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2019 Toyota Tundra

$33,270 - $50,680
Price Range (MSRP)
Toyota Tundra

2019 Toyota Tundra Test Drive Review: Brawny Luxury

by Jared Rosenholtz

When Toyota dropped off a 2019 Tundra for our review, we had just one question - what the heck is a 1794 Edition? We know the Tundra has been on the market for a long time but 1794 seems a bit extreme. The name actually refers to the year Spanish colonist Juan Ignacio de Casanova established the oldest cattle ranch in Texas. So what does this have to do with Toyota? Well, the Japanese automaker purchased the land in Texas and currently builds the Tundra there.

Is the name a bit of a stretch? Yes. But people in Texas love special edition trucks and the 1794 Edition should be no exception. We think a name like 'Cattle Ranch Edition' or 'Casanova Edition' might have a nicer ring to them but knowing the history makes the name a bit more understandable. The 1794 Edition sits near the top of the trim lineup (parallel to the Platinum and below the TRD Pro) but with the current Tundra platform dating back to 2007 and a new model seemingly on the horizon, can it still be competitive against the newer American luxury trucks in the segment?

2019 Toyota Tundra Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Tundra?

The second-generation Tundra was last refreshed in 2014, but for 2019, Toyota has kept it much the same as it has been for the last half a decade. However, we do see the return of the TRD Pro trim; after it took a brief one-year hiatus, back sporting new Fox internal bypass shocks, TRD springs, bolder exterior styling, a set of BBS alloy wheels, and new BBS forged aluminum wheels. New to SR5 Double Cab models for 2019 is the option of the SX Package, adding front bucket seats, color-keyed grille surrounds, 18-inch black BBS alloy wheels, and exterior debadging.

Pros and Cons

  • V8 power standard on every trim
  • Spacious rear seats, particularly on crew cab models
  • Toyota Safety Sense assist features standard on all models
  • Unbeatable reliability ratings
  • TRD Pro is off-road ready out the box
  • Drinks like a freshman on spring break
  • Feels bigger than other trucks on tight roads
  • Lower safety scores than main rivals
  • Interior materials are lacking
  • Technology feels dated

Tundra Exterior

The Tundra is available in either double cab or CrewMax configurations, with the base SR only available in the former. Typical of full-size pickups it's big, bold, and in your face no matter the body style. Standard wheels for the SR, SR5 and TRD Pro trims are 18 inches in diameter, with the SR and SR5 getting steel wheels. Limited, Platinum, and 1794 Edition Tundras get bigger 20-inch alloys in various designs. Regardless of trim, you get a big, bold Toyota grille up front, but the surrounds and finish differ from trim to trim, gray on the SR and SR5, chrome on the Limited and 1794 Edition, black honeycomb on the Platinum, and on the TRD Pro, you get a unique heritage TOYOTA-lettered grille and a matte black lower front bumper.

The TRD also rides higher and gets a TRD front skid plate, Rigid Industries LED fog lights, black exterior badging, and a TRD hood scoop. The 18-inch alloy wheels on the TRD Pro are BBS forged alloy wheels finished in black. LED daytime running lights are standard across all models, but LED headlights are only in effect from the Limited trim upwards, with SR and SR5 models equipped with halogen headlights as standard. Further differentiation comes in the form of cab styles, with the SR only available in double cab, the Platinum, 1794 Edition, and TRD Pro only in CrewMax guise, and the SR5 and Limited available in either.

2019 Toyota Tundra Front Angle View
2019 Toyota Tundra Side View
2019 Toyota Tundra Rear Angle View
See All 2019 Toyota Tundra Exterior Photos

Dimensions

With two wheelbase options, a standard 145.7-inch on both double and crew cabs and a longer 164.6-inch on the extended cab long-bed, the Tundra's length varies, ranging from 228.9 inches on the short-wheelbase models to 247.8 inches on the long-bed extended cab. Three bed lengths are available, a short bed at 66.7 inches long on crew cab models, a standard bed of 78.7 inches on extended cab models, and a 97.6-inch long bed also available only on the extended cab Tundra.

