2020 Toyota Tundra

2020 Toyota Tundra Test Drive Review: An Old Dog With A Few New Tricks

by Ian Wright

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but when it comes to the Toyota Tundra, it's been around long enough to have learned all the tricks in the book and then some. Sure, it's not the fancy lightweight aluminum truck the Ford F-150 has evolved into, but the Tundra has a reputation for hardiness and the ability to outlast just about anything else on the road, or off it.

In its TRD Pro guise, the Tundra takes on the role of a hardy off-roader. This is where solid underpinnings and a robust 5.7-liter V8 come into their own. We spent a little time with the Tundra TRD Pro on road, and a whole load of time off-road, and found the aging pickup has a load of tricks up its sleeve. An abundance of safety features, unmatched reliability, and hardiness that could survive the tundra it's named after. While others might be more modern, the Tundra still does enough to make sure it isn't entirely discounted in the US market.

2020 Toyota Tundra Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Tundra?

Although the 2020 Toyota Tundra is fundamentally the same as 2019's model, there are some notable shifts in equipment; only one engine option is available for 2020, namely the 5.7-liter V8 - both the 4.6-liter V8 and the flex-fuel version of it have been dropped from the range. Base models now feature leather surfaces and front bucket seats. TRD Pro models, which are off-road biased, lifted variants, are now available in either extended cab or CrewMax configurations, and also feature keyless entry and push-button start. The TRD Pro is also available in a new Army Green shade, and Toyota has - finally - made Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa standard across the range, helping improve the Tundra's daily usability.

Pros and Cons

  • 5.7-liter V8 engine is now standard across the range
  • Standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa now feature
  • Toyota Safety Sense-P now included across the range
  • Low cost of purchase and high resale
  • Best reliability ratings in the class
  • Interior quality is sub-standard
  • Poorly packaged cabin compared to rivals
  • Not as many options as others in the segment

2020 Toyota Tundra Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SR
5.7-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$33,575
SR5
5.7-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$35,245
Limited
5.7-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$42,270
Platinum
5.7-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$48,775
1794 Edition
5.7-liter V8 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$48,775

Tundra Exterior

Instantly recognizable by its headlights and comparably small air dam, the Tundra is part of a four-member truck-based Toyota family defined by relatively subtle styling. The two lower trims feature halogen headlights, but these are upgraded to LED throughout the rest of the range, with the same technology powering the daytime running lights and fog lamps. Depending on the model, your Tundra can be fitted with either 18- or 20-inch wheels. TRD Pro models are the most noticeable, with black elements, a raised suspension, TRD front skid plates, and model-specific BBS wheels. Also included on this top trim are Rigid Industries LED foglights and a 'TOYOTA' lettered front grille in black.

2020 Toyota Tundra Front View Driving Toyota
2020 Toyota Tundra Rear View Driving Toyota
2020 Toyota Tundra Front View Driving 1 Toyota
See All 2020 Toyota Tundra Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The Tundra offers two wheelbase options: a 145.7-inch as standard with your choice of either double or crew cabs and a 164.6-inch variation on the extended cab only with the long bed. With the shorter wheelbase, the total length of the full-size pickup is 247.8 inches with the long-bed option and 228.9 inches with the shorter variant. Three bed sizes are offered: the shortest being 66.7 inches with the crew cab, and a choice of the standard 78.7-inch or optional 97.6-inch bed, either of which is affixed to the extended cab.

The width is unchanged over the range, at 79.9 inches. The shortest models - the SR5, Limited, Platinum, and 1794 Edition - are 4x2's with crew cabs and measure 75.8 inches tall, with 4x4 variants measuring in at 76.2 inches, while height of the extended cab models ranges from 76 inches to just 76.4 inches. With additional ground clearance (10.6 inches vs 10.0 on the lowest models) the TRD Pro also rides taller than the rest at 77.2 inches. Curb weights vary, with the lightest model weighing 5,170 lbs and the heaviest tipping the scales at 5,680 lbs.

