Road Test Review: 2011 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4.0-liter V-6

Road Test Review: 2011 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4.0-liter V-6

Lost in the blinding glare of two all-new six-cylinder engines for the 2011 Ford F-150 is a nontrivial mechanical and power update for the 2011 Toyota Tundra’s 4.0-liter V-6. That’s unfortunate because it’s a well-sorted and modern naturally aspirated six.

Originally we planned to include a 4.0 Tundra in our 2010 Work Truck Shootout, but an accident during transportation prevented that from happening. To make up for this, we flew to Texas last week -- at our expense -- to test a loaner from Champion Toyota in Houston. We were provided with a two-wheel-drive double cab model modestly configured in base-level Work Truck trim.

It’s tough to call the Tundra we tested a bare-bones hauler despite its 18-inch steelies, vinyl interior and anonymous Super White/Graphite exterior. The optional BX Work Truck Package replaced eight-way adjustable seats with simpler four-way seats but added power windows and locks instead of manually operated equipment. Also standard was a six-speaker AM/FM stereo with a six-CD player and auxiliary jack for MP3 players, plus a dual-zone climate control system.

It’s certainly not bare bones in the engine bay. The Tundra’s 24-valve aluminum block 4.0-liter V-6 is now rated at 270 horsepower and 278 pounds-feet of torque, up 34 hp and 12 pounds-feet from the 2006-2010 Tundra. The extra power comes from improvements to the 4.0-liter V-6's dual-overhead-cam variable valve timing system.

Engine-1-560

VVT can improve emissions and power levels by controlling the opening and closing of an engine's intake or exhaust valves or both.

The previous version of the 4.0-liter V-6 used VVT to control only the intake valve cam. The new and improved 4.0-liter V-6 has dual VVT to manage cam timing for both the intake and exhaust valves.

With less than 48 hours on the ground in Houston, we only had time to test the Tundra unloaded, but we believe the data we collected show the 4.0-liter V-6 is a credible competitor to Ford’s all-new dual-overhead-cam 302-hp (278 pounds-feet of torque) 3.7-liter V-6. We’d rank the 4.0 well ahead of the single-overhead-cam 215-hp (235 pounds-feet) 3.7-liter V-6 in the Ram 1500 and the 25-year-old 195-hp (260 pounds-feet) 4.3-liter pushrod V-6 in the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 half-tons.

The Tundra’s vinyl seats were surprisingly comfortable over long distances, up to 70 miles in a stretch on the highway. Driving position was also very good with excellent visibility, though we had to adjust its rearview mirrors by hand. Steering felt vague at low and high speeds and the ride felt choppy at times, but it’s significantly improved from the last Tundra double cab we’ve driven.

In late 2010, Toyota issued a technical service bulletin for second-generation Tundras and made production improvements to reduce so-called “bed bounce” that led many Tundra owners to complain about ride quality and comfort at highway speeds. New rear body mounts for double cab trucks do an excellent job at damping unwanted beaming and jounce at highway speeds. We’d consider this Tundra the best-riding empty Toyota half-ton we’ve tested.

Tundra-dyno-1-1200

The 4.0-liter V-6 didn’t have the tough truck exhaust note of the Tundra’s two available V-8 engines, but it didn’t sound wimpy or overly harsh when pushed at wide open throttle, either.

Using our VBOX test kit, we measured the 5,000-pound bricklike Tundra going from zero to 60 mph in a respectable 8.6 seconds and running the quarter-mile in 16.73 seconds at 85.93 mph. That’s less than a second slower for both data points than what we measured a 4,760-pound two-door cab (not SuperCab) 2011 F-150 with the 3.7-liter V-6 during the Work Truck Shootout.

Holding back the Tundra’s performance, we believe, is its 6,000-rpm redline – 1,000 rpm less than the F-150 – and the five-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox also seems to hold back fuel economy. The V-6 Tundra is rated 16/20 mpg city/highway compared with the F-150’s 17/23 mpg rating.

