Consumer Reports Says New Tundra Is Below Average

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Toyota quality is slipping, and Consumer Reports says it’s due in large part to the new Tundra. Evidently, Consumer Reports has found that the new Tundra, specifically the V8 4×4 model, has “below average” reliability. Even more astounding, the new Camry V6 model was also found to have “below average” reliability. Because of the poor showing of these two new models, Consumer Reports has decided that they will no longer automatically recommend new Toyota models as they have in the past. Instead, Consumer Reports says that they will now wait for a full year of survey data before making a recommendation.

Before anyone decides to return their new Tundras, we’d like to clear the air.

1. Consumer Reports shouldn’t automatically recommend any model. Ever.

While it’s great that Consumer Reports had enough confidence in the Toyota design team to automatically recommend everything Toyota made, isn’t the idea of an “automatic recommendation” a little ridiculous? After all, an independent authority should at least test a vehicle before they recommend it. Consumer Reports saying that they’re no longer going to automatically recommend Toyota is a lot like saying “as of right now, we’ve decided to do our job”. That’s hardly news.

2. The survey data is extremely tainted.

According to the press release, the data that Consumer Reports used to conclude that the Tundra is “below average” was collected in the spring of this year. Amazingly, Toyota released the Tundra in the spring of this year. The question that we have for Consumer Reports – if anyone is listening – How exactly can you determine the reliability of a vehicle that’s only been out a couple of months? How many surveys could they possibly have collected – a few dozen? Whatever the number is, it’s certainly not enough to form an opinion. After all, didn’t they say in this same press release they’re going to wait for a full year of data before making a recommendation? At best, CR‘s declaration that the Tundra is “below average” is irresponsible.

3. Toyota is still a top rated brand.

Despite the headlines, Toyota still remains one of Consumer Reports top-rated brands. According to their latest Buyer’s Guide, Toyota is still one of the best brands overall coming in behind Honda/Acura and Subaru (Scion also placed higher than Toyota, but as we all know Scion is a Toyota product). Considering that Honda/Acura and Subaru have yet to make a real truck (anyone that thinks the “Ridgeline” is a real truck needs their head examined), Toyota is still the top ranked brand that offers a real truck.

4. Toyota is a victim of it’s own success.

As we’ve said, time and again, the bar is raised much higher for Toyota than just about any other vehicle manufacturer. The recent declaration that “Toyota quality is slipping” is a great example – two models indicate “below average” and the sky officially begins to fall. Compare Toyota’s situation to GM — according to Consumer Reports, the new Pontiac Solstice and Cadillac Escalade EXT were both 220% LESS RELIABLE than an average vehicle. Of course, recent headlines about the new CR Buyer’s Guide didn’t read “Two Popular GM Models Twice As Likely To Break As Anything Else.” Maybe that’s because, unlike GM, people expect Toyota will make a good vehicle…

Filed Under: Tundra News

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  1. Justin says:

    Boy, oh boy, still the same old Toyota loyalists. CR recommends the Tundra prior to release, all Toyota fans state it’s the best truck ever and CR knows what they’re talking about. After CR comes back and takes away their recommendation, now CR is making Toyota a victim and the results are tainted.

    Can’t anyone admit CR screwed up and not try to make an excuse as a cover up? When the Tundra came out, CR & Toyota owners figured it be just as reliable as a Corolla, but would not take into account this was a brand new model, made in a new facility with new workers and would have it’s growing pains. I’ve preached this since the release of the truck, just like I

  2. Cruiser says:

    I second “Justin’s” comments. While I have been a happy and impressed Toyota customer and I do love my new Tundra- Toyota is definately slipping in quality. It still may be the best option, but we can not and should not ignore the facts. Those facts say Toyota and the new Tundra, MAY not be up to Toyota standards. Everything else is just speculation; the facts say quality is down (how much is unknown).

  3. srapf says:

    I have a new 07 Tundra 5.7 Limited. I have not had any mechanical problems to date but will not be keeping the truck due to the jittery, harsh ride. This is my 4th Tundra and am disappointed in the ride and overall “up sizing” of the truck. I am buying a Honda this week.

