By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.7
The 2016 Tundra pickup is Toyota’s largest and most powerful truck, vying for attention in an increasingly competitive segment dominated by domestic competitors Ford, Ram and Chevrolet. Although the Tundra is a powerful workhorse with an exemplary reputation for reliability and resale, it lags behind its competitors in the areas of advanced architecture and powertrain choices. The aluminum-bodied F-150, for example, offers better fuel economy but can’t tow as much, while the Ram 1500 and Nissan Titan both offer a diesel-engine option, the former with fuel economy approaching 28 mpg highway, the latter with a maximum tow rating over 12,000 pounds. The Tundra, on the other hand, has a maximum tow rating of 10,500 pounds and can’t even crack 20 mpg.
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For 2016, the Tundra lineup adds a 38-gallon fuel tank to the Limited, Platinum, 1794 and TRD Pro trims, while trucks with the 5.7-liter V8 gain standard trailer-brake control. SR5 and 1794 trims get revised front-end styling, and all models receive upgraded Entune audio units.
The 2016 Tundra from Toyota is as formidable on road as it is off. While the standard 310-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 is up to most light-duty tasks, it’s the 381-horsepower provided...
... by the 5.7-liter V8 that most owners will prefer. Tow rated up to 10,500 pounds, the Tundra falls short of the Chevy Silverado's 12,000 pounds and the Ford F-150's 12,200 pounds. For a truck, we were pleasantly surprised at how quiet the Tundra’s cabin was, even at highway speeds. Despite not offering a locking rear differential, our TRD Pro Off-Road 4x4 had no problem scaling muddy embankments, inching down steep grades and plowing through shallow streams. The TRD’s long suspension travel helps it avoid bottoming out on rutted trails and affords the Tundra a rather comfortable on-road ride.
REPLACEABLE BUMPER PANELS
If you use your truck as its designers intend, beaten-up and scuffed bumpers are bound to happen sooner or later. With this knowledge in mind, the 2016 Toyota Tundra features a 3-piece bumper design making it easier and less costly to replace damaged parts.
BLIND-SPOT MONITORING SYSTEM
Because of their height and considerable bulk, pickup trucks have numerous blind spots. Toyota eliminates this problem by offering blind-spot-monitoring technology that can help the driver detect objects out of the side mirrors’ viewing area.
As with most full-size pickups, the 2016 Toyota Tundra's interior spans from that of a basic truck with a 3-passenger fabric bench seat to a luxurious family hauler with brown leather interior and wood trim. Double-cab and CrewMax cab variants seat up to six with a bench in front, or five with the more comfortable bucket seats. Even base SR trims have a 6.1-inch touch-screen infotainment system in the dash, a far cry from the dial radio in your dad's pickup. Knobs and controls are easier to reach than in past Tundras, and sturdy enough to be used with gloves on.
The Toyota Tundra half-ton pickup for 2016 is available in three cab configurations and three bed lengths. Regular-cab and double-cab models can be had with a standard bed (78.7 inches) or long bed (97.6 inches). The CrewMax has the biggest cab of the bunch and is only available with a short bed (66.7 inches). This year, SR5 and 1794 models gain revised front-end styling. As with other full-size trucks, the Toyota's grille appears to just get bigger and bigger. At the other end, the lockable tailgate automatically lowers slowly to prevent the dreaded tailgate slam.
Even if you buy the least expensive version of Toyota’s 2016 Tundra pickup truck, you'll get a nicely equipped vehicle with a V8 engine, rearview camera, power windows and door locks, and 6.1-inch touch-screen audio/entertainment system with AM/FM/CD player, USB and auxiliary inputs and Bluetooth wireless phone connectivity. These models also come with a fabric-trimmed 40/20/40-split fold-down front bench seat with 4-way adjustable driver and passenger seats (tough vinyl is available with the Work Truck package). All new Toyotas also come with two years/25,000 miles of complimentary factory-scheduled maintenance.
Most extras for the 2016 Tundra are bundled into trims. SR5 models add a larger, 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, sliding rear window and the storage compartment under the rear seats, while Limited trims bring premium audio and navigation, leather-trimmed and heated front bucket seats, 20-inch wheels, chrome mirrors and door handles, and power-operated sliding rear window. The top-line Platinum and 1794 Edition offer heated and cooled front seats, moonroof, JBL premium audio and blind-spot monitoring. The TRD Pro Off-Road package, in double-cab or CrewMax form, includes Bilstein shocks, TRD-tuned springs with a 2-inch lift in front, front skidplate and unique badging.
Toyota’s 2016 Tundra is powered solely by a set of V8 engines. A 4.6-liter V8 is the standard engine in lower-trim models, while the powerful-yet-thirsty 5.7-liter is available across all Tundra models and is standard on higher trims of Toyota's full-size truck. Both V8s are connected to a 6-speed automatic. All Tundra engines run on regular gasoline, and the big 5.7-liter V8 is E85-capable. The Tundra's maximum towing rating is 10,500 pounds and applies to a 2-wheel-drive (2WD) regular-cab model with the 5.7-liter V8. Additionally, models with that engine can be had with an integrated trailer-brake controller.
310 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
327 lb-ft of torque @ 3,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/19 mpg (2WD), 14/18 mpg (4WD)
381 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
401 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18 mpg (2WD), 13/17 mpg (4WD)
The 2016 Toyota Tundra has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $30,645 for an SR 4x2 Regular Cab. This price is in line with the Nissan Titan and several thousand dollars more than the starting prices of the Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra and Ford F-150, though the prices begin to even out if those trucks are equipped with a V8 like the Tundra. A top-line Tundra Platinum or 1794 Edition – whose name derives from the founding date of the Texas ranch where the truck is built – can climb over $50,000 when loaded. Check KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price to see what folks in your area are paying for the Tundra. While the Tundra's rivals surpass it in power, efficiency and towing capacity, the Toyota has the upper hand in resale value, having won numerous awards in the past such as KBB’s Best Resale Value Award among full-size pickup trucks.