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A Road Test
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of the Tundra

2004 Toyota Tundra Road Test
Click Here for the 2007 Toyota Tundra Review

By Michele Brooke
Photos by Charles Ofria

Category: $16,000 - $35,000 Full-Sized Pickup Truck
Who should buy this car: Anyone looking for a rugged and reliable workhorse truck with off-road capability as well as on-road comfort
Comparable models in this class: Chevrolet Silverado, Dodge Ram, Ford F150, GMC Sierra 1500, Nissan Titan

Full-size comfort, towing and payload

Assembled exclusively at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing plant in Princeton, Indiana, the full-size Tundra pickup is the Rubiks Cube of trucks available in nearly 20 configurations you can customize your Tundra to fit your needs. Ready for work or play, the Tundra is available in three cab styles (Regular, Access Cab and Double Cab), two engines (3.4-liter V6 and 4.7-liter i-Force V8), 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrains, two transmissions (five-speed manual and four-speed automatic) and three model grades (Standard, SR5 and Limited).

From sparse to plentiful
Standard equipment across the Tundra line is sparse before you begin adding on packages, which is one of the reasons why a base, stripped-down version can be had for $15,955. Not really anything to write home about, standard features include assist grips, mist-cycle windshield wipers, twin auxiliary power outlets and a digital clock no power windows, no air conditioning.  This would be a good option if youre looking for a pure work truck that seats 3.

On the flip side, by the time you double the MSRP and upgrade to the brand new Double Cab Limited grade (our test vehicle) the scenery changes. At this level, the Tundra features color-keyed exterior trim, fog lamps, a Premium JBL 3-in-1 audio system with six-disc in-dash CD changer and eight speakers, quarter and power-sliding rear windows with privacy glass, keyless entry and an anti-theft system. Go a step further and add on the optional leather trim package and captains chair front seats with power-adjustable drivers seat and youll be riding in style.

Our drive
 Loaded to adult capacity with two passengers in front and two in back (you can fit a third person back there, but its best if theyre a kid), we drove our Tundra Double Cab all over, from congested freeways to lazy country roads.

Though the Tundra excels at being a family vehicle, it is not designed for short statures. As such, if you (or your passengers) are under 6' tall, go for the optional running boards. The Double Cab Tundra is a full three inches taller than the other cab styles, which means youre going to be clinching those standard assist grips every time you enter and exit the vehicle. The running boards will give you a much-appreciated step-up.

Once inside, the Tundra Double Cab pays close attention to passenger comfort. The seats are wide and supportive, boasting 41 and 37-inches of front and rear legroom, respectively. Additionally, the rear seats recline to an angle of 24-degrees, eliminating an uncomfortable upright position that would make long trips very unpleasant. When not escorting backseaters, the 60/40 rear seats can fold and tumble to provide in-cab storage space.

For a full-size, half-ton pickup, the Toyota Tundra rides well. Its independent, double wishbone suspension soaks up road bumps and vibrations. And the wind noise ranges from minimal to nonexistent. This is a big truck, so navigating parking lots and tight spaces is always a challenge, though the driver-friendly Tundra seemed easier to maneuver than Fords F150 or Dodges Ram 1500.

Under the hood
Scoring Texas-size points for its low growl rumble, the Tundras V8 will not disappoint the most ardent of truck buyers, yet its not so intrusive that it would dismay someone with less enthusiasm for engine heft. Its a nice compromise.

Married to twin cams and four valves per cylinder, the Tundras V8 is similar to engines found in the Land Cruiser and Lexus luxury utility vehicles. And, with 240 horsepower and 315 lb.-ft. of torque, the Tundra is quick off the line and has plenty of oomph leftover for hauling and towing trailers, boats and lumber.

For better performance on paved roads, the Tundra offers the Sport Suspension Package or, if off-roading is more your style, the TRD Off-Road Package may be a better fit. Developed in conjunction with Toyotas off-road racing legend Ivan Ironman Stewart, the TRD package utilizes Bilstein monotube high-pressure gas shocks, an offroad suspension, 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, front and rear mudguards, fog lamps and overfenders for a better ride on rough, uneven terrain.

