The most notable change to the Tundra is the double cab, which offers seating for as many as five adults. As with most import trucks, the Double Cab has a flat floor, making it good for cargo management. Oddly, though, the addition of the double cab doesn't seem to have increased the front-seat legroom; instead, the additional space in the cab has translated into a very comfortable rear seat. In a move that beautifully blends form and function, Toyota outfitted our Double Cab with a roll-down rear window. This little gem was well-received by our team for its simplicity, its smooth operation, and for just being cool.
The next feature we drooled over was the supercharged 4.7L V-8 engine. The TRD-equipped small-block never lacked for power throughout our testing, and the additional grunt provided by the blower made a noticeable difference compared with the stock engine. The e.t.'s might not reflect this, however, because although the transmission shifted smoothly, we did notice that it paused slightly between shifts, possibly in an effort to save its internals from destruction by the wrath of the powerplant.
The Tundra had one of the most accommodating suspensions of the trucks tested, offering a car-like ride on the freeway. The pliable underpinnings made the truck glide across bridges and rough pavement without bucking; a nice character trait to have on long trips. For our purposes, though, the ride quality was a bit too mushy. We looked for cornering performance, but found that the Tundra pushed through the corners because of the soft suspension and tires.
In the styling department, the Tundra picks up where it left off with the '03 model. There aren't any drastic changes up front, other than the addition of two doors to the cab. The rear of the truck, though, has received a completely new bed. This fullsize bed measures 6 feet 4.5 inches long and more than 21 inches deep. Our test team praised the Tundra's extra-deep bed for offering more room to haul a load, especially odd-sized cargo. The new Tundra Double Cab is worth a test drive, but be prepared to shell out an extra $5,000 to add the TRD supercharger.
Sport Truck of the Year Score
Acceleration: 14.8 of 24 possible
Ride and Handling: 14.38 of 18 possible
Ergonomics/Style/Build Quality: 12.99 of 18 possible
Total: 42.6 of 60 possible
The Tundra Double Cab's acceleration performance score was artificially inflated. However, given that the TRD supercharger is virtually a factory option - and when installed by a dealer is fully warranted - and the fact that our readers are more likely than not to supercharge their truck, we felt it was valid to test it. The D-Cab isn't the most agile truck; it scored second to last in the slalom, but it accelerates quickly, brakes well, and has an above-average maximum tow rating of 7,100 pounds. Our tester's powertrain wasn't quite as smooth as the naturally aspirated versions, but it's still very good, and when combined with a great-riding and decent-handling chassis, it scored very well indeed in this part of the evaluation. It also scored very high in terms of comfort, style, and build quality.
* Good ergonomics; cool roll-down rear window
* Blower adds ton of torque, bringing the power to weight in line with expectations
* Excellent ride on freeway; no chop at cruise speed
* As with most Toyotas, flat floor, shy on front legroom
* Tacoma switches are too small for fullsize truck; Taurus-style center pod on dash
* Slow handling because of length and wheelbase; underpowered without blower
'04 Chevrolet SSR
If We scored on Charisma alone, Chevy's Super Sport Roadster Would Blow Away the CompetitionWhen the design team at General Motors set out to create a uniquely designed vehicle, it wanted to transverse traditional styling, bring back the early '50s contour and form, and pull performance elements from the best of the automotive markets. What the team ended up with was a convertible hot-rod truck that handled like a luxury sports car, but didn't lack the cargo room of one.