Truck guys take a lot of guff for driving gas-guzzlers that rarely get used for what they're designed to do. Well, bite your tongue car weenies 'cause this Toyota pickup does exactly what it's built for -- speed. Sure, there's been other regular-cab sport trucks like Ford's SVT Lightning and Dodge's SRT-10 Ram, but this Tundra stomps 'em both, handily, in the 0-to-60 test by almost a half second. The Tundra dashes to 60 in 4.4 seconds making it faster than your car, if you're driving a Mustang GT (5.1), Dodge Challenger SRT8 (4.6), Jaguar XF SC (4.90), Audi S5 coupe (4.5), or BMW 135i (4.6), and as fast as our long-term 2006 Porsche Carrera S.
What's going on? Where's this truck been? Essentially in pieces in the Toyota Racing Development parts bins. What we have here is a stock 5.7L Tundra regular cab SR5 pickup fitted with accessories from the TRD catalog. Only a couple of bolt-on parts transform an already hefty Toyota 5.7L V-8 engine into a screaming banshee. The rev willingness of the stock 5.7 adds greatly to the package. The Eaton Twin Vortices supercharger and cat-back dual exhaust are the heart of the upgrades allowing the air and power to flow freely at the rate of 504 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque. Yee-hoooo! The whir of the supercharger is reminiscent of the old Lightning's, but the kick feels more linear and consistent. Power is on tap almost immediately without a slam-bang delivery. For the sake of civility, the tip-in is controllable, if you exercise restraint. But after a couple of head-snapping launches, it's nearly impossible to avoid exorcizing the tire tread instead. On the freeway, passing involves little more than a brush of the accelerator for pinpoint lane changes usually reserved for sports cars. Street truck aerodynamics aren't condusive to high-speeds with 0-to-100 mph times comparable to those of the Porsche Caymen and old S/C Yenko Camaro.
Obviously, there can be a downside to voluminous power. Gasoline usage is one -- but I can live with it. The other is traction control. Our truck isn't governed by an indomitable nanny. A recent Southern California rain proved you could slip the tires in the wet stuff, even with TCS on, if you're not careful. Engage the traction-system override and it's possible to fry rubber 'til your nose bleeds. Keeping in mind the basic theories of physics, objects in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by external forces, the TRD Big Brake Kit is a letdown. The brakes perform well enough on standard braking maneuvers but show a certain lack of commitment on panic braking, stopping at 141 ft from 60 mph -- eight ft farther than a stock 4x4 Limited with off-road biased tires. In addition, initial pedal feel is softer than I've come to expect in performance-brake packages.