  • Length 228.9 in
  • Wheelbase 145.7 in
  • Height 76.4 in
  • Max Width 79.9 in

Exterior Colors

2020's Tundra TRD Pro is now available in Army Green, but no other changes are made to the color palette. The base model SR is only available in four colors: Midnight Black, Silver Sky, Super White, and Barcelona Red. Opting for the SR5 unlocks two shades of blue and Quicksand (beige). The Tundra Limited gets Smoked Mesquite added to the options, which is a metallic bronze color, and Magnetic Gray and Cement are also available. For color choices, the Limited has the most options. We'd go for one of the gray options like Cement, as it blends well with the chrome accents, but each model has different styling cues that are complemented by different colors.

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

Tundra Pickup Performance

All 2020 Tundras are equipped with the 5.7-liter i-FORCE V8, with no other engine options available. Last year's flex-fuel option and smaller 4.6-liter V8 have been scrapped. Rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are the usual choices to pick from. The upshot is that weight alone now dictates performance. The power output of the V8 powerplant is unchanged from last year, producing 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque across the range, enough for off-road escapades and daily grind workhorse duties. This allows the extended cab SR and SR5 to tow 10,200 lbs and haul a maximum payload of 1,730 lbs. The crew cabs will generally tow around 9,000 lbs, with the poorest performer still managing a respectable 8,800 lbs. All models are equipped with a six-speed automatic gearbox, and together with the ultra-reliable V8, can shunt the lightest Tundra models from 0 to 60 in just over seven seconds. The key factor to note is that in this segment, reliability is key, and even when strained on a regular basis, this 5.7-liter motor has been proven to be bulletproof.

2020 Toyota Tundra Front View Driving 2 Toyota
2020 Toyota Tundra Rear View Driving 1 Toyota
2020 Toyota Tundra Exhaust Toyota

Engine and Transmission

Only one engine option is available across the range - the 5.7-liter i-FORCE V8, producing 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of twist. This is mated to one gearbox option, which is Toyota's excellent-but-aging six-speed automatic.

Out on the road, the 5.7-liter i-FORCE V8 is adequate but never in a rush to get going. The engine may not be the peppiest around, but the reliable and robust torque means you can get to a decent top speed on the freeway, tow a reasonable load, or push the Tundra in and out of sticky off-road situations with confidence. While Toyota's six-speed automatic is remarkably smooth, the shift speed is slow when held up against other trucks in its class. Between the engine and transmission, the drivetrain does feel its age but is still a competent package unlikely to let anyone down in any application.

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

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Tundra doesn't have a refined ride, but the TRD Pro's Fox suspension setup does provide a softer experience on the road. It also reduces the body roll we remember from the 2019 model, but that doesn't entirely make up for the light, numb steering. When it comes time to slow down, the Tundra's brakes are perfectly adequate.

Getting off-road, the Tundra starts playing to its strengths. The long-wheelbase of a truck isn't ideal for off-road antics, but the TRD Pro trim truck has a 31-degree approach angle, and the light steering makes getting through rougher trails a breeze while the suspension takes care of lumps, bumps, and rocks in its stride. The robust frame and drivetrain matched to the added ability coming from the suspension setup, as well as the skid plate, makes the Tundra a surprisingly inspiring ride off the beaten path.

Tundra Gas Mileage

A big truck with a big V8, the Tundra certainly isn't the most frugal of cargo haulers and off-road warriors. In its most efficient 2WD form, the Tundra achieves EPA-estimated figures of 13/18/15 mpg city/highway/combined, while the addition of a driven front axle drops the figures to 13/17/14 mpg. These figures will, however, fluctuate depending on configuration and how you use the truck. Heavy hauling and off-roading will see the figures plummet. As to how far you'll travel on a tank, that differs based on what trim you opt for, as the SR and SR5 get a 26.4-gallon tank as standard while the Limited, Platinum, 1794 Edition, and TRD Pro all get a 38-gallon capacity, optional on the lesser trims. With the larger tank equipped, you should see around 532 miles in mixed conditions.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    26.4 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 13/17 mpg
* 2020 Toyota Tundra SR Double Cab 6.5' Bed 5.7L

New Tundra Interior

The Tundra's interior trimmings vary substantially depending on the model selected, with graphite-colored fabric at the cheapest end of the scale. Black and beige cloth upholstery options are also available, while the mid-range Limited trim offers leather. Further up the range, premium leather adorns the interior of more expensive models. The 1794 Edition aims to add some luxury style to the cabin by including wood trims, but all models are dominated by plastic for durability, with some aluminum accents added here and there from the SR5 model up. Infotainment features smartphone connectivity and an eight-inch touchscreen, which is easy to use. Overall, the interior is spacious and ergonomic, but not on par with offerings from Ram, Ford, or GMC.

