By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.6
Toyota’s full-size Tundra pickup for 2017 remains large and powerful, although its domestic rivals continue to exert pressure by offering a greater range of engine options, features and safety equipment. To make its case, Toyota points to the Tundra’s impressive reliability record and excellent resale, features that matter to consumers willing to spend big money on a truck. However, the Ford F-150 offers more engine and trim choices, while the Ram 1500 and Nissan Titan both offer a diesel-engine option with superior fuel economy. The Tundra is a strong truck with a great reputation, but without a 3/4- or 1-ton model, it ranks near the bottom of the full-size pickup pack in areas that matter most to buyers, namely towing, fuel economy and payload.
If you don’t need a pickup ranked best-in-class in every category, then the built-in-America 2017 Toyota Tundra is a worthy choice. Its rugged good looks and strong resale and reliability ratings should be enough to impress most truck buyers.
If you’re looking for more modern powertrain choices, better fuel economy or a diesel-engine option, you’re going to have to look to rivals from Ford, Ram and Nissan. The Tundra is also limited in the number of trims and driver-assist features, a growing area of interest for many buyers.
KBB Expert Ratings
The 2017 Toyota Tundra receives only minor upgrades this year: some new color choices and new standard power front seats on Limited models.
Toyota’s 2017 Tundra pickup is a hard-working beast that knows how to be civilized when necessary. Where most competitors offer a V6 as the standard engine, Toyota’s 2017 Tundra pickup...
... has a stout 4.6-liter V8 that can easily handle most tasks. Those needing maximum pulling power should opt for the proven 5.7-liter V8. With 381 horses under the hood, this engine delivers excellent power for towing and hauling, but its fuel economy is rather dismal. So too is the Tundra’s 10,500-pound tow rating, which pales in comparison to the Chevy Silverado’s 12,500-pound and Ford F-150’s 12,200-pound limits. On the road, we were pleasantly surprised by how quiet the Tundra’s cabin was, even at high speed. Off-road, our TRD Pro Off-Road 4x4 tackled all manner of steep grades, rutted trails and deep streams despite not having a locking rear differential.
REPLACEABLE BUMPER PANELS
Truck owners know you can’t baby a truck, which is why Toyota offers replaceable bumper panels to keep your baby looking new. The 3-piece bumper design makes it less expensive to replace damaged sections versus the entire bumper cover.
BLIND-SPOT MONITORING SYSTEM
Due to their tall stance and sizable girth, full-size trucks are teaming with natural blind spots. Toyota’s solution to this quandary is a blind-spot-monitoring system that alerts the driver to objects residing just beyond the side mirror’s view.
As with most full-size pickups, the 2017 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 2017 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). The SR5 and 1794 models have unique 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 2017 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 2017 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, power-operated 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 2017 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, the big 5.7-liter V8 is E85-capable, and the truck can be had in 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive (2WD, 4WD). The Tundra's maximum towing rating is 10,500 pounds and applies to a 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)
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The 2017 Toyota Tundra has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $31,300 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, Ram 1500 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.