The 4.0-liter Tundra has a final drive ratio choice of either a modestly fuel-efficient 3.90 or a work-oriented 4.10. Ours had the 3.90 rear axle. Perhaps the Tundra could increase its fuel economy to 18/22 mpg with a six-speed transmission and a taller rear axle ratio, like 3.55.

Interior-1-560

One inexplicable deletion from the Tundra’s interior was a missing tachometer in the gauge cluster, to show engine speed. Instead, the empty instrument pod blindly stared back at us with the words “Toyota Tundra” and the transmission’s PRNDL position. We speculate this was done for cost savings, but can’t understand why. Even a work truck guy wants to know how hard his truck is working.

It required a trip to our friends at well-known aftermarket tuning shop Fastlane to confirm the Tundra’s 6,000-rpm limiter on the shop’s chassis dyno, which also measured peak power and torque of 224 hp (at 5,700 rpm) and 234 pounds-feet of torque (at 4,200 rpm) at the rear wheels.

We spent the rest of our time in Houston driving the Tundra on surface streets and rural roads in addition to Texas’ freeways. Ride and handling were generally good in all situations, if a bit underwhelming. As we said earlier, the chassis is much calmer today than when the current Tundra debuted in 2007.

As we wrote in our review of the 2010 Tundra, the big-for-bigness’-sake climate and audio controls are almost comically large, and the instrument panel’s materials are very plasticky and dark – particularly the door handles, which feel like Fisher-Price parts. First-row seats were configured as a 40/20/40-split bench with a folding center that served as a seatback or armrest and cupholder. The second row of the six-seater had plenty of room to stow luggage on its rubber floor with the rear bench seat folded up. In general, the next-gen Tundra needs a radical rethinking of its cabin and could learn several lessons from the Ram 1500.

Specs-560

The MSRP for the Tundra we tested came in at $26,899, including an optional spray-in bedliner and destination and delivery fees. That’s less than a comparable Ford F-150 XL SuperCab with similar features that prices out at $28,740 with the 3.7-liter V-6, but it’s also in the neighborhood of what we expect Ram to offer its new 2011 1500 Tradesman Quad Cab work truck at with a standard Hemi V-8.

If Toyota can pair the 4.0-liter V-6 with an efficient six-speed gearbox and shed some size and weight from its massive body and frame, there’s every chance for the Tundra to rival the F-150 in performance and fuel economy. That probably won’t happen until there’s a Tundra redesign, expected around 2014, and by the time this happens, we expect GM and Ram to offer all-new six-cylinder engines, too.

Tundra-rear-34-1200

Comments

Very nice. At least this should serve as a refrence point for how the Tundra might compare.
IIRC, the V6 Tundra gets a Tacometer when you opt for the towing package. The A750 trans used in this truck and the A760 used with the 4.6L 1UZ has all the same ratios, except for the 2nd OD 6th gear. Keeping the same rear end, that could improve highway milage a little.

@Mrknowitall: Correct. The A760 adds a .586 OD for 6th gear.

Nice write up Mike

Not to take away from the Tundra story, but why is GM still using the 4.3 litre in their full size trucks?

"If Toyota can pair the 4.0-liter V-6 with an efficient six-speed gearbox and shed some size and weight from its massive body and frame, there’s every chance for the Tundra to rival the F-150 in performance and fuel economy. That probably won’t happen until there’s a Tundra redesign, expected around 2014, and by the time this happens, we expect GM and Ram to offer all-new six-cylinder engines, too."

And by that time there will be an all new F-150, too.

Good write up, but that uses more fuel than the Ford 5.0 and Chevy 5.3, the only advantage being a lower purchase price. On the subject of GM V6, are they going to use the 3.6 DOHC in the trucks? I assume Dodge will use the Pentastar.

Oh and Mike, you know how you're so Ford biased and all, never cover any news on Toyota..... ;)

Why does it look like the truck is bent upwards in the middle?

@Ryan, because it is... :)

I have no idea why not just use a 6spd, they already have a good tranny as seen in the V8's. But for that MSRP you could walk away with this Tundra for a similar price you might pay for a middle of the road equipped Tacoma or Frontier, which is pretty impressive.

