By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.4
Toyota's full-size Tundra Pickup truck is a genuine workhorse every bit the equal of long-established pickup trucks from Ford, Chevy and Ram. Although offered only as a half-ton model, the 2012 Toyota Tundra full-size pickup is a very capable machine, with horsepower, towing and payload numbers the same or better than its domestic (and one foreign) rivals. The U.S.-built 2012 Toyota Tundra leads the pack in a number of areas, including safety. In fact, the Tundra was the first full-size pickup to receive a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS.org).
If you need a tough and rugged truck that knows how to pamper its occupants, the 2012 Toyota Tundra is worth checking out. With the right configuration, the Tundra's payload exceeds one ton and towing capacity can go to 10,400 pounds.
If you're used to the smaller and more nimble Toyota Tacoma, the 2012 Toyota Tundra may feel far too large. Maneuverability and fuel economy are hardly the Tundra's strong points, and unlike some larger competitors, there is no 3/4- or 1-ton model, dually rear end or diesel-engine option.
The 2012 Toyota Tundra pickup has its options list simplified to a few well-equipped packages, adding a new Chrome Package on Double Cab and CrewMax models. The Limited and TRD Rock Warrior trims gain a standard rearview camera.
Driving Impressions From behind the wheel, there is no getting around that the 2012 Toyota Tundra full-size pickup is a really big truck. A tall, upright seating position makes it easier to...see over the big hood, but the Tundra's overall girth, like all trucks in this segment, requires some top-notch driving skills when navigating narrow roads or confined quarters. The Limited trim's rearview camera is a great help when parking or attaching a trailer and really should be standard on all models. As for how the 2012 Toyota Tundra pickup drives, we found the big Toyota offers excellent steering feel and a better highway ride than some of its competitors. The good handling and solid body have everything to do with the Tundra's frame, which features a fully-boxed front section, partially-boxed C-channel under the passenger compartment and more flexible open C-channel below the bed. Of the two V8 engine choices, we prefer the 5.7-liter V8. With 381 horses on tap, this engine has no problem moving the Tundra even with a full cab and a loaded bed.
Toyota offers a comprehensive assortment of more than three dozen dealer-installed items, including exterior and interior trim upgrades, cargo-bed accessories and performance and handling enhancements from Toyota's performance brand, TRD.
i-Force 5.7-liter V8
The 2012 Toyota Tundra's optional i-Force 5.7-liter V8 makes 71 more horsepower than the also-optional 4.6-liter V8, yet, with the technology of variable-valve timing and the benefits of a 6-speed automatic transmission, almost matches the fuel economy of the standard V6. Both the engine and transmission are built in the U.S.
A big project can call for hauling big people and bigger equipment, and the 2012 Toyota Tundra has both areas covered. CrewMax models can comfortably hold up to six adults plus provide multiple storage areas for toolboxes, jumper cables and extra gear. Adding to the Tundra's comfort level is a rear seat in the Double Cab model that has more rearward angle than in other trucks, making the small space more suitable for long trips. If 4-passenger (or more) accommodations are what you seek, however, it's the CrewMax you'll be wanting. With its fore-and-aft-adjustable rear seats and adjustable seatback, the 2012 Toyota Tundra CrewMax pickup is the ultimate people-hauler.
The 2012 Toyota Tundra full-size pickup boasts the tough, in-your-face attitude demanded by full-size pickup buyers. Although still clearly a product of Toyota design, the Tundra's huge chrome grille surround, prominent hood bulge and sculpted lower door edges make it as formidable as any of its rivals. While the base Regular Cab model looks rather pedestrian with its black grille and bumper, up-level trims show off a lot more chrome and flashy options. The Double Cab model features shorter half doors for accessing the small rear seat, while the CrewMax models are easily identifiable by their longer cabs, shorter beds and long rear doors. Toyota also offers a Work Truck package that equips the 2012 Toyota Tundra pickup with a vinyl bench seat, rubber flooring and a choice between the 4.0-liter V6 or the 4.7-liter V8.
Standard equipment on the most basic 2012 Toyota Tundra Regular Cab pickup includes a V6 engine, limited-slip differential, trailer sway control, dual-zone manual climate controls and an AM/FM stereo with a single-disc CD player. The SR5 trim of the Double Cab and CrewMax includes power front seats, AM/FM stereo with 6-disc CD changer and heated outside mirrors. The Limited trim level includes a billet-style grille, front and rear parking sonar, rearview camera, heated leather seats, a bed-rail system and a JBL audio unit. With 270 horsepower, the standard 4.0-liter V6 is more powerful than many V8s of the recent past. Only those who regularly haul massive loads and tow large trailers will truly miss the extra power of the optional V8s.
Most optional equipment on the 2012 Toyota Tundra pickup is packaged into either the mid-level SR5 or the up-scale Limited trims. One significant stand-alone option is a bundle that includes a DVD-based satellite navigation system, Bluetooth phone connectivity, rearview camera and a JBL audio system. The 2-door Regular Cab and 4-door Double Cab are available with 61/2- and 8-foot bed lengths, while the CrewMax has a 51/2-foot bed. The Platinum Package available on CrewMax Limited trims includes heated and ventilated seats, 20-inch chrome wheels, navigation, a power sunroof and wood-trim interior. The 2012 Toyota Tundra pickup offers a long list of dealer-installable accessories. These include remote engine start, 22-inch wheels, bed extender and numerous TRD (Toyota Racing Development) items.