  4. Justin says:

    srapf: Sorry to hear about your disappointment. Just keep in mind that yes the Honda (Ridgeline I assume) will have a better ride than any of the Tundras you’ve owned, but also remember the Honda won’t have nearly the capabilities of the Tundra. Also the Ridgeline is built on a modified version of the Odyssey platform, so you’ll really be buying a mini-van with a very small truck bed. Either way, hope you enjoy your Honda.

  5. Mickey Pitre says:

    CR is only one source of information about the Tundra. They have many others. If you do your research and check all pro’s and con’s. Then you will find in your own mind what you’re looking for. As I stated before about the 2003 F-150, and the 2006 Silverado, I never mention the 98 Silverado I had. It was the best truck I owned so far as reliability. With your normal maintenance this truck was in the shop 2x. First time at 800 miles to fix a noisy fan that rattled. The bearing wasn’t sealed due to whoever pressed it on, put it on crooked. 2 hour fix. Next time was 98,000 to fix the A/C compressor burnt up. This truck would get 20mpg at 80 mph with A/C on. Yes it had the smaller V8. Yes it was the cheapest model 3rd door EXT cab. I would still have it if it wasn’t wrecked beyond repair. I was hit from behind and pushed into a city bus. The truck tried to go beneath the bus. Then I tried an F-150 due to the good deal on a crown victoria we got the F-150. Major problems from the start. The truck was in the shop 21 times in 3 years. The ride wasn’t great probably due to the all terrain tires it came with. Same as the gas mileage bad. The 06 ride was comfortable but all the other problems made it undesirable. After doing research, test driving, I broke the mold and moved over to the Tundra. Apparently I finally got a truck with no problems. No noise, vibration, shifting, no mechanical or electronic problems. This 07 Tundra Crewmax Limited my most expensive truck yet so far has passed my expectations. I do get decent gas mileage. I’ve been avg 19 mpg. Unlike the wife’s car getting 60 – 70 mpg in the Prius. She reminds me everytime we fill up. She knows she gave up her ride for fuel economy where I didn’t The highest I got was 24.7 with this 5.7 at 58 mph, driving from Jacksonville to Savannah. Yes, I do get worse depending on my driving. Yes I personnaly think the truck drives and feels like I’m in a Cadillac. I’m sorry for everyone else having problems with the Tundra’s. So far the Tundra has been great. Justin I know from reading all the pages you report in I will wait till I had this Tundra at least a year before I can really give you an honest answer on what I think of the Tundra. I bought it July 14th this year along with my wife buying the Prius. Being new to the Toyota family our experience has been great so far. All manufacturer’s are having problems. I’ve been thru 2 out of 3 working on the third. SRAPF hopefully you tried changing your tires or have the dealership change them before making the decision. I have Bridgestones on my truck and they ride very quiet and comfortable. Maybe I was blessed finally with a problem free truck. In a year with nothing happening I can honestly say it’s the best truck yet. Did I mention that this Tundra has a LIFETIME WARRANTY at no extra cost….So the engine or tranny, maybe the rear end can go it won’t cost a dime. The catch for the lifetime warranty is you have to follow your owners manual for services and it has to be done at a Toyota dealership…As for the F-150, Silverado I did the required services at the dealership anyway. So no difference here.

  6. PRO305 says:

    I bought a new ’07 Tundra Double-Cab 5.7L LIMITED in September. Has a Line-X spray-on bed liner. I have also added an aluminum diamond-plate custom-made full-extension drawer unit (fills the bed, 8″ deep), plus an aluminum cross-bed Gull-Wing truck box made by Highway Products. These two tool boxes carry nearly 1000lbs of tools I use to service CNC machines around the Mid-Atlantic area. This truck replaced an ’02 Dakota.
    I LOVE THIS TRUCK!!! Before I installed the tool boxes, I noticed the “light” rear-end, but the weight of my boxes + tools has provided a superb ride. I drive as much as 1000 miles some weeks, while other weeks may be only 100 miles. Highway mileage is over 17, and I get about 12.5 City (still better than the Dakota!
    I have not had any problems with my Tundra; surely a year from now I will have better info, but this truck is Powerful, Capable and perfect for my needs. The weight I need to carry has “tamed” the ride, and it seems I could easily carry quite a bit more weight without any ill effects! I’m looking forward to towing our camper next weekend!
    If you’re looking for a QUALITY Truck that’s as much a work-truck as any out there, but with the Toyota quality, test drive this baby!

