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2020 Toyota Tundra: What You Need to Know

US News & World Report - Cars logo US News & World Report - Cars 10/8/2020 U.S. News & World Report
a car parked on pavement near a forest: 2020 Toyota Tundra © Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. 2020 Toyota Tundra

The 2020 Toyota Tundra has a good predicted reliability rating and gains some much needed tech updates, but that's not enough to keep it from the bottom of our full-size pickup truck rankings. The Tundra has poor driving dynamics, low towing and hauling capacities, and outdated cabin styling.

Is the Toyota Tundra a Good Truck?

No, the Tundra isn’t a very good truck. It’s been 13 years since this Toyota got a complete redesign. Most full-size rivals have more comfortable interiors, smoother rides, better composure, and higher-end cabins. Though the Tundra comes standard with a powerful V8 engine, it still can’t tow or haul as much as most other trucks in the class. 

Should I Buy the Toyota Tundra?

The 2020 Tundra has one of the highest starting prices for a full-size pickup truck, at around $33,500. Driving that price is a long list of advanced safety features and plenty of standard infotainment tech. However, many rivals offer less-expensive, sparsely equipped trims that are a better option for a work truck.

That said, buying a rival that is similarly equipped to a base Tundra will cost around the same as the Tundra’s starting MSRP. The Ford F-150 is a well-rounded truck with excellent utility and performance, and the Nissan Titan costs less than the Tundra.

Consider the Tundra if a solid predicted reliability rating is a must-have. Toyota trucks also tend to hold their value well. If those aren’t your priorities, it’s best to pass on the Tundra.

Should I Buy a New or Used Toyota Tundra?

The Tundra sees several improvements for the 2020 model year that make it a better choice than older models. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa all make their debut in the Tundra as standard equipment. The infotainment screen sizes also get bigger. Previously, a 6.1-inch touch screen was standard, and a 7-inch touch screen was optional. Now, the 7-inch screen is standard with the base model, and all higher trims get an 8-inch screen. Under the hood, all Tundras now feature a standard 5.7-liter V8 engine. Lastly, the Tundra TRD Pro model is now available as both a Double Cab and a CrewMax cab.  

If those changes aren’t that important to you, consider buying an older Tundra, which will likely save you thousands of dollars compared to the cost of a new model. The truck’s current generation stretches back to 2007, but it saw a heavy refresh for the 2014 model year. The TRD Pro trim returned for 2019 after a one-year hiatus, and the 2018 Tundra gained a long list of standard safety features. The 2017 Tundra was the last to offer a Regular Cab model that seated three.   

As you consider an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Tundra and 2019 Tundra reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used cars.

We Did the Research for You: 109 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 109 Toyota Tundra reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2020 Tundra is the right new car for you. This 2020 Toyota Tundra review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2007 through 2020 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain objective, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Toyota Tundra Cost?

The 2020 Toyota Tundra is one of the most expensive full-size pickup trucks, with a starting price of $33,425. It comes with a lot of features for the price, though, and all Tundra models come standard with a 5.7-liter V8. An engine this powerful would be a pricey upgrade in many rivals.

A Tundra with an 8-foot-1-inch bed starts at $33,755. A model with four-wheel drive will run you at least $36,475, and a Tundra Crew Cab starts at $37,700. Higher trims include the Tundra SR5 ($35,095), the Tundra Limited ($42,120), and the Tundra TRD Pro ($48,505).

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great deals at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

Toyota Tundra Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Toyota Tundra or Ford F-150?

The Ford F-150 consistently ranks highly among full-size trucks because it's pretty much the total package. It can tow over 13,000 pounds, which is one of the highest ratings in the class. It also has a much larger payload capacity than the Tundra. The F-150 gives you half a dozen engine options, from V6s to a V8, along with turbocharged and diesel variants. Though it’s not quite in luxury territory, the F-150 has an impressive cabin with user-friendly features. The Ford also offers a smoother ride and more composed handling than the Toyota. In short, the F-150 is a much better truck than the Tundra.

Which Is Better: Toyota Tundra or Nissan Titan?

The Nissan Titan joins the Tundra near the bottom of the full-size pickup truck class, but it’s a marginally better vehicle than the Toyota. The Titan XD is incredibly capable, with a payload capacity of nearly 3,000 pounds and towing limit of almost 13,000 pounds. The Titan is a little nicer inside, and it has a softer ride. Both the Tundra and Titan come with similar power outputs from their V8 engines, but you have the option of a diesel V8 with the Nissan. The Tundra’s sole upside in this matchup is its slightly better predicted reliability rating, but the Titan is better in most other regards.

Tundra Performance

Tundra Engine: Sorry, No Choices

For 2020, the Toyota Tundra is only available with a V8 engine. This 5.7-liter monster puts out 381 horsepower, making it one of the most powerful base engines in the class. However, most other full-size trucks have additional powertrain choices, including diesel or turbocharged variants with better fuel economy.

