2013 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited – TundraHeadquarters.com Review

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

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.

2013 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited - TundraHeadquarters.com Review

We had the Tundra for a week, here is what we liked and didn’t like.

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.


2013 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited - TundraHeadquarters.com Review Interior

The interior is pretty nice in the CrewMax albeit with lots of plastic. I really had an issue though with the instrument panel and it took time to adjust to it.

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.


2013 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited - Engine

Most every item is easy to get to and service except for the oil filter.

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.

Driving Impressions

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.

Fuel Economy

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?


2013 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited - Tim's truck

My new truck!

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


RSSComments (24)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Mickey says:

    Tim it must have been a change my steering wheel is adjustable in and out as well as up and down. Yes Tim I am one of the 12% also in reclining rear seats. I never had a skid plate so I don’t know how harder it makes it. I use the military base which has a lift and it makes the world easy to change oil and filter. Now as long as you can undo that silver piece to drain the oil from the filter. When I let the dealership do it, it has been all in one action which the oil is trapped in the case and it leaks on you. I just got use to it happening and don’t care anymore. BTW I can rotate my tires at the same time on the lift. I agree with the cruise at 70 mph. Going through the mountains of WV, VA, and NC the truck did great and I was doing 75mph and got 17mpg. When I did 70mph I got 18.5mpg. As you go slower it raises the mpg. I really never felt the bed bounce yet unless I hit a washboard road which is very rare. Yes my truck is a daily driver and I use it as a truck when I need it. Yes I have the best of both worlds and that’s what I wanted in the first place. I don’t go offroad because I don’t care to do that type of stuff. I rather pull my boat and go fishing instead. So that makes me less of a truck owner. No it doesn’t. My priorities are different than the younger generation. I never saw an attraction to do it in the mud. Does that mean I don’t like those who do? No I will watch from a distance and enjoy it that way. A man has to know his limitations. I will be looking at the new 2014 models. Why? Because I can and I do like the looks. Do I care what others say? No, I’m doing it to satisfy me not my wife family or others. Like you said earlier Tim opinions are well they are opinions. Have fun and enjoy your 2013 model.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Thanks Mickey! And I agree with all your points. We all have different needs in vehicles and I was hoping to show that in the article.


  2. DJ says:

    Congrats on the new Crewmax Tim! I love my crewmax, it’s perfect for gear, trailering, and a family all at the same time.
    Plus as of right now, yours is better looking than the 14’s. People can say what they want about the Tundra but as you learned, drive it around a week and the small nit picks go out the door, you realize it’s a solid, great vehicle.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Yes sir! It is a solid vehicle. It just fit my family and lifestyle really well. Now, I will still nit pick a bit because I don’t like the dash, but I can live with it!


      • DJ says:

        I’ve never had a problem seeing the gauges. I’ve read many reviews complaining about them but I’ve never had any issue. To each their own, I’m looking forward to sitting in a 14′ and seeing the new gauges/dash.

        • LJC says:

          Same here, I can see the gauges just fine in sunlight and while wearing sunglasses.

          Funny thing about the barrel gauges: A few years ago I read a review of the new camaro and the reviewer liked them (barrel guages).

          A short time ago, I posted a link to a study were initial reviews of something swayed subsequent reviews-this is so especially true with the Tundra.

          As Tim points out: drive it and you’ll like it.

  3. Go Big says:

    I face the same decision on buying a Tundra. The dealer is discounting the 2013 models to get them off the lot. I know that when the 2014’s arrive, they will fetch a premium.

    I’m just waiting to see the new style in person before pulling the trigger.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Go Big,

      I can completely related, I spent days going back and forth. While I am a big fan of the 2014 dash, the slide and recline was a deal breaker. If you aren’t going CrewMax though, I would go 2014. I already put in a request for a 2014 Press vehicle and I want to take it on the same drive I did on the video. I’m really, really curious to see if the aerofins make a difference.


      • Go Big says:

        I’m leaning toward a double cab. I don’t have kids, and I use the bed of my truck almost daily for hauling various things such as lumber, and other building materials.

