2018 Toyota Tundra: Coming at you with Updated Front Styling

By Mike Blake Carlisle Events
Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Trucking forward with new front-end freshening, Toyota’s Texas-assembled Tundra full-size pickup continues in its third generation that began in 2014, with several tweaks that attend to safety and looks.

The most hyped change for the 2018 Tundra is the addition of a new TRD Sport package. TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development, so the package includes an upgraded Tundra TRD Sports chassis, TRD anti-sway bars and sport-tuned TRD Bilstein shocks. A TRD shift knob and floormats complete the look inside. The new TRD Sport package gets its own look with body-color surround for the honeycomb-style grille, color-keyed mirrors, bumpers and hood scoop, and it rides on 20-inch silver-painted aluminum alloy wheels with black accents.

But all 2018 Tundras get a front-end look and the Platinum grade goes for elegance with an updated black honeycomb grille and body-color surround. Tundra’s 2018 front end 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 Tundra Limited and 1794 Edition. Also for this year, the advanced Toyota Safety Sense-P (TSS-P) system is now standard on all Tundra grades; and reflecting ongoing trends in the segment, the Regular Cab models have been discontinued, leaving an all-four-door lineup with the Double Cab and extra-roomy CrewMax models. Assembled exclusively in San Antonio, Texas, the Toyota Tundra lives up to the state’s “big” personality by offering a plethora of possible configurations, plus, a towing capacity of up to 10,200 pounds. Tundra presents a bold and confident stance, a powerful demeanor and sculpted elegance. 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 short 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 2018 pick-up truck comes standard with the 4.6-liter i-Force DOHC EFI V-8 that provides 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 delivers 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 driving averaged 15.2 mpg.

In acceleration tests, Tundra’s power source was attentive, but noisy. Torque was good in all ranges, and brawn was consistent and plentiful. On the highway, uphill grades and passing at speed were accomplished easily, and on the track, my Tundra Platinum completed a zero to 60mph in 6.5 seconds during 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.

Available in six trims with 14 variations (cabs and 4x2 vs. 4x4), 2018 Toyota Tundras start at $34,370 for the SR trim with the 4.6-liter V-8. The SR5 loses the tow package and is priced lower, at $33,030. The Limited trim is next, at $43,635 and comes with the 5.7-liter V-8; the Platinum trim I tested starts at $50,330 as does the 1794 Edition.

The Platinum trim comes with the 381hp, 5.7-liter V-8 engine, Crew Max cab and 5.5-ft. bed. Mine was bathed in Smoked Mesquite (brownish) paint mated to a Premium Black leather interior. The Power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade added $1195 and also included running boards. All-Weather floor liners added $149; a Bed Extender added $320; a bed mat was $139; a Bed Step was $275; Skid Resistor™ Bedliner with deck rail added $395; Black Tailgate Insert added $99; and Delivery, processing and handling added $1395, for a sticker-as-tested of $53,582.

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 and handling fee, the price as tested came to $51,553.

> 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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