  7. Bob Rosehill says:

    I’m one of the lucky ones. My employer gets me a new vehicle every five years. I’ve had a Ford, Chevy, Dodge and Nissan truck during my career. I decided to try the Tundra this time even though it was the second most expensive of the trucks we looked at, because I liked the size, safety rating, 6-speed automatic transmission, and power. I drive about 200 – 250 miles per day starting at about sea level, climbing up to about 10,000 ft elevation, than back down. I travel over highway, country and gravel roads. Only one problem – my radio shuts off by itself. Dealer fixing the problem this week. By far the best ruck I have driven. Exceptional engine and tranny, nice quiet ride, solid all around feel, and superior storage area.

  8. Daniel says:

    I bought an 07 Tundra Crewmax Limited
    added a lift kit (ready lift) + 1″block on the back, fiberglass painted tanoue cover on the box (and all the other stuff a man can buy)

    So far I have 15,000 miles on it.

    I don’t tow anything, I don’t off road. I drive this truck on paved roads and highways. I put my little guy in the back, in his car seat and he loves it too! (I think it may be the lift kit, but who knows he’s only 2)

    I have not experienced any of the problems described by others.

    The Toyota service department in my hometown is awesome! Those guys really treat me well!(that alone is worth its weight in gold)

    I think the guy who’s going to buy a Honda Ridgeline is super funny. Just because it is so little, like clown car/mini van 🙂

    Back to the Tundra topic. I also have 2 other friends that bought Toyota’s recently, one bought a 07 Tundra double cab and the other bought a Toyota Tacoma, (they don’t tow anything or off road either, they just commute) they both say that its the BEST TRUCK THEY HAVE EVER OWNED!

    So in my opinion don’t believe everything you read , go rent one, borrow one, what ever you have to do and try it out for your self.

    I firmly believe that some of these guys bashing Tundras on this post work for Ford, GM, or some other competitor. After all I though this was Tundra Head Quarters, so its kinda funny when all these COMPETITOR LOVERS go to the time and effort to come to a Toyota friendly website to bash the Tundra. You know, some people would say that there may be an inferiority complex happening here, but I think there probably just jealousy.

    Further more, I think they should come out with a Lexus version of the Tundra Crewmax and tack on an extra $50,OOO, I would pay it!

  9. Justin says:

    Daniel: You and your friends do no towing, no off-roading & you purchased a truck? I’m curious now, why even own a truck? I find many that purchase a truck for soley street driving, no matter what make it is, are using it as a status symbol or just to have the latest and greatest. I know it’s a free country and you have the right to purchase what you like, but there are way too many people buying trucks these days that use them as cars. This is the market Honda built the Ridgeline for.

    Now the Ridgeline, is a modified Odyssey (mini-van) and it’s classified in the mid-size/compact truck class. Of course it’s not going to be nearly the size of the 1/2 ton & up trucks. To me, it looks like a mini-Avalanche (Chevy/GM), has some nice features, but doesn’t have the capabilities of a truck that I need.

    I don’t own an ’07 Tundra, but have driven an ’07 CrewMax 4X4 SR5 a few times. Has some nice features, but has some attributes I dislike. Overall, it’s on par if not slightly ahead of most other makes 1/2 ton trucks. Personally, I dislike the style, but style is all in the eye of the beholder. So my opinion or anybody elses on the looks shouldn’t impact your opinion.

    I own an ’06 1/2 ton and do not have any form of complex or jealousy. I’ve compared the two side by side many weekends (mother-in-laws neighbor has the ’07 Tundra), and have driven each back to back for comparison. As stated earlier in this post, some things I like better about the Tundra, somethings I like better about my truck. This doesn’t make either better than the other, just that each has their benefits and their drawbacks.