        My current short bed is 6’long, and that’s sometimes an issue. I believe the CM is even shorter. I would rather gain 6″ than lose 6″ when I change trucks.

        My dog will fit in the rear seat of the DC just fine, and I doubt he’ll care that seat wont recline. Or will he?

        • Tim Esterdahl says:

          Go Big,

          I would definitely go double cab in your case. I had to go CrewMax with all the kiddos. If they weren’t around, I would go double cab. The longer bed is pretty handy. Now, I don’t want a 6’5″ bed with a CM though. I can barely freaking park the thing right now and I have to hit the drywall for it to fit in my garage. No way could I go with a longer bed!


  4. Randy P says:


    Thanks for the real world review on the 2013 Tundra 4×4 limited and congrats on the new truck. Your MPG of 17 combined pretty much follows what others have said and that is perfectly acceptable to me because it is a “reliable” truck.

    Today I drove 2014 Platinum 4×4 8 miles. 4 miles city streets with rough pavement and broken concrete and 4 miles interstate. This Tundra only had 23 miles on the meter. I am comparing to my 4×2 Ecoboost.

    MPG’s seems about the same to me, perhaps the Tundra will do better than the Ecoboost in the long run; only time will tell. My Ecoboost is not even close to the rated EPA sticker for MPG. If I got 17MPG combined it would be great.

    Front seat comfort: Maybe a tiny bit more comfortable in the Tundra than the Ford. This would take a much longer drive to tell. Front seats in both trucks are acceptable to me.

    Back seat comfort: Vastly superior in the Tundra. The Ford seats are way too vertical and can be very tiring for almost any adult going on long trips.

    Quietness: Seems about the same to me for both hi-way and city driving. There seems to be a little less noise on the very rough pavement in the City and maybe a tad less wind noise on the hi-way in the Tundra. I got up to 80mph a couple of times. Maybe a slight advantage: Tundra over the Ford.

    Steering control and responsiveness on the rough city streets: On this one I give the edge to the Tundra. I like the direct control of the real power steering. The Ford is vague and sloppy. I know Ford has had a lot on changes with their EPS the three years it has been out and each Ford truck made seems to be different; very poor build quality for me. On the hi-way it seems to be the same between the two trucks. It was really not enough miles to tell. My first impression was that the Tundra was vague steering at 80mph, maybe not as responsive as I think it should be. I really do not consider my instant gut feel to be very accurate. I would need a lot more miles, maybe a thousand or more to really tell which truck steering I like best.

    AC system: Vastly superior on the Tundra, no question. Also quieter.

    Off the line throttle response: No question it is the Ford by a wide margin. The Tundra feels like a big heavy truck coming off the line. Not that it is a bad thing, it is just the impression I got. Part of that could be it is very slightly quieter. Yes, the Ecoboost is a lot faster off the line. It’s really fast.

    Hi-way responsiveness: Overall about the same to me, going 60 and punch it to 80. The Tundra seems more controlled on downshifts and overall smoother on acceleration. The Ford is a little more erratic doing the same thing. The net result is they are both fast on the hi-way, with about the same get up and go.

    The dash layout in both trucks seem about the same to me. Both are fine for me.

    Things the Ford has that I wish Tundra had:

    Keypad on the Door: Why is it Ford is the only truck company that has this “required” item? If you lost your keys in the river, or in a snow bank, or in a stock tank; you know this is an instant life saver. I can “always” get to the keys locked up in the truck, they are never lost. It does not matter what I am doing in the great outdoors, I always have keys to get home. It usually means I have to drive everyone else home too!

    Load Flat Floor: Tundra is close with the new design and I can live with it; but load flat makes a huge difference. I have used it hundreds of times. Tundra, I could not find the package hooks on the bottom of the back seat cushion? Guess I can get by without it.

    Those are the only two things I wish Tundra had. One I consider a requirement, the other something really convenient and nice. There are no other compelling reasons to own a Ford; at least not for me (unless it is the price).

    There is one key reason I am still considering Ford, Chevy, or Ram. The discounts are a lot bigger. Even though the new MSRP on Tundra is about $2,000 less than the other three, the giant discounts the others have on a full time basis make it very tempting and about $3,000 net less than Tundra.

