Toy Story 2: 2010 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4x4

The Sequel is Everything the Tundra Ever Was...and Less

John Stewart
Sep 24, 2009
For 2010, the Toyota Tundra gets a new, smaller engine. That's actually good news, because the slightly smaller 4.6-liter V-8 replaces the aging 4.7, making more power and more torque and using less gas in the process. This new engine is complemented by a six-speed transmission, which has an unusually low first-gear ratio and a reasonably tall sixth gear for easy cruising.
The new 4.6-liter engine is rated at 310 horsepower, developing 327 pound-feet of torque at 3400 rpm. With the new engine, the Tundra's fuel economy is 13 city/18 highway (4WD) and 15/20 (RWD). These numbers compare favorably with the outgoing 4.7 V-8's ratings of 13/16 (4WD) and 14/17 (RWD) and 276 horsepower with 313 pound-feet of torque. Both engines make peak torque at 3400 rpm, but the 4.6 revs about 200 rpm higher to hit peak horsepower. Still, it seems clear the new V-8 will be a welcome upgrade from the 4.7, which has been around almost 10 years now. Switching from a cast-iron block to aluminum helped reduce weight, shedding about 65 pounds compared with the outgoing 4.7-liter.
Photo 2/9   |   2010 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4x4 side View
Toyota has achieved these improve-ments by applying technology developed for the optional powerplant, the 5.7-liter V-8. That includes addition of dual VVT-i, which can electronically control intake and exhaust valve timing for optimized performance at low and higher rpm. Dual VVT-i also provides timing flexibility that allows for a cleaner-burning engine, which in turn translates into mileage efficiency. Compression has been increased slightly for more power, and with a shorter stroke, the 4.6 revs a little better than the old 4.7. Another state-of-the-art feature in the 4.6 is water-cooled exhaust gas recirculation, which helps regulate combustion temperatures to keep the catalytic converter working more efficiently. It's primarily an emissions strategy, but it does save a bit of fuel in the process, especially when the engine is operating at light throttle.
We noticed a few changes in the 2010 Tundra SR5 we tested, but they're not conspicuous. The 2010 grille has one fewer bar and the remaining bars are thicker, and the front valance has also been changed. From the rear, the taillight cluster looks a little more modern. The headlights are now manually adjustable in five steps, and stereos have been upgraded.
Even with the new engine, we think the most significant addition for 2010 is the six-speed automatic. With a six-speed like this, any engine will work better. It's not the same six-speed Toyota uses with the 5.7; this one, known internally as the A-760, has more in common with the existing five-speed Toyota has long used behind the 4.7. The new six-speed has all the same gears as the old five-speed, but also adds one more ratio, a very tall sixth gear. In essence, the new transmission allows for more efficient cruising for much better highway mileage.
Photo 3/9   |   2010 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4x4 engine View
Like just about every modern Toyota transmission we've tested, the new six-speed downshifts readily when called upon, so much so that we can practically select ratios with our throttle foot. There is a manual shift option, should that be your preference, when you want to kick down from overdrive as you go up a steep hill. But our experience was that the six-speed generally anticipated our request for a downshift, giving us what we needed when we needed it. At the track, it clicked through gears readily under full throttle, shifting at about 5500 rpm, just short of the 5900-rpm redline. Full-power starts did produce a slight bog off the line as automatic traction devices kicked in. There would be a quick chirp, very brief hesitation, then the truck would move out strongly, with the engine really catching fire around 3300 rpm. After some experimentation, we found we could move out a little better by disabling the traction control.
Around town, throttle response is strong off the line, even a bit touchy until you get used to it, but the Tundra gets going with ease and seems nimble. It's also notable that the Tundra steers and handles with unusual precision for a full-size pickup, employing rack-and-pinion steering. It parks easily--although shorter folks may find the tall hood a little hard to see over.
Photo 4/9   |   2010 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4x4 rear View
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.
Photo 5/9   |   2010 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4x4 dash View
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.
Photo 6/9   |   2010 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4x4 head Light
Photo 7/9   |   2010 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4x4 front Grille
We took a run out to the San Gabriel Canyon OHV area to see how the Tundra felt to operate in four-wheel drive. There, the terrain is littered with round river rocks of all sizes, flood debris, small sand berms, and a few rocky outcrops. There are two areas where the west fork of the San Gabriel River must be crossed, and at this time of year, a fair amount of water was flowing across a firm but knobby bottom. A light covering of algae made the river rock bottom a wee bit slick, but there was no mud to speak of.
Maneuvering an empty pickup truck on a rocky path is kind of like cantering a horse. There's a lot of jostle and jiggle, with a low-frequency/high amplitude vibration. Engine power is not a huge factor most of the time, but suspension quality is. We found the Tundra happiest at lower speeds (around 10 mph on these surfaces) although we did experiment with higher speeds and found that the suspension would actually smooth out the ride when the truck was forced to skitter across these roadways at speeds up to 30 mph. We could maintain control well enough, but that pace brought us up on washouts and wood debris a little too quickly for our liking, so we contented ourselves with picking our way down the rocky trail. Ground clearance, at 10.4 inches, made it possible to straddle some of the bigger rocks, rather than slow down to put a tire on them.
Photo 8/9   |   2010 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4x4 front Seats
At the spots where we crossed, the river was some 60 feet wide and 20 inches deep in the middle, running smooth, clear, and cold, with a fair but not dangerous current. The Tundra engine takes its air from inside the front fenderwell and channels it through an air filter box that's a good 30 inches off the ground. The box has a drainhole in the bottom, and the filter paper absorbs a certain amount of water, so in theory the air intake is well protected against water intrusion in this kind of situation. As long as it's driven without a lot of splashing, it seems clear the Tundra will wade safely. We didn't park in the river, but at the deepest point the water did briefly cover the doorsills, and the seals around the doors kept all moisture out of the cabin. That tells us the Tundra should be fine on the boat ramp, at least from a waterproofing point of view. Left to be discovered was how much traction is available in slippery circumstances.
Factory traction control is good for maybe 90 percent of "normal" off-road driving. Nine times out of 10, that's all you'll need. That other 10 percent--the deep heavy mud, the super-greasy riverbank, the long deep section of sand, a mile of snowy road--is where you might want a locking differential, which isn't offered in this truck. The 4x4 system is actuated via an innocuous dial on the dash. The dial looks so much like part of the climate controls you might miss it at first.
Photo 9/9   |   2010 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4x4 back Seats
Bottom line, we'd say the Tundra would be a comfortable, durable piece of farm equipment. It will get you down the road, across the wash, through the water, and back up the other side again, even with stock tires. There's no doubt the truck has the component quality, the gearing, and the grip to deal with real-world demands in a rugged setting.
Hauling capabilities, given the new engine and transmission, seem in line with the previous 4.7, and maybe a little better. It's hard to make direct comparisons, because there are so many equipment variations possible, including rearend ratios, towing equipment levels, 4x4 and 4x2, and cab styles. But it would seem the 2010 Tundra with the 4.6 is rated to handle up to 1515 pounds of payload, standard. The 2009 4.7's standard payload is given at 1415 pounds, although the 2009 can be configured to handle up to 1655 pounds. We're not sure how many optional spring packages will be offered with the 4.6 V-8, but sources at Toyota have said there will be the same range of options. Towing numbers for the 2010 with the 4.6 are 6900 pounds, standard, and 8300 pounds with the towing package, which comes with 4.10 axle gearing. Gross Combined Weight Rating is 12,500 pounds, not too far from the 14,000-pound rating of the 5.7. All in all, you get more power and more capability with better fuel economy--a tough combination to beat.