Toyota Tundra-

Consummated in Japan...

...Rushed to the United States to be born in the U.S.!

Wanting a piece of the American dream.

"and the 25-year-old 195-hp (260 pounds-feet) 4.3-liter pushrod V-6 in the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 half-tons."

LMAO!

If you are looking for a V6 work truck this looks like the only viable alternative to the F150. Too bad it wasn't in the work truck shootout. It would of come in second place.
@Alex - trolling for Oxi's today? LOL

Now folks that is an UGLY truck !!

Wonder how many recalls it will have..

rusting frames
busted driveshafts
failing engines
rusty frames
bad welds causing tailgates and other parts of the truck to seperate
oh,oh what a feeling..toyota !! gives you a good feeling when left stranded on the side of the road !!

good review, now you can just look else where for something that is better.

Mike - Nice review. Interesting that you noted a difference in ride compared to the 2010 model - the new cab frame mount bushings on the double cab were supposed to help reduce the bounciness of the ride, but many people say that they make little difference.

I'm hearing that the front end was redesigned a little for 2011, and that it could be the reason for the improvement as well.

wow that's cute build in Texas... this is AMERICA!!! WE DRIVE THE BIG THREE

me personally, i would never own a toyota. Their styling screams im bland but reliable. The only thing toyota has going for them is dependibilty, which for most consumers, can win them.

I feel like toyota is way out of their league in the pickup truck category. Unusual and ridicilious styling with no option for a heavy duty plus no diesel or high performance truck.

Toyota should just stick to fuel efficient mid size sedans

You know I find myself at odds sometimes. I would NEVER own or drive one of these trucks. I wonder if its because its something from Japan (even though its built in Texas) and the answer is no I have tons of stuff I own from Japan. I think its just because there is no good reason to leave the big 3. They own the pickup market period. If Toyota or any other car maker wants to get into the pickup game they would need a game changer, but what they brought to market was not a game changer, more like just more of the same. You can say you build them in Texas and support Americans all you want but at the end of the day it does not mean that you are an American company and you are not going to change the minds of good ole boys club and the suburban warriors who choose to drive the big 3. Every truck has its strengths and weakness but the big 3 just do it the same or better in most cases.

I just love the brand bashing that goes on here. If I were buying a new truck Ford would get my money, hands down. However I didn't have $38K so I bought a used 2008 Tundra, for $17K. It's all in what you can afford and what meets your needs, statistically the Tundra is the most reliable truck built since 2000. It has had it issues, but those were dealt with. The gas pedal thing was BS.

BTW it's the most "American" built of all 1/2 trucks.

where's OXI today? he finaly has something to gloat about ??

@CreigMac

Glad to see someone with their head on straight. I own a 2008 Crewmax with a 5.7 V8 and it's the best truck I've ever driven. It hauls our 7,000lbs boat like it's a tin can as well.

Excellent write up! I have to agree with most of the comments here though. Tundra is really an irrelevant option in a market with Ford, GM, and RAM.

give it up guys, the tundra is here to stay. toyota is a big company with money n knows there's always a need for a truck be it small or fullsize. so long as they know that, they'll continue to build their trucks. they prob won't ever outsell the domestics, but they'll continue to pick at it n still sell enough to profit n so they'll keep building it. when our generation passes, generations after us n after them won't care about brand origins anymore. it will continue that route until it's nonexistent. I will always see these "buy american" as wasteful preaching that's a dead end. don't forget the buy american crowd is the minority now.

Of course the Tundra is here to stay, it does not mean people will buy it.

Come on now!

Honestly, the Tundra does not meet or fit my needs whatsoever. However, as few mentioned, they fit their needs just fine.

Some people have less needs then others. This is why many Mfgr's build different trucks.

