The 2019 Toyota Tundra feels just like old times, which is probably because it hasn’t seen a full redesign since 2007. It comes with typical Toyota robustness and welcome new safety technologies, but, for the most part, it still seems stuck in the past. The Tundra will have its fans, but modern rivals offer a more complete package.

Best Value

Toyota offers no fewer than six individual trim levels for the Tundra, but they get pricey in a hurry. Value seekers are best off in a Toyota SR5, which allows selection of the crew cab while getting the best bang for buck.

The base engine, a 4.6-liter V8, will be enough for many, but the upgraded 5.7-liter V8 offers a much better towing capacity. Toyota offers a host of packages, including everything from off-road upgrades to fancy rims, but none come cheap. Thankfully, the most important active safety tech (like lane departure alert, automatic high beams, pedestrian detection, steering assist, and adaptive cruise control) is standard.

  • Model: 2019 Toyota Tundra SR5 Double Cab with 6.5-foot Standard Bed
  • Engine: 5.7-liter V8
  • Output: 381 hp / 401 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Four-wheel drive
  • MPG: 13 City / 17 Hwy
  • Options: None
  • Base Price: $37,135 (including a $1,395 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$37,135

Performance

Toyota Tundra

Both engines provide sufficient power with an exciting soundtrack, and the larger V8 is capable of towing up to 10,200 pounds. The six-speed automatic transmission is predictable and easy to live with. The ride is surprisingly composed, especially on the highway. The tail jumps around without a load, but that tends to happen with most full-size pickups. The Tundra is a bit wide for smaller trails, but otherwise it’s a strong boulder-crawler, with the TRD Pro catering to dirt-bound enthusiasts.

But the powertrain has some major flaws. First is the four-wheel drive system, which isn’t suitable for pavement. In this age, almost all trucks have an option for full-time all-wheel drive. Even more archaic is the Tundra’s fuel efficiency, which ranges from dismal to appalling. The 4.6-liter engine manages just 16 miles per gallon combined, and the more common 5.7-liter is even worse. The Tundra’s girth makes it an unwieldy drive in parking lots and tight spaces.

Style

The Tundra follows the lead of the established pickups in the styling department, with an oversized grille and boxy proportions. It’s a pleasing look, although it’s marred by a fake air vent and non-functional hood scoops on some trims. Room inside is plentiful, especially with the crew cab, and the seats are supportive. Upper trims can be decked out in leather and wood, but they cost a pretty penny.

In any trim, the interior of the Tundra is a letdown. Cheap plastics cover too many surfaces, and the design and finish are uninspired. No Tundra is compatible with either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, which is a glaring omission in 2018. Even the bed is old-fashioned: no easy-lift tailgates or nifty storage here, just a place to put cargo and a door to hold it there.

The Best and Worst Things

We hope active safety gear like the Tundra’s becomes standard on every pickup, but we also hope that no pickup has an interior like this again.

Right For? Wrong For?

Toyota Tundra

The Tundra will work for Toyota devotees who like the power and value (and don’t mind the prodigious thirst). The Tundra will get the job done as a workhorse, and the spacious interior means that utility is still strong. The comfortable ride doesn’t hurt, either.

Buyers who prefer modernity should look elsewhere. Whether it’s in efficiency, technology, or trim, the Tundra lags the competition. Many full-size trucks offer practicality while maintaining respectable efficiency and a comfortable cabin, and the Tundra can’t keep up.

The Bottom Line

While we applaud Toyota for carrying over the technology from more mainstream offerings, we humbly submit that the 2019 Toyota Tundra is due for an upgrade. It still offers old-school truck virtues like power and a smooth ride, but it also comes with old-school drawbacks like abysmal fuel economy and an interior from 2009. Nowadays, we demand better.