Other dimensions remain more or less the same, with all models measuring 79.9 inches wide, while the height varies based on drivetrain and suspension setups. In its lowest form, the SR5, Limited, Platinum, and 1794 Edition 4x2 CrewMax models stand 75.8 inches tall, 4x4 versions 0.4 inches taller. Double cab models ride 0.2 inches taller in 4x2 guise. Ground clearance on the Tundra is among the best in the full-size truck segment, with the lowest ground clearance being 10.2 inches on SR and Sr5 extended cab models with the long bed and the highest riding models boasting 10.6 inches of clearance - including the off-road TRD Pro. Curb weights range from 5,100 lbs in the lightest guise to 5,680 lbs on the Limited 4x4.

Exterior Colors

A total of ten exterior colors are on offer for 2019, with limited availability based on trim. Just two colors are available on all six trims, Midnight Black Metallic and Super White, while the SR also gets access to Barcelona Red Metallic to round put its three-color palette. The TRD Pro is also limited to just three options, but the third - Voodoo Blue - is exclusive to the TRD Pro. Platinum and 1794 Edition trims add Smoked Mesquite, Magnetic Gray, and Silver Sky to the SR's options, while the Limited gets the biggest range of colors, adding Cavalry Blue, Quicksand, and Cement to the mix. The SR5 almost mirrors the Limited but makes do without Smoked Mesquite. The range of colors caters to the needs of most truck owners, but choosing a color will largely come down to the various finishes on each trim. We're partial to the lighter hues on offer, like Quicksand and Cavalry Blue, while the TRD Pro's Voodoo Blue looks seriously badass.

  • Super White
  • Cavalry Blue
  • Cement Gray
  • Quicksand
  • Silver Sky Metallic
  • Magnetic Gray Metallic
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Barcelona Red Metallic
  • Smoked Mesquite
  • Voodoo Blue

Tundra Performance

Two engines proffer the Tundra with heaps of ability, both on-road and off, but if you're serious about performance then there's only one engine that should take your fancy. The 5.7-liter i-FORCE V8 is optional on the SR and SR5 trims but standard on the rest of the range, although the SR5 gets the option of a flex-fuel variant too. In its most potent guise, 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque do all the work, taking the Tundra from 0-60 mph in just more than seven seconds. But full-size trucks are workhorses more so than drag-strip racers, so to that end, the Tundra can tow up to 10,200 lbs in its most focused guise with a maximum payload capacity of 1,730 lbs. There's a caveat, though, as the maximum towing and payload capacities are applicable to the blue-collar SR and SR5 extended cab variants only, with most of the crew cab range hovering around the 9,100 lb mark for towing capacity.

Rear-wheel-drive is the default drivetrain, with an automatic limited-slip differential for improved grip, but four-wheel-drive can be equipped to all model, which reduces towing capacity but improves off-road ability substantially by virtue of the electronically controlled dual-range transfer case.

2019 Toyota Tundra Engine
2019 Toyota Tundra Engine Bay
2019 Toyota Tundra Gauge Cluster

Engine and Transmission

Two engines are available for the Toyota Tundra, with a 4.6-liter i-Force V8 doing duty by default in the SR and SR5 trims, boasting outputs of 310 hp and 327 lb-ft. Those trims can be optioned with a larger 5.7-liter V8, which comes standard on the Limited, Platinum, 1794 Edition, and TRD Pro models, developing 381 hp and 401 lb-ft, while in the SR5 model the larger V8 can be equipped with flex-fuel capability. Regardless of your choice of engine, a six-speed automatic gearbox is standard, although in 5.7-liter guise it receives additional functionality in the way of a tow/haul function.

