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 Randy on Sunday, February 22, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This truck is very low mileage, but it has been great for the first 6 years. I would recommend both the Tacoma and the Tundra as great Toyota truck options."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By Toyota Fan on Sunday, February 08, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Value, Reliability, Quality, Feature content"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We purchased our 2010 Toyota Tundra SR5 TRD-OffRoad Double cab in Salsa Red Metallic in June of 2009. Our truck features the new-for-2010 4.6L V8. After nearly six years and 120,000 miles, I can assure you that this is one of the most sound automotive investments you can make. There has not been a single issue with the truck-ever. With routine servicing (oil change every 10k miles etc), I have no reason to believe this truck won't go for another 120k. The 4.6 V8 offers an excellent blend of power and fuel economy. I average just under 18 MPG and the truck has no issue with power in any situation. Out on the highway, the Tundra rides comfortably at any speed and passes with ease. The SR5 package provides an excellent blend of creature comforts at an affordable price. In 2009, bluetooth, USB, and a telescoping steering wheel couldn't be found at just north of $30k anywhere else but in the Tundra. Storage space is abundant. In any situation, the Tundra has exceeded expectations. Be it family hauling, road tripping, or any other activity a crew cab truck could be put up to, the Tundra will provide you with years of capable reliability. I plan on purchasing another Tundra once I pass the 2010 off to my son."
41 people out of 65 found this review helpful
By Redshoe on Sunday, February 08, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Wonderful to drive, comfortable front buckets,"
Cons: "Tall, steps needed"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Perfect condition, black on black with 20" custom tires and black wheels. Matching black camper shell over coated bed, bed has numerous tie downs. Fog lights, lights power off, daytime running lights. Drop down beauty mirrors that are illuminated. Garage door openers, auto dimming mirror. Multiple cup holders. Center panel large enough for small cooler.Dual oil cooler for 6 sped transmission. 5.7 engine with flex fuel. Rear view mirror, powered mirrors and windows including rear window which can be lowered completely. Powered drivers seat, rear seat adjusts manually and has fold down arm rest and cup holder. MP3 input, CD, radio, Bluetooth, Sirius. Front headlights have electronic up and down controls. Exceptionally clean, one owner actual mileage under 5000 miles. Big, black, powerful and like new."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Samer on Sunday, February 08, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,600overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive,"
Cons: "Terrible in fuel consumption"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Extremely Gorgeous Truck but not as they say in fuel efficient. the advertise city 14MPG. barely makes 10MPG even when it's new. HIghway never exceeded 13MPG. other than fuel issue one of the best in the market"
By Wayne on Friday, January 30, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, resale value, great ride and performance."
Cons: "No heavy duty options."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This is my second Tundra and both have been exceptional vehicles. Performance is excellent, I tow an enclosed trailer and utility trailers; the vehicle has no problems with trailering on steep hills and handles heavy trailering loads without any problems. The ride is excellent and I have experienced no problems with either of the two Tundra's owned. The gas mileage is satisfactory, of course I would like better mileage, but with 381 horsepower you can't have everything. I would recommend the Tundra for towing up to about 11,000 lbs. Hopefully Toyota will follow Nissan's lead and consider a diesel motor and it would be nice to have options for a 3/4 ton or even heavier trucks. Performs more like a 3/4 ton truck than a 1/2 ton."
23 people out of 44 found this review helpful
By Dale on Tuesday, January 27, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,400overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Beautiful and comfortable ride."
Cons: "Extra long bed is difficult to park some places."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This Tundra has it all. Extra long (8 foot) bed will hold full sheets of plywood with the tailgate closed. Snugtop cap in matching color (Cobalt Blue or Blue Ribbon paint). Crew max four door cab with premium sound system with in dash multi CD changer and JBL speakers. Front and rear parking warning system (Sonar). Very clean inside and out, runs great, lots of power in the 5.7 L V8 engine. Receiver hitch and tow package. A beast of a work truck!"
6 people out of 12 found this review helpful