2018 Tundra 4×4 DBL CAB LTD 5.7L: A Professional Driver’s Perspective

2018 Tundra
2018 Tundra 4×4 DBL CAB LTD 5.7L: A Professional Driver’s Perspective
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About the Author

R. G. Beltzner

R. G. Beltzner

A long time automobile enthusiast, and competitive race driver, Rainer Beltzner provides performance driving and racing instruction for Porsche, BMW, and Ferrari owners and clubs. He's been doing this for over 25 years. Often, Rainer is found driving/teaching on one of the Canadian Tire Motorsport, Shannonville or Watkins Glen tracks. During the “off-season”, Rainer spends his spare time driving and evaluating a broad range of vehicles. Follow Rainer on Twitter @redy2rol.

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In the very crowded and popular truck segment, Toyota offers the Tacoma and full size Tundra. The 2018 Tundra gets a little cosmetic upgrade to the front end, including some grill options, changes to exterior lighting as well as LED lights for some models. The inside of the truck gets a better driver display and a changed gauge cluster.

Perhaps the most significant addition is that a number of safety features are now included as standard equipment. These include:

  1. forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking
  2. lane departure alert
  3. adaptive cruise control,
  4. pedestrian detection and more

The 2018 Tundra is available in 8 models ranging from the DBL CAB SR with a 4.6L V-8 engine (MSRP of $39,790) all the way up to the CREWMAX Plat “1794 Edition” with the 5.7L V-8 (MSRP of $61,090).

My review Tundra was the DBL CAB LTD model with a 6.5’ cargo bed and the 5.7L”i-Force” engine. When deciding on a Tundra truck, the choice is between a more fuel efficient 4.6L vs the 5.7L, the maximum weight your are going to tow (both engine and truck length affect this), the length of the truck bed (5.5’ vs. 6.5’ which is better for commercial use), the size of the rear seating area (DBL CAB vs CREWMAX) and finally, the need/desire for special options like fancier looks or TRD off-road/sport capability from the Toyota Racing Development shop. The 4×4 CREWMAX Plat with 1794 Edition is the fanciest and possibly the most comfortable but, is only available with the shorter truck bed.

Technical details

The 2018 Tundra model for my review is near the top of the model line with everything one needs as standard equipment. This truck is a 4×4 with a 6 speed automatic electronically controlled transmission that includes a tow/haul mode and lock up torque converter. The shift lever is on the console rather than mounted on the column mounted. This is matched with Toyota’s 5.7L 32-valve V-8 engine with 381hp and 401 lb-ft of torque.

Front suspension includes gas shock absorbers, coil springs and a stabilizer bar. Rear suspension has heavy-duty leaf springs with bias mounted gas shocks. Ventilated disc brakes all around with 20” aluminum wheels and 275/55R20 tires.

Driving and handling characteristics

No doubt about it, this is a good handling truck. During the week that I had this truck, we had a lot of rain and cooler weather. Despite the slick road conditions, the stability at high speeds was excellent as were the brakes that did not fade despite the number of times where I took the opportunity for more aggressive speed reduction.

I was also quite pleased with the truck’s higher speed cornering capability on those twisty country roads. The suspension provides a comfortable ride, perhaps not as soft as some competitors in the ½ ton class but still very acceptable. I found the responsiveness of the engine to be a bit sluggish. There is more than enough power but you really have to put your foot into it and wait a moment before that power comes on. This is simply something to get used to when driving this truck.

Comfort and Styling

For the driver and front passenger, there is ample room and excellent visibility all around. Both front bucket seats are power adjustable on this trim level and comfortable. I had the opportunity to take this truck on several multi hour trips without any discomfort.

2018 Tundra

Photo Credit: TOYOTA Motor Inc.

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Getting into those seats and back to ground level is a physical challenge due to the height of the 2018 truck. I would strongly suggest adding side running boards to provide the option of a more elegant entry and exit.

This truck does not have the latest in digital displays and controls – which suits me just fine. All gauges are well placed and easy to read. The “multi-information” display is quite adequate. The trim level comes with everything you need, including a 7” display, voice recognition, 7 speakers, integrated satellite radio, Bluetooth and navigation.

Safety

Toyota has an excellent set of safety systems as standard equipment.  It includes:

  1. pre-collision with pedestrian detection
  2. auto high beam
  3. dynamic cruise control
  4. lane departure alert

Toyota’s “Star Safety Systems” include:

  1. Smart Stop
  2. Stability Control
  3. ABS
  4. Traction Control,
  5. Brake Force Distribution

Not to be overlooked is the complete range of restraint and airbag systems.

Things to consider

The 2018 Tundra is a reliable, well-equipped truck capable of hauling a big load. For the more adventurous off-road enthusiasts, the TRD Off-Road and the SR5 packages would be your choice. When comparing this truck to the competition, you will find similar basic capability. The two engine options are an improvement. They provide choice in power, but as in most heavy haulers with V-8 engines, don’t expect to get fantastic fuel economy.

2018 Tundra

Photo Credit: TOYOTA Motor Inc

For more automotive reviews and insights, follow me on Twitter @redy2rol.

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