2009 Toyota Tundra Review

24 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2009 Toyota Tundra Review

2009 Toyota Tundra

Toyota Tundra: dated but dependable

A year ago, the Toyota Tundra was the darling of critics. But reviewers say the big Toyota pickup now seems old hat next to the redesigned Ford F-150 (*Est. $21,565 to $44,355) and Dodge Ram 1500 (*Est. $21,270 to $43,240). The monster-motored Toyota Tundra is still quick off the line, says Larry Webster at Popular Mechanics.

But even the mighty Tundra can’t tow quite as much as the new Ford F-150, and its handling seems ham-fisted beside the suave new Dodge Ram.

Still, experts say the Toyota Tundra is more dependable and holds its value better than most pickups. During a long-term test at Edmunds.com, the Tundra proved to be a capable workhorse that tackled all our towing, hauling and commuting needs without breaking a sweat, editors say. The 2009 Tundra pickup is still well-built and capable, and Edmunds.com recommends keeping it on your test-drive list.

The Toyota Tundra handily won Motor Trend’s 2008 Truck of the Year competition, and experts say it can still out-tow (up to 10,800 pounds) and out-haul most pickups in its class. The 2009 Truck of the Year, the redesigned Ford F-150, boasts more capacity, but some testers say the Tundra’s beefier top-of-the-line engine actually tows with greater ease. However, PickupTrucks.com notes that the Toyota Tundra doesn’t offer trailer sway control or integrated trailer brakes — both features you’ll find on the new Ford F-150 — and Justin Berkowitz at TheTruthAboutCars.com says that even the top-of-the-line Tundra has transmission hangups that made towing a chore and engine braking nearly impossible.

Most testers lavish praise on the Toyota Tundra‘s top-level engine/transmission combo, a 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic.

Even though the new Dodge Ram’s engine produces more horsepower, the Tundra still beats it from zero to 60 mph in some tests. In real life, that means you’ll be comfortable accelerating a Tundra into fast-moving traffic, Kelley Blue Book says.

Fuel economy is poor with the biggest engine, reviews say, at 16 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive (14 mpg city and 18 mpg highway) or 14 mpg with four-wheel drive (13 mpg city and 17 mpg highway). However, that’s comparable to the mileage you’ll get from the Toyota Tundra’s two weaker engines with their five-speed automatic transmissions — the 310-horsepower, 4.7-liter V-8 and the base 236 horsepower, 4.0-liter V-6. Reviewers don’t usually test these engines.

Cab and trim options for the ’09 Tundra pickup

Unlike other pickup trucks, the Toyota Tundra skips the extended-cab version entirely. You can get a regular cab with a 40/20/40 split bench seat for three, the Double Cab (crew cab) with room for six on front and rear benches (front buckets are available), or the Toyota Tundra CrewMax, a roomier crew cab with a reclining, fold-flat back seat. Regular and Double Cab Tundras come with either a 6.5-foot or 8-foot bed. The Tundra CrewMax comes with a 5.5-foot bed.

Most reviewers test the top-level Toyota Tundra CrewMax and find that it offers an astounding amount of legroom. However, critics say the CrewMax’s enormous size makes it hard to maneuver in narrow traffic lanes or parking spots, and some find its interior plastics chintzy.

The Toyota Tundra comes in three trim levels. The base-grade Tundra (*Est. $22,490 to $32,265) has a few more features than some rivals’ stripped-down models, including a CD player and MP3 jack, air conditioning, tilt steering and cloth upholstery. The Tundra SR5 (*Est. $26,305 to $34,285) adds power accessories, a telescoping steering wheel, six-CD changer, cruise control and other standard features that are extra-cost options on the base Tundra.

The Toyota Tundra Limited (*Est. $36,010 to $41,605) includes luxury touches such as heated leather seats, automatic climate control, Bluetooth and an upgraded stereo. The Tundra also offers bundled options packages, including the fun-sounding TRD Rock Warrior all-terrain package, a TRD Off-Road package and a TRD Sport package. TRD is an acronym for Toyota Racing Development, the automaker’s in-house performance arm.

Crash-test results for the Toyota Tundra full-size pickup truck are inconsistent. It aces all of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s crash tests — rear, side and offset front — and it includes electronic stability control as standard equipment, making the Tundra one of the few pickups to qualify for Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick award.

But the Tundra earns only four stars out of five in the federal government’s full-frontal crash tests, meaning occupants have an 11 to 20 percent chance of landing in the hospital with a serious, possibly life-threatening injury after a 35 mph head-on crash with a similar truck. Most other full-size pickups rate a perfect five stars, with a 10 percent chance or less of serious injury. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the rear-wheel-drive Tundra is also slightly more rollover-prone than most other pickups (the four-wheel-drive version is about average).

More than two dozen owners of 2000 and 2001 Tundras have complained to the federal government that severe frame rust has crippled their trucks — a problem that has already attacked 800,000 Toyota Tacoma pickups built from 1995 to 2000. However, we found no such complaints related to the current-generation 2009 Toyotas. The Tundra carries a three-year, 36,000-mile basic warranty and five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Most major review sources include the Toyota Tundra in their 2009 pickup shootouts and they consistently find the same pros and cons for the Tundra, although they disagree about how important those cons are. Single-truck reviews at Edmunds.com and ConsumerGuide.com compare the Toyota Tundra with its rivals in a more limited way. Kelley Blue Book provides helpful resale value predictions along with its reviews.

We found crash-test results at the NHTSA’s SaferCar.gov website and at IIHS.org. Official Environmental Protection Agency fuel-economy estimates are posted at FuelEconomy.gov. J.D. Power and Associates bases its ratings on owner feedback.

TheTruthAboutCars.com includes the Tundra in the towing test part of its review of the new Ford F-150. A news station in Boston is investigating complaints about badly rusting earlier-generation Toyota Tundra pickups.

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