I think if I was going to buy an imported truck, I think this Great Wall Motors Wingle CL might give the Tundra a run for its money.

http://news.drive.com.au/photogallery/drive/great-wall-wingle-cl-20110421-1dpd6.html?selectedImage=1

If you don't like it, you must be a racist... :)

@Mike Levine The 4 Litre V6 is becoming an endangered species in pickups here, most have the 3 Litre diesel. Ford, Isuzu, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Holden to a lesser degree emphasis their diesel range for pulling and fuel economy.

Tundra is here to stay.....here to stay at 5th best half ton and 9th best full-size overall.

@Alex we have the Chinese pickups here. It has only a smallish 2 Litre diesel. They are cheap, that is about it.

@RR I heard they were invading the Australian market. I'd say it's only a matter of time before they establish themselves here too.

"Toyota should just stick to fuel efficient mid size sedans"
And sewing machines!!!

Last year the Toyota sold a third as many Tundras in the US as F150's. That's substantial.

Around here small contractors seem to buy them a lot, large contractors and government go for low bid which means domestic of some kind (in Canada the big three have 10 grand discounts fairly regularly, with Toyota lucky to get 4).

Nice to see competition, the Titan and Tundra really put a spur under the domestics.

http://www.sewtoyota.com/

@ Frank
Some people want more performance from their truck than what the big 3 offered and thats why the vast majority of Tundra sales are the 5.7L V8 with 4.30 gears. This whole story about the 4.0L V6 Tundra is a waste as only 10 Americans have one and none of the Toyota dealerships in San Antonio even advertise having one. The comments on this article do prove 1 thing despite all the problems Tundra does have the biggest 1 effecting sales is a big 3 (American) superiority complex.

Some trucks need a 4.30 rear axle and a 5.7L DOHC engine just to try to stand a chance against a certain 3.5L engine with a 3.55 rear axle.

@x007, if only the Tundra looked as sexy as that Toyota!

I had read that Toyota made the decision to pull out of the fleet and rental market due to the deep discounts required to compete (ie. sell at a loss).
A few guys pointed out that Toyota will keep making them as long as there is money to be made.

We've seen time and time again that truck guys are very conservative.
Many will not leave their favorite brand for any reason.
Many will never consider a truck with a foreign head office even though said product is made in their own country with more home grown parts than a domestic.
The full size market as we have seen, has been considerably more difficult to enter than Toyota had expected.

Shawn had pointed out that toyota would need a "game changer".
Problem is - would consumers buy it from them?
I'd say no.
This thread alone proves that point.
In many respects the Tundra's 5.7 engine and transmission was a game changer.

Ford's 3.5 EB by all definitions is a game changer, and look at the controversy on these boards surrounding that engine.
We have Ford guys at war with other Ford guys.
Imagine the bashing if Toyota came out with the EB 3.5?

Toyota, is unfortuantely in a "no win" situation with most truck guys.
Toyota - The Rodney Dangerfield of trucks.

@ Alex
I see you failed to mention your 3.5 needed direct injection and twin turbo to compete with a 5.7 that came out first. Although ecoboost F150 is impressive with a 0-60 in 6.8 sec but my 5.7 does it in 6.3 sec.

@ Curtis MIKE LEVINE got 0-60 with the 5.7 Tundra at 7.18 crewcab? in the 2008 shoot out . 2011 EB 3.5 is 6.8 crewcab. are you thinkin the 0-60 6.3 your getting is a shortbox ? in that case fords 5.0 shortbox is getting under 6 seconds to 60 . 5 star tuning ......

I do not even see the need to purchase a toyota product in the first place, let alone one of their trucks. The Big 3 employee more americans and provide more good paying jobs than the foreign automakers ever will. Well what does that mean for me as an american? Those workers have more money to spend at my store and keep america rolling. The Kia plants that pop up in poor towns of alabama that are subsidized by our government make me sick. Sadly, it just is not KIA, toyota as well.
Anyway buy from an American company and preferably from an American company that produces its vehicles here.

