Toyota Tundra — A resale value winner

By Jim Meachen
MotorwayAmerica Editor

(March 17, 2021) It's not much of a secret that Toyota is finally coming out with an all-new Tundra pickup truck for the 2022 model year. It's a big deal because you have to travel back to 2007 to witness the last time Toyota engineered an all-new truck. Since then the Japanese automaker has merely thrown in updates here there and added a few special editions while its chief competitors at Ford, Chevrolet and Ram have gone through at least two new iterations.

We look forward to seeing and driving a version of the next all-new truck. In the meantime, the current Tundra still has a lot going for it. For one thing, it's a comfortable vehicle with a healthy — but dated — V-8 engine, with scads of room inside, and with a stylish and well laid out interior. And Toyota has endowed the 2021 Tundra with its Toyota Safety Sense driver safety and assist system.

Where the 2021 Tundra trails its North America competitors is in such things as suspension, payload, and towing capacity.

Like the Ram 1500, it is speculated that the next-generation Tundra will adopt coil springs — in place of the current truck's leaf springs — to go with its live rear axle. Such a setup should improve the truck's ride quality. And the 2022 Tundra should vastly improve on the outgoing model's maximum 1,730-pound payload and 10,200-pound towing figures to keep up with its modern competition.

One of the key things to remember when considering the 2021 Tundra is something many buyers overlook  — resale value. The Tundra was named one of 10 winners in the 2021 Kelley Blue Book's projected retained value through a five-year ownership period. For example, we recently heard from the owner of a 2017 model that he has had several high-end offers for his truck.

The Tundra comes in six trim levels — SR, SR5, Limited, Platinum, 1794 Edition and TRD Pro — and in double-cab, crew-cab and CrewMax configurations with three available bed lengths. There's also the new Nightshade Special Edition and the Trail Edition to consider. All Tundras are powered by a 5.7-liter V-8 making 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Rear wheel drive is standard and four-wheel drive is optional across the lineup.

We drove the 4X4 1794 Edition CrewMax, which was well outfitted with few options needed. Named for the year the JLC Ranch in Texas was founded and now occupied by Tundra's San Antonio assembly plant, the 1794 Edition features a Western-themed interior that includes Lexus-grade saddle brown leather trim, 20-inch chrome wheels, and virtually all the comfort, entertainment and safety options available in the Toyota parts bin.

While the driving experience is acceptable, the engine is loud under heavy acceleration and the six-speed automatic seems to shift slowly. But quickly getting from 0 to 60 is satisfyingly fast measured at about 6.5 seconds, which means merging into fast traffic and passing are never a problem. While the truck handled well, we found the steering light isolating the driver from the road requiring constant corrections at highway speeds. The interior is reasonably quiet at all speeds and the suspension yields an acceptable ride except on rough pavement where bumps and blips are transmitted to the cabin.

One downside to the standard V-8 engine is gas mileage, which is measured at 13 mpg city, 17 highway and 13 combined on regular gas.

Interior features include a premium audio system with 12 JBL speakers, including subwoofer and amplifier, dynamic navigation, Sirius XM, wifi connectivity, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.  Both rows of seats are roomy, and the driver has a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. Heated and ventilated front seats are part of the 1794 Edition package. The rear seat does fold up nicely against the bulkhead to open up an enormous amount of secure, enclosed cargo space for things like camping equipment, mountain bikes, work gear, tools, and room when needed to haul furniture or other bulky

In fact, the Tundra is about as big as small apartment inside. Second-row passengers get an actual stretch-out experience. There's as much space inside the CrewMax as any competitor.

While the Tundra starts at $37,412 in base Double Cab, the 1794 Edition comes in at $53,540 without options. Our test truck included a few extras — running boards, spray-on bedliner, moonroof, and special Wind Chill Pearl paint — bringing the bottom line to $55,610.

2021 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition


Base price: $37,412; as driven, $55,610
Engine: 5.7-liter V-8
Horsepower: 381 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque: 401 foot-pounds @ 3,600 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Drive: four-wheel
Seating: 2/3
Wheelbase: 145.7 inches
Length: 228.9 inches
Curb weight: 5,998 pounds
Turning circle: 44 feet
Towing capacity: 10,200 pounds
Fuel capacity: 26.4 gallons
EPA rating: 13 city, 17 highway, 14 combined
0-60: 6.5 seconds (observed)
Also consider: Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, Ram 1500

The Good
• Roomy rear seat space
• Toyota Safety Sense
• Luxurious interior in 1794 Edition

The Bad
• Only one engine option
• Not as configurable as competition

The Ugly
• Below average gas mileage