'08 Tundra: Added Value to a New Design
Toyota finally came to the (truly) fullsize truck party when it introduced this version of the Tundra in mid 2007. With a truck this new, there weren't many changes made for the '08 model year. None were mechanical, in fact. Instead, Toyota chose to make its Double Cab and CrewMax trucks available in a new trim level-called Tundra Grade-that's a step below the SR5 package. Standard Tundra Grade equipment includes things like chrome steel bumpers, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD sound system, and dual-zone air conditioning. Toyota also made formerly optional equipment standard on the SR5 and Limited trim levels to increase their value.
In all, there are more than 40 Tundra models to choose from, given the truck's three available engines, three cab styles, three wheelbases, three box lengths, and three trim levels. Our tendency is to always go big in the engine department, and the Tundra's 5.7L iForce V-8 doesn't disappoint, with a brutish 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of peak torque. Those figures not only eclipse the Titan's 5.6 but also outgun GM's 6.0L V-8 and Ford's 5.4. If you don't need quite that much power, Toyota's 4.7L V-8 is available too, though its EPA mileage rating is almost identical to the 5.7, so chances are all you'll be saving is the $1,000 or so in purchase price between the two engines. (The third engine option, a 4.0L, 236hp V-6, is best left to the 2WD crowd.)
The '08 4x4 of the Year competition also included a regular-cab Tundra with the TRD off-ro
Toyota's TRD off-road option group includes Bilstein shocks, extra skidplates, 275/65R18 B
The Tundra's cockpit is similar to the Titan's but with a few key differences. The in-cab
Inside, the Double Cab and CrewMax Tundras are as roomy as their Nissan counterparts, though Toyota has figured out more places to stash stuff-more cubbies, a bigger center console, and so on. The Tundra's seats, which were broad, flat, stiff, and unsupportive, were a big disappointment.
We could have used a bit more coddling, given the truck's somewhat firm ride. Anecdotally we've heard a lot of complaints about the Tundra's harsh ride quality from owner reports and even YouTube videos. Our firsthand experience hasn't been as bad as what we've heard, read, and seen, though nearly all of our test Tundras have been equipped with the TRD off-road package, which includes a nice set of Bilstein shocks.
Titan vs. Tundra-Decisions, Decisions
So, if you're in the market for one of these trucks, which should you choose?
In some ways they're very much alike. Both are available with big V-8 engines that are on par performancewise with the domestic V-8s. Both trucks are fitted with double-wishbone/coil-spring front suspensions and live axles hung by leaves in back. Both are available with off-road option packages that upgrade the suspensions, tires, and skidplating. Both offer a choice of wheelbases and bed lengths to suit your work and lifestyle.
But there are also big differences between the two. You get more choices with the Toyota-three engines versus Nissan's one and a regular cab option in addition to the two four-doors. The Toyota's power advantage gives it a working advantage too, with payload and tow capacities higher than the Nissan's. You get six speeds in the Toyota's automatic transmission (the top two gears are overdrives) and the option of a 4.30:1 axle ratio, compared to the Nissan's five-speed automatic and axle gears that only go as low as 3.357:1. And speaking of axles, the rear axle in the Titan is a smallish variant similar to a Dana 44, where the Tundra is available with a massive 101/2-inch ring gear similar to a Corporate 14-bolt. With the Toyota you can get a backup camera mounted in the tailgate handle, which is very helpful when hooking up a trailer. The Nissan only offers a proximity sensor that beeps in Reverse when you get close to something. On the other hand, only the Nissan is available with a locking rear diff from the factory-a big plus in our minds.
And then there are the subjective things: Over the long haul, some of us prefer the compliance of Nissan's Pro-4X suspension over Toyota's TRD setup. We also found the Nissan's seats far more comfortable than the Toyota's. There was one driver in our group, however, who found that firmer-seats and suspension- was better.
Another point to consider: Many of these characteristics will be affected when you add aftermarket equipment, which is what we're about to do.