ON THE HIGHWAY
Given the advantages of the new drivetrain, it's no surprise highway cruising is a breeze in the 2010 Tundra. With the six-speed and the new 4.6, the Tundra's operation is conspicuously quiet at highway speeds. At 60 mph, the engine loafs along at just 1600 rpm. We got 17.5 mpg overall, which reflects a mix of highway, around-town, and a little off-road driving.
As a long-range cruiser, the Tundra is a nice place for the whole family all day long. Seats are comfortable and, especially up front, generously wide. The cabin is highly organized, with convenient anti-clutter provisions within easy reach everywhere. If natural ventilation is your thing, the rear window slides sideways, actuated by a switch on the dash.
The cabin on our prototype test unit was accommodating, but from a design point of view, the layout is not particularly sophisticated. The competition has emphasized interior design in the past two years, with the result that the cabins of newly redesigned pickups such as the Ford F-150, Dodge Ram, and Chevrolet Silverado are more like those of SUVs than what those of pickups used to be. That might be a plus or a minus, depending on what kind of trucker you are.
As it stands, the Tundra interior is intended to convey a sense of rugged simplicity, and it does that. Features are comparable with other pickups, seat quality is good, and the fundamentals of the controls and instruments are consistent with the purpose of a pickup truck. But we suspect there are buyers, especially those coming out of cars or SUVs, who would notice a lack of city-truck design features like soft-touch controls and more extensive wood trim. If you care about that stuff, you might find the Tundra interior a bit off-putting.
Brakes are one of the Tundra's strong suits. The hardware is massive, with disc sizes of 13.9 inches (front) and 13.6 inches (rear). (By comparison, Ford's one-ton F-350 Super Duty comes with discs that are 13.7 and 13.4 inches, respectively, on a much heavier truck.) This hardware is backed up by a suite of electronic systems, including four-channel ABS, Brake Assist, and electronic proportioning, which Toyota calls EBD. At the track, our driver was able to bring the Tundra down from 60 mph in 138 feet, which is very good for a full-size truck. In certain ways, a braking system this robust might seem like overkill, but anyone who has pulled a trailer down a steep grade knows there is no such thing as too much stopping power.