Since we tested the 1794 Edition, it came packing the larger 5.7-liter V8. We have no serious complaints from this engine aside from its lack of efficiency, which we'll get to later. It makes a great noise, pulls hard at any rpm, and is always eager to accelerate. The six-speed automatic transmission does feel like a weak point and we'd like to see Toyota maximize the engine's power with a smoother eight-speed unit.

  • Engines
    4.6-liter V8 Gas, 5.7-liter V8 Gas
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Very little, if anything, has changed in terms of how the Tundra drives since we last tested one in 2017. The last example we tested was a Platinum, which is virtually identical to the 1794 Edition aside from leather color and some unique badges and wheels. On the road, for better or worse, the Tundra feels massive. Those looking for a more car-like ride may complain about this, while those who like to lord over other drivers may enjoy the Tundra's imposing size. Steering is light yet vague, as most trucks used to be, and the suspension is remarkably comfortable.

We enjoyed the Tundra's V8 grunt, though accessing usually requires an inelegant down shift from the old-school six-speed transmission. Once the Tundra does find the right gear, a glorious V8 bellow is accompanied by modest acceleration. For the next-generation Tundra, we'd like to see Toyota make major improvements to the safety features like lane-keep assist that can actually steer the vehicle and adaptive cruise control capable of coming to a stop in traffic. Other than these glaring weaknesses, the Tundra is a perfectly acceptable daily driver.

Tundra Gas Mileage

With a number of engine, drivetrain, and body configurations to consider, and two hefty gasoline-powered V8s being the only engines on offer, the Tundra's gas mileage is expectedly pretty bad, at least compared to top rivals like the Ford F-150, whose turbocharged V6 sips gently while the Tundra chugs like a college kid playing beer pong. The base 4.6-liter engine in 4x2 guise is the most efficient, but with EPA estimates of 15/19/16 mpg city/highway/combined it's not exactly impressive.

4x4 equipped derivatives score 14/18/16 mpg while opting for the bigger 5.7-liter V8 sees figures drop further to 13/18/15 mpg in 4x2 guise. The thirstiest combination sees the 5.7-liter motor paired with the 4x4 drivetrain, dropping figures to an estimated 13/17/14 mpg. To compensate for the larger motor's thirst, it's paired with a larger 38-gallon fuel tank on all but the SR derivative, affording it a maximum range of 570 miles in 4x2 guise. The standard tank size on the 4.6-liter models is a substantially smaller 26.4-gallon tank, yielding a maximum range of 422 miles. During our week of driving, we average just 12 mpg including a highway two-hour, two-way highway trip.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    26.4 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 13/18 mpg
* 2019 Toyota Tundra SR Double Cab 8.1' Bed 5.7L

Tundra Interior

Manufacturers have made great strides in the full-size truck segment, developing interiors with almost car-like levels of comfort and convenience, but Toyota missed the memo, as the Tundra is one of the more difficult trucks to live with. It's massively spacious, particularly in CrewMax guise where it seats six with ease, but the large, high hood, high step-up, and even higher driver's perch makes it a difficult truck to live with. Our tester didn't include running boards, so getting into the Tundra was especially difficult.

It's also a mixed bag in terms of quality, and while base models are decked out with harsh plastics for the sake of ruggedness, higher trims only swap out some of these materials for premium-feel items, leaving many of the harsh plastics in place. It is functional, however, and all buttons and controls are big, easy to reach, and are labeled clearly enough for your blind great-aunt Edna to find her way around. The 1794 Edition easily has the nicest interior in the Tundra lineup with thick, high-quality brown leather and semi-expensive-feeling wood trim.

2019 Toyota Tundra Dashboard
2019 Toyota Tundra Front Seats
2019 Toyota Tundra Rear Passenger Seats
See All 2019 Toyota Tundra Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The front seats in the 1794 Edition feel like a fine leather recliner, though we would like to see more lumbar adjustment and side bolstering in the future. Both chairs come heated and ventilated, though the ventilation function wasn't powerful enough to overcome the smoldering heat of Florid in the summer. The best place to sit in the Tundra is actually the back because the CrewMax body style offers a massive 42.3-inches of legroom. We found it possible to slouch down in the seat and still barely touch our knees to the front. The only disadvantage of the back seats, they do not have heating or ventilation like higher trim Ram 1500 models.