The Tundra’s V8 gets it moving effortlessly whether you have a cab full of people or you’re towing or hauling thousands of pounds of cargo. While the Tundra's engine is a high point, its standard six-speed automatic transmission is a low one. This gearbox is not as modern and refined as what you'll find in competing pickups, many of which offer eight- or 10-speed automatics. Some reviewers think the Tundra’s transmission is efficient and easily finds the right gear, while other critics note that it can be slow to shift. 

Tundra Gas Mileage: The V8 Giveth, and the V8 Taketh Away

Another downside to the Tundra's big V8 is poor fuel economy – even for a large truck. With rear-wheel drive, the Tundra gets an EPA-estimated 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. Four-wheel-drive models return 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway.

Tundra Ride and Handling: Harsh and Choppy

The Tundra has dull handling with little feedback from the road, and its massive size makes it a chore to maneuver in tight spaces. Also, the brake pedal feels unrefined overall. The ride can easily get harsh, especially over rough pavement or when the bed is empty.

Tundra Interior

How Many People Does the Tundra Seat?

The Toyota Tundra seats up to six people. A three-person front bench seat is standard, but you can opt for front bucket seats that drop the seating capacity to five. Although these captain’s chairs are slightly more welcoming than the standard bench, the front seats of any Tundra aren’t very comfortable or supportive, especially on longer trips.

The Tundra has ample room in both rows, though the lack of adjustments for the front seats might mean that a taller driver is short on headroom. You can upgrade to a 10- or 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat, though, as well as a six-way power-adjustable passenger seat. Heated and ventilated front seats are also optional.

Tundra and Child Car Seats

All Tundra models have two complete sets of rear-seat LATCH connectors, in addition to a tether anchor for the rear middle seat. Depending on the cab style, the LATCH systems earn differing reviews for their ease of use.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Double Cab the second-lowest rating of Marginal. The lower anchors are set deeply in the seats. The tether anchors are hard to find, and you might also confuse them with other hardware on the seats.

The IIHS noted that in the Tundra CrewMax, the tether anchors are more distinct from other hardware, though they’re still a little difficult to find. The CrewMax’s LATCH system received the second-highest rating of Acceptable.  The lower anchors for the passenger-side rear seat are easy to use, but the driver's side lower anchors are trickier since they're located deeper in the seat.

Tundra Interior Quality

The Toyota Tundra prioritizes function over form. It’s gone without a full redesign since 2007, and even its current appearance dates back to a refresh for the 2014 model year. As such, the cabin design is outdated compared to the rest of the class, and most materials are unimpressive. Top-level trims such as the 1794 Edition have opulent leathers and other elegant trimmings, but that’s an exception in the lineup.

Tundra Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Every Tundra features Toyota’s Entune infotainment system, which is enhanced for 2020 with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa integration. The base model has a 7-inch touch screen while all other models have an 8-inch touch screen. This interface is pretty straightforward, functioning smoothly and responding quickly to your inputs. The on-screen buttons are a little small, however, and it can take multiple steps to perform simple commands. The new smartphone features make the system easier to use than ever before.

Tundra Reliability

Is the Toyota Tundra Reliable?

The 2020 Toyota Tundra has a good predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power. A rating of three out of five is considered average for all new vehicles.

Toyota Tundra Warranty

Toyota covers the Tundra with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Tundra Safety

Tundra Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2020 Toyota Tundra an overall safety rating of four out of five stars. All versions of this truck earned four stars in the frontal crash test and five stars in the side crash test. The rear-wheel-drive Tundra received three stars in the rollover test, while four-wheel-drive versions earned four stars.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not yet tested the 2020 Tundra. The very similar 2019 Tundra received mixed results from the IIHS. The Extended Cab model earned the highest rating of Good in four crash tests and the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the driver's side small overlap front evaluation. The CrewMax Tundra received a rating of Good in three tests. The IIHS also gave it an Acceptable rating for roof strength, the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the driver-side small overlap front evaluation, and a bottom rating of Poor in the passenger-side small overlap front test.

The Tundra received a rating of Marginal for how well its headlights illuminate the road ahead, and it earned the highest rating of Superior for the effectiveness of its standard front crash prevention system. 

Tundra Safety Features

Every Tundra comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) suite of active safety and pre-collision technology. It includes forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control.

A rearview camera is also standard. Optional driver assistance features include front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Where Is the 2020 Toyota Tundra Built?

Toyota builds the Tundra in Texas.

Which Toyota Tundra Model Is Right for Me?

The first step to picking out which Tundra configuration is right for you is deciding which cab and box style you want. There are six trim levels, two cab styles, three bed lengths, and a variety of appearance and performance or work packages. Bed length availability depends on the cab style you choose.

If you’re looking strictly at features, the Tundra Limited is a good bet. It comes with comfort features such as leather upholstery and heated front bucket seats, along with convenience upgrades including dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, and navigation.

Toyota Tundra Powertrain Options:

Toyota Tundra Appearance Packages:

Toyota Tundra Performance Packages/Options:

Toyota Tundra SR

The 2020 Toyota Tundra starts at $33,425. Standard features include cloth upholstery, four-way manually adjustable front seats, heated and power-adjustable outside mirrors, a rearview camera, and a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, satellite radio, three USB ports, voice recognition, Bluetooth, a six-speaker stereo, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. Standard driver assistance features include forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control. 

