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2001 Toyota Tundra REVIEW logo 4/6/2017

Con: Lacks wide range of choice offered by domestics, somewhat uncomfortable front seats, meager rear cab room on Access Cab, chintzy interior trimmings.

Pro: Silky V8, Toyota build quality, less-than-full-size maneuverability.

Edmunds Say: The 2001 Toyota Tundra is a full-size pickup suited more for the general consumer than for commercial use.

What’s New: Newly optional on Limited is a package that matches the bumpers and tailgate handle to the body color. The TRD Off-Road package is now available on Access Cabs with a V8 engine, while models equipped with a V6 receive an upgraded alternator. A note-pad holder is now optional on SR5 and Limited, while Base regular cab trucks lose their standard cassette player. Two new colors are available, filling three slots left vacant by old colors that have been discontinued.

Review: As the maker of America's best-selling sedan, it must have been frustrating for Toyota to learn that trucks are now outselling cars in this country, especially since the closest thing to a full-size pickup truck previously offered by Toyota was the poorly received T100. But the company learns from its mistakes, and went to work building a proper workhorse for American consumers.

With last year's introduction of the Tundra, Toyota has finally crafted a full-fledged, maximum-sized pickup, capable of running with the big dogs on several fronts. Topping its pedigree is an available 4.7-liter, I-Force V8 engine lifted directly from the Land Cruiser/LX 470 sport utility twins. This smooth-revving and ultra-refined power plant makes 245 horsepower and 315 foot-pounds of torque and is available only with a four-speed automatic transmission. Payload capacity is 2,000 pounds and towing capacities for the V8 start at 5,000 pounds (it goes up to 7,000 pounds with an optional tow package). A 3.4-liter, dual overhead-cam V6, making 190 horsepower and 220 foot-pounds of torque, is standard on regular-cab Tundras, and may be mated to either a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission.

Toyota has failed, in some regards, to meet the demands of current truck buyers when it comes to configuration. The Tundra is available in regular and extended-cab versions. Unfortunately, regular-cab versions come only in longbed form, while extended-cab models come only as shortbeds. The latter does include two "suicide" doors for easier rear-seat access (which, by the way, is what Toyota calls its four-door Tundra layout: Access Cab), but the space back there is tiny in comparison to trucks from Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge and GMC.

Those domestic truck-makers also let the buyer build a pickup to meet specific style and creature comfort needs, ranging from bare-bones work trucks to luxury-lined haulers. Toyota gives you three trim levels and a comparatively sparse option list, though dealers will likely be happy to load you up with running boards and gold packages if given the chance.

Inside, the Tundra feels a bit more compact than its American counterparts, lacking adequate seat-track travel and a seat height adjuster (in the volume-leading SR5 Access Cab) for optimal comfort when taller drivers are behind the wheel. Rear seat room is also tight, with legroom at a premium for anyone of average height. Tundra's cabin does offer a quiet ride that surpasses competing trucks, as well as many cars, and options like leather seating and a CD changer further contribute to the Tundra's relaxing internal environment for shorter folks. But interior plastics come straight from the Corolla parts bin, and many have a cheap feel and luster that no amount of cowhide can mask.

We wish Toyota offered more variety in areas like configuration and option packages, and an increase in cab space would help the Tundra better compete with the extended cab models from GM, Ford and Dodge. Still, the fact that a V8-powered pickup can now be had with a Toyota nameplate on it means that there's a new sub-set of rules for America's truck buyer.


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