2016 Toyota Tundra
Review of: 2016 Toyota Tundra 4WD Crewmax 146" 5.7L SR5
2017 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro: Capable, but showing its age
By Jil McIntosh
Dec. 20, 2016
Consider it the first Truck Commandment: Thou shalt be able to go off-road. Even if owners never get anywhere seriously off the beaten path, they like to know that their rides can do it.
That’s the idea behind the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, a new package for 2017. It’s available on the Double Cab or, as with my tester, the CrewMax, and builds on the Tundra SR5 TRD Off-Road Edition with the 5.7-litre V8.
The package is a hefty $13,595 and adds a long list of items, including front and rear Bilstein shock absorbers, TRD remote reservoir suspension, skid plates, clearance and backup sensors, and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, along with more on-roady items as navigation, blind spot monitoring, TRD-badged heated leather seats, sunroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror and performance dual exhaust, among others.
While the entire Tundra lineup ranges from starting prices of $30,425 to $58,330, my truck began at $45,430. Adding the new off-road package brought it to $60,025 before freight and taxes.
Pros & Cons
- + Comfortable, spacious interior
- + Upscale options
- + Great exhaust note
- - Some poorly-placed controls
- - Drives big
- - Fuel economy
Like all full-size trucks today, the Tundra is a big beast, and that’s further accentuated by the chunky styling. Everything that would normally be chromed is blacked-out here for an extra rough-and-tough look against my tester’s “Cement Grey” metallic paint.
The CrewMax comes strictly with a 5.5-foot bed, and the TRD Pro stamps that package’s name right into the metal on the outside of the box. The lockable tailgate is damped so it doesn’t bang down when it’s opened and dropped, and the bed includes a rail system with four movable tie-down cleats. A towing receiver is standard and there’s a corresponding trailer brake controller on the dash, while the pin connector is conveniently located above the bumper.
Included in the package is a power-sliding rear window. On most pickup trucks this is a centre panel that opens sideways, but on the Tundra, the whole thing slides down into the back of the cab, the same way a door window works. I find these to be a mixed bag—I seldom use the one on my own truck, because any dirt or debris in the box swirls up and into the cab—but if you’re fond of ’em, you won’t get any better ventilation than this.
The Tundra’s cabin design has been around for a while and it’s starting to look a bit dated, but there is still much to like about it. First up are the controls—almost all of them, anyway. The climate control is handled by huge dials that are easy to see and grab, the centre touchscreen is flanked with large buttons, and the stereo volume and tuning are dials. This is the way trucks should be, especially since the driver is more likely than a car occupant to be wearing work gloves or bouncing along a rough trail.
My hatred is reserved for the heated seat switch, which is hidden so deep under the dash that you have to bend down to find it. And when you do, it’s a set of tiny buttons, and you must remember that the left-seat one is up top and the right one on the bottom, because you can’t see it to check.
The rest of the interior hits mostly high marks: the seats are comfortable, there’s a ton of legroom in the back, and the rear-chair cushions fold up for extra storage space. Still, in a truck that’s meant for off-road use (read: probably muddy), why would you put carpet on the dead pedal, instead of plastic?
All CrewMax models include a 7-inch touchscreen stereo, satellite radio, USB and auxiliary input, Bluetooth audio streaming, and a backup camera.
The TRD Pro package adds navigation to that, although it deletes an item that comes with the Off-Road option package upon which it’s based: the Bongiovi Acoustics Digital Power Station, a small module that improves the stereo’s sound.
Most navigation systems are fairly easy to use these days, but the Tundra’s is better than many, with large icons and a very intuitive interface.
Toyota offers a 4.7-litre V8 in just one Double Cab trim level. All others, including my truck, use a 5.7-litre V8 that churns out 381 horsepower and 401 lb.-ft. of torque, and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Shifting into 4WD is a simple matter of turning a dial on the dash.
The Tundra hasn’t undergone a major makeover in a while, which becomes noticeable when driven against its rivals. The V8 is strong, and sounds fantastic through the TRD Pro’s performance exhaust, but it’s thirstier than the competition: it’s rated at 18.1 L/100 km in the city and 13.9 on the highway, while I went above both with an average of 19.0 L/100 km in combined driving. The ride is slightly bouncy on the pavement, but that’s to be expected from anything built to be extra-capable off-road.
The Tundra goes where you point it, but it drives big, and I find the steering response isn’t as sharp as that of the Chevy Silverado or Ford F-150. That said, the Tundra’s turning circle isn’t quite as wide as you’d expect it to be, and visibility is good all around.
I’ve always wondered if anyone who pays $60,000 for a truck will actually take it on a trail where there’s the possibility of a scratch or dent. The Tundra’s capable, but many of the items in the $13,595 package are for luxury, not grunt.
The TRD Pro is built off the CrewMax S55 with Off-Road Package, which is $49,935. Both include the Bilstein shocks, unique wheels, navigation, sunroof, parking sensors, auto-dimming mirror, fuel skid plate, sliding rear window and heated seats. For another $10,090, the TRD Pro then adds the performance exhaust, specially-trimmed seats, upgraded suspension, bedliner, and TRD-badged accessories.
For this to have been an even better off-roader, I would have liked to have seen the crawl control and multi-terrain selector that comes in the smaller Tacoma’s off-road package. That truck is a little monster on rough terrain. I don’t expect Toyota to turn out its Tundra version of a Ford Raptor, but such add-ons would certainly give the Tundra an off-road edge among its competition…even for drivers who never go beyond the edge of the asphalt.