@Curtis, you're right, I didn't mention it, but I just thought everyone knew that. I will give Toyota credit for the 0-60 times from that 5.7. It is pretty quick! The exterior looks nice too, but I only like the double cab. (Take note of the fact that I can recognize its strengths).
But, (and I'm not just saying this because I am biased), I like the low end torque and fuel economy. I don't really care that much (to a point) about 0-60, as I don't drive my truck around with my foot to the floor. I want the pulling power, and I want decent fuel economy. If I had to choose between the 5.0 and 6.2, I would go with the 5.0. It's well balanced between power and economy. If I was fixated on a sporty pickup for onroad, and unloaded strengths, I would have a serious look at the Ram 1500 Hemi.

The only thing tundras and titans do is steal sales from the ram, silverado, and f150. They should just give up. They are mediocre at best, and annoying at worst. There is nothing like a fool who buys a toyota and thinks he is supporting America because the plant that built his car that he bought was located here in the usa, but at the end of the day, it goes to a foriegn company. So by buying toyotas and other imports, you support other countries. Fords and other domestics may outsource there plants to mexico or whatever, but at the end of the day, it goes to an american company.

Since Toyota is late with the 6 speed automatic, they should jump right to an 8 speed automatic. [next generation in all likelihood]

But if Toyota were upgrade to the 6 speed automatic, Toyota would split the difference in the gain of ratio spread. More performance, better city AND highway mileage.
5 speed auto- 4.92:1, 6 speed auto- 6:1. 22% greater ratio spread.
A change from 3.909 to 4.3 is only 10%.

Mike,

Awesome review, good to see Toyota trying something. Now only if they could offer a factory locker.

"I have no idea why not just use a 6spd, they already have a good tranny as seen in the V8's. But for that MSRP you could walk away with this Tundra for a similar price you might pay for a middle of the road equipped Tacoma or Frontier, which is pretty impressive."

This quote alone shows how overpriced the midsize segment has become, atleast the Frontier is a real truck while the Tacoma has the Fisher Price plastic bed (and I am a huge Hilux fan!!!)

Mike,

Was that price only for Texas? Cause in the north east, Toyota Dealers refuse to deal with the Tundras...

Mark-

Well stated, sir!

Everyone (anti-American and pro-import)-

You don't know what you've got, 'til its gone.

Remember that next time you pass up a product from a good American company, and then these same companies go out of business, because Buying American does not mean anything to you.

@RustStang78: I think this is only a regional package from Gulf States Toyota. I say that because I can't configure a D-Cab Tundra with a 4.0 V-6 using my zip code but it works for a Houston zip. It's a legacy thing dating back to Toyota's first distributors. GST operates semi-independently from Toyota Motors Sales USA.

and you can gain about 2% from a tire size change.
The wheels are 8" wide, correct? So 255/70 can be upgraded to 265/65 18.

and where is Toyota's own Valvematic? [next generation, right?]
The gain in engine pumping efficiency would allow improved mileage with the same gearing, or shorter gearing with the same mileage.

@ Buy American or say Bye to America!
I will buy American when America makes what I want that means I will dump my Tundra for my favorite truck (Ram) when Chrysler puts that 8 speed in the Ram and eliminates those tall gears.

Curtis-

You sold out and bought a Toyota for a 6-speed transmission? The current Ram has a 6-speed transmission, too. All of the testing reports/reviews, that I have read, show that the track tests (0-60 m.p.h. and 1/4-mile times) are neck and neck between the Ram 5.7L and Tundra 5.7L.

I have a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 4X4 5.7L (4.56:1 gears) and I admit that the transmission gearing is not the greatest. It does not mean that the whole truck is junk though. It is still a great performer. Sorry we lost you to Toyota.

Mike,

Thats what I was afraid of. I wonder if Toyota will ever fix that "glitch" Its one huge leverage the Big 3 have over Toyota... The local Toyota dealership wont even consider ordering a 5.7, reg cab, 6.5ft bed, 4x4 Tundra claiming its cause I'm in the NY area. I wonder what cost benefit analysis Toyota is using to limit the Toyota website vs the GST build website. This is just pushing me further and further away from a new Tundra, and I'm a Toyota fan!



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