Gypsies in the Tundra — We’re Testing 2008 Toyota Truck

Post by blogger | October 1, 2007      

If you could drive any model Toyota for two weeks, what would you pick? That Faustian dilemma recently occurred here at Wildsnow HQ — and the choice was obvious. Give me the biggest baddest most pimped out truck possible, and don’t look back.

It all started when Adam Howard of Backcountry Magazine got an offer for journalist testing of various Toyota and Lexus vehicles. They’re kinda busy up there in the Vermont backcountry trying to get ink on paper, so they thought ol’ motorhead Lou might enjoy checking out some wheels. Next thing you know, we’re cruising around in a 2008 fully loaded Toyota Tundra. We’re talking a truck with so many controls, switches and options you might as well be flying an Apollo space capsule — only the Apollo is less complex because it’s missing the DVD theater system. We’ll be blogging several reports over the next weeks about how this truck works for the mountain lifestyle (including how TGR movies look on the two LCD screens). For now, a few comments and intro shots.

Loading skis in 2008 Toyota Tundra.
What’s the criteria for a full-size truck at You can fit your wife’s skis across the back seat. The leather interior seems to handle ski edges well — we’ll have a final read on that in two weeks.

Toyota Tundra.
Housed under the Tundra’s commodious hood is a monster 381 horsepower 5.7 liter V8. Yep, press the go pedal and feel the atmosphere warming — time for some more carbon offsets. Amazingly, this Tundra gets virtually equal gas mileage to my Silverado, but has much more power on tap for things like passing and towing. Engineering like this will probably spoil me, but don’t worry, while this truck is fun to test it’s way too fancy and expensive ($47,783 on the sticker) to become an upgrade.

Toyota Tundra.
Our demo is the gigando double cab with a short bed. Kind of a hybrid Suburban-like vehicle as much as it is a pickup. Nonetheless even a small outdoor box is nice for the sporting life junkshow, e.g., dogs skis and bicycles.

I actually got the truck’s Bluetooth hands-free phone system working, but the navigation system is beyond me at this point. That thing is downright weird. You try to use the voice system, and the prompter reads you a list of options. You try to pick one of the listed options and the interestingly seductive female voice tells you that “option is not available.” You then start trying destination commands like “return home” and she/it thinks you said “pizza restaurant.” (Trust me, we like pizza but not that much.) A few rounds of that and the voice seems to morph from sassy siren to burned out second grade teacher. But I bet we’ll get stuff like that figured out. After all, today I found the switch that makes the rear window go up and down.

More later folks. Back to ski gear and stuff tomorrow. (And Adam, sorry we didn’t pick the hybrid. But I know you understand.)


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15 Responses to “Gypsies in the Tundra — We’re Testing 2008 Toyota Truck”

  1. Matus October 1st, 2007 7:44 am

    5.7 liter V8… Oh yes, for many US citizens it will be probably quite hard to get used to 1.5 TDI (and smaller) engines in the near future 🙂

  2. Lou October 1st, 2007 7:53 am

    Matus, you are correct. But your little Euro cars are quite fun and well engineered — our next vehicle will probably be something small, as we’ve certainly got enough trucks in the family!

  3. yurtmiester October 1st, 2007 8:28 am

    Rumble Bee is gonna be oh so jealous.

  4. Craig October 1st, 2007 9:47 am

    Hey Lou, enjoy the ride.
    Let me know when you start drilling holes to lighten it up.
    Will you be towing any large loads? Would like to know how it works pulling up the passes. And try it out in the mud, if you can find some.

  5. Mark October 2nd, 2007 6:33 am

    Nice truck. 381 horse power might be enough for an Apollo-style lift-off. Perhaps CODE 4×4 can fabricate you a pair of wheelie bars.

  6. Derek October 2nd, 2007 8:58 am

    Ugly truck. Toyota needs to stick with the good ol’ little trucks they used to make. But I guess the market is always for bigger, bigger, bigger.

  7. Mark Burggraff October 2nd, 2007 9:27 am

    I test drove the double cab (vs your crew cab) and was highly impressed. The six speed transmission in the new Tundra allows it to equal if not exceed the mileage of my 2004 Tundra. That plus a place to plug my i-pod in for road trips would be awesome. My local dealership was even offering double rebates on it. I agree with Derek though it is ugly which is why we decided against upgrading. Mark B.

  8. Sarah Weinberg October 2nd, 2007 10:10 am

    I wish that Toyota would produce a Hi-Lux in North America as this truck is the BOMB! A small, diesel, 4 door, 4×4 with either a short or full length bed. What more could an eco-freaking skier ask for.

  9. Barry October 2nd, 2007 6:01 pm

    Nice truck but I’m inclined to agree with the comments from Mark and Sarah. I think Toyota is really missing out by abandoning the small, true 4×4. The RAV 4 when it was first introduced would have been great with a dual range transfer case and true 4 wheel drive capability. And even the RAV is getting bigger all the time. Not the way to go.
    In my area the old Subura Samari and Geo Trackers are becoming much sought after because they are small, get into incredibly tight places and have real 4 wheel drive.
    Time for Toyota to wake up, build a small, diesel and or gas powered vehicle and we will buy.

  10. Jim Jones October 3rd, 2007 7:56 am

    why not a quad cab that looks like mini-simi. I’ve seen american manufactures with these behemoths, one highway, zero city.

  11. Jonny B October 4th, 2007 7:01 pm

    It’s kind of hilarious in a culture of weight saving fanatics to see a truck like this. Do you really need a full sized truck to get a 165 lb body and a few pounds of gear to the mountain. Better take up windsurfing if you want a full size truck because pretty soon we won’t have any snow left to ski.

    Unless you’re a licensed contractor that bad boy is serious overkill.

  12. Lou October 4th, 2007 8:09 pm

    Jonny, I’m glad you see the humor in it!

    That said, this could be an excellent truck for a family of 4, or someone who traveled quite a bit with other folks. It gets danged good MPG for something as powerful and versatile as it is, and with better tires/wheels and a few other mods it would be a good trailhead approach vehicle for someone who was comfortable using a larger truck for that application.

  13. Crisco February 9th, 2008 12:32 pm

    A little after the fact, but you never know…

    I agree with the consensus here, why are ALL the new Toyota’s so freakin’ huge? Why can’t I have the truck that the rest of the world drives, be it desert crossings or jungle hauls? The hilux is the do-all truck the world over, so why can I only choose a Tacoma that looks as big today as my old F-150 looked in high school, and gets about the same mileage?

    Here’s a great example why I’d love to buy the same vehicle that the Taliban drives…

    and part 2

    PS. Picking up my first AT kit (after 30 years of alpine) form the local mountaineering shop tomorrow, am very thankful of this site’s information!

  14. Crisco February 9th, 2008 12:49 pm

    …bollocks.. third part:

  15. Lou February 9th, 2008 1:20 pm

    Does it come stock with the internal roll cage you can see inside after they drop the travel trailer on it? Pretty amusing, anyway…

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