    Hopefully Toyota will not be greedy and get serious with competitive discounts very soon. Of course there is a reason for that, both Ford and GM dealers can have hundreds of trucks on the lot(s). Rarely are there over a dozen Tundra’s on the lot.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Thanks for the detailed response!! It is really interesting to read your comparison and I agree your short rides are tough to really gauge. I’m glad then that you found my review helpful. I am really hoping to get a press fleet vehicle for all the manufactures and be able to provide more reviews and better comparisons for the average truck guy. I really dislike some of the reviews out there that are either wholly negative or completely miss the appeal of a truck (car guy reviewing a truck).

      It has been a few years since I drove an F-150 and I am way, way past due to drive one again. We have a fall 4×4 event coming in 4 weeks and I am hopeful to drive one there. My long-term impressions of Ford is that they make a GREAT work truck, but not so much consumer truck. What I mean by that is that it doesn’t feel like a “family” truck, more of a “work crew” truck. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I just wanted a “family” truck more than a work truck.

      Sadly, I don’t see Toyota offering many discounts. They just don’t have to move as much product as the other makers to turn a profit. Ford and Ram both have to sell a lot of trucks to make up for lack of worldwide sales. Toyota simply makes a lot of profit elsewhere and doesn’t have such a large need to turn it here.

      Like I said in my review, if the features of the 2014 are really that much more appealing, go for it. But, I would consider the generation 2 trucks just fine for most people.

      Again, thanks for your response.

    • Go Big says:

      Great(and seemingly honest) review. Thanks for posting.

  5. Anonymous says:

    […] Quick update, I wanted to share my 2013 Toyota Tundra review that I just posted (see it here: 2013 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited – TundraHeadquarters.com Review | Tundra Headquarters Blog). Also, I leave for Jackson Hole tomorrow. I'll be sure to post my thoughts when I get back. […]

  6. Anonymous says:

    […] Jackson Hole. Please believe me that I will take your questions with me and do the best I can. 2013 Toyota Tundra CrewMax Limited – TundraHeadquarters.com Review | Tundra Headquarters Blog Look forward to updating you soon about my […]

  7. supton says:

    Re: “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 have not changed oil on a Subaru, nor have I changed it on my Tundra just yet. I have changed the oil on my VW at least 25 times though, and it is a top-mounted oil filter. Stupid easy to change, all I do is put a plastic bag next to the filter, unscrew the lid, then quickly dump the filter and cap into the bag. Pull filter off the cap (using the bag, keeping my fingers clean), then let the lid drain a bit, and set aside. Toss filter. Very clean and easy. [I also use a vacuum extractor to pull oil out of the dipstick, no crawling under the vehicle either.] Not saying I want to wear my Sunday best to do this, but it’s hardly a big mess.

    Top side oil changes are I believe pretty common on the Euro vehicles, so I myself would welcome a top side filter here. Unless if Subaru does it somehow very different than VW, that is.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Good points! I was lead to believe they were pretty messy. If they aren’t and long-term engine durability isn’t an issue, count me in as a fan. I just have those concerns, but I am completely open to new things.


    • Larry says:

      Trust me, you want them to move the oil filter to the top of the engine like the Subaru. I have a Forester and that filter is effortless to change. The filter spins on to a mount where the sides are like a cup. Any oil (and it’s only a small amount) drains into the holes on the side of the fitting. I have never checked to see if it runs back into the pan. I’ve never noticed oil on the ground after a change. No mess at all, zero. Why did it take automotive engineers 100 years to get this right.

      On my truck I have to remove the front skid plate to get to the oil filter. No matter how it’s done, oil drips when the filter spins off and it often runs down my arm.

      The only negative might be that the filter drains down when the engine is shut off but, that’s a very minor detail. In 2 seconds after startup the oil will fill up that small filter again.

      While I think CAFE is BS, I would support congress mandating all engines have the oil filter on top where it’s a simple change or we should make our local congress person do all the oil changes but, that might be even worse for our engines.