2020 Toyota Tundra Dashboard Toyota
2020 Toyota Tundra Infotainment System Toyota
2020 Toyota Tundra Gear Shifter Toyota
See All 2020 Toyota Tundra Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The interior of the Tundra is spacious, bordering on cavernous in crew-cab with seating for up to six, and the CrewMax boasts 42.3 inches of legroom in the back while the standard extended cab offers 34.7 inches. Up at the front, the driver and passenger have 42.5 inches of legroom, and the wider hipped of us won't find the seats too small. Likewise, there's plenty of head and elbow room for everyone, and the seats are comfortable enough without being anything special. Visibility is excellent out front and to the sides, which pays off when parking or trying to work through a tight trail.

  • Seating capacity
    6-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.5 in
  • Front Head Room 39.7 in
  • Rear Leg Room 34.7 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.7 in

Interior Colors and Materials

Unfortunately, while the Tundra pickup offers a spacious interior, it's not a particularly pleasant one. The materials throughout feel cheap as well as rubbery in places. The quality may have been acceptable a decade ago, but the interior needs a significant update in layout as well as materials. Seat materials through the trims are suitable, though, and the TRD Pro's perches have a nice, thick leather trim. Upholstery and available colors differ substantially based on trim, with the SR limited to only Graphite-colored fabric while the SR5 adds Black and Sand Beige to the color offering. The same colors are offered in leather on the Limited, while the Platinum gets plain black leather, as does the TRD Pro. The 1794 Edition then offers saddle-brown leather-trimmed seats with suede accents.

Tundra Trunk and Cargo Space

Three options exist for the Tundra's bed, namely a 5.5-ft short bed, a 6.5-ft standard bed, and an 8.1-ft long bed. All three variants are 50 inches wide between the wheel arches and measure 22.2 inches in depth. Crew cab models can haul a maximum payload of 1,660 lbs, depending on which bed is specified and whether the vehicle is a 4x2 or 4x4. extended cab variants have a maximum payload of 70 pounds more, at 1,730 lbs. Unfortunately, the bed of the truck is high, making loading less than simple.

Inside, cupholders are poorly placed and won't fit a medium 'shake, while the door pockets are deep but narrow and the passenger glovebox small. There is an impractically-designed center console storage area, and in the back, the lump of metal that houses the transmission tunnel cuts into the quoted cubic volume and makes what space is available difficult to utilize for larger items. Most rivals are better packaged, but at least the fold-up rear seats aid internal storage when they aren't in use.

2020 Toyota Tundra Front Angle View Toyota
2020 Toyota Tundra Side View Toyota
2020 Toyota Tundra Rear Bumper Toyota

Tundra Infotainment and Features

Features

The Tundra's base SR and SR5 models appeal to blue-collar workers and business owners, but some amenities make this more than an exclusively utilitarian workhorse. Power heated mirrors and a rearview camera feature alongside a seven-inch touchscreen on the SR (eight inches on all other models). Toyota's Safety Sense includes forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning, trailer-sway control, auto high beams, and adaptive cruise control, and rounds out the standard features. Higher up the totem pole of models, you can get a power-opening rear window on CrewMax models, power-adjustable front seats, auto headlights, dual-zone climate control, a sunroof, and trail-oriented add-ons. Luxury items include heated and ventilated seats up front. Keyless entry and push-button start, as well as blind-spot monitoring and front and rear park sensors, can also be equipped.

Infotainment

Contrasting with the dated interior on the Tundra is a new eight-inch screen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa compatibility finally available alongside Sirius XM. The screen is functional and responsive enough but doesn't impress beyond the bare minimum, and the Entune System's small buttons continue to annoy. Adding to the frustration is a clunky navigation system when equipped.

The base model Tundra truck comes with a basic six-speaker audio system, whether it has a single or double cab body style. Double-cab and CrewMax models up the trim levels can be optioned with Premium Audio (which includes dynamic navigation) and nine or 12 speaker setups if they're not already standard on the trim level chosen. At the top of the scale is Premium Audio with a JBL 12-speaker system as part of an option package for the Tundra Limited and standard on the Platinum trim for CrewMax models.