  10. ApexAlex says:

    putting things in perspective:

    in CR’s rating system, “average” means between 2 and 3 PER CENT of respondents reported a problem. “below average”, 3-4%. and “much worse than average,” more than 4% — with NO MAXIMUM.

    this is from the key to their Reliability Ratings charts, which rates 16 potential trouble spots.

    with all vehicles improving over the years, this is an upgrade of their previous rating standards, where to get the top (red dot) rating, there had to be fewer than 2% complaints, vs 15% complaints, vs. >4%.

    comparing red dots and black dots on these charts, toyota ACROSS THEIR WHOLE PRODUCT LINE still outperforms every other manufacturer.

  11. ApexAlex says:


    “to get the top (red dot) rating, there had to be fewer than 2% complaints, vs 15% complaints, vs. >4%.”

    should have read:

    to get the top (full red dot) rating, there had to be fewer than 2% complaints, vs, fewer than 1% today. the worst rating (full black dot) meant >15% complaints, vs. >4% today.

    interestingly, with the new CR standards, the overall difference between toyota (and honda) reliability and everyone else’s, SHOWS UP MORE DRAMATICALLY. (in the CR 4/07 annual auto issue)

    it will be interesting to see exactly how “far” toyota has fallen in the 08 ratings.


  12. Ken Stanz says:

    I purchased a 2006 Toyota Tundra for the wife on July 9th of 2005. She absolutely loves it BTW. She wanted it to do some running around town, it has a nice backseat, and it will hold a ton of groceries, so whatever. I slapped on an exhaust sytem, flowmaster 40, and it sounds great too. I, until July of 2007 have always driven a Ford. I have owned an 84 Bronco, a 91 F-150, a 95 F-150, a 2000 F-150, and a 2004 F-250 superduty(diesel), all have been 4wd, and with the upgraded motor…302’s in the early years, and the 2000 with the 5.4 triton. I took the wife’s Tundra in for it’s regular service (can’t beat 19.95 for oil/filter change, and tire rotation) and was convinced to test drive the new Tundra. I use my vehicles for pulling my boat, horse trailers, and 4wheelers for various weekend events. I liked my initial test drive of the Tundra, and the salesman convinced me to take it for the weekend to see if it could handle what I usually need a truck to do. I pulled my 26′ Donzi from my house to the boat-ramp @ 85mph….never a problem, pulled great, stopped on a dime, and even went up the Skyway bridge here in FL with no problem pulling my boat(BTW the Skyway is a huge bridge) I got a good deal on my F-250, and traded it in since this truck was more than capable of doing what I needed it to do. I have 10,000 miles on it now since July, and have not had one complaint. My wives 2006 Tundra has 44,000 miles on it, yet again with no complaints. I loved all my Ford’s, but had nothing but problem’s with all of them(the last one being a 4-wd problem in the F-250 with the locking hubs that BTW Ford did not want to warranty @ 9,000 miles) I feel I have made a great choice, and with the price of Diesel today @ 3.19/gallon, and the Tundra 5.7l 4wd XSP(just bells and whistles….20 inch wheels, carbon fibre interior, running boards, and nicer leather than the Limited) still getting the same fuel mileage as the Diesel….I love it, actually feel like I am saving at the pump…hahaha So needless to say, I am quite impressed with Toyota’s quality! If it is slipping, I’d like to find me an older Tacoma, and make a mud-hole play toy out of it, gotta beat the 84 High Sierra with 20 inches of lift on 40 boggers that stays broken….lol So, Justin…’s one more positive and happy owner you can bash. How come I never get one of these surveys from the dealer so I can rant and rave about the quality of my truck….CR…..(hint-hint)

  13. ApexAlex says:

    ken, you can get a survey form if you suscribe to CR. either online, or a regular subscription.

    just before detroit pulled their turnaround in quality, seems there was a UAW (?) proposal for ALL members to suscribe, so they could submit favorable survey responses on the otherwise crappy cars they were cranking out! LOL!

    and/or, slam toyota products. hmm… is it possible that’s what’s happened? nah! then again…….???