Toyota Tundra SR5

The Tundra SR5 retails for $35,095 and adds an 8-inch touch screen, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, fog lights, and a sliding horizontal rear window. Double Cab models receive a seven-speaker stereo, while CrewMax models get a nine-speaker version.

The TRD Sport Convenience package costs $1,000 and includes front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Navigation is optional for $1,065.

Toyota Tundra Limited

Starting at $42,120, the Tundra Limited comes with LED headlights and fog lights, a deck rail system with four adjustable tie-down cleats, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front bucket seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a six-way power-adjustable passenger seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, proximity keyless entry, a power sliding rear window, and navigation.

The $1,205 Limited Premium package includes front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a 12-speaker JBL premium stereo.

Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

The Toyota Tundra TRD Pro costs $48,505. Upgrades include enhanced interior and exterior design elements, front tow hooks, a front skid plate, TRD Pro front shocks, and Fox rear shocks. TRD Pro CrewMax models also come with a sunroof.

Toyota Tundra Platinum

The Tundra Platinum comes standard with ventilated front seats, a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a vertical power rear window, a 12-speaker JBL premium stereo, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Prices start at $48,625.

Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition

The Tundra 1794 Edition has the same base price as the Platinum ($48,625) and shares nearly all of the same features, with some different interior and exterior styling.

Which Tundra Cab Style is Right for Me?

The Toyota Tundra comes in two cab styles: Double Cab and CrewMax. Both of those have a second row of seats, and unlike other full-size trucks, the Tundra isn’t available without a back seat. The standard Double Cab is roomy enough for adults to ride in the back in relative comfort for short trips. However, its 34.7 inches of rear legroom is less than what the Toyota Camry sedan and Toyota RAV4 SUV offer. 

If you regularly travel with adults or taller occupants in the back, you’ll want to spring for the Tundra CrewMax. This crew cab serves up a massive 42.3 inches of rear legroom, which is about 2 inches more than you’ll get in the back of the Toyota Avalon, a large sedan. By comparison, the Ford F-150 has 43.6 inches of rear legroom in its largest cab, and the Nissan Titan only has 38.5.

Both Tundra cab styles have conventional front-hinged rear doors, which makes entry and egress easy. Other trucks with half-sized second rows have the doors hinged at the rear, which require opening the front doors to get in and out.

Which Tundra Bed Length is Right for Me?

The Tundra has three available bed lengths: 5 feet, 6 inches; 6 feet, 6 inches; and 8 feet, 1 inch. Choosing between them largely depends on the cab. The Double Cab can be paired with the two longer beds, but if you go with the CrewMax cab, the smallest bed is what you get. Additionally, not every trim level offers both combinations of cab and bed sizes.

Unless you regularly haul extra-long cargo, there’s not a lot of advantage to picking the 8-foot bed over the 6-and-a-half-foot bed. Going with the longest bed makes the truck nearly 21 feet long and hinders maneuverability, turning radius, and parking ease.

Each Tundra bed size has the same width, spacious enough for laying standard sheets of plywood between the wheel wells. However, the bed sides are high, and it can be hard to reach over to retrieve your stuff. The tailgate load-in height is also high. Compared to most other trucks, the Tundra doesn’t offer any noticeably cool or unique cargo management features.

Which Tundra Model is Best for Towing and Hauling?

Any way you look at it, the Tundra has lower maximum towing and hauling capacities than most other full-size pickups. The best Tundra for towing and hauling is the base model. The SR trim with the smaller Access Cab, the 6-foot-6-inch bed, and rear-wheel drive gives you a maximum towing capacity of 10,200 pounds and a maximum payload capacity of 1,730. This configuration has a base price of $33,425. If you want a model with a few extra features to go with that capability, consider the SR5 trim, which costs $35,095.

You can also spring for models with the largest 8-foot-1-inch bed and you won’t sacrifice much in utility. The Tundra SR ($33,755) and SR5 ($35,425) with that largest bed, Double Cab, and rear-wheel drive have a maximum towing capacity of 10,100 pounds and a maximum payload of 1,700 pounds. The least capable Tundra models can only tow 8,800 pounds and have a payload capacity of 1,520 or 1,530 pounds.

Which Tundra Model is Best for Off-Roading?

The best Tundra for off-roading is the TRD Pro model. This trim comes standard with four-wheel drive, along with upgrades such as front tow hooks, a front skid plate, TRD Pro front shocks, and Fox rear shocks. In addition, it has uniquely branded aggressive interior and exterior design elements. For all of its off-road fortitude, the TRD Pro is also pricey. It starts at around $48,500.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

The Final Call

Aside from good predicted reliability and a long list of standard features, the 2020 Toyota Tundra doesn’t offer a lot of advantages over its rivals. You can likely find a better truck in the class.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

Read the full 2020 Toyota Tundra review on U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.


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