  • Seating capacity
    6-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

Toyota offers the Tundra will several interior material options depending on trim but the 1794 Edition comes with just one option - a brown leather interior with wood trim. The leather feel think and durable without being uncomfortable and the wood trim looks similar to what you might find on a mid-2000s Lexus. This would have been great on a luxury truck a decade ago, but the competition has simply left the Tundra behind in terms of luxury and interior materials.

Tundra Trunk and Cargo Space

Three bed lengths give Tundra buyers a good range of packing capacity. The short bed (5.5 feet) on the crew cab models measures 66.7 inches long, while the standard bed (6.5 ft) has 78.7 inches of usable internal length. The long bed (8.1 ft) gets 97.6 inches of internal length, but all bed sizes measure the same 22.2 inches deep and 50 inches between the wheel wells. Payload varies based on bed length, engine, and drivetrain choice, with up to 1,730 lbs available on the extended cab models, while crew cab models can haul up to 1,660 lbs.

Space within the cabin is massive and you'll rarely struggle to find a place for your knickknacks, though most full-size pickups also boast tons of interior space. The Tundra's rear quarters are particularly useful with a relatively flat load floor and seats than can raise up for additional space.

2019 Toyota Tundra Cargo Space
2019 Toyota Tundra Cargo Space
2019 Toyota Tundra Rear Passenger Seats

Tundra Infotainment and Features

Features

With practicality issues abound, it's a good thing Toyota has equipped the Tundra relatively well to compensate. The base SR is naturally a fairly spartan affair - it's the true workhorse in the family - but it does receive amenities like power heated outside mirrors, air conditioning, a rearview camera, a tilt-only steering wheel, and power windows. It's also impressively equipped with Toyota Safety Sense assistance features, including adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert, pre-collision warning, and automatic high beams. The rest of the range is more lavishly equipped, with dual-zone climate control from the Limited trim upwards, as well as ten-way power heated front bucket seats, tilt and telescopic steering adjustment, and a power-sliding rear window. Power steering adjustment is added from Platinum models onwards, as are blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and front and rear park sensors. The TRD Pro gets a standard power sunroof, which is optional from the Limited trim.

Infotainment

Toyota still houses its infotainment on a seven-inch touchscreen devoid of Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Fortunately, those features are coming for the 2020 model year so we suggest waiting until then if those features are important to you. If they aren't, the 2019 Tundra's infotainment is linked to a 12-speaker JBL audio system on higher trim levels which sounds good, but not best-in-class. Built-in navigation is also standard on higher trims like the 1794 Edition.

Tundra Problems and Reliability

The Tundra might not have the best payload capacity in the segment, but it carries Toyota's legacy of reliability without breaking a sweat, achieving 4.5 out of five on J.D. Power's predicted reliability scale. This is despite four recalls for 2019, with problems ranging from the non-permanent and incorrect text on the load capacity label to a more serious recall affecting 168,187 Toyota products in which the airbags might not deploy correctly. These aside, owners of the Tundra report almost no problems. Toyota guarantees peace of mind with extensive warranty coverage, including a 36-month/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 60-month/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Tundra Safety

Safety-wise, the Tundra is a mixed bag, receiving an overall score of four stars from the NHTSA. The IIHS gave it a mixed bag of results, scoring it Good in three tests, Acceptable in two, and Marginal-to-Poor in three. Standard front crash prevention was rated as superior.

Key Safety Features

Despite generally mediocre safety scores, all Tundra derivatives are equipped with the Toyota Safety Sense P group of features comprising a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, sway warning system, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. Sadly though, the adaptive cruise control can not bring the Tundra to a full stop in traffic.