  14. Jim Osekowsky says:

    I have a 2000 Tundra and really like it. While underneath it a while back I noticed large pieces of the rear frame flaking, rusting, off. I’m 62 years old and have never seen that before. I sprayed the areas with rust preventative. Should I be worried?

  15. Steve H says:

    srapf- You will LOVE a ridgeline. Mine is awesome! Just don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t a truck.

    Daniel- You could have gone with a ridgeline. It rides like a car but is definitely a TRUCK. It has wicked room in the back seat for the little guy and it is really fun to drive.

    Justin- You don’t know what your talking about. The ridgeline is NOT based on the odyssey. It accomplishes everything other compact trucks do. Maybe some people don’t need to tow 8500 lbs and actually want to PARK their truck in their garage.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Steve you are funny!

  17. Steve H says:

    Did you hear that Honda was cutting the Ridgeline in 2011?

  18. Jason says:

    Steve H – The Ridgeline chassis is based on the Honda Pilot, which owes its provenance to the Odyssey. Read more here (start of 3rd paragraph):

  19. Steve H says:

    I can believe it is based on the Pilots but it’s beafed-up to the point where it’s quite different. It’s like saying the corvette zr1’s suspension is based on the basic corvette model. The zr1’s handling is much higher though. The Ridgeline’s suspension has been modified for truck-like performance.

  20. Justin says:

    Steve: The Ridgeline is built off the Pilot, which is built of the Odyssey, end of story. It might have a car like ride, which is nice. But don’t try to compare the Ridgeline to any 1/2 tons. The Ridgeline is a CUV with a bed.

  21. Steve H says:

    Justin- You can think what you want about the Ridgeline and I’ll think what I want. The Ridgeline is just as capable as other compact pick-ups. Couldn’t you say that the Tundra is built off the Sequoia? They have the same body structure right? The suspension on the Tundra compared to the Sequoia is quite different but the Ridgeline’s is quite different from the Pilots. Just for the sake of saying it, the Ridgeline has a “Fully closed box frame w/unit body construction” (info from Honda’s website).

  22. Steve H says:

    I would not compare my ridgeline to any 1/2 tons as far as size and power.(I forgot to say that)

  23. Justin says:

    Steve: Just as capable as other compacts/mid-size pick-ups? In most categories I could agree, like towing, cargo volumne (CrewCab models only), fuel economy, etc. But if you put off-road capability into the mix, the Ridgeline does fall short.
    Also, from most the marketing material and commercials I’ve seen, the Ridgline was compared to the 1/2 tons. Which even you agree it can’t compete in that category. Had it been marketed more to the compact/mid-size category, I think it would have faired much better.
    Big difference between the Ridgeline/Pilot and Tundra/Sequoia. The Tundra/Sequoia are BoF designs while the Ridgeline/Pilot are a unit-body design. The unit-body construction provides a much better ride, but is hindered in max towing, max payload, ground clearance and off-road capability. The BoF makes the Sequoia more of a truck based SUV. While the unit-body makes the Ridgline more of a car/CUV based truck.
    And I have no problems if a person were to compare a Ridgeline to the mid-size market, cause that’s its true classification no matter how Honda advertises it. The problem is trying to compare the Ridgeline, or any mid-size truck to a full-size 1/2 ton+ truck.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I agree that the ridgeline can’t compete with 1/2 tons. The ridgeline does fall short in off road capabilities only because of the ground clearance and no low range gearing. It is capable in most off road conditions though. I still can’t get over Honda calling the ridgeline a 1/2 ton. I always thought they were pretty conservative.

  25. Steve H says:

    Sorry, didn’t log in.

  26. […] You mean like this? Toyota Sienna score in Consumer Reports plunges, no longer top-rated Toyota Tundra Rated Below Average By Consumer Reports | Tundra Headquarters I love how people just make up total BS when it comes to Consumer Reports. Earlier in the thread […]

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