2015 Toyota Tundra

Starting MSRP: $28,510 - $47,975

Estimated MPG: 15 city / 19 hwy

2015 Toyota Tundra Review

The 2015 Toyota Tundra is a good alternative to the mainstays of the full-size truck class. It offers a range of powerful V8 engines and is one of the few models that boasts off-road credentials. But the Tundra falls behind in a number of key areas such as fuel economy and noise isolation when compared with competitors.

By William Maley
Last Updated 05/03/2016

Toyota is a major player in the midsize sedan, compact car and hybrid segments. But one segment the automaker hasn't had any luck cracking is the full-size truck market. It's not like Toyota isn't trying. The automaker's previous attempts were either too small to be considered a true competitor or had a number of issues that pushed people away. However, Toyota believes they have a winner with the refreshed Tundra.

The 2015 Toyota Tundra is available in regular, four-door extended (Double Cab) and crew cab (CrewMax) body styles. Three bed lengths and six trims are offered. For 2015, the Tundra drops last year's base V6 engine and is available with the choice of two V8s. A new TRD Pro model also debuts.

Exterior

Exterior
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If there was an award for the truck that resembled one in a kid's dream, the 2015 Tundra would take it home. From the imposing face with large headlights and brash grille, to the flared fenders and stamped "Tundra" name on the tailgate, the Toyota Tundra makes no apologies of how it looks.

The Tundra is offered in three cab styles, two wheelbases and three bed lengths that range from 5 feet 6 inches to roughly 8 feet. This matches the configuration options available by the main contenders in the class.

Our test Tundra is a special beast. This TRD Pro model was introduced for the 2015 model year, and is built for those who want to play around in the dirt. Toyota has increased the ride height by 2 inches, swapped the grille inserts, put on a set of 18-inch alloy wheels finished in black and added a dual exhaust. This is one mean looking truck. The only item we would add is a set of door rails to make it slightly easier to get in and out.

Interior

Interior
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Toyota has addressed two big complaints with the previous Tundra: poor cabin materials and lackluster ergonomics. The materials in our 2015 Tundra look and feel more substantial, with faux aluminum trim and solid plastics. While the Tundra may not have the most stylish interior, it more than makes up for it with a simple dashboard layout. Controls for climate, infotainment system and the four-wheel drive system are all within easy reach.

The Tundra CrewMax model can be configured to seat five or six people. Our test truck featured seating for five. 

The seats themselves came wrapped in cloth and provided excellent levels of comfort and support. Back-seat passengers in the CrewMax will find a large amount of head- and legroom, easily rivaling what you'd find in large luxury sedans. The seats can also be folded to provide cargo space inside the cab.

Performance

Performance
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The Toyota Tundra comes with the choice of two V8 engines. The base engine is 4.6-liter V8 with 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a 5.7-liter V8 with 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. Both V8 engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission.

We had the 5.7-liter V8 in our Tundra TRD Pro and this engine is more than up to the task of getting this truck moving. Power comes on in a linear fashion, which means you'll have no problem keeping up with traffic. The TRD Pro also boasts a dual exhaust system that provides a nice burble for the V8. 

The Tundra CrewMax has maximum tow rating of 10,100 pounds for the two-wheel drive model and 9,800 pounds for the four-wheel drive model.

Fuel economy isn't the Tundra's strong suit. Toyota dropped their V6 engine for the 2015 model year. This puts the Tundra in a tough spot since competitors like the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 are all available with a V6. The EPA rates the Tundra CrewMax with the 5.7 V8 at 13/17 mpg city/highway, or 15 mpg combined. During our week with the Tundra TRD Pro, we saw an average of 13 mpg in mainly city driving. This one of the lowest averages we have seen when compared with other V8-powered trucks that we have driven.

When compared with the base Tundra, the TRD Pro model also brings in a couple key changes to the suspension. There is a set of specially tuned Bilstein shocks and TRD springs, which increases the ride height and allows for a more forgiving ride off-road. We did some light off-roading the in the TRD Pro and can say it provided one of the smoothest rides we ever had in a truck off-road. These suspension changes correct the stiff ride that we've experienced with the regular Tundra. The TRD Pro smooths out most bumps and imperfections on the road. However, the off-road tires provide an abundance of road noise.

Technology

Technology
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All Tundra models come with Toyota's Entune infotainment system. Base models get a 6.1-inch touch screen, while higher trims such as our TRD Pro tester get a 7-inch screen. This system is getting up there in age, but Toyota has got the fundamentals down pat with a simple interface, a set of redundant controls around the touch screen and fast response times. A nice feature with Entune is the ability to hook up your smartphone and control apps such as iHeartRadio.

Safety

Safety
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The 2015 Tundra CrewMax earned an overall rating of four out of five stars for its performance in crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Tundra its highest rating of Good in moderate overlap front, side and roof strength tests. The Tundra also received a Good rating in IIHS tests for the head restraints and seats. At the time of this review, IIHS has not performed its small overlap front crash test on the 2015 Tundra.

The Tundra comes standard with a suite of air bags, stability and traction control, trailer sway control and a backup camera. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert is available on the Limited, Platinum and 1794 models. Oddly, blind spot monitoring isn't an option on the TRD Pro. We would like Toyota to add this as an option in the future.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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The Tundra starts at $28,510 for the base SR regular cab and climbs to $47,975 for the top-of-the-line 1794 CrewMax. This is similar to the pricing structures offered by other truck manufacturers.

The Tundra TRD Pro is quite the steal for the capabilities it offers. Our test truck had an as-tested price of $45,465 after destination charges. The closest competitor is the Ram 1500 Rebel, which will set you back few thousand dollars more as you'll need to purchase options like the Hemi V8 to match the TRD Pro's level of equipment.

Overall

Overall
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The 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is a bright spot for a model that seems lost in the shadows when compared with other full-size trucks. Few competing trucks can match the capabilities and price that the TRD Pro offers. However, if you don't need the TRD Pro's off-road capability, you should take a close look at competing full-size trucks that offer a wider range of powertrains and more refinement.