This is bolstered by standard stability and traction control systems, and eight standard airbags including driver and front passenger knee airbags and full-length curtain airbags. Front and rear park sensors, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert are available on the SR5 and Limited trims as part of a package but are equipped as standard on the Platinum and 1794 Edition.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Toyota Tundra a good truck?

After all these years, the Toyota Tundra is still a fine truck. Toyota fans will go to the grave telling you they'd buy a Tundra over any of its competitors due to its impeccable reliability and it's tough to argue against durability as a major selling point. But sadly, buying a Tundra in 2019 feels a bit like buying a DVD player. Yes, the technology still works to watch movies but with all of the available streaming services and digital formats, there are more advanced options out there.

Look for the 2020 Tundra to add important updates like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and push-button start - three features that will greatly improve the Tundra's modernity. The Tundra is no longer the game-changer it was over a decade ago but if reliability is your number one concern, it is still worth a look. An all-new Tundra with a powerful hybrid drivetrain is also rumored to be in the works, which could render the current model obsolete in a hurry.

What's the Price of the 2019 Toyota Tundra?

With six trims, two body styles, two engines, two drivetrains, and three bed lengths, there are 27 available configurations, each at its own price point catering to a variety of needs. The cheapest way of getting behind the wheel of the Tundra is the SR model, which carries a base MSRP of $31,670 in extended cab 4x2 guise with the standard bed. The SR5 takes a leap to $33,470, while the Limited carries a sticker price of $40,935 in base form. Things get expensive from there, with the Platinum and 1794 Edition both priced at $47,630, while the range-topping TRD Pro has a base MSRP of $49,895 excluding tax, license, registration, and a $1,595 destination charge. Upgrading any trim from two- to four-wheel-drive adds an extra $3,050 to the asking price while upgrading lesser trims with the 5.7-liter V8 carries a premium of $1,270.

2019 Toyota Tundra Models

Toyota sells the Tundra in six trims: SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794 Edition, and TRD Pro. The SR is an extended cab only model, the Platinum, 1794, and TRD Pro are crew cab only, while the SR5 and Limited trims can be had in either style. SR and SR5 trims are powered by default by a 4.7-liter V8 with the option to upgrade to a 5.6-liter V8 which is standard on all higher trims.

The SR kicks off the range as the workman's truck. It features 18-inch steel wheels, halogen headlights, seating for six on cloth-upholstered benches, a rearview camera, air conditioning, and a 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth but no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Toyota Safety Sense P is standard from the base model.

Upgrading to the SR5 gives buyers more versatility, but also adds a seven-inch touchscreen with SiriusXM and HD radio capabilities, foglights, a navigation app, and a power-opening rear window on crew-cab models.

The Limited adds leather upholstery, heated front bucket seats with a power-adjustable driver's seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, front passenger seat power adjustment, and additional speakers.

Platinum models gain distinctive chrome exterior cues, 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, power steering adjustment, heated and ventilated front seats, and additional safety in the form of blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and front and rear park sensors.

The 1794 Edition is similarly equipped but gets exclusive exterior and interior finishes like chrome bumper endcaps, 1794 Edition badging, wood-style interior trim, and brown premium perforated leather with Ultrasuede seat inserts.

Top of the pile sits the re-introduced TRD Pro, which gets Fox internal bypass shocks, TRD springs, standard 4WD, a TRD exhaust, extra underbody protection, 18-inch BBS alloy wheels, Rigid Industries LED foglights, black badging, and TRD-specific interior trim with red contrast stitching, a TRD shift knob, and TRD Pro badging everywhere. It's also the only model to get a standard power tilt-and-slide sunroof but makes do without the extra safety features of the Platinum and 1794 Edition.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SR
5.7-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$31,670
SR5
4.6-liter V8 Gas
5.7-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$33,470
Limited
5.7-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$40,935
1794 Edition
5.7-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$47,630
Platinum
5.7-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$47,630
See All 2019 Toyota Tundra Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

