2006 Toyota Tundra Review
By Igor Sushko
Nov 13, 2006, 16:39
2006 Toyota Tundra 4x4 Double Cab Limited V8 - One week review
Toyota provided me with a brand new Tundra full size pickup to test drive for a week. This was rather timely, as I got a chance to use it for my relocation within Los Angeles, and I took the opportunity to put the truck through a variety of real-life tests and challenges.
Now, a fair warning - I do not pretend to be an expert in the pickup truck market or really test driving in general, I am simply going to tell the story of my experience of spending an entire week driving the Tundra. I have no qualifications to compare this truck to its competitors, as frankly, this is the first truck I have ever driven for an extended term. I do have to say that I appreciate the in-depth attention that Toyota has put into this vehicle, and I found driving the truck to be quite pleasurable. As an aside, the truck had 4700 miles when I got it.
I moved around 15 miles south in the South Bay area, and was able to utilize the truck to relocate every piece of my furniture, including a huge couch which was rather troublesome to fit through any doors we encountered, a bed, and everything from fragile racing trophies I have accumulated to the computer desk, which I did not even have to disassemble to fit in the truck.
The truck is simply enormous - it is very difficult to fit in many covered garages structures - not by height, but by length and width. Outside parking worked everywhere I went with it. But the convenience afforded by the sheer size outweighed the cumbersome characteristic for my purposes - everything I fit into the truck, whether in the bed or in the rear space after folding over the rear seats, went into place like a glove. No matter the dimensions of the object in any direction, it seemed to fit very efficiently somewhere in the truck, and I was able to pack a great deal of items every load - I only had to make 4 trips in the truck to empty out a two-bedroom house with a full kitchen and a living room.
Despite the size, I was able to set my mirrors to eliminate any blind spots and became very comfortable driving something this large. The visibility was obviously a factor in the engineering of the truck.
I also found that the bulging rear fenders are somewhat scratch resistant, which I am guessing is partly due to the quality of the paint that Toyota has opted to use. I had a contact with a white painted concrete post at a gas station with my rear left fender, but it was thankfully very minor, but the white paint did get on the silver fender of the truck. All I had to do was wet the spot and all the white paint came right off without a trace left on the fender.
The truck bed had a black plastic lining that appeared to be removable and easily replaceable in case of any incurred damage. I did notice that parts of the truck's body were exposed on the floor in the gap between the very rear of the bed and an opened gate. As I was moving around some heavy things, that part did end up seeing some wear, despite my caution. The build-in hooks in the corners of the bed were very handy to tie things up. And this is just my personal preference, but aesthetically, I think this is one of the best looking trucks - the body is extremely proportional.
I was stunned at the luxury of the truck the first time I opened the door. The truck had the leather package ($1,095), a DVD entertainment system ($1,780) for the rear seats with wireless headphones and plug-in to hook up external items, like a PlayStation for example, and a power tilt/slide Moonroof ($1,000).
Ergonomically, everything that I ended up using over one week was very well-positioned and convenient. The seats were definitely comfortable. The standard JBL sound system, which according to the spec sheet has 8 speakers, sounded incredible - this was definitely a surprise for me, as I did not expect such quality in a pickup truck. I had to fold the rear seats multiple times, and the simple mechanism worked every time without a glitch.
The rear window slides down with a push of a button. Maybe this is more me than the truck, but I felt that a compass would have been a great addition to the rearview mirror - although I've been living in L.A. for a while, I sometimes get lost and knowing my direction of travel would get me out faster with greater certainty. I imagine this is an option available for those that request it. Overall, the interior reminded me more of a Lexus, but "tougher."
The V8 definitely feels like one, and although I did not carry thousands of pounds, I did have several hundred in the truck bed, and at those times, the truck felt a bit more balanced with regards to the suspension. When empty, the suspension setup paired with the wheelbase perfectly resonated (in a bad way) with the wavy humps that are found throughout the Los Angeles freeways. Because the stiff suspension with no rear weight does not give a chance for the shocks to fully compress on the rear, the truck's rear could not settle and absorb the pattern of the humps appropriately. In my experience, this only happened when the truck was empty. Also, my truck had the TRD Off-Road Package, which has different shocks (Bilstein) and tires (BF Goodrich), so that might have to do something with the ride. In regular street-driving, the truck displayed very good handling characteristics. In the corners, the truck's suspension settled pretty quickly and absorbed any bumps with confidence. I also had a chance to test out the 4wd lock when I had parked the truck nose down at a pretty steep angle and the rear tires simply spun when any amount of gas was applied. I simply toggled the 4wd switch and the truck immediately pulled herself out. That was convenient.
The torque is great on the engine, and the truck carried any weight as part of its own mass. One time, I made a 90-degree corner into a driveway, but there was a streak of running water right at the apex, which when paired with a little throttle, gave me an unintentional chance to drift it a little bit at 10 mph. The entire week I drove the car with left-foot-braking since it's a 5-speed automatic, and it was great fun.
In one week of driving I went through exactly one gas tank, which cost me about $70 to fill around 23 gallons and put about 280 miles on the odometer. The tank capacity is 26.4 gallons, so a good amount of reserve is available after you get to the empty tank warning. With the above figures, I got around 12.1 mpg driving a loaded truck around half of the time and climbing a hill a few miles long at least 15 times. The rating of 15 mpg city is probably accurate.
I actually enjoyed driving this truck with all of the creature comforts it offers, and I was very surprised by how usable a full size truck really is - for my relocation, this was definitely perfect. The engine was up to any task and the suspension was very good. The truck is tuned to have the proper ride with some weight in the bed, and I could feel the sacrifice on the shock setup (Bilstein off-road package) when the truck bed was empty. Contrary to my lack of expertise in the truck industry, I do know when a car has a good sounds system, and the standard sound system on this truck blew me away. Overall, driving one for an extended period proved me that the Toyota engineers worked very meticulously on every detail to ensure convenience and comfort. It can comfortably drive your family in the luxury of leather, sound, and a movie playing for the kids while towing a boulder in the rear.
Check out the 3D views of the Tundra available on the Toyota website: http://www.toyota.com/tundra/features.html
Pricing ranges from MSRP: $16,155-$33,595.Specs for 2006 Toyota Tundra Double Cab Limited V8
| Length: 230.1 in.
| Width: 79.3 in.
| Height: 74 in.
| Wheel Base: 140.5 in.
| Ground Clearance: 10.9 in.
| Curb Weight: 4765 lbs.
| Gross Weight: 6600 lbs.
| Front Head Room: 41.2 in.
| Front Hip Room: 59.7 in.
| Front Shoulder Room: 62.1 in.
| Rear Head Room: 40.2 in.
| Rear Shoulder Room: 62.2 in.
| Rear Hip Room: 58.3 in.
| Front Leg Room: 41.6 in.
| Rear Leg Room: 37.5 in.
| Maximum Seating: 5
| Base Number of Cylinders: 8
| Base Engine Size: 4.7 liters
| Base Engine Type: V8
| Horsepower: 271 hp
| Max Horsepower: 5400 rpm
| Torque: 313 ft-lbs.
| Max Torque: 3400 rpm
| Maximum Payload: 1835 lbs.
| Maximum Towing Capacity: 6800 lbs.
| Drive Type: RWD
| Turning Circle: 47.5 ft.
|Fuel Tank Capacity: 26.4 gal.
|EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway)
| Automatic: : 16 mpg / 19 mpg
| Range in Miles: (City/Highway)
| Automatic: 422.4 mi. / 501.6 mi.
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