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2002 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 2002 Toyota Tundra is a full-size pickup suited more for the general consumer than for commercial use.

What’s New: SR5 models have new 16-inch wheels, and a limited-slip differential is available on V8-powered trucks. No other changes are in store for the 2002 Toyota Tundra.

Review: Since Toyota is the maker of America's best-selling sedan, it must have been frustrating for the company in the '90s to see domestic automakers reaping huge benefits from full-size pickups, especially since the closest thing to a full-size pickup truck previously offered by Toyota was the poorly received T100. But the company learned from its mistakes, and the result is the full-fledged maximum-sized Tundra.

Now three years into its current life cycle, the Tundra is capable of running with the big dogs. Though smaller than most V8s in this class, the smooth-revving and ultra-refined 4.7-liter makes 245 horsepower and 315 pound-feet 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 hp and 220 lb-ft 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 smaller in comparison to that of 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 compete better 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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