Tackling the 2018 Toyota Tundra

Trucks and SUVs are two of the most popular automotive segments today. Whether you need to move it, climb over it, or haul it, there are tons of options out there! While a lot of competitors duke it out with their crossovers, there is still a lot of fierce competition in the pickup segment.

To distinguish between pickups, it’s best to look at engine size and towing capacity. What are you going to use the truck for? That’s what will determine the best bang for your buck. It might be better to get the extended bed if you’re going to be hauling a lot of materials, but if you’re just pulling a boat to the lake every Saturday, why not pony up some more dollars for that extra interior luxury?

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Performance Specifications

Toyota offers two different powertrains in their new 2018 Tundra. Base models come with a 4.6L V8, equipped with variable-valve timing, or VVT. With 310 horsepower and 327 lb-ft of torque, the Tundra is no slouch. For those looking for a bit more power, choose the 5.7L V8 with 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. The 5.7L powerplant is also offered in a flex fuel variety that runs off E85. Paired to a six-speed automatic transmission, the Tundra can either be purchased as a 2WD or 4WD.

The following colors are available on the new 2018 Toyota Tundra:

  • Blazing Blue Pearl
  • Cavalry Blue
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Smoked Mesquite
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Cement
  • Silver Sky Metallic
  • Super White
  • Barcelona Red Metallic
  • Inferno
  • Quicksand

There are five different Tundra models available, each with their own specifications and packages.

SR

Starting at $31,120, this model is your basic pickup, offered with a backup camera, a trailer brake controller on the 5.7L models, and comes in either a 2WD or 4WD variation. Standard and long bed options are available, along with a choice between the basic 4.6L or the more powerful 5.7L engine.

SR5

Standard and long bed options are available on this model, as well as the 2WD or 4WD option. Customers can either choose between a double cab or CrewMax, and the 4.6L or 5.7L engine options.

Limited

This model is only offered with the 5.7L powerplant and standard bed. Choose from either a double cab or CrewMax, and 2WD or 4WD.

Platinum

Again, this model is only offered with a 5.7L V8, with a CrewMax cab. You can, however, choose between 2WD and 4WD.

1794 Edition

Named for the founding date of the Texas ranch where the truck is built, this edition comes only in the CrewMax option, with a 5.7L in either 2WD or 4WD.

Edmunds recommends the SR5 model with the TRD off-road package, but Consumer Reports looks to the Limited for the 5.7L V8, and rejects the TRD package for its stiff ride.

Standard beds on the new 2018 Toyota Tundra measure 6.5 feet long, while long beds are 8.1 feet long. 2WD/RWD models have a limited slip differential, while 4WD models have an electronically-controlled transfer case, active traction control, and of course, a limited slip differential.

Fuel Efficiency

Edmunds lists the fuel economy for the 2018 Tundra as one of their cons to buying the truck. Base models achieve a 15/19 EPA-estimated MPG rating, while 5.7L engines come in at the 13/17 MPG mark. Kelley Blue Book rated the Tundra 12 out of 12 for fuel efficiency in its segment. Looking at the bulk of the truck, it’s easy to see that while a powerful V8 might be able to move quite a bit of metal, the efficiency factor is not quite there.

Darren Brode / Shutterstock

Entertainment and Safety Features

Safety features on the Tundra are one of its strong points. Base models come with a standard backup camera and 6.1-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth. The next suite of safety features comes with the Platinum and 1794 Edition models, which offers Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. Toyota also offers the Safety Sense P (TSS-P) suite, which contains:

  • Pedestrian Detection
  • Lane Departure Alert
  • Sway Warning System
  • Automatic High Beams
  • Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
  • Star Safety System (stability control, traction control, ABS, electronic brake-force distribution)
  • Smart Stop Technology

The 2018 Toyota Tundra scored “Good” in all IIHS tests except for one. J.D. Power and Associates also gives the Tundra five stars except for in categories regarding quality, design, features, and accessories. Toyota also sports a ToyotaCare package, that features a no-cost maintenance plan with roadside assistance. On top of warranties offered, this is a great plan to take advantage of.

For those looking for a workhorse, the Work Truck Package equips your 2018 Tundra with durable vinyl seating and flooring and removed wireless door locks. The TRD sport styling package offers a bit more flair than standard models, and replaces the TRD Pro model as a trim option. Featuring 20-inch wheels and a front and rear parking assist, this model attempts to contend with more luxurious competitors.

The base SR model offers Entune audio with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, which is upgraded to a seven-inch screen in the SR5 model. With a chrome grille, fog lights, and an HD radio with SiriusXM, the SR5 adds a bit more fun for those still on a budget. Limited editions offer a dual zone automatic climate control, 20-inch wheels, heated leather front seats, LED headlights, and fog lights.

Near the top of the pile, the Platinum model sports brushed-metal-style trim, 20-inch wheels, a tilt and slide power moonroof, black leather heated and ventilated front seats, and the next step up in safety features. 1794 Edition Tundras have a chrome grille, a western-themed interior, leather seating, and a power moonroof. Extras include a deck rail system, chrome heated power and auto-dimming outside mirrors, tow hooks, and a powered vertical-sliding rear window with defogger and privacy glass.

How the Toyota Tundra Compares to the Competition

When shopping for a 2018 Toyota Tundra, consider the pickup’s younger, smaller sibling, the Tacoma. Other competitors include the Chevy Silverado, Ford F150, Dodge Ram 1500, the Nissan Titan, and the GMC Sierra.

When comparing interior qualities, consider the simplistic, almost sparse interior of the Tundra. Top-of-the-line picks in this particular class include the GMC Sierra and the Chevy Silverado, especially because they offer more gadgets and luxury. You’ve still got the towing capabilities, but you’ll look better pulling any rig.

Kelley Blue Book ranked the Tundra three out of 12 in horsepower, but also notes the Tundra isn’t the best at towing. Toyota boasts the SR model can tow up to 6800 pounds, while the 1794 model can tow up to 8800 pounds. Fuel efficiency in the V8 versions are in the realm of those seen by exotic car drivers. I’d much rather be revving my V12 engine and burning those fossil fuels in style!

Pros

  • V8 comes standard
  • Standard safety features
  • Available options, including powertrains, and trims
  • Reliability
  • Resale value

Cons

  • Fuel efficiency
  • No diesel option offered
  • No revisions to design since 2007
  • Infotainment is basic for class
  • Stiff ride quality, especially with TRD package

Toyota has always been a practical choice, and for those looking to get into the pickup segment, the 2018 Tundra a great starting point. Others can obviously offer more luxury, but for the price and capabilities, Toyota’s Tundra is a simple, affordable option.

Darren Brode / Shutterstock

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