The Toyota Tundra Double Cab looks and performs like a true truck. Its not as angular as the Nissan Titan or the redesigned Ford F150, but rather, it has more of a sporty appearance with its bold grille, thick, bulging fenders and brawny sheet metal.

With the power and capability to tow up to 6,500 lbs. and a payload of 1,580 lbs. the Toyota Tundra Double Cab Limited is a serious contender in the tough full-size pickup truck market. Toss in the fact that the Tundra is built according to Toyotas high standard of quality, durability and reliability and the Tundra can easily go up against any of the dominating domestic giants.

Copyright 2017, Michele Brooke

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Your Comments
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2004 Toyota Tundra
  V6 V8
Engine Type  3.4-liter, V6 double overhead cam, 24-valve, cast iron block with aluminum alloy heads 4.7-liter V8, double-overhead cam, 32-valve, cast iron block with aluminum alloy heads
Horsepower 190 @ 4,800 240 @ 4,800
Torque 220 @ 3,600 315 @ 3,400
Fuel Recommended Regular  Unleaded.
Transmission Std.
Transmission Opt.
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
Drive Type Std.
Drive Type Opt.
Rear Wheel Drive
4 Wheel Drive with electronically-controlled two-speed transfer case
Tires Std.
Tires Opt.
P265/65 R17
Fuel Tank 26.4 Gals.

Regular Cab

Overall Length 218.3"
Wheelbase 128.3"
Width 75.2"
Bed Length 98.2"
Turning Diameter 44.9 ft Curb to Curb
Curb Weight 3925 lbs.

Access Cab

Overall Length 218.3"
Wheelbase 128.3"
Width 75.2"
Bed Length 74.7"  (Stepside is 73.3")
Turning Diameter 44.9 ft Curb to Curb
Curb Weight 4160 lbs.

Double Cab

Overall Length 230.1"
Wheelbase 140.5"
Width 79.7"
Bed Length 74.3"
Turning Diameter 47.5 ft Curb to Curb
Curb Weight 4780 lbs.
Miles Per Gallon
City / Highway
  V6 2x4 V6 4x4 V8 2x4 V8 4x4
Manual 16 / 20 16 / 19 -- --
Automatic 16 / 19 15 / 18 15 / 19 14 / 17
Limited -- -- 14 / 18 14 / 16
Base Sticker Price  From $15,955  through $32,600 depending on model
plus $540 destination charge.

Standard Equipment
(partial list)

  • ventilated front disc / rear drum brakes
  • 4-wheel ABS
  • cloth upholstery
  • bench front seat
  • power steering
  • cargo area light
  • underbody mounted full-size spare tire
  • manual driver and passenger exterior mirrors
  • AM/FM in-dash single CD player stereo with 4 speakers

SR5 also includes...
(partial list)

  • chrome grille
  • chrome finish bumpers
  • front captains chairs
  • tilt-adjustable steering wheel
  • front console with storage
  • air conditioning
  • dual vanity mirrors
  • AM/FM in-dash single CD player stereo with 6 speakers

Limited also includes...
(partial list)

  • V8 Engine
  • Automatic Transmission
  • 17" alloy rims
  • P265/65R17 tires
  • privacy glass
  • anti-theft alarm system
  • Front Fog/Driving Lights
  • remote power door locks
  • power windows
  • power mirrors
  • cruise control
  • audio and cruise controls on steering wheel

Major Available Options
(partial list - depends on model)

  • Leather Package
  • Running Boards
  • Cloth Captain Chairs
  • Power Seat
  • Towing Package
  • Molded Simulated Burlwood Dash
  • Sport Suspension Package
  • Limited-Slip Differential
  • V8 Engine
  • Automatic Transmission
  • 4 wheel drive with 2 speed transfer case
  • Security System
  • Front Skid Plate
  • Styled Steel Wheels
  • Keyless Entry

For more information on the Toyota Tundra, visit

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