Stick Shift: 2019 Toyota Tundra SR5 Crewmax

photo via: Toyota

The Tundra received an update back in 2014, and has undergone few changes since. In fact, at its core, it still feels very much like the second generation Tundra from 2006. It performs all of its duties perfectly fine, but is starting to fall a little behind the competition. Here than are my impressions after some time with the 2019 Tundra SR5 Crewmax. 

Because of an under-pining that’s not as up-to-date as others, the Tundra rides on the rougher side. It bounces down the rode more than you’d want a current generation truck too. In general, behaving like the older truck it is, compared to most. Through the corners and about town, the Tundra feels every bit its large size. You’ll need to be extra careful parking and maintaining your lane with this one.

With a powerful V8, It’ll easily tow 9900 pounds. Acceleration is smooth, but the V8 is brutish and noisy all the way to redline. 401 lb-ft of torque and very low gearing make the Tundra especially jumpy off the line. Fuel economy is a little behind this segment as well at 14 combined mpg. 

Step up into the cabin and you almost expect echoes to sound within the cavernous space. The Crewmax model has an enormous back seat. Which will easily accommodate three adults, with head and legroom to spare. In SR5 trim, it’s only one step up from the base model Tundra. This means that, while seats are comfortable and space is abundant, the interior is full of plastic and not quite up-to-par with current generation trucks. 

This is a work truck. Its intended purpose could not be more plain. The center console could store tools, laptops, practically a small cooler. Huge door pockets fit oversized drink containers. There’s comfortable seating for the whole work crew and a tough spray-on bed liner for protection against anything you carelessly toss back there. If you want all the bells and whistles, the Tundra may not be the best fit for you. Even if you’re just after heated seats, you’ll have to pay more and opt for the Limited trim.

The reasonably priced TRD Sport package will add upgraded 20” alloy wheels, sport-tuned Bilstein shocks, TRD red front and rear anti-sway bars, LED headlamps and fog-lights, and plenty of TRD badges and decals. A custom hood scoop, mirror caps and sporty grille surround help amp up the Tundra’s looks big time as well. On the inside, other TRD related changes from the shift-knob to the floor-mats can be found.     

It’s a little surprising that more resources from Toyota haven’t been poured into the Tundra. For such a popular vehicle class in the U.S. this perfectly capable full-sized truck is starting to struggle to keep up with its domestic rivals. While Ford, Dodge and Chevy may be leading the pack at the moment, the Toyota Tundra has plenty of potential, and is only a redesign away from closing the gap and being a top contender again.

Price as tested: $47,864.00

By: Brandon Randall

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