo system, complete with a booming subwoofer, all for $1650. For extra insurance, we also opted for the front and rear sonar system that gives us an audible warning when the truck is getting close to a stationary object. All totaled, our long-termer tops out at $42,072.

In the 6700 miles or so we've had the truck, the Tundra's averaged 13.8 mpg in congested Los Angeles traffic, with a best on-highway cruise in the high 16s and the worst, a heavy-hauling slog back from Las Vegas with a team of sport bikes in the bed, touching just under 11 mpg. No doubt the six-speed transmission helps for highway cruising, but we've discovered if you want the good mileage from this engine, stay in the right lanes and hum around 60 mph.

Our first service checked in at a little over 6000 miles in about half the recommended time at a cost of $92.37 at the local Toyota dealer. Our vehicle's VIN wasn't affected by the camshaft, driveshaft, or transmission vibration recalls that have been posted since the new Tundras have been rolling off their new San Antonio, Texas, production line. For now, so far, so good. Look for periodic updates in future issues, with any problems or exciting stories to be reported along the way.


2008 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4x4
Price$42,072
Engine5.7L/381-hp/401-lb-ft DOHC 32-valve V-8
Miles6742
EPA city/hwy, mpg14/18
CO2 emission, lb/mile1.25
Observed average mpg13.8
Observed worst mpg8.1
Observed best mpg21.8
Average distance per fill-up179.6
Average cost per fill-up$3.37
Number of services1
Overall cost$92.37