The 2012 Toyota Tundra offers three engine choices: the standard 270-horsepower 4.0-liter V6, a 310-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 or the 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V8. The V6 comes with a 5-speed automatic with uphill/downhill shift logic, while the V8s are mated to a 6-speed automatic. Since the 5.7 liter makes 71 horsepower more than the 4.6 liter and gets almost the same fuel mileage as the V6, the vast majority of Tundra buyers select the big engine. All three engines employ several technologies allowing them to produce both big power and reasonable economy. Variable-valve timing optimizes engine performance for changing conditions and demands, and the V8's 6-speed automatic transmission employs a low first gear to aid low-speed acceleration and two overdrive gears to maximize highway economy.
270 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
278 lb-ft. of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/20
310 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
327 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/20 (2WD), 14/19 (4WD)
381 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
401 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/18 (2WD); 13/17 (4WD), 13/18 (4WD, E85)
By Mr. Unhappy on Wednesday, December 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,200overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Cons: "Bad exhaust drone!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"My truck came with a horrible exhaust drone. Have spent over $500 to date to help eliminate the drone. Was giving me migraines and nausea. Dealer said they were all like this so Toyota did not see it as a problem. Told me to go away and not come back. Toyota knows about the problem. Have told over 30 people not to buy a Tundra. Next thing to do to deal with drone is sound absorbing undercoat or trade in and take a bath on the trade in. Again, don't buy a Tundra. Last note, cup holders won't hold a regular coffee cup, only tapered coffee mugs."
6 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By Will on Wednesday, December 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "15 Cup Holders, Sounds Great, Chicks Dig It"
Cons: "Large Trailer Hitch, Size around town, Gas Guzzler"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have had this truck for 5 months now, and put roughly 8000 miles on it. I have taken it on 300 mile road trips and around town. It does great on the highway, however gas mileage drastically decreases from 55 to 70 MPH. Around town, the 5.7 Liter V8 is quick off the line. After towing a 4500 lb. boat around (more than 3,000 more than the limit), the truck showed no fatigue or problem. It did struggle, but that should be expected after nearly quadrupling the max. towing. The hitch receiver is very large, and I had to buy an extra large locking pin in order for it to fit. However Toyota has placed the connections for trailer lights above integrated into the bumper as to not rip out cords when you are off roading and rocks are hitting your bumper. The Limited interior is well laid out, providing lots of leather and wood trim. And holy cow! The back seats are massive! My 6'7" 270 pound uncle fits in the back no problem at all! The legroom is incredible. One thing to improve on in the back is that the air conditioning takes a while to reach all the way back, as there is only one small vent for all three back seats while there are 4 vents for the front seats. The rear seats fold up, and the large back door allows you to easily take in and out large, heavy objects. One thing that I wish toyota had put on the truck is an under hood light, as that would have significantly increased the ease of checking your engine (as if you were to ever break down - this truck doesn't do that) at night. The adjustable headlights allow you to not blind the driver in front of you at night when you have 4500 pounds of weight dragging the back end down. The humongous center console could hold a small adult inside of it, and has a charging port inside. The entune navigation system is very user friendly and easily allows you to input destinations, change radio stations, and change vehicle settings. The refreshed exterior is tasteful, but does not show off. The tailgate of the truck is a easy lift and lower tailgate, and you can take if off in 45 seconds. I've timed myself :-). Cup Holders are in no short supply - there are 15 of them. Everything is removable from the truck with some basic tools, so you can add accessories and clean certain bits. I have taken the front and rear seats out several times already to clean the interor of the truck really well. The rear power sliding window (by the way, it it the whole window that slides down, not just a small square of window) drastically improves the airflow through the truck when the windows are down. Despite all the upsides, it is a bit of a lumber bus around town since it is as wide as is legal in the US and is plenty long with the crew cab. Bottom line, I would absolutely reccommend this truck to anyone and would buy it again in a heartbeat. Not to mention, I can run it to ten million miles with just oil changes because its a Toyota!"
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By KJ on Tuesday, December 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,300overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Safety. Price. Comfort. Handling. Torque. Fun!"
Cons: "Need a lock on gas cover or cap."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I purchased my Rock Warrior because of it's stats for safety. I am impressed by it's ride and comfort. Most new vehicles the seats dip down' the Tundra are 'flat' and adjustable. Also, the back of the seat is a fantastic height for tall people and do not 'force' you into a 'C' position whereas your shoulders are forced forward. The MPH is not bad for such a large engine. I just pulled a near 8000 lb. older trailer for my son to Texas from Vermont. Yes, the fuel bill was high... but with the tow package; the Rock Warrior was stupendous regarding stability. All I am waiting for is for Toyota to come out with a diesel engine of their own or the Cummings."
17 people out of 24 found this review helpful
By hundbite on Tuesday, December 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,050overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "fast,strong,reliable,nice looking"
Cons: "on the 08, none really"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I wish they kept all the same features in the limited. now i would have to buy a platinum just to get most of the features i have in my limited. problem is platinum only comes in a crewmax with a shorter bed! Also, the 14's feel cheap inside compared to GMC and Dodge. Sadly, this is why i will not be purchasing a new Tundra. My 08 is a great truck with no real issues."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By bigfatred on Monday, November 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "toyota quality"
Cons: "none after 7 1/2 years of ownership"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"although there have been a number of recalls, we did not have any issues. our only repairs were common maintenance. another fine vehicle from Toyota & assembled in texas by AMERICANS."
8 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By Geno on Monday, November 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Drives great--very confortable lots of power"
Cons: "unreliable--design flaw that Toyota will not fix"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"These vehicles have a design flaw 2010-2013 models. The seals blow out prematurely on the power steering racks which they changed design/vendors in 2010. Mine just went out at 62k miles and it is $3100 to fix--I looked it up and there are numerous reports of this same problem. It is widespread and systemic. Toyota has done nothing to remedy the situation."
26 people out of 39 found this review helpful