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Grant Yoxon

www.canadiandriver.com

July 10, 2007

Test Drive: 2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax 4x2 Limited

2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited
2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Grant Yoxon

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Orleans, Ontario - 2007 will be remembered as the year that Toyota got serious about trucks.

The 2000-2006 Toyota Tundra was a good, sturdy truck and by all accounts extremely reliable. But North American truck buyers never took it seriously. Whether it deserved it or not, those brand-loyal, tough-to-please truck owners only saw a full-size wannabe. More than once, I heard the old Tundra described as a "seven-eighths" truck.

Toyota responded to the criticism with an all new, made-in-Texas Tundra that is full-size in every respect, a big truck with a big truck look and big power for those who need it. And this latest Tundra tester is the biggest of them all, the large four-door CrewMax version with the Tundra's new 5.7-litre engine.

Earlier, CanadianDriver tested a regular cab long box version of the Tundra. That truck, with 4.7-litre V8 engine, standard four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, vehicle stability control, traction control, side curtain airbags and limited slip differential retailed for a reasonable $28,480. At that price it also included comforts that would please any hard working crew - carpet floor mats, upgraded cloth seats, AM/FM/CD/MP3, power windows and door locks, cruise control, dual zone manual air conditioning, fold-down front passenger seat back (quick and easy in-cab desk), intermittent wipers, bed rail system and tie downs.

2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited
2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited
2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited. Click image to enlarge
But this Tundra, the CrewMax Limited, takes us to the other end of the price spectrum. In 4x2 (rear-wheel drive) configuration, our tester has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $51,040 plus $1,390 for freight and delivery.

With full leather upholstery, power sliding rear window, navigation system with back-up camera, power tilt and telescopic steering, 10-way power adjustable driver's seat (four-way for the passenger), premium JBL 440-watt sound system and dual zone climate control, this Tundra is the boss's truck.

Add an optional rear seat entertainment system and it will do double duty as the family hauler. Put a fifth wheel in the short box and you have the ultimate weekend vacation machine as well.

All Tundras are equipped with a towing package and a Tow/Haul Mode switch to expand the use of the lower gear ranges, increasing power and engine breaking performance during towing. As tested, our Tundra CrewMax had a rated 4,580 kg (10,100 lbs) towing capacity. Transmission cooler, engine oil cooler and integrated towing hitch are also part of the package. The rear back-up camera, included with the optional DVD navigation system makes easy work of hooking up to a trailer.

2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited
2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited
2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited. Click image to enlarge
As an office on wheels, the CrewMax offers some neat features, such as a centre console that can accommodate hanging folders and a lap top computer. There's a tray for pens, business cards and other stuff, a dedicated cubby for your cell phone, a "hidden" compartment for maps or other papers and three cupholders. There are two glove boxes, the upper big enough to hold a thermos. There is storage under the door arm rests, and large door pockets with two bottle holders.

If the CrewMax's front seats swivelled, the cab would be big enough to hold meetings. As it is, rear seat passengers have more space than practically any other vehicle built with the possible exception of a stretch limousine.

In the CrewMax, rear legroom is a class leading 1,131 mm (44.5 inches). The rear seats will recline as much as 41 degrees, so there is lots of room for relaxing and stretching out. The seats will slide forward as much a 254 mm (10 in.), for additional interior storage space, and fold flat providing a hard surface for working or loading cargo. Tie downs on the seat backs help keep everything secure.

Frank Scheepers, Badger Excavating, 2007 Toyota Tundra Crewmax 4X2 Limited
Frank Scheepers, Badger Excavating, 2007 Toyota Tundra Crewmax 4X2 Limited
Frank Scheepers, Badger Excavating, 2007 Toyota Tundra Crewmax 4X2 Limited. Click image to enlarge
To see how the CrewMax performed in daily work and play, I enlisted the assistance of Frank Scheepers, owner and operator of Badger Excavating, a company whose main business is removing asphalt in road rehabilitation work in Eastern Ontario.