Tundra Problems and Reliability

At the time of writing, there have been no recalls for the 2020 Toyota Tundra although five plagued the 2019 model for various issues, most of which were not serious. J.D. Power has not yet rated the 2020 range but did score the 2019 models at an outstanding 84/100 on their reliability index, further cementing the Tundra as one of the most reliable full-size pickups for sale today. A standard three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty covers the Tundra, alongside a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and five years/unlimited mileage for corrosion perforation. A two-year/25,000-mile complimentary maintenance plan is also included.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    2 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    2 Years \ 25,000 Miles

Tundra Truck Safety

The 2020 Toyota Tundra scored four stars out of five from the NHTSA for overall safety, with side crash evaluations earning full marks. Frontal collision and rollover tests resulted in four stars. The IIHS' review of the Toyota Tundra was a mixed bag, with the extended cab scoring best scores of Good in four of five crash tests while the crew cab had results ranging from Poor to Good. Front crash prevention systems were scored as Superior, however, and are standard on all trims.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

The Tundra offers a suite of safety features as standard this year under the Toyota Safety Sense umbrella of driver aids. These include a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, auto high beams, and radar-guided adaptive cruise control. Eight airbags are also included and are made up of dual front, front side, dual knee, and side curtain airbags. Safety belt pre-tensioners and trailer-sway control are also included as standard, but blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert must be optioned on separately.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Toyota Tundra a good Truck?

Within the most important parameters, the Toyota Tundra is a vehicle worth praising. It's a truck that promises years and years of reliable service without breaking the bank. It's sturdy and strong, and with the TRD Pro upgrade, it is a more than capable off-roader that will appeal to the Toyota truck die-hards. What it doesn't offer is a modern truck experience, which isn't necessarily a bad thing in an age where technology is often being beta tested on customer's vehicles. As far as we're concerned, you buy the Tundra for its lasting reliability and robust performance - it'll appeal to an older generation of truck buyers who want a workhorse that won't break. Younger audiences will prefer the techy elements of a Ford F-150 or Ram 1500, however, and personally, we do too. Those are better modern trucks, but at least with the Toyota, it's almost guaranteed to never let you down.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Toyota Tundra?

With nearly 20 configurations to choose from, you can bet there's a new Tundra to suit your budget, and in fairness to the aging truck, it's one of the most affordable full-size options around. The price of a Toyota Tundra in base form starts from $33,575 excluding options and a destination fee of $1,595 levied against all Tundras. Equipping the long box adds a further $330 to the asking price. The SR5 steps up to an MSRP of $35,245, while a Limited model asks a minimum of $42,270. Higher up in the order of things, the TRD Pro we test drove carries a price of $48,655, while a Platinum variant will ask $48,775 - the same as the 1794 Edition. Fully loaded, one of these top trims will set you back around $55,000.

2020 Toyota Tundra Models

The 2020 model year offers six Toyota Tundra iterations in various bed and drivetrain combinations: The SR, the SR5, the Limited, the TRD Pro, the Platinum, and the 1794 Edition.

First up is the SR, which features Toyota Safety Sense driver aids, a rearview camera, a seven-inch infotainment system Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM, and six speakers. This model can only be specced with the extended cab. Featuring 18-inch wheels and a 5.7-liter V8, this model can seat six on its cloth seats.

The SR5 improves the stock sound system with HD Radio and SiriusXM and earns foglights and navigation; it can be had with either cab style - the crew cab gets a power-opening rear window.

Limited model Tundras are also available in either cab variation and feature leather upholstery, heated front seating with power-adjustability for both front perches, dual-zone climate control, and more speakers. 20-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights to distinguish the exterior with chrome trimmings. The Limited is also the first model equipped with the 38-gallon gas tank as standard.

The TRD Pro, like the next two trims, is a CrewMax-only model. It gets special Fox shock absorbers, TRD springs, standard 4WD, a heavy-duty front skid plate, 18-inch BBS forged wheels, a power sunroof, and TRD-specific styling upgrades throughout the interior and all over the body.

The Platinum aims at luxury and sits on 20-inch wheels. It also features heated and cooled seats and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, as well as park sensors in the front and at the rear.

