The 2017 Toyota Tundra is an American-built full-size half-ton pickup that provides an alternative to the domestic sales leaders that dominate the segment. Bold styling, a strong presence on the road and a refined interior make the Tundra a standout, but limited powertrain options keep the relatively low-selling Tundra from greatness.
Relatively unchanged since the 2014 model year, the 2017 Toyota Tundra receives a few minor trim changes and an updated color palette. For 2017, the Tundra is available in six different trim levels: SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794 Edition and TRD Pro. The Tundra is offered in dozens of configurations with three different cab choices (Regular Cab, Double Cab and CrewMax), three different bed lengths and rear- or four-wheel drive.
Tundra buyers can choose between two different gas-powered V8 engines, and all models feature a six-speed automatic transmission.
Standing tall and proud, the Texas-built Tundra is an attractive full-size pickup truck. The oversized grille topped by what amounts to a massive hood scoop is bold and almost menacing. It isn’t hard to imagine that Toyota’s full-size truck is up to no good.
The Tundra is offered in three different cab styles. The two-door regular cab serves as the work horse of the bunch. Available exclusively with a 8.1-foot long bed, regular cab models are a contractor favorite. The four-door double cab model is offered with either a 6.5-foot standard bed or the long-bed configuration.
Those looking for maximum interior space will want to investigate Toyota’s CrewMax cab. The longer cab design and massive front and rear doors provide ample room for five passengers. That cabin space comes at an expense, though; the CrewMax is only available with a shorter 5.5-foot bed.
All beds are wide, easy to load and provide an impressive 22.2 inches of depth. When optioned properly, the Tundra offers a maximum payload capacity of 2,080 pounds.
Each Tundra trim level has a unique personality. The base SR model meets basic full-size work-truck needs and keeps design elements simple. The SR5 adds fog lights along with chrome grille surround and front and rear bumper endcaps that provide a touch of style. The Limited includes 20-inch alloy wheels, and the Platinum features LED running lights and a power moonroof.
The 1794 Edition adds a western feel to the pickup with a full chrome grille and a gunmetal-gray lower front bumper with chrome endcaps. Optional 20-inch chrome wheels complete the cowboy-inspired look. The off-road-ready TRD Pro features TRD (Toyota Racing Division) touches including Pro Bilstein shocks, an aluminum front skid plate and dual exhaust.
The Tundra’s spacious interior features Toyota’s elegantly simple design. Strong lines give the cabin a bold appearance. Thanks to the Tundra’s three cab configurations, seating capacity ranges from three to six occupants. Double Cab and CrewMax models are available with a bench or bucket seats in the front row and seat six or five depending on equipment.
The Tundra’s cabin is quiet and buffers occupants from road noise. Gauges are large and easy to read. The truck’s control knobs and buttons are designed for ease of use, even when wearing gloves. Depending on the model, the Tundra’s gear level is located on the steering column or the center console.
Seating choices and options yield different driving comfort capabilities. The standard front bench seat is adequate for commutes and work trips. Thanks to the tilt steering wheel, finding a comfortable driving position is possible for many, though not all, drivers.
Moving into the higher trim levels means the addition of standard or available 10-way adjustable front bucket seats and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Finding a comfortable driving position is far easier with this highly configurable setup.
Rear seating in the rear-wheel-drive Tundra Double Cab is limited, but the Tundra is roomier than many rivals in the extended-cab category. The CrewMax cab is a different story altogether. With an impressive 42.3 inches of legroom, the back seat of the CrewMax feels more like a limo than a full-size pickup truck.
All Tundra models include a standard windshield wiper de-icer, power windows and door locks and heated power-adjustable outside mirrors.
Limited models add leather seating, dual-zone climate control and a four-way power passenger seat. Limited models also include a power sliding rear window and heated front bucket seats. Platinum models add even more luxury with heated and ventilated front seats.
The 1794 Edition’s interior continues the western theme with brown leather seating and wood-style trim. The TRD Pro’s cabin matches the truck’s off-road ready capabilities with TRD leather-trimmed seats with red contrast stitching and TRD logos throughout.
The 2017 Tundra arrives with a standard 4.6-liter V8 engine that produces 310 horsepower and 327 pound-feet of torque. With this engine, the Tundra is EPA rated at up to 15/19 mpg city/highway.
An upgraded 5.7-liter V8, as seen in our review vehicle, generates 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. With rear-wheel drive, the larger V8-powered Tundra is rated at 13/18 mpg city/highway. The Tundra’s sole gearbox is a six-speed automatic. Four-wheel-drive with a two-speed transfer case is standard equipment on the TRD Pro model and available as an option on every 2017 Tundra.
The Tundra uses a traditional truck suspension with coil-over spring shock units up front and leaf springs in the back. The setup provides a comfortable ride around town and on the highway and excellent hauling and towing capabilities. When properly equipped, the Tundra can tow up to 10,500 pounds and haul 2,080 pounds.
Large four-wheel disc brakes help bring the pickup to a halt even under less-than-optimal panic-braking situations. Handling is in line with that of other full-size pickups. The Tundra is obedient, but requires careful maneuvering in crowded parking areas.
Unfortunately, its limited engine and transmission choices cause the 2017 Tundra’s powertrain options to fall short of those offered by its rivals. Many manufacturers offer smaller turbocharged engines and eight-speed automatics that deliver better fuel economy with similar power and performance.
Unlike many competitors in the segment, the base Tundra arrives with a high level of standard technology equipment, including Toyota’s Entune multimedia bundle. The system features a 6.1-inch touch-screen display, six speakers, a USB port, an auxiliary input jack and Bluetooth connectivity.
SR5 models include navigation, satellite and HD radio, a suite of available smartphone-enabled apps and a larger 7-inch touchscreen. Platinum models receive a premium JBL 12-speaker audio system.
The 2017 Tundra was awarded four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) based on overall performance in crash tests.
The Tundra CrewMax received mixed crash test scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It earned top scores of Good in moderate overlap front and side crash tests, as well as in testing for the head restraints and seats. The second-highest Acceptable rating was earned in roof strength tests, while the second-lowest Marginal score was received in small overlap front crash tests. IIHS testing of the Tundra’s headlights returned the lowest available Poor rating.
The Tundra is equipped with a standard rearview camera. Front and rear parking assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are available.
Pricing for the 2017 Toyota Tundra starts at $30,120, plus a $1,195 delivery fee. Toyota’s entry price is for the rear-wheel-drive Double Cab model with the 4.6-liter V8 engine and standard bed. Opting for the rear-wheel-drive regular cab with the 5.7-liter V8 and long bed results in a suggested price of $30,500 plus destination.
A nicely equipped Platinum model, like our pictured review vehicle, starts at $47,080 plus fees.
The Tundra is an interesting example of pricing and value extremes. Entry-level models offer standard features that are rarely found on base pickup trucks. However, the additional equipment drives up the price tag, and the Tundra cannot be purchased as a stripped low-cost work vehicle like many lower-priced entry-level competitors. On the flip side, the Tundra’s top trim models provide excellent value when compared to similarly equipped sales leaders including the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Ram 1500.
The higher-trim models of the 2017 Toyota Tundra offer outstanding value and provide shoppers with a well-equipped pickup truck with a near-premium level cabin for a very competitive price. Families will find the rear seat area in the CrewMax more spacious and comfortable than second-row seating found in many full-size SUVs. Those looking for an affordable work truck, or desiring better fuel economy, will want to investigate options from Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge.