2017 Toyota Tundra: Brawny, Thoughtful and Comfortable

By Mike Blake - Carlisle Events
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Marketed to be big, bold and strong for work, adaptable for play and elegant for entertainment, Toyota’s Tundra continues in its third generation that began in 2014, and with a minor styling revamp already unveiled for 2018, the 2017 edition sees only quiet additions. 2018 Tundras will see a freshened front end that features new grille designs and headlamps, a new mesh look complemented by halogen headlights with a black bezel on the base SR and SR5 trims, and a billet-style grill and LED headlights for next year’s Tundra Limited, Platinum and 1794 Edition. Pointing toward a rumored all-new style-and-feature Tundra for 2019 or 2020, Toyota has chosen to only add a standard tow hitch receiver for models outfitted with the 4.6-liter V-8, while the Limited trim gains standard power front bucket seats. Other than that and an updated exterior color range that includes Quicksand, Inferno and Barcelona Red Metallic, Tundra for 2017 largely stands pat.

With more than four-dozen possible configurations and a towing capacity of up to 10,500 pounds, the 2017 Toyota Tundra, assembled exclusively in San Antonio, Texas. Tundra is a big truck with a big look. Tundra embodies brawn, in a tough and confident package, with sculpted creases, large angled headlights, a wide stance and an easy-lower-and-lift tailgate that lowers slowly with no slam, and that can easily be removed when necessary. Additionally, the front and rear bumpers use three-piece construction for reduced repair costs and all CrewMax models have a power vertical sliding rear window.

My Tundra 4x4 CrewMax test ride measured 228.9 inches long with a standard bed. Its width was 79.9 inches and height was 76.2 inches on a 145.7-inch wheelbase. Ground clearance came in at 10.4 inches and curbweight was 5670 lbs. Towing capacity for the Platinum Crew Max with a 5.5-ft. short bed is 9,800 lbs. in 4x4 configuration and the 5.7-liter engine.

Tundra links a 6-speed automatic overdive transmission mated to either of two engine choices. The 2017 pick-up truck comes standard with the 4.6-liter i-Force DOHC EFI V-8 that is good for 310 hp 327 lbs.-ft. of peak torque and is EPA rated at 14mpg/city and 18mpg/highway in 4x4. The 5.7-liter i-Force DOHC EFI V-8 that powered my test truck is the more popular choice among buyers. It is muscular and provides 381 hp and 401 lbs.-ft. of peak torque. The 5.7-liter is offered in both gasoline and Flex Fuel variants, and in 4x4 configuration is EPA rated at 13 city/17 highway. A week of mixed-used rides delivered an average of 15.2 mpg.

I found the engine to be noisy, but ample. Low-end torque was abundant and passing and acceleration from a stop were consistently powerful. On the highway, uphill grades and passing at speed were no challenge, and on the track, my Tundra Platinum dashed from zero to 60mph in 6.5 seconds en route to a 15.1-second quarter-mile.

Tundra Platinum’s interior is comfortable, thoughtfully constructed and its large knobs can be operated while wearing work gloves. The info gauges are grouped in a clear, easy-to-see design and there’s a center-mounted multi-information (LCD) display screen.

The cabin is filled with high-tech infotainment items and sightlines are clear. Tundra’s Crew Max Cab offers seating for five or six and provides 39.7 inches of front headroom and 38.9 inches for rear cab occupants. Legroom is 42.5 inches up front and 42.3 in the rear, and shoulder room is 65.7 inches (front) and 65.5 inches (rear). Platinum’s added amenities include dual-zone air conditioning; 12-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, memory and a 4-way power passenger’s seat -- both upscaled with heat and ventilation.

Tundra attends to safety with eight standard airbags including front seat-mounted side airbags, front and rear roll-sensing side curtain airbags, driver and front outboard passenger airbags with an advanced airbag system. Tundra also provides standard driver and front outboard passenger knee airbags, and it is equipped with a standard backup camera on all grades.

Available in six trims, 2017 Toyota Tundras start at $33,170 for the SR trim with the 4.6-liter V-8; $34,980 for the SR5 and a 4.6-liter V-8; $42,430 for the Limited that comes with the 5.7-liter V-8; $43,495 for the off-road capable TRD Pro; $50,130 for the Platinum trim I tested; and $50,130 for the 1794 Edition.

The Platinum trim comes with a 5.7-liter V-8 engine and 5.5-ft. bed, 20-inch alloy wheels, leather-trimmed steering wheel with memory function, deck rail system, power sliding rear window, 38-gallon fuel tank, dual zone automatic climate control, power tilt/slide moonroof, Premium perforated leather-trimmed Seats, integrated Trailer Brake Controller, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Integrated Fog Lights, Intermittent Windshield Wipers, LED Daytime Running Lights and Entune™ Premium JBL® Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite.

The Platinum trim starts with the CrewMax and 5.5-ft. Short Bed configuration, and my test truck came in Magnetic Gray Metallic accented by a black leather interior. Running Boards added $345; a Skid Resistor™ Bedliner added $365; Bed Tie-Down Cleats added $142; All-Weather Floor Liners added $139; Glass Breakage Sensor added $299; key finder added $79; and a Remote Engine Starter added $499. With an $1195 delivery, processing & handling fee, the price as tested came to $51,553.

You can see the Tundra and and nearly 2,000 trucks at the Carlisle Truck Nationals, August 4-6 at the Carlisle (PA) Fairgrounds. This celebration of trucks features big rigs, monster trucks, mini trucks, antiques, custom vans, 4x4’s and more.

> Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.

Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.

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