2010 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4x4
Location of final assembly San Antonio, Texas
Body style Four-door pickup
EPA size class Full-size domestic
Drivetrain layout Front engine, 4WD
Airbags Dual front, side, curtain
Engine 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads
Bore x stroke 3.70 x 3.27 in
Displacement 282 ci/4.6L
Compression ratio 10.2:1
Valve gear DOHC, 4 valves per cyl
SAE horsepower 310 hp @ 5600 rpm
SAE torque 327 lb-ft @ 3400 rpm
Transmission A-760E 6-speed automatic
1st 3.52:1
2nd 2.04:1
3rd 1.40:1
4th 1.00:1
5th 0.72:1
6th 0.59:1
Reverse 3.22:1
Axle ratio 4.10:1
Final drive ratio 2.40:1
Transfer-case model JF3A
Low-range ratio 2.60:1
Crawl ratio (1st x axle gears x low range) 27.52:1
Recommended fuel Regular unleaded
Wheelbase 145.7 in
Length 228.7 in
Width 79.9 in
Height 76.2 in
Track, f/r 67.9/67.9 in
Headroom, f/r 40.2/38.7 in
Legroom, f/r 42.5/34.7 in
Shoulder room, f/r 66.6/65.7 in
Bed volume 68.0 cu ft
Bed LxWxH 78.7 x 66.4 x 22.2 in
Width bet wheelhousings 50.0 in
Ground clearance 10.4 in
Approach/departure angle 28.0/25.0 deg
Tailgate lift height 34.1 in
Curb weight (dist f/r) 5476 lb (59/41%)
Payload capacity 1424 lb
GVWR 6900 lb
GCWR 12,500 lb
Towing capacity 8300 lb
Fuel capacity 26.4 gal
Suspension, f/r Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar/ live axle, leaf springs
Steering type Hydraulic rack-and-pinion
Ratio 18.0:1
Turning circle 44.0 ft
Brakes, f/r 13.9-in vented disc/13.6-in vented disc, ABS
Wheels 8.0 x 18-in alloy
Tires 275/65R18 Bridgestone Dueler H/T 684 II M+S
Load/speed rating 114/T
Acceleration, sec
0-30 2.5
0-40 3.9
0-50 5.6
0-60 7.4
0-70 10.2
0-80 13.4
0-90 17
Quarter mile 15.9 sec @ 87.4 mph
Braking, 60-0 138 ft
45-65 passing 4.1 sec
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy 13-15/18-20 mpg
As-tested fuel economy 17.5 mpg
Base price $30,705
Price as tested $31,425
Truck Trend Network


Toyota Tundra

Fair Market Price
Editors' Overall Rating
Basic Specifications
MSRP: $28,510
Mileage: 15 / 19
Engine: 4.6L V8
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