      • Tim Esterdahl says:


        I can see it now, “Excuse me congressman, you forget to tighten the drain plug bolt.”

        I’ll stand corrected on the oil filter placement. 🙂


  8. Go Big says:

    Along the subject of filters, you can consider dipsticks.

    My old Toyota Pickup has is on the front of the engine. It’s easy for me, or my vertically challenged wife to check.

    My 4runner’s dipstick is toward the rear of the engine, and somewhat hidden. It’s tough for me, and impossible for my wife to reach.

    Do engineers think of these things?

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      I have been told that “engineers” do a ton of research into serviceability. Unfortunately, it seems there serviceability information usually comes from dealers and NOT the general public. I tend to believe that these “experts” overlook the simple things.

      On service, it would have been nice to think that when Toyota designed the interior for a 5’7″ women, they would have used that same “women” to do basic service things like check the dipstick.

      I just got done driving a 2013 4Runner for a week (review coming) and was SHOCKED at the small differences between it and say the Tacoma. I don’t understand why vehicles from the same maker are different. I know they are working on streamlining their products and I think this makes a TON of sense. Imagine every Toyota having the same dipstick, window wiper signals, etc.. I believe consumers would really like that.


      • mendonsy says:

        “I have been told that “engineers” do a ton of research into serviceability. Unfortunately, it seems there serviceability information usually comes from dealers and NOT the general public. I tend to believe that these “experts” overlook the simple things. ”
        It’s amazing how easy it is to service these components when they are out of a vehicle sitting on a bench in a laboratory. Unfortunately this isn’t just true in the auto industry, it happens in every industry that builds complex machinery.

        • Tim Esterdahl says:

          Lol! So true. My sources do say that the vehicle is built. It seems like it is more of tell us what issues you see kinda thing.

          Like I said, take the woman and make her change the oil filter or pull the dipstick. Then we’re on to something.


  9. mk says:

    A guy at work spent 40Kish on the new ford crew 4wd ecoboost and he says he likes the pickup off the line, but pulling anything the gas mileage goes way down as expected. I think he likes it overall but is brainwashed and won’t consider a ‘foreign’ tundra – drank the kool aid way too long.

    Anyways, if the new 2014 tundra is anything like the new 2014 chevy silverado, go get a 2013 before they disappear. I thoroughly looked over a 2014 chevy silverado crewcab 6 1/2′ bed which I desire, but the msrp of 43K down to 40,500 invoice price with NO, yes NO, rebates until guessing November or December has me running back to the tundra. I suspect the new 2014 tundra will do the same with NO rebate since new design for first 4-5 months so will wait and decide.

    The 2 things I absolutely hated about the new 2014 chevy silverado is the cheap, rough, cloth fabric in the mid-level 1LT pkg. It was rough texture and of course, salesman said he thinks GM did this because it won’t wear and mat down like the softer, plusher fabric as other mfgs. have and be more durable in the long run.

    2nd thing I hate is what is also coming on the tundra: touch screen in middle of dash think that is the worst thing any mfg. can do to take the eyes off the road. I’d rather push a button (minus steering wheel radio controls) on the dash instead of trying to fiddle with seeing on the touch screen where to push thus causing me to be more distracted. It is called driving, NOT fiddling with gizmos like on a cell phone or tablet. Mfgs. think it is cool, I think it will be a safety issue just like the MY Ford Touch is causing an accident my neighbor had while he was fiddling with it smashed into someone.

    Time will see though which way I go since bed/cab config is NOT offered by the new 2014 tundra which is a huge mistake for most truck buyers wanting not only better but BIGGER and now toyota will be the only one without a 6′ and over bed in a crewcab highly desirable where I live.
    Plus, gas mileage in new GM 5.3L although not as powerful engine/tranny will serve my needs just fine pulling under 3500 lbs., is best in class right now supposedly in 4wd achieving 22 hwy mpg and that is much better than what I have ever got which is 18 hwy mpg in my tundra. 4 mpg, if holds true, is quite a bit better around 20% increase in fuel economy chevy has over tundra in 2014.

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Email -- 0 Flares ×