Friday, December 1, 2023

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Cars in the City

Toyota Tundra


Toyota Tundra SR-5 2022 test driven: $48,185.

There’s a vehicle for every need, whether you require room for passengers, an efficient electric car to run errands or a truck to schlep secondhand furniture from your kid’s dorm room back home.

The Toyota Tundra is in a unique class, with its towing capacity, 8-foot bed and seating for five. This is a versatile workhorse truck.

The Tundra SR-5 is newly redesigned. Older models used to be gas-guzzling V-8s. The 2022 model is now a V-6, getting its power from a twin turbo engine. It bumps the estimated gas mileage to 22 mpg. Later this year, a new hybrid model will get even better gas mileage.

This truck is big. Those folks who tower more than 6 feet tall won’t strain their necks in the cab. The leather seats are wide and roomy. 

As the whole vehicle is a whopping 21 feet long, it’s certainly a different ride than my sedan, which is a mere 16 feet. If you haven’t driven a truck, navigate turns cautiously. A five-foot difference means I couldn’t just easily slide into a small parking spot. Just use the panoramic cameras to guide you; they give a 360-degree view of what’s outside. 

Test driving a truck without using all its hauling features is limited on a flat Highway 141. So, imagine securing your speed boat and heading up to Clear Lake, as it can tow up to 12,000 pounds. A load leveling feature means the rear height air suspension helps keep it level. It also has a blind spot monitor with trailer merge, which warns if a vehicle in the next lane enters your blind spot.

Once at the city dock, try backing up the trailer into the lake with impatient wannabe boaters lining up on the street. Other trucks are attempting to back up – pulling forward, putting in reverse, turning right and repeating the process, while their friend is yelling “left!” But, if you drove a Tundra, a trailer back-up guide with straight path assist guides you, putting your trailer in a straight line. Extend your mirrors out, then power them back in and notice you haven’t even grazed the dock bumpers.

You can put all your gear in the durable composite 8-foot bed, which holds up to 1,940 pounds. Got dirt bikes? Put those in, too, as a deck rail system helps strap down bikes securely. 

Construction workers and farmers can bump around sites with ease. Are there rocks or other hazards underneath? Just activate the multi-terrain monitor, and you can check your immediate surroundings for any obstacles. With the crawl control, you can go smoothly on tough terrains, throttling and braking on five low-speed settings.

Are your hands full of 2x4s, but you forgot to put the hitch down to load it?  Just bump your butt on the left taillight, and it folds down automatically.  

This workhorse of a truck connects all your electronic devices inside, too. Whatever your truck need, the Toyota Tundra is sure to please. ♦

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