On any given day Frank, his equipment and crew can be called on to work at several repaving sites around the region. The jobs are often far apart and the crew is constantly on the move. For this test, we switched vehicles for three days, Frank taking the Tundra while I drove his 2005 GMC Sierra 2500 SLT Crew Cab powered by a 6.6-litre Duramax Diesel. This is a powerful (360 hp/650 lb-ft of torque), fast and fuel efficient truck, equipped with most available luxury options including leather interior and rear seat entertainment system. It was a good basis for comparison. See our overview of the Sierra which we tested at the Canadian Truck King Challenge in September 2006.

The CrewMax is powered by Toyota's i-Force 5.7-litre, the largest V8 in Toyota's fleet, rated at 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 401 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 rpm. This engine produces plenty of power to move the 2,612 kg (5,760 lbs) CrewMax and for most hauling and towing duties.

2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited
2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited
2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited. Click image to enlarge
But it can't match the Sierra diesel's towing and payload ability - 5,433 kg (12,000 lbs.) towing and 1,505 kg (3,317 lbs.) payload. The CrewMax, in Limited trim, has a payload capacity of 590 kg (1,310 lbs.). However, Frank (and I) felt that the CrewMax was every bit as quick as the Sierra, which recorded a stunning 8.7 second zero-100 km/h acceleration time in the Truck King competition, and quite possibly quicker. We'll find out this September, during the second annual Truck King Challenge, how the new Tundra performs against the new 2007 GM trucks.

The lack of a fifth wheel in the CrewMax during our short test precluded a towing comparison.

Where the CrewMax excelled was in quiet and smooth operation. A diesel can't match a gas engine in this area and the Toyota 5.7-litre is exceptionally smooth and quiet. The new six-speed transmission also contributes to its smooth performance and surprisingly good fuel economy. Recorded fuel consumption over the week of testing came in at just over 13 litres per 100 kilometres in a mix of city and highway driving - not bad for a big truck.

2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited
2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited
2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited
2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited
2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited. Click image to enlarge
The CrewMax also provided a better on-road driving experience with less bounce and vibration than the Sierra. In handling and braking, Frank would give the edge to the Tundra. Frank particularly liked the Tundra's tight turning circle (13.42 metres or 44 feet), which made it easier to turn around on the job site.

The CrewMax has a shorter box than the Sierra Crew Cab (1,695 mm/66.7 in. vs. 199 mm/78.7 mm) which is a limitation imposed by the larger CrewMax cab. But Frank liked the Tundra's tailgate assist mechanism which reduces the effort to open and close the tailgate and prevents the tailgate from falling. Instead, it lowers gracefully without being held. This is a standard feature on all Tundras.

Frank was particularly impressed with the layout and materials used in the Tundra's dash, controls and console. He described it as both "functional" and "really sharp." The built in navigation system was a nice feature as was the sun roof included with the Limited package. He felt Toyota had done a great job with the interior of this truck. However, he did not like the Tundra's firmer seats. He spends a lot of time in his truck and found the firm seats tiring.

He also spends a lot of time getting in and out of his truck and found he had a tendency to brush his head on the upper edge of the Tundra's roof, something he did not experience with his Sierra. He also preferred the Sierra's manually adjustable steering column to the power tilt and telescoping steering wheel that came with the CrewMax Limited package, simply because the manual adjustment is faster than power.

2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited
2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited. Click image to enlarge
Overall, Frank was impressed with the Tundra CrewMax. He had originally been skeptical and had included himself among those who rated the older Tundra a "seven-eighths" truck. However, he's not about to trade in his Sierra for a Tundra, at least not yet. But when trade-in time comes around, the Tundra will be on his list of trucks to test.

What would be the clincher? A diesel: Frank would like to see a diesel in this truck. And personally, so would I.

Pricing: 2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited 4x2

  • Base price: $45,275
  • Options: $5,765 ('C' package: Driver seat memory system, power tilt & telescopic steering, clearance and back up sensor, DVD-based navigation system with backup camera, mirrors linked to memory system, 7.0-inch LCD display, in-dash 4-CD Changer)
  • Freight: $1,390
  • A/C tax: $100
  • Price as tested: $52,530 Click here for options, dealer invoice prices and factory incentives

Specifications

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Grant Yoxon is an Ottawa-based automotive journalist and managing editor of CanadianDriver

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