2013 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited – TundraHeadquarters.com Review
All the buzz lately is about the 2014 Toyota Tundra and its new features or lack of them. However, the previous generation still has some strong appeal. TundraHeadquarters Associate Editor Tim Esterdahl recently had a 2013 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited for a week. Prior to leaving in a few days to see the 2014, here is my review of the 2013.
For the past several years, I have been writing up, sitting in and driving full-size trucks. Normally though, this has been a limited time frame and to receive a Tundra for a week with no mileage restrictions, was an amazing opportunity to really experience it. That and the fact it was their upper tier Limited edition, made it extra special.
The Tundra I drove was:
- 2013 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited
- Engine: 5.7L V-8
- Transmission: 6-spd auto w/OD
- Drivetrain: Four-wheel, gasoline
- EPA Estimated MPG: 13 city / 17 hwy
- Invoice Price: $40,603
- Warranty: 36 months/36,000 miles
When test driving this vehicle, I put on over 500 miles driving on interstate, dirt roads, city paved roads and frankly all over the place. I really wanted to see the “bed bounce” or “harsh” ride for myself for a longer period of time. I also have a family of 5 and I wanted to see how we all fit.
Now, you could argue that I didn’t use the truck for a “truck” and instead used it as a mini-van with a bed. However, in this day and age, most light-duty consumers (I would argue) use it for the mini-van part of it and the truck part less often. My desire then for a full-size truck is to primarily use it to transport my family around with having the option to use it “as a truck” when I need to. I like options and the Tundra gives them to me.
Having a large family, with two boys under 3, a full-size truck was appealing. I do a lot of outdoor activities and throwing my gear in the bed, while hauling the family is important. Here is what I found I liked and didn’t like about the truck.
I have heard everything from the exterior looks hideous to its the best looking truck on the market. Frankly, looks are opinions and opinions … well are opinions. I, personally, like it and think it really grabs people’s attention on the road. One of its distinct features are the turn signals and the way they are mounted. Frankly, driving down the road, you can tell it is a Tundra from a distance because of this. It isn’t brash, it is just distinctive.
Critics seems to think that the interior has quite a bit of plastic and isn’t really that flashy. Frankly, I agree with the amount of plastic, but yet it is hard plastic that I felt was pretty durable. Was the interior flashy? No. Did I want it to be? Nope.
The seats fit me well, the shifting knob was perfectly placed and all the others knobs were easily in reach. One of the things I have consistently found about the Tundra is that a relatively shorter guy like me (5’7″), it is an easy truck to sit in and drive. Truth be told, the 10 way adjustable drivers seat is ideal for adapting to any person. I am also a BIG fan of the lumbar support.
The knock? The instrument panel is another personal preference item, but I found it difficult to read. I really dislike the “deep gauge” cluster look and I am looking forward to seeing the flat display in the 2014. I did adapt to them over time, but still not a big fan.
I’m also curious as to why the truck doesn’t have a telescoping steering wheel. It tilts, but it would have been nice to pull it closer to me.
Lastly, it is nice to have all the storage options in the cab and “blank” button covers to adapt the truck to fit your needs. Plus, the rear window rolling down is great for long trips to keep the air fresh.
One other change, that is a big deal to some consumers, with the 2014 is the lack of slide and recline seats in the CrewMax. While Toyota has stated that 88 percent of its consumers didn’t like it, count me in the 12 percent. While my boys are currently in car seats, I could see them really using the recline seats on longer trips as well as myself when I want to take a break.
A lot of full-size truck owners like to do their own maintenance and Tundra owners are no different. Frankly, I was a bit shocked at the service instructions in the manual. Toyota gets that you want to take care of basic service items. Looking under the hood, all the regular maintenance items (oil, air filter, spark plugs, etc…) are easy to get to and replace. The brakes are disc and easy to service. Really, the only knock is the oil filter which is under the skid plate. Yet, Toyota has done its best to make this easy with easy to access bolts to remove. It doesn’t seem like Toyota is trying to make its service difficult, it is just necessary if you are going to have a skid plate. While, you could argue, that they could move the oil filter to the top of the engine like Subaru has done, I’m not a big fan of this approach. It seems less efficient and potentially more messy.
I know that Toyota offers a V6 in this truck and it is probably very adequate. But, the 5.7L V8 is a LOT of fun to drive – fuel economy be damned! The truck is really quiet in the cab even with the large engine and I felt hitting cruise at 70 MPH was really “cruising.” While other model cars I have driven struggle with going from Denver to Cheyenne (lots of elevation changes), the V8 Tundra just cruised right through it. On the whole trip, I can’t recall one time that the Tundra had to downshift drastically to maintain speed. This engine has the horsepower to cruise.
What about the dreaded bed bounce? Yep, I felt it. Yes, I acknowledge is exists. Is it so terrible compared to the competition? No way. I have driven the same stretch of road in a GM Sierra, Ford F-150 and Ram 1500. While all of these have been later models (2005-09), they all rode the same. I would guess that yes, the newer editions of the full-size trucks might ride better (I haven’t tested them), I simply don’t see it as a deal breaker. It is a full-size truck and rides like one. You could argue though that the road quality has more bearing on your ride quality than the truck.
Full-size truck (and car) fuel economy is such a funny thing. It is often the most criticized part of any truck on paper, yet the driver largely controls it. I drove this truck like I do all vehicles. I am certainly not a grandpa driver, but I am not a speed racer. Only a handful of times did I romp on the gas. For my week of driving interstates, dirt roads around a Boulder reservoir (serious elevation gain and loss) and city roads, I averaged 17 mpg. Toyota says that the Tundra is EPA rated at 13 city/ 17 highway / 15 combined. I consider my driving to be “combined,” so I beat the estimates by 2 mpg and that is over 500 miles of driving. I personally thought that was pretty good for a full-size truck.
The Tundra is a great truck and really met all my families needs. The space in the CrewMax allowed us to buckle in my children and still move around comfortably. We could easily fit all 5 of us in the truck, put all of our bicycles, golf clubs, cooler chests and strollers in the bed and enjoy a fun family outing. I never felt cramped or had a need for more power. With all the safety ratings of the Tundra, I really felt secure and I felt my family was safe. Frankly, it more than meet our needs.
With the changes coming in the 2014 model year, I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the “generation 2” models (2007-13). If you aren’t crazy about the new dash, ride quality is good for you and the lack of slide and recline is an issue, strongly consider the 2007-13 models. Either way, you will be happy you did.
What do you think of the generation 2 Tundra? Is it still a good option?
I have been shopping for a full-size truck for over a year. Well, after driving the Tundra for a week, my wife and I were sold. Just 2 weeks after, I leased a 2013 model from our friends at Mountain States Toyota. While, I wanted to wait to see the 2014 model, the lack of slide and recline seats, plus feeling the pressure of less inventory/offers made me pull the trigger now. It is a pleasure to drive this truck everyday and I love the freedom to travel it has given my family.
Filed Under: Toyota Tundra Reviews and Comparisons