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Baseball Apple Pie and Toyota

By Frederick Staab   Cruise Control


Toyota wants a piece of the American pickup truck market like a long haul trucker
craves another piece of apple pie. That truck lust may seem a bit greedy to some, especially since Toyota

Toyota has seen its share of trouble with the new Tundra launch including a four star National Highway TrafficSafety Administration frontal crash test rating, while the domestic pickups all rated a five. Then there was the need to add sales incentives soon after the 2007 Tundra’s hit dealerships and a miscalculation in the number of
customers wanting the large V8 optional engine. And most recently some owner’s trucks with the top of the line 5.7 liter V8 have experienced engine failure. According to Toyota the problem has been traced to faulty camshafts from one of its parts suppliers. So far Toyota replaced engines in the affected vehicles, but this may trigger a large recall.

Toyota has built what it thinks is a more than competitive pickup for the U.S. market in the form of the 2007Tundra. Toyota “clean sheeted” the Tundra with a bead drawn on the state of Texas. You see that big state is theholy grail of pickup truck buyers. If a Texan buys or even considers buying a globally badged truck then its “game on” for garnering a share of the U.S. pickup truck market.


CrewMaxed Out

For our test we chose a nicely equipped Tundra CrewMax 4X4 Limited edition.
Keep in mind at this point Toyota only builds half-ton pickups. If you want a three-quarter ton or one-ton or dualrear wheels, domestics are for you.

The CrewMax is the largest of the three cab options that include the Regular Cab,
four-door Double Cab and the grande CrewMax.

Toyota loves to point out that for 2007 the Tundra is designed engineered and assembled in America. In fact it hasone plant in Indiana and the other in San Antonio Texas. The plant locations may appeal to American truck buyers and even offer an advantage over the domestics. Remember, GM builds many of its pickups in Mexico and all Dodge Hemi engines found in Ram pickup engine bays are bolted up south of the border.

A walk around of the CrewMax reveals its huge upsized for 2007 length and girth. Toyota designers call the overall look the “power of the fist.” We found the design to look somewhere between an older F-150 and a bulbous inflated

Dodge Ram. The side view of the CrewMax is dominated by its massive greenhouse glass and to a lesser extent itsshort truck bed. If you order the CrewMax the inside bed length will be 66.7 inches with no other available options. Dodge wins in this category with the Mega Cab’s bed measuring 75.9 inches long.

May the i-Force be with you!


For 2007 the CrewMax Tundra has two engine options, including an enhanced carry over 4.7 liter V8 with 271horsepower and 313 lb.-ft of torque and the optional engine found in our tester in the form of a 5.7 liter DOHC 32–valve V8 that puts out 381 hp@ 5600 rpm and 401lb-ft of torque @ 3600 rpm. Both get Toyota’s i-Force moniker.

The 5.7 liter i-Force beats the 5.4 liter Ford, the 6.0 liter GM and the 5.7 liter Hemi in both torque and horsepower. Toyota has not announced plans for a diesel so once again that is domestic only territory.

Toyota specifically designed this engine for the Tundra, and it is silky smooth. And while the Tundra may seem more car like that its domestic competitors, Toyota engineers have tuned its exhaust note with a set of stainless steel headers and high capacity mufflers for a muscular sound.

A unique to class six-speed transmission handles the shifting duties automatically.

Now if you are a celebrity with image of Toyota as a green only vehicle manufacturer, you may want to turn awayfrom your Toy hauler magazine for a moment. Mileage for the 4X4 Tundra CrewMax is 14 City and 18 Highway. Decidedly not Prius territory but definitely in line with what GM, Ford and Dodge have to offer. Towing capacity is 10,100lbs. for the 4X4 CrewMax, 10,400lbs. for the 4X2 model.


Semi Boxed

While GM, Ford and Dodge have long offered completely boxed frames, Toyota has opted for a boxed frame rail front section and rolled C-channel members for the rear half. It’s not clear why the frame is not fully boxed since ithas become a standard feature of virtually all full size pickups in the U.S. Market.

The ride while truck like was comfortable, suspension comes in the form of a fairly tradition double A-arm set up with coil over shocks and rear leafs.

Braking is handled by 13.9in. front rotors with four piston calipers and 13.6in. rear discs with two piston calipers. ABS with Electronic Brake –force Distribution or EBD
is standard even on stripped V6 base models, this is nice to see.

Lexus Like Interior

Taking a look at the Limited grade interior of the Tundra I once again got the impression that I was riding in aluxury sedan rather than a half-ton pickup. For some of you this may be a plus others may score it as negative.

Our Tundra was well outfitted, including DVD navigation with integrated back up camera. A perfect, perhapsnecessary option for the high riding Tundra. Sounds were provided by a twelve-speaker 440-watt JBL system withBluetooth capability. And there was a DVD entertainment system for the rear seat hombres. The dash is mixture of austere flat silver and a smattering of black around the center stack nav and HVACcontrols. I found the conservatively designed steering wheel looked like it belonged more at the helm of a Camry or perhaps the Sienna minivan than a brawny truck.


Changed Game

Whether you’re a Tundra hater or Toyota lover I think we can all agree the pickup game changed dramatically onNovember 17th, 2007 when the first 2007 Tundra rolled off the assembly line. Toyota hopes to sell 200,000 Tundra’sin 2007 and 220,000 in 2008.

That’s just a nick in the U.S. domestic market where Ford sold 796,000 F-150’s

2006, but it’s a start. I bet that slice of apple pie with a big dollop of whipped cream would sure taste great to Toyota’s executives.





Specifications for 2007 Tundra Crewmax 4X4 Pickup

Length: 228.7 in.

Wheelbase:145.7 in.

Cargo Bed Length: 66.7 in.

Cargo Width between wheelhouse: 50. in.

Curb Weight: 5705 LBS.

Engine: 5.7-liter DOHC 32-valve EFI V8 with dual VVT-I

Horsepower:381hp@ 5600 rpm

Torque: 401 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm

Transmission: 6 Speed Automatic Over Drive

Brakes: Front independent coil spring / Rear live axle with trapezoidal multi leaf springs.

Suspension: Front independent coil spring / Rear live axle with trapezoidal multi leaf springs.

Towing Capacity:10,400 LBS.

Max GCWR: with 5.7L 7200 LBS.

Key Options: Option package G including DVD navigation system with backup camera, JBL® AM/FM 4-disc in-dash CD changer and digital audio input, 12 speakers, 440W-peak-output amplifier, Bluetooth® wireless technology capability and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. Daytime running lights, Power tilt/slide moonroof. Rear-seat DVD entertainment system with rear audio system, dual wireless headphones, wireless remote and 115V AC outlet .

Price as tested:

Base MSRP                                $41,850.00

Destination and Handling             $645.00

Options                                       $ 4,830.00

Total Combined Price               $47,325.00


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attract more and more listeners with its engaging format. This two-hour automotive magazine program is heard live every Saturday from 10 a.m. to Noon, Eastern Time, on three national networks: the National Radio Network, Cable Radio Network (CRN), and USA Radio Network. Cruise Control is currently heard on numerous broadcast stations across the US as well as digital cable and internet affiliates. Unlike other car radio shows  Cruise Control covers all aspects of the automotive industry including new vehicles reviews, new technologies and interviews with key automotive industry leaders.








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