A number of standalone options and packages can be added to your chosen Tundra to suit your personal needs. Exclusive to the SR5 is an SX Package with color-keyed styling cues, front bucket seats, 18-inch black BBS alloy wheels, and debadging. The package can only be had with SR5 Double Cab models Super White, Midnight Black, and Barcelona Red, at a cost of $1,650. The SR5 can also be upgraded with the Convenience Package, which adds front and rear park sensors, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

A TRD Off-Road Package is available on SR5, Limited, and 1794 Edition trims, adding 18-inch TRD off-road alloy wheels, all-terrain tires, trail-tuned Bilstein shock absorbers, LED exterior lighting, and underbody skid plates. This can be paired with a power tilt-and-slide sunroof and the Convenience Package features, with prices differing per trim depending on what's already equipped, while the sunroof can be equipped on the Limited crew cab, Platinum, and 1794 Edition for $850.

What Toyota Tundra Model Should I Buy?

We enjoyed the unique styling of the 1794 Edition as well as the trim-specific brown leather interior, though it is not the Tundra we'd recommend. Of all the Tundra trims, the TRD Pro is the one we suggest. It offers the closest competition to the Ford F-150 Raptor with aggressive looks, extreme off-road capability, and incredible resale value, with some dealerships even charging over sticker price for it. Go for a crazy color like Voodoo Blue and the TRD Pro quickly becomes one of the coolest trucks on the market without missing out on too many tech features compared to the Platinum and 1794 Edition trims.

2019 Toyota Tundra Comparisons

2019 Toyota Tundra
2019 Toyota Tundra

2019 Toyota Tundra vs Ford F-150

If you're willing to cast aside brand preference in the full-size pickup segment, the Ford F-150 should be high on your list of trucks to check out. Although the F-150 starts off at $4,000 cheaper than the Tundra, when comparatively specced, both are similarly priced, although a fully-specced F-150 is more than $10,000 dearer than the Tundra. The Toyota is tried and tested, and that means exceptional reliability, but the Ford isn't bad and there's enough support to ensure trouble-free ownership. But that's where similarities end, as the Ford cuts itself above the rest in almost all other aspects. It boasts more cargo space - not just in the cargo bed but inside the cabin with more versatility. This doesn't come at the expense of ergonomics and comfort either, where the Ford is streets ahead of the Tundra. The Ford ha a higher-quality interior and more features, as well as full smartphone integration on the SYNC infotainment system. The final nails in the coffin come from the F-150's performance. With turbocharged V6 engines giving it more power, greater towing capacity, and better gas mileage estimates, it's a triple-threat effort that seals the Tundra's fate. You could buy a Tundra, but you'd be doing yourself a big disservice.

See Ford F-150 Review

2019 Toyota Tundra vs Toyota Tacoma

Smaller, weaker, and cheaper, The Toyota Tacoma is inferior in every workman's metric to its big brother, the Tundra - which is why it occupies the midsize pickup segment instead of the full-size one. But you might not need all the heavy-hitting ability of a full-size. The Tacoma can still tow 6,800 lbs, while the Tundra's towing ability ranges anywhere from 6,400-10,200 lbs, so if you can do without the extra 4,000 lbs, the Tacoma might be alright. It's substantially more economical than the Tundra, though, and being smaller, it's easier to use on a daily basis. But it is less spacious, although in crew-cab guise it'll still seat five with ease. It's also more refined inside, and on some trims, more capable off-road because of its nimbler dimensions. Ultimately, it comes down to needs, and if you don't need to tow 10,000 lbs or make use of bigger cargo-bed configurations, the Tacoma is a more usable, yet still practical, daily truck, and it'll save you more than $6,000 on base price alone.

See Toyota Tacoma Review

Toyota Tundra Popular Comparisons

2019 Toyota Tundra Video Review