Every week, wheels.ca selects a new vehicle and takes a good look at its entry-level trim. If we find it worthy of your consideration, we'll let you know. If not, we'll recommend one - or the required options - that earns a passing grade.
Following an incredibly long gestation period, Toyota has finally introduced a new Tundra full-size pickup truck. Laden with new powertrain options and plenty of tech, the half-ton brute wears fresh sheetmetal draped over a modern multi-link rear suspension which ditches leaf springs in favor of comfortable (yet capable) coils.
Occupying the entry-level rung of the Tundra ladder is a two-wheel drive Double Cab in SR trim. For those not familiar with Toyota-speak, the Double Cab body configuration provides four forward-swinging doors but a rear seat with much less legroom than the front. If it’s limo-like space you seek, sample the CrewMax. At this price, your Tundra will be powered by the non-hybrid 3.5L twin-turbo V6, backed by 10-Speed automatic transmission and making 348 horsepower. It is also, you should note, rear-wheel drive only. Upgrading to 4x4 is a $3,300 proposition in SR trim.
If your last experience with a base model truck was a model from thirty years ago, place those penalty-box notions of metal dashboards and flimsy seats in the rearview mirror. Even the least expensive Toyota Tundra comes equipped with active safety aids like dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, pedestrian/vehicle detection sensors, and some measure of emergency braking. Until recently, this was the stuff of high-dollar luxury sedans, not base model pickups.
Those power-adjustable exterior mirrors are heated, and you’ll find black mud guards protecting the paint against road debris flicked up from the 18-inch styled steel wheels. Headlamps are of the LED variety and there’s a de-icing grid under the windshield wipers – but it’s easy to peg the SR as a base truck thanks to the huge expanse of black plastic on its grille and empty fog light buckets which serve only to remind you of what you don’t
have every time you walk toward the thing. Black, grey, and silver are the only paint choices. Still, there is a useful power-sliding rear window as part of the SR deal, something Ford or GM cannot claim on their entry-level pickups.
Inside you’ll find a dandy infotainment system brimming with an 8-inch screen, satellite radio capability, and wireless Apple CarPlay. There are rear seat ducts to pipe air conditioning back to the peanut gallery, while a tilt/telescope wheel makes sure drivers of all sizes can situate themselves appropriately after manually adjusting the cloth seats.
What We'd Choose
The inclusion of a power-sliding rear window cannot be overlooked, since it is an extremely useful feature for both airflow and hauling certain cargo. While it is recognized the upcharge for four-wheel drive is not an insignificant sum, your author truly feels that feature is worth the cash and will recoup some of its value at trade-in – not to mention the first time you’re faced with an icy hill.
Beyond that, the SR5 trim (only available in 4x4 and costing a further $3,700) is worth a look if in budget. It brings a host of creature comforts, including the likes of dual-zone climate control, heated seats and steering wheel, a trailer brake controller for those who tow, and LED fog lamps. At a hair under $52,000 – which is reasonable money for a well-equipped 4x4 truck these days – it makes a very strong case for itsel