Toyota can't be accused of blindly jumping into any market with both feet. After much study and consideration, the company now offers four full-size doors for its Tundra pickup. With 12 extra inches of wheelbase (all going to rear-passenger legroom) on a brand-new frame, the new Tundra weighs about 400 pounds heavier than the previous Access Cab, yet still offers the same 4.7-liter/240-horsepower 315 lb-ft V-8. With the carryover V-8 and a stronger frame, GVWR numbers are up but towing capacity is slightly down. Payload capacity stays the same, but the Tundra Double Cab does offer the segment's first fully retractable (a la Sequoia) rear window.

On the road, 4.10:1 gearing allows the vehicle to feel just as responsive off the line as previous Tundra models when empty; however, when loaded (with 1000 pounds of bagged river rock in the bed), the longer-wheelbase model felt more confident and sure-footed than the lighter and shorter Access Cab on the highway and through windy local mountain roads. It should be noted the engine still seems like it's working hard. Although Toyota is being tight-lipped about it, we expect a larger engine destined for this configuration soon, especially with the early success of the Nissan Titan's 5.6-liter DOHC V-8, which has more than 300 horsepower.

Although the interior isn't redesigned, it's moving closer to the full-size SUV direction, imitating more Toyota Sequoia colors, textures, and control selections. In fact, the rear Tundra D.C. seats also offer a flip-down, fold-flat, and tumble-forward mechanism that not only allows for a flat rear deck, but also a large floor-to-ceiling storage area for oversize boxes, bookshelves, or tool chests. You also can drop the rear window for taking a 10-foot-long board to the beach. Other features for the Tundra D.C. model include a DVD entertainment system, Vehicle Stability Control, an easily removable tailgate, and a 115-volt inverter and plug. With the addition of a new plant in San Antonio, Texas, Toyota hopes to produce 150,000 Tundras a year, with Double Cabs making up 40 percent of the total. Look for a full test in an upcoming issue.