The 1794 Edition is similar to the Platinum, but has unique interior trims with wood sprinkled about in collaboration with brown leather. Outside, chrome accents differentiate the special model.

See All 2020 Toyota Tundra Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

While the SR is barebones, the SR5 gets access to several options packages. The SR5 CrewMax can be had with a range of TRD Sport or off-road packages ranging in price up to $6,520. The TRD Sport Package is priced from $4,145 and includes 20-inch wheels, Bilstein shock absorbers, TRD front and rear anti-sway bars, keyless entry with push-button start and LED headlights, and TRD styling accents, along with the 38-gallon fuel tank, front bucket seats, and power driver's seat adjustment. The TRD Off-Road Package costs $4,385 in its most basic guise and equips 18-inch wheels and trail-tuned Bilstein suspension as the highlights, along with various skidplates and tow hooks. Like the TRD Sport Package, it includes a larger fuel tank, front bucket seats, power driver's seat adjustment, and extra front cupholders.

One package that does not carry those three letters is the long-winded "Premium Audio with Dynamic Navigation with options", which costs $1,410 and includes running boards too. As can be expected, it increases the number of speakers in the cabin and includes built-in navigation - a worthwhile option to consider if you need a little more practicality from your features-list. This package is also available on the Limited for a similar price.

🚗What Toyota Tundra Model Should I Buy?

For off-road aficionados that need a truck's cargo and towing capability, the TRD Pro is a no brainer, and it's tempting to also suggest it for people that also want a more comfortable ride on the road. Outside of an off-road truck, we believe the Tundra is at its best as a low-cost truck that's going to spend most of its time doing truck things. With its extensive suite of standard safety equipment as well as smartphone compatibility, the SR5 is hard to beat as a value proposition. For something a little fancier or with better creature comfort, we would shop around.

2020 Toyota Tundra Comparisons

Toyota Tacoma CarBuzz
Ford F-150 Ford
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Toyota Tundra381 hp13/17 mpg$33,575
Toyota Tacoma 159 hp20/23 mpg$26,050
Ford F-150 290 hp19/25 mpg$28,745

2020 Toyota Tundra vs Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma has smaller dimensions than the Tundra, making it worth considering as an alternative if the Tundra seems too large for your needs. The mid-size pickup is very similarly styled and offers the same warranty. The interior is also similarly styled, with identical infotainment systems being shared for 2020 models. Resale values also hold very well, as in the Tundra, but besides the price and fuel economy advantages, why else is the Tacoma worth a look? For a start, you can have a manual gearbox. The Tacoma is also more off-road capable than its big brother, and with its smaller stature, is easier to maneuver in traffic and on the road in general. However, it is powered by a smaller engine and is thus less capable of towing than the Tundra. The Tundra also has the benefit of being able to seat more people. Ultimately, the choice here lies in the purpose intended for your new pickup. Need to tow a boat or carry a large payload? The Tundra is for you. Do you enjoy off-roading and will use your vehicle more for recreation and daily driving tasks? Then, the Tacoma is a better bet.

See Toyota Tacoma Review

2020 Toyota Tundra vs Ford F-150

The Ford F-150 is one of the best-selling trucks on the market and has been a symbol of American blue-collar enterprise for decades. The Tundra is available with numerous off-road upgrades and a more powerful engine as standard, although the F-150's high-output EcoBoost V6 is a marvel of both performance and fuel economy. The Ford is more bare in spec at a base level, though, although climbing the trims quickly sees the tide change as the Ford is jam-packed with the latest tech, safety, and convenience systems. However, the F-150's reputation precedes it as one of the greatest workhorses ever made. It just works. No other truck comes close to it in terms of specification either, and higher trims make it much easier to live with on a daily basis. The Toyota is cheaper to buy and run, but the Ford tows more with up to 13,200 lbs compared to the Tundra's mere 9,000. The Ford is a consummate all-rounder, able to be a comfortable daily driver or a workhorse. It looks and feels more expensive and is better packaged. As a base truck with some good features, the Tundra is better, but as an all-rounder with a large breadth of capabilities, the F-150 is the winner.

See Ford F-150 Review

Toyota Tundra Popular Comparisons

2020 Toyota Tundra Video Reviews

Check out some informative Toyota Tundra video reviews below.

$33,575 - $51,825
Price Range (MSRP)
Toyota Tundra